Groups or individuals once upon a time would reach the pinnacle of advertising in games if they happened to be the center of a sporting franchise (eg. Tiger Woods or Tony Hawk). These days musicians are getting into the medium with entire games based around their work. First Rock Band and Guitar Hero put out dedicated side releases based off the current iteration of the series for bands such as Green Day, The Beatles and Metallica. Motion based gaming has brought forward dance games and the Experience series has given us Michael Jackson and now The Black Eyed Peas. The dance band turned electro with a bit of bootylicious action is an interesting choice for the developers as it targets a very specific group that is alot smaller than say Michael Jackson.
Graphically this game looks surprisingly strong. A large amount of detail has gone straight into the members of the BEP and unique features have been added to all the background members of the game. There are different locations in the game that you get to dance in as you progress through the game but in the end they add nothing what so ever to the overall experience. It's nice for a scenery change but nothing dramatically changes.
The animations of both the BEP dancers as well as your avatar are super smooth. Some Kinect games have a habit of making the avatar perform some pretty unbelievable leg and arm rotations but none of that occurs in The BEP Experience, possibly because the game is looking for timing of certain body parts instead of complete motion tracking. Turning your character around to be facing the dancers is an excellent idea and lets you recreate the moves from a more sensible view.
This is a Black Eyed Peas game so obviously the soundtrack is based around work from all of their albums. If you like their music then this will sound great, if not then it won't and others will wonder why you have bought a game based around an artist you don't even like. Unlike some games however, BEP Experience is for the most part uncensored except for the F-bomb. This is good because if an artist includes it in a song then it's usually there for a reason. Def Jam Rapster is an example of a game ruined by censorship.
The Black Eyed Peas Experience plays like Dance Central or Just Dance but with a few key differences that both help and hinder the experience. The game is fairly light on features with the standard drop in drop out 'party' mode as well as a more structured campaign mode. If the gameplay was tight then the party mode would be great for when you had friends around as well as the campaign mode to hone your skills.
However, this game isn't as polished as the bigger titles like Dance Central 2 and Just Dance 3 which launched around the same time. While certain aspects like a visual preview of the dance move before you have to perform it is a great idea, the lag and poor motion tracking absolutely ruins this game. As with many Kinect games, inaccurate tracking for games which require precision timing and movement is a killer to any possible fun. I found myself feeling like I was spot on with moves and getting good at best if I was lucky, it became a very frustrating experience that simply repeated itself throughout the entire game.
Campaign mode is fairly straight forward, allowing you to select songs, dancers, clubs to dance in to progress your rank and unlock new items and songs. It is more of a solo experience compared to the party mode which is geared towards more people just looking to have fun. The microphone from any other game can be plugged in to have someone singing along, regularly making references to their booty. This title doesn't offer more than any other and is definitely streamlined to the younger generation who like electro beats.
When it comes down to it, if you like Black Eyed Peas and dancing then this game will probably be a no brainer to you. Other games offer more diversity and better controls which don't diminish the experience. That being said, these kind of games have proven to be successful in the past and the number of clubbers out there will find something to suit their standards. Black Eyed Peas fans should check this game out while those who just want to stop the party would be best to stick to Dance Central or Just Dance which have a larger variety of genres and styles.
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Gameplay - 5/10
Overall - 7/10
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Platformers seem to be a lost art. These days if you want true platforming title you are going to need a Nintendo 3DS or iPhone. These titles are good but you won't find that $50 console experience that you are looking for. Rayman Origins is an ode to platformers of old, providing an exhilirating experience that will be an absolute hit for anyone who can appreciate a good platformer when they see one. This is a basic game, but in a world where huge set pieces and unnecessary violence rules this is a welcome addition. Platforming has been takes back to its roots and Rayman Origins lives up with the very best games of this genre. While it has been some time between true Rayman titles, I can feel like this title will warrant a sequel much sooner.
Rayman Origins proves that if anything, platformers can still work in todays environment. What's more important is that a good platforming game doesn't have to be a 20 year rehash with 8 bit graphics from older generations. This title proves that 2D visuals can still look amazing and some stunning artistic style will go along way to creating a beautiful game. The enemies, characters, world and level layout are alive, expressive and distinct. Rayman is a charming game and every aspect simply oozes with creativity which is out of the normal yet works so incredibly well when packaged together.
Rayman and friends are the same as always, the enemies are creative and the bosses in the game quite possibly take the award for coolest looking characters I have ever seen. Levels flow together with such beauty that the crazy nature of the game seems almost normal. Fighting dinosaurs armed with forks or running on watermelons that are floating in the arctic ocean just makes sense and will make you continually smile at the craziness of the game.
The art direction in Rayman Origins is unparalleled and unique to this game. Beautiful, vibrant colours and a constantly changing atmosphere in the game makes this a spectacule to behold for those lucky enough to play the game. It's easy for developers to fall into the standard cycle of character creation and bland worlds, credit needs to be given for this stunning piece of design. There are no flashy special effects or quicktime events, just creative art style and a brilliant overlap of 2D visuals in a slightly 3D world.
Keeping with the direction of the franchise, all the characters in the game don't have voice acting and merely grunts and sound effects accompanied with text. This is suited well for this game like many others featuring unrealistic characters. Not giving a voice to Rayman and his many friends lets the mind explore endless possibilities and gives the user their own personal adventure. The musical score for this title also fits with the game direction with a lighthearted nature that is perfectly intertwined with the pacing of each level. Ubisoft need to be commended for putting such a strong package together that is at the absolute pinnacle of any platformer I have ever played.
It's hard to put into words what Rayman Origins is to me. In one aspect it is your standard platformer which starts out simple with jump and attack as your only options, before growing into a complicated beast that puts many actions at your disposal. This is basically what every platformer is at its base roots, what makes Rayman Origins so special is the adventure which accompanies this format.
The story is light on detail and is to be expected when no one can speak. Rayman and friends are snoring loudly and disturbs the old Granny below who then sets Darktoons across the world to get revenge. This hilarious beginning led me to believe that this would be a breeze to finish as it would be directed towards children, but instead merely targets the inner child in all of us. Rayman Origins is a challenge and a fun one at that. You will be laughing and enjoying yourself as you repeat later stages in the game once the difficulty ramps up. Thankfully the forgiving checkpoint system means that you won't be starting levels from the beginning if you die at the end boss, making it less frustrating.
Players travel through each level, fighting enemies and rescuing the imprisoned Electoons which were captured by the Darktoons. As the game progresses, players gain new abilities such as running up walls, gliding in midair, swimming and shrinking in size to reach new areas. The game sometimes changes up from the standard platform style by letting you do stuff such as ride mosquitos or race against the screen as it continually moves through the level. Each segment of the game is fun, the pacing and difficulty feels spot on for every part and is most of all super fun to play.
Rayman Origins is a thrill to play by yourself. The game is constantly changing and mixing up the style of play to keep you interested from start to finish. Quite honestly this title would be up there, if not better than the iconic platformers of old. It is simply put a beauty to withhold. Playing along is only a small part of the fun, you can experience the game with up to 4 players that can drop in and out whenever they please. Having multiple players adds to the fun of the game and is one of the more rewarding co-op experiences I've played in a long time. Sharing the laughs with a buddy is certainly better in this title.
I don't get how much nostalgia or hype is rolled up with every Mario game, I believe Rayman Origins is better or at least equal in every area. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, the gameplay is fluid and so much fun, the levels are varied and the difficulty is spot on. As far as I can see this is the platformer of this generation of consoles and one of the best things to come out of 2011. I have played that many FPS' this year that I am becoming immune to any truly spectacular areas of those games. The platformer is a lost art and Rayman Origins has taken a lacking genre and proved why we should have more games like this. I had an absolute blast playing through this entire game with a friend. We didn't want to put the controllers down until we had finished, thats a true testament to a super game.
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 9.5/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Overall - 9.5/10