Rayman 3D Review

Rayman 3D may be yet another port of Rayman 2, but its improved controls and capable 3D implementation breathe new life into the title.

by

If you've ever wondered what the 3D platformers of the late 1990s would look like with contemporary stereoscopic technology, then you need look no further than Rayman 3D. Unfortunately, a snazzy handling of this new technology is the only surprise it provides, and veteran players might balk at the realization that this 3DS launch title is essentially yet another clone of 1999's Rayman 2: The Great Escape for the Dreamcast. But, of course, that's not necessarily a bad thing considering the game's rightfully enduring popularity, and Ubisoft handles the port much more successfully than it did 2005's release for the original DS. Aside from occasional screen tears, some camera issues, and minor complications with its 3D effects, Rayman 3D ends up yielding an entertaining experience.

Get used to those yellow balls. You need to collect all 1,000 of them to get the most out of the game.

For the uninitiated, this is the story of a limbless champion on a quest to save a colorful world known as the Glade of Dreams from Admiral Razorbeard and his dastardly horde of robot pirates. Razorbeard, being a somewhat disagreeable fellow, smashed the mystical Heart of the World into a thousand pieces that now lie scattered throughout the world in the form of glowing yellow "lums." Now, armed only with balls of energy that fly from his floating hands, Rayman sets out to gather all 1,000 lums as he battles his way through mountains, forests, and dangerous pirate ships, all while freeing captives and recovering four masks that will rouse the great spirit Polokus and liberate the world. Not only does this make for an entertaining if lightweight story, but it also means that there's plenty of material for completionists, particularly since you can revisit every level after you've finished it. Only a few of the 19 levels require you to collect a fixed number of lums to progress to the next, but each one offers the chance of playing an additional compact bonus stage if you collect every lum and free every captive found throughout the level. If you decide to hunt down every last lum and unlockable bonus area, you could easily get more than 14 hours' worth of gameplay. Even if you don't, you're still looking at a respectable 10 hours or so in the Glade of Dreams.

Rayman 3D doesn't make much use of the touch screen. You use it to catalog the quest-related objects you've obtained, but your movements rely entirely on the 3DS's circle pad. This allows for a fluid experience that closely mimics the feel of playing the original console versions, especially when combined with the ability to look in any direction by holding down the right shoulder button. And the gameplay remains refreshingly diversified. Jump up, and Rayman's ears turn into helicopter-style rotor blades that let you coast down to your target. Pick up a powder keg, and you can use it as a bomb. Fire your energy bolts at a purple ring, and you make a rope that lets you swing like Tarzan to your objectives. Couple these varied abilities with unexpected changes to play styles throughout most levels, and you find yourself constantly looking forward to the next surprising twist. At one point, for example, Rayman water-skis behind a gigantic water snake across a treacherous swamp; on another occasion, he tames a rocket like a wild bronco and rides it at breakneck speeds down narrow corridors. No mechanic is ever used for too long, ensuring that you are entertained by Rayman's vibrant adventure from start to finish.

And it's still a beautiful world, even after the passage of 12 years of dizzying technological advances. Indeed, Rayman 3D looks very similar to the version that was released for the Sega Dreamcast so long ago, but its comparative graphical simplicity allows for some striking 3D effects that might stumble in more ambitious games. Aim Rayman toward the screen, for instance, and every so often his energy balls seem to fly at your head. Jump into the water, and you might wince when fish or bubbles unexpectedly whisk past the screen. It's not always perfect; the highest 3D settings are subject to bumpy frame rates--but it's good enough that Rayman 3D often seems like it was designed specifically for the system. It even sounds wonderful for the most part: the music is always engaging and appropriate, and the voice-overs are limited to the original's comical gibberish that grows more endearing as the levels fly by.

The 3D effects are most impressive underwater.

Yet Rayman 3D isn't without its hiccups, and some of these are as old as the game itself. As in other versions, the combat sound effects remain unsatisfying despite the obvious attention lavished on ambient noises in other places. Even when Rayman is frantically popping energy bolts at hostile pirates, it's impossible to tell if he's doing any damage based on sound cues alone. Elsewhere, the automatic camera is usually helpful for pointing you in the right direction, but at other times it occasionally refuses to cooperate when you're looking for hidden lums or alternate routes. The wide screen helps matters, but only occasionally can you use the left shoulder button to reset the camera behind Rayman, and the first-person view works only when Rayman is standing still. Somewhat surprisingly, this version also features extensive tweaks to combat difficulty, but the welcome precision offered by the new analog stick often leaves the game feeling a little too easy as a result.

Above all, Rayman 3D is fun, but whether that fun warrants spending 40 dollars on an overported game depends on your level of familiarity with Rayman 2. If you've played one of the many other versions of the game, you're not going to find anything different here aside from the 3D aspects. If you accept it on its own terms, however, it's hard to deny that Rayman 3D serves as a satisfactory introduction if you're approaching the series for the first time. Despite some issues with its camera and frame rate performance, Rayman 3D provides many hours of enjoyable gameplay.

The Good
Great gameplay variety
Admirable 3D effects
Loads of replay value
The Bad
It's yet another port of Rayman 2
Frame rate occasionally stutters when playing in 3D
Adjusted difficulty makes the game too easy
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Discussion

7 comments
DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

I just bought this a few days ago and I have to say... This game kinda sucks.

Ka3DX
Ka3DX

wow, I really can't understand why they would make another port. playing it on the pc the first time round was enough for me. they could have at least ported Rayman 3 instead? that is a game I would play again.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

I just got this a while ago and I had it on my DS and iphone and not only does this version look better than those two, it controls MUCH better. The analog stick afford much more precision. UNFORTUNATELY there is NO option to change to first person look. I always prefer the "pilot style" where up in first person is down and down is up however the game only allows you to have it the other way. Other than this very minor gripe, this version looks by far the best of any previous versions I've played, and the 3D effects really add a lot to the adventure. The 3D also greatly helps with depth perception on the riskier jumps too. I haven't run into any framerate problems so far but I'd say overall this is the best version of this game that I've played yet. :D And this game was already incredible anyway. :)

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

@mariokarthero 

Many reasons. Here, let me compile them into a list for ya:

-feels unfinished (like they didn't polish it)

-Frame rate problems (see above)

-Really ugly. Might be because it's old, but it's really hard to look at.

-3D doesn't work. (looks like the picture splits in two and the copies sit beside each other.)

-Boring. OH GOD. SO BORING.

-No dialogue.

-No incentives, winnings. Why should I keep playing this? 

-Stupid combat system (this one sold it for me). You hit the enemy once and they flash several times, THEN you can hit him again. F*cking stupid!

-Instead of throwing his fists, he throws white balls. -_-

I really hated it. I got rid of it awhile back. It makes Rayman 3 look like a freaking masterpiece!

Rayman 3D More Info

First Release on Mar 22, 2011
  • 3DS
Rayman 3D is an adaptation of the acclaimed Rayman 2 original game on the Dreamcast.
7.2
Average User RatingOut of 189 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Rayman 3D
Developed by:
Ubisoft Casablanca
Published by:
Ubisoft
Genres:
Platformer, Action, 3D
Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Everyone
All Platforms
Mild Violence