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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Game Review:Rayman Raving Rabbids 2

Rayman nowhere to be seen.

Earlier this year, Ubisoft released Rayman Raving Rabbids on the DS. Though of the same name as the Wii and Xbox 360 renditions, Ubisoft decided to tweak the modus operandi by introducing some really cool and creative platforming levels which made great use of the various DS features. In between the solid platforming action were some entertaining mini-games. The result was a slick and enjoyable package that is the quintessential of good DS games. In less than a year, Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 landed – this time on the Wii and DS simultaneously. However, gone are the platforming levels and instead what you have in Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 for the DS is a mini-game compilation that is more reminiscent of the Wii version. But is that necessarily a boon?

Basically, the structure of the game is similar to that of the Wii edition. The evil Rabbids have invaded the Earth and they can be found scattered throughout the world. Each part of the world, say Asia or Latina (there are 6 parts in the game), has 6 mini-games attached to it and depending on how well you do in each mini-game, the game will reward you points. There is a certain number of points that needs to be reached in each part of the world, with some requiring more points and some less demanding. After you have accumulated all the points required for a particular part of the world, more parts of the world will be subsequently unlocked.

The core gameplay component is considerably shallow, to say the least. Often, you would find yourself repeating the same mini-games over and over again in order to clock ample points to progress through the game. This also leads us to another fact that the number of mini-games in the game just isn’t enough. Are they any fun, then? While there is certainly no dissension that all the mini-games in Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 utilize the unique functionalities of the DS well, some of these mini-games are distinctively prosaic. For instance, in one particular mini-game, you are presented a shape on the top screen. The objective is to draw the exact same shape on the lower screen. Fortunately, these mini-games represent only a fraction of all the mini-games in the package, so it is not so aggravating. Otherwise, the other mini-games are all pretty alright. There are some outstanding ones, though. Take for example, the music mini-game that resembles Guitar Hero. There are 4 speakers lined up horizontally at the bottom of the lower screen. As the circles come down, you will have to tap on the appropriate speakers where the circles land. The music is ear-pleasing, and as it proceeds, the pace at which the circles drop and the number of circles dropping at the same time becomes quicker and more respectively. This calls for some really intense gameplay that requires full attention and prompt response.

Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 attempts to add more depth to the core gameplay by introducing what is known as the score mode. In this mode, you can try to earn a trophy for yourself by beating the preset high scores for each mini-game. For sure, this is a welcomed addition which increases the replayability of the game. That being said, you can still steam roll the entire game (adventure mode as demonstrated in the previous paragraph and score mode) in under 3 hours. It’s short, but at least it’s better than the 2 hours long Dynasty Warriors DS. Along with the single-player, you’ve got multiplayer, but online play is lacking.

Along your way in the adventure mode and score mode, you will be able to unlock more costumes to customize your Rabbid. These costumes are incredibly varied, from a Brazil shirt to a Chinese traditional costume to a tie. Also unlockable are headdresses, which include wigs, hats, military helmets, to name a few. You can select what objects you want your Rabbid to hold in its hand as well, among which a mobile phone, camera, lollipop, magic wand and so on and so forth. Besides these unlockables, the game gives you the ability to color your Rabbid, as well as choose the background it is in and color that too. Want a green military Rabbid? It is possible.

Final Comments
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 abolishes the great platforming action from Rayman Raving Rabbids for the DS in favor of a mini-game compilation that is more like the Wii version. However you look, Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 trys to instill a sense of humor into its gameplay and customizable options and that’s partially why the game stands out from the rest of the mini-game compilations on DS. The Rabbids are totally hilarious, and I can’t help it but adore them. All the mini-games take advantage of the DS unique functions well, and most of them are enjoyable, with some outstanding ones in the lot. Score mode adds more depth to an otherwise shallow game, but again, this is a mini-game compilation. The unlockables are great things to be had.


The Good:
- All mini-games make use of the DS’s unique functions well
- Most mini-games are enjoyable, with some outstanding ones
- Score mode adds more depth
- Level of customization is great
- Sense of humor throughout

The Bad:
- Shallow game
- Number of mini-games isn’t enough
- Short game
- No online play


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