Rayman 3D is a remake of the 1999 game 'Rayman 2: The Great Escape'. Not that you would know that. The title doesn't suggest that this is the case and there is no hint of a remake on the packaging. It's a little bit worrying that games can be released like this.
As much as I'd like to say that parents should research the games they buy for their child before parting the cash, I just can't defend such a sly move on Ubisoft's part.
If you can think back to 12 years ago, you'll have fond memories of Rayman 2
. It was a solid platformer with interesting level design and oddly lovable characters. Rayman himself had kicked his annoying two dimensional counterpart from his prequel in the nuts and had actually become likeable protagonist.
Pacing had been set just right too. The end of your current goal never seems too far away and just as you get slightly tired of the main game mechanic, it will introduce a new one. It’s a considered approach to gaming progression and will have you rooted to your seat for long periods of play.
Rain on the Parade
All of this is present in Rayman 3D
but it's what is missing that will let you down. This is a straight port, and feels lazy for it. Is it too much to ask for an improvement or addition? Apparently so, because as you stare down at your 3DS you'll notice that you'll only have eyes for one screen as the other is completely unused.
The camera work could have also been looked at. Controlling your camera seems easy at first with the d-pad being put in charge of keeping that bad boy in check. But taking your thumb off of controlling Rayman to adjust the camera soon becomes a pain.
Some content that has previously appeared in past iterations of Rayman 2
have even been removed. The voice acting introduced on the PS2 version has been left out and I was left wondering “Why? Why the hell this has been marked up at full price?”
It would also seem that a bit of tidying up was out of the questions as some textures start to pop and frames drop from time to time. Nintendo's new console is more than capable of running this game but the port carries a few bugs that were either overlooked or not addressed in order to knock this out in the launch window.
The obvious and only addition to the game comes in the form of the 3D effect provided by the hardware. Thankfully this was treated with the respect that the rest of the port lacks; in fact so much so that it's one of the most impressive uses of 3D yet seen on the console.
Judging a Distance
In fact, the 3D goes as far as improving the game overall. Flies buzzing around swamps seem to effortlessly flutter in and out of the screen; when Rayman needs to run towards the screen the sense of depth is breathtaking. At times you'll feel like one of those twats from the 3DS adverts.
The 3D effect also helps the game on a playability level too. Judging a distance to the next platform is far easier and avoiding object that fly at Rayman seems even more natural when you can determine speed and distance. However, despite all its advantages, it really is the visual improvement that is appreciated more.
Putting my disappointment at the port itself aside, it has to be said that Rayman 2
still holds up as a fantastic game. The levels are just as interesting and varied as they were 12 years ago and the characters are just as lovable. It's still the game that worked so well and although not much has been improved on, it still feels fresh at times if you've not had the chance to play it before. And of course, there are hours of play to be had here.
Back in 1999 100%ing a game was far more of a challenge than today - and when there are so many levels crammed with all sorts of collectables you'd think that an old game putting you through your paces would get boring. It doesn't. It's just as fun as it was back then.
It also shows off what the circle pad can really do. The control given off by the perfected 'nub' shows the exceptional craft of the device you're playing on. Rayman is just as playable as he's ever been and that's what has been missing in portable 3D adventures.
It's hard to talk-up a game that seems so lazy and unimaginative when the game it's based on is so good. Whether you're a fan of the series and are considering going over an old favourite, or if you’re a newcomer to the series, there is a lot here to make you smile. Everyone else though can leave this on the shelf.
SPOnG Score: 73%