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PS2 Review - 'Rayman Arena'

by Rainier on Dec. 5, 2002 @ 6:10 a.m. PST

Rayman’s world kicks into multiplayer overdrive in this total competition crash course with the cast of Rayman 2. Smoke the competition on mind-bending racecourses, or spark up a lum-flinging firefight in the battle arena. And with 8 characters, 24 maps and up to 4 combatants, now Rayman’s got more ways to reign supreme than ever.

Publisher: Ubi Soft
Developer: Ubi Soft
Genre: Action
Release Date: 09/24/2002

Rayman arena incorporates platformer basics along with battle and racing aspects, the two main components in the game. You move ahead by winning races or battles, which unlock new arenas and tracks from beginner to advanced and expert levels. There are 30 different battle arenas and racetracks with multiple characters to choose from, and the characters are well designed and fitting for the environments. This is quite a different game experience in contrast to the former Rayman games, and somehow not quite as fun.

Rayman arena allows up to 4 players to simultaneously race or battle against each other, which makes this a good party game. In single player mode you race against a CPU opponent, running through environments with moving stair-like obstacles, jump pads, ice covered paths, turbo power strips and the tapping of the triangle button at the right times gives you extra speed, as well as climbable walls and switches that actually change the route you can go on the race course. There are also times in the race when your view switches to a 2-D scroller-style, then back again, I found this subtlety entertaining but it started to wear thin quickly. Also there are grappling hooks that, if used, take you on an alternate route which speeds up your overall lap times, and is a nice touch for the race modes.

But there is not much new that Rayman Arena brings to the table. In fact the racing sequences, which are a main focus of the experience, gets boring particularly fast, and the races seem extremely long at times. The battle mode has a bit more of a redeeming value to it. As you try to collect all the glowing orbs before your opponents do, you jump onto platforms and run across bridges in the spacey battle environments with a handy radar to help guide you to the orbs. You can also freeze your opponents temporarily in order to get to the orbs first. The freezing aspect is also available in the race modes and does add substantially to the fun factor in the game. Controls are tight enough and camera angles are fitting, but as with most aspects of this game, it’s really only average.

The graphics overall are run of the mill and does not break any real graphical ground in terms of animation quality or visual innovation. The frame rate is smooth though out all game modes and the overall environments are pleasant to the eye with some nice texture details. But there is nothing that is surprisingly great about the visuals in this game. Graphically the game is average and consistent, at best.

Sound-wise Rayman Arena is good and bad at times. The sound effects work for the most part, although the sounds characters make get a bit repetitive as they get hit by opponents or moving obstacles on the race and battles environments. The music does a good job most times of representing the game play, but is not an outstanding example of great game music, but again, is fitting to the only average game play.

Nothing new here really when it comes to your basic foot-racing game. The battle mode is where you can have a bit more fun with the game, but not much. The earlier versions of Rayman had much more appeal and game play value than Rayman Arena has. This is for the most part a rather shallow game experience overall with really nothing innovative to offer. But you should find it fun for a while, and the multi-player aspect has its charm as well.

Score: 5.6/10


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