|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montpellier||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 13, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
Rayman Raving Rabbids, released as one of the Wii's launch titles last year, was successful, innovative, and had that great spark of humor that very few video games have. The Wii controls not only made the game unique but also truly fun and addictive. It was a great introduction to the Wii motion controls, and they actually worked well. All these aspects helped to build up the anticipation for the sequel, which was finally announced last May. It took a few months to complete the development, and a few of us who really enjoyed the first game were so eager with anticipation we thought it'd be more fun than even Mario Galaxy! But unfortunately we were wrong.
The crazy rabbids have invaded the whole world and sit at every corner of the planet, full of naughtiness and comical mischief. Rayman infiltrates within their secret agency hoping to bring calm and peace back to Earth. The single-player mode takes Rayman through several continents, each of them "packed" with nine mini-games. Each time you go on a trip you'll only play five of them, which means you'll have to unlock the rest later by taking that trip again. When you finish playing each continent, whether you did well or not, you'll unlock those games in the multiplayer mode and a new continent will be available for single player action. Also, if you achieved high scores in any of the mini-games, you'll unlock clothing and accessories to dress up the bunnies or Rayman. You'll also obtain a new shooting challenge for the Arcade and a song to play in the Jukebox. You'll start in the US and then go to Europe; later you'll visit Asia, South America, and last but not least, the Tropics. The mini-games are quite easy, and only a few of them are truly fun to play. I really enjoyed American Football and The Office, amongst the rest. In American Football, you'll just run all over the field with the football while the others try to steal the ball from you. If the ball gets stolen you'll have to chase the one who's carrying it and tackle at the right time with a quick Wii-mote motion. In The Office, you just have to shake the Wii-mote and the Nunchuk back and forth, making your character act stupid while the boss is gone. When you see any signs of the boss coming back, you must stop the fun or he'll catch you in the act and discount points from your score. Snake Charmer was also fun to play: you hold the Wii-mote like a flute and press the keys prompted on the screen (A, 1, or 2). Even though there are a few mini-games that were well thought of, most of the mini-games in Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 are not very interesting or well made. I'd say they'd be more appealing just for kids than for the whole family.
As you can see, the new Rayman game is not nearly as good as last year's installment. However, they made some great improvements that could have been very significant for the game; sadly, they weren't enough to turn around the overall weak experience. In the main menu, one can choose to go on a Trip (only playing mini-games that belong to that trip), Free Play (where one can play the mini-games that are already unlocked), or Trip Customization. In this last one you can select the mini-games you enjoy the most and create your own trip. I thought this feature was nice, so you can avoid some of those games that just make your arms tired and don't bring any challenge or entertainment to the table. You can have up to three customized trips. Whether you go on a Trip or lean towards Free Play, you'll be able to choose between Solo and Multiplayer. Most of the mini-games can be played with up to four people simultaneously, so everyone can have fun at the same time. That's a plus for RRR2, as I thought the first installment didn't make a good party game and was more of a single-player experience. You can also submit your scores via Nintendo Wi-Fi and compare your performance with other gamers in the world. It's a welcome addition to the title, and the least we could ask for when it comes to online features in Wii games. The game menus are definitely more self-explanatory and the choices are right on. If only the mini-games were up to par, this title would have gotten five stars!
The controls are not particularly well implemented. I saw blandness and lack of accuracy in many of the mini-games; some of them could have been really fun to play if the controls had been better. There was a lot of Wii-mote shaking going on, and many mini-games were too similar in gameplay, even if the scenario was completely different. When I saw the first screenshots of Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 months ago, there were a couple that stuck to my head: the swimming bunnies and the bunnies in the hospital. Neither one of these two games were as cool as I expected, even though they could have been. In the first one you just shake the Wii-mote and Nunchuk until your arms come out of socket, and in the second one you just hit the patient when he wants to wake up. And that's it? I thought I'd be performing a mini-surgical operation in the style of Trauma Center or doing actual swimming motions with the Wii-mote! That's just an example of what it could have been but wasn't.