A launch lineup with games worth playing? Wha?
It seems unheard of, but here we are, just days after First Edition PlayStation Vita bundles landed in the sweaty palms of so many eager gamers. Even more new owners lined up to receive their shiny new handhelds on the 22nd. What games should they buy with their new systems?
Normally it's easier to say "nothing", but the PlayStation Vita already has a handful of great games to play. Chief among them? Rayman Origins.
The stellar platformer that launched on Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii last year will sit on store shelves next to every PlayStation Vita, and it deserves to be in your shopping bag. Much of what I said last year is true now. Chief among those praises:
Hand-drawn sprites and environments teem with life and dirt and shine and grime and love. There's not one object that wasn't passionately crafted by a developer.
That's the true magic of Rayman Origins. It's hard not to fall for the game because it feels like there's someone behind the scenes, pulling strings, and opening the right doors and windows, so that light shines on everything you're supposed to see, hear, and touch.
Those words are even truer on the Vita. The handheld's 5-inch OLED screen allows Rayman Origins to absolutely sparkle. The sharp, crisp 2D graphics look almost unbelievable in the palm of your hands. You'll wish you could zoom in and expect each sprite and environment closer.
And in fact, you can. Pinching your fingers together on the Vita's touch screen allows you to zoom in, and doing reverse zoomes the camera back out. You can also collect Lums, the equivalent of Mario's coins in Rayman Origins, with the touch-screen, but beyond that, the game goes without further Vita-specific controls.
Co-op multiplayer has been removed from the game. The original never had online-multiplayer support, and it can be difficult to play two-player with the same Vita, so instead, Ubisoft has included ghost support so you can race against friends and other opponents via their recorded spirits.
Rayman can also find and collect mysteries. These relics unlock images and videos that add to the backstory that made little to no sense in the original release of the game. You can go it alone in your discovery of these artifacts, but using Near and sharing tips and locations with Vita gamers nearby are much more fun.
Should you buy Rayman Origins for your new PlayStation Vita? It depends entirely on whether or not you already own a version of the game on your home console. If you don't, please buy a copy of this game. Show Ubisoft—and this industry—that Michel Ancel deserves the freedom true artists deserve. Then we might see Beyond Good & Evil 2 a little earlier.
If you already own the game, you might still want to have it with you on the go. The graphics look absolutely stunning, the gameplay is just as good as it's been since it was released in November, and every level is still available in this portable version. I've got a copy of Rayman Origins on the PS3, but as nice as it is playing the game on the big screen, I'll be taking Rayman Origins with me on the go with my PlayStation Vita, no matter where I'm headed.
Ubisoft's platformer was one of the best games money could buy last year, and it's one of the best games you can play on your PlayStation Vita now.