Rayman 3D review (3DS)

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by granville, Mar 30, 2011.

Mar 30, 2011

Rayman 3D review (3DS) by granville at 7:15 AM (1,309 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. granville
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    Member granville GBAtemp Goat

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    <p align=" " class="none"> Welcome to Granville's review of Rayman 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. I ask that you respect my opinions here, and we'll all get along fine. I have beaten the game, so this is from the perspective of a semi-completed session. Semi complete meaning i did not 100% all the items, but cleared the main story. </p>
    Rayman 3D is actually a port of the classic Dreamcast version of Rayman 2 The Great Escape. Rayman 2 was a 3D platformer released on a variety of systems, including last generation's DS. This review will make some direct comparisons to several of the versions, but primarily the DC version. The original game was released in 1999 and garnered critical acclaim from everyone on arrival.

    <b>Story</b>-

    The 3DS port retains the same story as the original. Robotic pirates led by their captain, Admiral Razorbeard, invade Rayman's world in huge airships and enslave its citizens. They also break the heart of the world into 1000 energy pieces known as yellow lums. Rayman is caught as well. He manages to escape with the help of his friends Globox (a humorous and strange penguin looking creature) and the fairy Ly. Rayman traverses the world, freeing his friends from the robo pirates and collecting yellow lums that have been scattered around. Along the way, he also meets the creator of his world Polokus. Polokus is in a deep sleep and cannot be awakened until Rayman collects 4 magical masks. When awoken, Polokus can help Rayman free the world using his god-like powers.

    The story remains the same as it always did. It's quite charming and remains that way almost 12 years later. There are plenty of cutscenes, and the character are cool, charming, and sometimes funny. At the same time, it doesn't shove an over-written narrative in your face. Cutscenes are exactly the right length, get to the point, and end when they should. The story overall is solid and the characters are all very cool.

    <b>Graphics</b>-

    I'm going to separate this section into main graphics, and usage of the 3D effect. If you want to see how the 3D effect benefits the game, it's past this section. The original game was one of the most impressive of its time when it was first released. Not only due to the technical prowess that was behind it, but the art style and design of the characters and textures. As such, while Rayman 3D does look somewhat dated in terms of graphics, the art style still looks solid to this very day. It doesn't push the 3DS' visual prowess by any means though and is not the best indication of the system's technical capabilities.

    At first glance, the game looks just like it did on the Dreamcast, within the confines of the 3DS' resolution (DC supported a higher resolution). Compared side-by-side, you won't really notice much difference in 3d models, textures, or aliasing (jaggies). There are a few instances where they added some more scenery elements (extra plants) or made some previously-2D elements fully 3D models. So you could say it looks a little better in some ways. However...

    ...On the negative side of things, there's some unfortunate framerate issues that weren't in the original. The Dreamcast version pushed a constant 60 frames per second and never drops. The 3DS version on the other hand, jumps around from anywhere between 25 and 60 frames per second. It rarely goes below 30 and usually hovers above that, occasionally reaching the full 60, but the issue is there. Considering this is an almost unchanged port of a Dreamcast game, it's unacceptable that the game can't maintain a constant high framerate. 3DS is more powerful than DC, so there's no reason this should be here. It's the result of a rushed game. The good news is that it's not that bad. The DS version suffered from a horrible framerate that frequently dropped into the single digits. It also negatively affected the controls and caused them to lag. No such issues here thankfully. In another negative aspect, the dynamic character shading and lighting has been removed in the 3DS port, something that is absolutely ridiculous considering the 3DS' advanced shader and lighting techniques. There are also a couple of minor graphical bugs here and there that could have been eliminated with a few more weeks of polish. Bugs such as certain water transparent effects not always working, or the sky texture tiling incorrectly. Some of the animations look a bit shortened in the character expressions in cutscenes, like they may be trying to stay in sync with the voices (this doesn't always happen). Nothing major, but they should have been fixed.

    <b>3D effect</b>-

    This is one place the game shines surprisingly well. Shigeru Miyamoto once stated that the 3D effect would make 3D platformers much more intuitive to play since the added depth makes judging distances more accurate. I can see now what he meant after playing Rayman 3D. During gameplay, the effect actually enhanced my precision over regular 2D mode, making the jumping parts much better. It's hard to describe in text how this works, but the added depth really made me appreciate the 3D effect, moreso than i figured it would. This, in my opinion, is how to do 3D right and make it a good addition to the gameplay itself. On to the visual wow, the game looks really great with the effect as well. It almost felt like the game was made for 3D. The vastness of the world around you and Rayman himself make you feel like you're immersed into the game itself. There are even some instances of mild pop-out when you get close to bushes or when pollen/rain flies out at you. I do have one minor gripe though: when the camera in the game gets stuck on some scenery, it sort of messes up the effect. This doesn't happen very often though thankfully.

    On the other hand, the effect doesn't work so well in cutscenes. They render the effect almost useless. The only real depth is between the fake black letterboxing and the actual cutscene behind it. There's not much in the sense of depth in the actual scene itself. In addition to this, there's ghosting present where you might see a double transparent replica of the characters (never happens during the gameplay). It's unfortunate, because there was a lot of potential for visual wow here. While the gameplay is enhanced by the 3D, you're better off disabling the effect during cutscenes.

    <b>Sound</b>-

    Another mixed category. All the sounds are lifted strait from the Dreamcast game. Music sounds as great as ever, with a lot of ambient and catchy tunes to set the mood properly. The voices are presented in a made-up language and actually manage to sound like an authentic real foreign language at times. They're very charming and the entire sound really helps add to the game's style. When it works that is.

    The music is pretty much perfect as far as i can tell, played in high quality and always seeming to play when it's supposed to. Nothing was cut from the original. The voices are pretty good most of the time. The issue is that some of the sound effects are a bit glitchy. Some seem to play in low-quality. Others play only sometimes, notably Rayman's energy orbs. And even other sound effects play at the wrong time in relation to what is happening on screen, like some sort of timing error. These are more examples of bugs that shouldn't have been present had proper testing been made and more time had been spent on development.

    <b>Gameplay</b>-

    As i mentioned, Rayman 3D is a port of Rayman 2. As such, it is a 3D platformer. It's somewhat linear in the way it's laid out, though the levels provide a few instances to branch out and explore a little bit. The game also does a good job hiding the linearity by extremely well designed areas that tend to be large in scale. It's a pretty straightforward run and jump affair, with some combat thrown into the mix. The platforming itself is really well designed and holds up rather well today. The combat is rather basic, it behaves sort of like a third person shooter where you can lock onto an enemy and strafe around to avoid laser blasts, while mercilessly tapping the button to shoot. Along the way, you'll find a few collectables. The primary ones are yellow lums (little yellow balls of light with wings), and cages which you'll need to shoot to destroy (they contain either more lums or characters who can help you exit a level). There are also a few bosses scattered about which tend to be huge in size though not too challenging. There's even some parts where you ride on a running or flying bullet shell.

    The game suffers from the same issue it has always suffered from- camera problems. Almost every 3D platformer back when Rayman 2 was released had camera issues, and Rayman 2 was no exception. The camera will sometimes get stuck behind scenery or swing into a certain position when you're trying to make a jump. It acts up most often in tight corridors. To its credit though, it takes a cinematic approach. It tries to get the best angle for the most dramatic effect. As a result, you get some awesome shots of the world and the perspective is quite cool at times. No effort was made to fix the camera in the 3DS port sadly.

    The difficulty is pretty solid most of the time, it starts out easy and slowly builds up to a larger challenge near the end. The last couple of levels get surprisingly hard and require some good reflexes. The difficulty has been toned down slightly in the 3DS port. It's mostly related to how death and lives are handled. In the original, your life bar is your only means of health. You lose a little bit for every hit you take or death trap you fall in. Once your health is drained, it's game over and you'll have to start the level over. In the 3DS remake, when you lose all your health, you just start back at the nearest checkpoint. The result ends up making the game a good deal easier. Other than that, i didn't really see any noticeable difference in difficulty.

    For the most part, the glitches related to this port stay out of the gameplay at least. I did hit one though that i'll mention, i'll put it in spoiler tags as it sort of spoils a surprise in the gameplay. It involves a secret area, one that is not required to beat the game (though it's required for 100% completion)-
    Warning: Spoilers inside!
    <b>Controls</b>-

    I feel compelled to mention that the game controls like a dream. You won't find any complaints here except for the camera. The 3DS' analog slide pad is absolutely wonderful. Short and sweet, the controls are marvelous. I played the game through for hours and haven't had any trouble controlling it (nor any blisters/sores). Notable because the DS version was a nightmare to control. Thank god they got this right.

    <b>Length and Replay</b>-

    It's not an awfully long game. Some of the levels themselves are quite big and take a while to beat, but the game can be completed (even 100%) within a few days. It took me about a week to beat when i played the game as a child. Replay-wise it's fair. While the game is light on content and there's not much to do once you finish, the game is fun enough that i want to keep playing it over and over again (which i have on various systems). It's just very fun.

    <b>Overall</b>-

    I find Rayman 3D to be a fairly solid port of the Dreamcast version. The 3D effect really enhances the experience and shows how it can benefit future platformers. Despite the negativity i shared in the review, i found the game to be very enjoyable and it hooked me as the original always does. There are some issues though that hold it back. On the less important side, the game is a port of a very old game on a powerful handheld. While the overall style holds up to this day, the game itself doesn't make any real use of the system's graphical horsepower. In addition to that, there are some framerate issues and bugs in both the graphics and sound effects that should not be there. The game feels a little rushed. I've seen infinitely worse rush jobs, but that's not a good excuse and doesn't mean this game or Ubisoft should be let off the hook. I expect better. Still, very fun game and it still plays as well as ever. At least the gameplay wasn't messed up.

    <b>Story: 9/10</b> - Simplistic but very charming. Gets the job done and cutscenes and story sequences don't outstay their welcome. The game world has its own mythology and the characters remain creative and whimsical through and through.

    <b>Graphics: 7/10</b> - The art style is still beautiful to this day, and the game is no slouch. But we're talking an older game being made on a much more powerful system. In addition to that, there are some unnecessary framerate issues. Plus, they removed the dynamic lighting and shading on characters, huge shame considering how good the 3DS is at this sort of thing. Also, a few minor bugs.

    <b>3D Effect: 8/10</b> - Awesome during gameplay, rather bad during cutscenes. It does enhance the gameplay and look VERY nice. Very solid effort i have to admit.

    <b>Sound: 8/10</b> - Great music and charming made-up language like the original. But some buggy and sometimes low quality sound samples.

    <b>Gameplay: 8/10</b> - As good as the original, minus the bug in the spoiler. Plays very well, has both the strengths and flaws of the original, meaning great platforming and clever level design, but a jerky camera system. Pretty decent balance in difficulty, but made a little easier for the 3DS remake.

    <b>Controls: 9/10</b> - The controls are almost perfect. The analog slider is very comfortable and always responds when it's supposed to. Only one point off due to the tie-in with the camera issues. I won't hold it against the game too much though, since the game controls so well and smoothly.

    <b>Length/Replay: 7/10</b> - Not a very long game. Easy to beat within a few days casually. Also not much to do once complete. However, the levels themselves are very well designed and it's a fun game to play through again and again. I would like to mention though that a couple of minigames were removed from the 3DS version that were in the DC version, the Globox village ones. Minor gripe i'm sure, but content removal regardless.

    <b>Final Score: 7/10</b> - It's a very GOOD game. The game still plays very well and the 3D effect serves the gameplay nicely. I took off points for any flaws in the original game however, and the fact that the port has some glaring issues that have no business being there. I had a lot of fun with this. But one has to question whether Ubisoft deserves anyone's money for their fairly lazy efforts in porting this game. It feels a little rushed, that's all i can say. Good game, but worthy buying full price? Dunno. But the more people support Ubisoft's lack of effort, the more they'll KEEP doing the same thing. If you want to try out Rayman 2, here's a pretty good place to do so at least. Though you may wish to buy used or wait for a price drop.
     

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