IGN Review of Rayman Raving Rabbids
Rayman peaked with Rayman 2: The Great Escape. Since then the neckless, armless and legless Ubisoft wonder has appeared in a handful of mediocre sequels. Rayman Raving Rabbids on Wii, released late last year, was the first worthwhile Rayman title in years. Utilizing the motion-sensing Wiimote, the myriad of mini-games that comprised Rayman3 on Wii were decent fun. Sadly, the fun ended the minute Ubisoft brought Rayman to Xbox 360. Without a Wiimote, Raving Rabbids is nothing more than a collection of moderately-entertaining mini-games with a good sense of humor.
The bulk of gameplay in Rayman3 is focused on the single-player story mode. It's not really much of a story, however. Rayman has been tossed into a prison by a mysterious enemy. To survive (and eventually escape), Rayman must compete in a series of mini-games to satisfy a blood-hungry crowd of rabbit-like critters. That's the whole story. Complete enough challenges and Rayman escapes. That's that. Sorry for the spoilers.
Rayman3 boasts more than 70 different mini-games. It doesn't boast at all about the long load times between games. Some of the mini-games can last a mere ten seconds, meaning you have to sit through a minute or more of loading in and then out of the game just for the briefest moment of fun. The majority of games last longer than the wait between loads, but there are enough that end in the blink of an eye to make it just a tad frustrating.
To its credit, Raving Rabbids offers some decent mini-games, most of which have a welcome sprinkling of humor. Swing a cow on a chain and launch him as far as possible in a twisted version of the hammer toss; bend a bunny's head like Beckham to score the winning goal; patrol the Wild West with a plunger gun in a rail shooter. Unfortunately, many of the mini-games that were enjoyable using a Wiimote don't translate well to a 360 controller. Most of the challenge (and the fun) slips away the minute control becomes conventional. Now, you could use the Xbox Vision Camera for these games, but only if you want to have an even worse experience. The Vision Camera is a poor man's EyeToy and a far cry from the precision of the Wiimote and Nunchuk. The Vision Camera works terribly with half the mini-games, so it's best not to bother.
The Bunny hunt first-person rail shooter, which arms Rayman with plunger and grappler, is the gem of the show. It is almost always the end stage for each section of the gladiatorial competition. Complete four mini-games and then you get treated to the humorous shooter. Each themed Bunny Hunter level throws scores of enemies at Rayman -- some wielding pitchforks, some carrying bombs and still others bearing plunger guns of their own. If only Ubisoft had made a fully-realized rail shooter Rayman instead of slapping on a bunch of superfluous mini-games for padding, Rayman Raving Rabbids might have been more enjoyable on Xbox 360. But with so many bland games to slog through to get to the handful of enjoyable ones, it's just not worth it.
Rayman Raving Rabbids had great sales numbers on Wii and for good reason: it's a great game. It will probably sell poorly on 360, also with good reason. Ubi didn't take the time to give Raving Rabbids any polish and while technically the game is in HD, the visuals are hardly what is expected of a next-gen title. Ubisoft has always done great things with Xbox technology, but not with Rayman3. The opening and ending movies -- more or less the pay-off for the five hours of mini-game playing -- were left in standard def and in 4:3.
Raving Rabbids could have redeemed itself with good multiplayer, but that's not here either. All we get are a series of quick and often forgettable challenges for four friends on a single machine. There is no Xbox Live support and no Leaderboards. It seems that no effort was made to create a unique experience on Xbox 360.
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