Review: Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (Nintendo Wii)

Raving Rabbids 2
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Mini Games
Release Date: 11/14/2007

The first Raving Rabbids is by far my most favorite game on the Nintendo Wii. Even though I never reviewed it officially, I saw down to score it when I first beat the game and it would have received an 8.5 from me. In three years only three other games have received that high a score from me: Digital Devil Saga, Gradius V, and Pokemon D/P. That’s impressive in its own right. I’ve yet to find anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with this game.

So of course when the second game was announced, I knew I needed to review it. Everything I heard about it made me want it all the more. Less Rayman, more Rabbids. More insanity. All the crappy raving, pig collecting and sky diving games were gone, and instead there were more of a focus on the bizarre. Even the ad campaign was amazing. I have to say I have yet to see a video game franchise in the entire history of our industry have better commercials, viral ads, and websites devoted to selling the game.

There were two small problems. The first is that the Wii is already super saturated with mini game collections. The second is that RR2 came out in the shadow of Super Mario Galaxy, which is current the highest rated video game OF ALL TIME across the industry. That’s a daunting feat for any game franchise to overcome.

So was Ravings Rabbits 2 a worthy sequel or did it fall into the category of sophomore slump? Is there room for one more mini game comp to your Wii library, or was the series just a flash in the pan. Let’s put aside of Thanksgiving leftovers and take a look.

Let’s Review

1. Story/Modes

The Rabbids have decided to invade Earth and only Rayman can stop then. Of course, The Rabbids aren’t really dangerous or malicious. They’re just wacky and destructive to themselves and others. The Rabbids have also come to try and understand Terran culture. Of course, with the Rabbids being Rabbids, they don’t quite get us, which leads to a series of fifty mini games satirizing pop culture and other popular video game franchises like Rock Band, Spider-Man and more.

Past the introductory (and hilarious) cut scene, the overall plot of the game is never truly brought up again. Unlike the first game where the was an overarching story and the mini games were interconnected to it, the story here is superfluous and simply meant to be a funny intro rather than any semblance of plot. Each mini game has a lengthy (compared to the original game) cut scene that introduces what you’ll be playing. Most are laugh out loud funny and really help to set the tone.

There are multiple modes in the game, and you will navigate through each via a graphical setting that is meant to be a mall. Here you’ll be able to customize your own particular Rabbid, listen to any songs you’ve unlocked and play rail shooters that you’ve unlocked by playing through “Trips.”

Trips consist of six mini games that are specific to a different continent. There are also hidden games under each trip for you to unlock and costumes for your Rabbids and Rayman. There’s also a “Tropics” trip that you can unlock after playing all the other games.

After playing games in “trips”, you’ll find them available under Free Play mode.

Finally, there is Single Player and Multi-Player mode, each of which provide a very different gaming experience.

In all, the story may be a little weaker in RR@, and some fans may be put off that there is no ending, but the improved multi-player mode and the cut scenes used to set up each game more than makes up for it. Remember, the game is purposely surreal, and existential and its one of the few times I can honestly say having an ending to a game would ruin the overall feel. If you can;’t get behind the options presented for play, the fifty very unique and fresh mini games and the comical plot, than you have no soul.

Story/Modes Rating: 7/10

2. Graphics

I really liked the look and feel of Rabbids 2. Most of the game is the same claymation-esque graphics that you saw in the first Rabbids game, but for levels like the rail shooters the Rabbids are superimposed on real life footage, creating a very surreal style of gameplay. It helps to emphasize that the Rabbids are alien bunnies and thus look as weird as they do.

I don’t know why I find the Rabbids cute and ugly at the same time. It’s probably because their antics are so endearing and completely batshit at the same time. Each mini game has its own look and feel to it, with the Rabbid(s) being the one constant between them.

The graphics aren’t top of the line, but they’re not meant to be. They’re meant to be cute and silly and weird. You’re not going to line RES:UC level realism or texturing here. What you will find are some amazingly well done minis with a lot of style.

Graphics Rating: 7/10

3. Sound

The sound effects and musical score are amazing. In the “Rock Band” style mini games, you’ll play songs ranging from James brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” to the 50’s doo wop song “Teenage in Love.” All the tracks are great and have an “Alvin and the Chipmunks on PCP” feel to them.

Sound effects are great. From things blowing up, to the trademark Rabbid scream, a lot of what helps you to fall in love with the game are the the bells and whistles going off around you.

There’s no voice acting to speak of in the game, but the game doesn’t need it. The range of music, noises, and Rabbids really can’t be improved upon.

Sound Rating: 8/10

4. Control & Gameplay

One of the things I love best about this game is that there are fifty different mini games. Sure the first RR game had 70, but a lot of them were just the same game with a slight change. The pooping Rabbids, the racing games, the sky diving and so on were just didn’t have enough variation and it was the one offs that were amongst the best.

Here we find that the only games with any sort of repetition are the rail shooters and the Rock Band games, and each one of those are different enough from each other that they feel unique and fresh with each song or location. Every game stands out on its own and is a lot of fun.

Some of my favorites include the swimming relay, where your Rabbid must perform all four major types of strokes, a burping contest game, a game where you bitchslap annoying children to keep them quiet, and one where you roast a chicken by using pepper filled belches. There are a few I am awful at, like the Volleyball game and Bururitos, but they are still fun nonetheless.

The controls are all very easy to pick up and range from using your wiimote to rotate a photo booth stool to create the perfect photo, to memorizing which vials have certain elements in it and then playing a Memory meets Frankenstein crossover.

Like the original Raving Rabbids, the controls here are solid, exceptionally tight and easy to figure out, regardless of your gaming prowess. All of the game range from only a few seconds to a few minutes, so you can play for as long or as little as you like.

There is one more game I should note for comedy value. There is a chess came in which all that you must do is concentrate, i.e., don’t do anything at all. It’s this out of the box weirdness that helps me to adore this game, but I can see it being offputting to others more traditional or conservative gamers.

This is honestly the best game I’ve played on the Wii controlwise, with Rabbids 1 coming in second only due to those damned racing games and pig collecting challenges.

Control and Gameplay Rating: 10/10

5. Replayability

If you’re looking for a solid well made party/mini game that is as fun solo as it is with friends, then you have two options for the Wii this year: Carnival Games and Raving Rabbids 2. I give the nod to RR2 because some of the games in CG are designed to be nigh impossible, just like at a real carnival

There are fifty games and up to four people can play in either free play or in a trip. You can also have player vs player Plunger gun action.

Each and every one of these games are fun on their own, and you can easily play the games for several hours before needing to take a break, unless you’re a bit out of shape.

Multiplayer mode in RR2 is a lot easier to navigate and the controls are a lot more solid, which makes the replay value here all the better. There’s also the added bonus of having a new costume to unlock for your Rabbids or Rayman whenever you score 12,000 points of higher per minigame.

If you have friends over a lot to play games on your Wii, it’s going to be very hard to find a better game to bring out for them.

Replayability Rating: 10/10

6. Balance

Balance is a little tricky to cover. With 50 mini games that each have their own individual rules and gameplay, there is a large sliding scale between what games are easy, and what games require a good deal of skill. For example, I still can’t place in the Chinese Plate Balancing game. Yet I am ranked in the top ten worldwide for one of the Rock Band games.

There is also a sliding difficulty scale which changes the control scheme for each game slightly. Easy doesn’t allow you to place on the leaderboard, but it does still seem to help you to unlock costumes.

One important change between the first Raving Rabbids game and this one is that in the original you would have to get a certain score or time in an event to clear it. If you couldn’t, you wouldn’t be able to move on to the next day of events. This was frustrating with some of the games that had awful controls. With Raving Rabbids 2, this is gone. Regardless of how you do in the game, you move on to the next event without pause. This is great for people new to the Wii or the franchise. Some gamers might take this to be a lack of challenge, but that is not so. Just because you are allowed to pass doesn’t mean you’ve won. Instead of punishing you for failing in RR2, you are rewarded for succeeding. Hence the special unlockable mini games and all the costumes.

RR2 does feel a lot easier than the original. Many of the games can be beaten through sheer luck as well as skill. Others are VERY hard to get the top score in like Bugeritos.

In all, there’s a decent amount of challenge if a gamer chooses to improve their high score and unlock everything. Otherwise every single mini game can be played in about 3 hours regardless of if you get a single brozne medal or collect all the gold trophies the first time through.

I’ll have to give the game an above average score here for allowing a sliding difficulty and trying to reward instead of punish like every other game on the market. In the end though, the game doesn’t leave you will the same sense of accomplishment as the previous RR.

Balance Rating: 6/10

7. Originality

It’s rare when I can say a sequel just might be more original than the first game. The first game was amazingly fresh and bizarre, but half the games were repeats of themselves. With RR2, almost every game is different as could be from the one before it. They’ve also mixed it up with the shooting stages being done with real life footage and Rabbid mayhem spliced together. Every game in this collection made me pause and go “WTF?” It was glorious.

At the same time, this game is a sequel, and we can definitely see that the future of this series is without Rayman. He’s in the game as a playable character, but he is primarily ignored. Good I say. I’ve never been a fan of the Rayman games, and I’d rather have an all Rabbids game that one featuring Rayman as the protagonist no one cares about.

Raving Rabbids remains a breath of fresh air for gaming and a nice shot of hilarity in an age where only dark and gruesome games seem to sell. RR2 certainly feels like the original but also manages to be its own beat as well.

Originality Rating: 6/10

8. Addictiveness

One of the problem with most Wii games is that if tires your arm out faster than games for other consoles. The games are interactive and can pass as second rate exercise, which parents love, but the console is just not meant for long term playing. That’s the beauty of games like Raving Rabbids 2. The mini games are just short enough to be intense and fun, but don’t go long enough to give you tennis elbow. You can generally finish a trip in about 30 minutes to an hour (this includes the rail shooter).

The comic nature and sheer weirdness of the game helps to keep you playing long after you’d stop. The collect-ability of new Rabbid costumes increases your dosage of crack. I can’t tell you how many times in a row I played the sawing a tree limb game (which is a lot of wrist wear and tear) because I kept getting 11500 points or so and I wanted my damn Rabbid outfit. Same with Bugerritos which was the hardest game in the collection for me. French Maid Rabbid was so hilarious, I had to get it!

Only the first Raving Rabbids game held my attention this strongly. After five years and 149 reviews, it’s hard to get me to want to play through a game for reasons other than “I have to.” This is one of the rare exceptions.

Other games might find the level of exertion to be too much for them, but it’s what helped keep me entertained.

Addictiveness Rating: 8/10

9. Appeal Factor

I can’t imagine anyone out there not being amused by the cutscenes or the on screen antics of the Rabbids. Playing the game might be a different story though. Some gamers can’t stand cute things. Some gamers don’t like short mini games. Some gamers want a plot or an ending. I won’t lie that Raving Rabbids 2 is not for everyone, but it should be. It’s exactly the type of game we need more of. Of course, if there were more, than it wouldn’t feel quite as special or amusing.

If you need a multiplayer game for your Wii, this should be your choice. If you need a game to entertain a diverse group of gamers, family, or people of varying ages and skills, here it is. It’s hard to think of a better choice for the Wii besides Wii Sports that will guarantee everyone involved will have a great deal of fun. I even have to recommend 2 over the first RR game simply because of the much improved multi-player experience.

Try the game and you’ll fall in love with the Rabbids. I guarantee it.

Appeal Factor rating: 8/10

10. Miscellaneous

This is the second best Wii game I have ever played and the second best game I have played in 2007. it’s fast, funny, highly original and entertaining. Rabbids 2 can be enjoyed by anyone, whether they are playing the game or simply watching the Rabbids being wacky on the television screen. It’s a game that no one can possibly hate and that most gamers can admit to having fun with. It’s fun by yourself, it’s fun with three other friends. The modes vary, the controls vary, the play style varies and there is more heart and passion put into this game that 95% of the other games that came out this year.

It’s too bad the game came out at the same time as SMG. Had this come out in the Summer or early Fall, it would have been a blockbuster. If you haven’t picked this game up yet, try getting it for Christmas or Hanukkah. It’ll make a great present, especially with all the family and friends present.

Congrats Ubisoft on providing me with yet another amazing experience two years running. Vive Le France.

Miscellaneous Rating: 8/10

The Scores
Story/Modes: 7
Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Control & Gameplay: 10
Replayability: 10
Balance: 6
Originality: 6
Addictiveness: 8
Appeal Factor: 8
Miscellaneous: 8
Overall Score: 78/100

Final Score: 8.0 (GREAT Game)

Short Attention Span Summary
Only Pokemon D/P has received a higher rating from me in 2007, and even then I probably have to give Rabbids the nod as for which I’d rather play on a given day. Pokemon takes a lot of time and effort, while RR2 can be played in minutes. Pokemon has the same gameplay over the past ten years while RR2 differs from mini game to mini game keeping the originality and hilarity alive. If you have a Wii, there really is no excuse (other than a lack of funds) as to why this isn’t in your collection. I prefer it to Super Mario Galaxy, Zelda: TP and Pokemon Battle Revolution. The only Reason RR1 has a .5 higher score from me was that it was the first in the series and would be ranked much higher in originality and story (as it actually had one). I can’t wait for the third Rabbids game. Let’s just hope Ubisoft can keep the streak of amazing quality alive.



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