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Friday, March 31, 2017

My Favorite Games: Rayman 2

Rayman 2: The Great Escape

A game experience that enraptured me with its unforgettable mystique




Platform: PC

Released: October 29th 1999


Rayman 2 doesn't necessarily stand up today as notable in terms of its moment to moment gameplay. Though functional, the move-set is basic and, when compared to Super Mario 64, it isn't individually gratifying. However, Rayman 2 made its mark on me through its mysterious and fantastical environments. Filled with unique, vibrant characters and strange, intriguing locales, every moment captivated me in a way that no other title has before or since. 

The game gives what feels like just the smallest peek at what the Glade of Dreams is like, and even Rayman himself is of unknown origin within its context. These things alongside a strange language, the provision of accompanying mythology, and a fitting soundtrack filling out the background left me eager to know and see more.

I have mixed feelings about whether or not I want Rayman's creator, Michel Ancel, to come back with his team and expand on the world from where Rayman 2 left off. On the one hand, I'm extremely interested in getting to explore what was presented at least a little further. On the other hand, I also feel that a big part of the charm came from the fact that we only got a small window into that world: that this tantalizing world-building is bolstered just as much by what it doesn't show as what it does. 

Incidentally, I think that this is at least partially why the 'Origins' aspect of Rayman Origins was dropped and the developers abandoned the idea of exploring Rayman's inception in explicit terms. I was originally frustrated with this, but I've come to realize that it might have been for the best.

Michel Ancel's next project is the PS4 exclusive Wild, and I hope that the philosophies that shaped Rayman 2 will shine through there as well. I'm ready to be captivated by another strange world, and if anyone has any hope of instilling that sense of wonder in me again, I'm sure that it's him.

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