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February 20, 2015

RABBIDS MONTH: Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (Wii)

By this point, you've seen it. So I'll make it smaller.

Rayman Raving Rabbids - Bottom 12 / Top 12 Minigames
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 DS - Bottom 12 / Top 12 Minigames
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 Wii - Bottom 12 / Top 12 Minigames
Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party - Bottom 12 - Top 13 Minigames

It should be interesting to see the differences between the DS and Wii versions of Rayman Raving Rabbids 2. How about we jump into it right now?

So many bunnies! Those aren't normal, either!
All over planet Earth, news channels report the arrival of flying yellow submarines. There's even some people who fear that it's the first signs of a zombie apocalypse that will start with the rise of John Lennon and George Harrison from their graves. The submarines conveniently chose to place themselves around the most important monuments of Earth. While explaining the situation, a live-action reporter gets attacked by Rabbids, and the communication is cut off.

"That's the best football movie I've ever seen!"
"It's just a 2-second clip, dummy."
Rayman, still in his world, is approaching the Rabbids' headquarters, a supermarket. ...Wait, I thought this was a fantasy world? Oh, whatever. He has to find a way into the building... and thankfully, those Rabbids are dumb enough that just about any disguise would work. So Rayman puts socks over his hair-ears, sticks fake eyes to a headband, and inhales helium from a balloon. The Rabbids may be dumb, but I don't think that's gonna work. Rayman, armed with a plunger gun, distracts the guards and makes his way onto the roof. There, he looks by the windows and sees dozens of Rabbids. They're watching a large television showing a quick succession of images from the real world. One of the Rabbids looks up and notices Rayman, so our hero takes a few steps back... and falls into a hole, in the warehouse where the Rabbids are working. Gee, falling is a thing Rayman seems to be doing a couple times in this series. I'm sensing a theme here!

You gotta wonder how exactly did they get that box, though.
I'm betting they stole it from some no-life in a basement.
The Rabbid chief, who has one red eye and one blue eye (don't ask, it's never explained, and besides we won't really be fighting that Rabbid anyway) inspects Rayman-dressed-as-a-Rabbid (using the box art for the first Rayman Raving Rabbids game; heh, clever fourth wall joke). Rayman feels himself spotted, until he does the famed Rabbid scream.. The head Rabbid stops being suspicious, and Rayman is suddenly welcomed into the Rabbid army. Oh yey, it worked! He's sent into a yellow submarine with plenty of other Rabbids, and then the flying machine leaves the supermarket. Direction: The “Real World”!

When the game starts, there's a few options on the main screen: Trip Customization, Trips, Free Play, and Plaza, which we'll take a look at later. The only actual option here, when you are playing for the first time, is Trips. In there, four locations are available from the start: USA, Europe, Asia and South America. When you select a trip, you are tasked with completing six minigames, one after the other. First, there will be five minigames picked among he ones in that location, and the last one will always be the music minigame. There are 9 minigames in each location (counting the music one), and thus you will need to play each trip at least twice in order to unlock all the minigames.

Around the world, around the world...
Now that I thinl of it, where's Quebec on this map???

Afterward, the minigames you have played in Trips will be unlocked in Free Play. There, you can play them at your leisure. There is a grand total of 51 minigames in Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 for the Wii, counting the 6 music minigames and the 5 Bunny Hunt games. It's important to note, however, that the Bunny Hunt minigames aren't available in the minigame selection here; I'll explain why later.

If there are minigames you really enjoy, you can create a selection of them in Trip Customization. When you select that option, you're brought to a menu containing all the minigames you've unlocked so far, and you can pick as many of them as you want (even all 46, if you think you can play them all in a single session). So, you customize your trip, and once you've selected the minigames, you must then choose a rating system. When you play a custom trip with friends, each of you will receive an amount of points based on your ranking in the minigame. Whoever has the most points wins.

You can pick between three different rating systems.
-The normal one, in which the player in first place gets 8 points, the one in second place gets 6, the one in this place gets 4, and the one in fourth place gets 2.
-The extreme one, in which everyone will fight to be in first place. And there's a damn good reason: The player in first place will get 10 points! In comparison, the one in second place will only get 4, the one in third place only gets 2, and the one in fourth place gets 0.
-The “Rabbid Way”. As you know, the Rabbids are dumb. They spy on us to try and understand us, and they then try to mimic what we do with their own messed-up perception of our actions. That's why we get all these minigames. I suppose they once saw people playing a video game and noticed that the player in second place was angrier. We know why: Because he could have been in first place, and that same player may have lost only by a few points. Here's how Rabbids understand it: The one in second place is angry because the second place is the one that gives the least points (which makes no sense, considering there's a third and fourth place too). As a result, this system rewards the player in first place with 8 points, the one in second place with 0, the one in third place with 4, and the one in second place with 2. That's pretty clever, actually. Just goes to show us how Rabbids view the world.

Now, we can look at Free Play. In there, you can play any of the 46 minigames (again, the Bunny Hunt minigames are somewhere else). For each minigame, there are two modes: Easy, where the score means nothing and you're playing only for fun, and Normal, where the rules and controls might change a bit, adding some difficulty to the minigame. You can only beat that minigame's high score in Normal Mode. And the high score table is the same for every minigame, too: Globox is the great champion, with his name resting by the Gold medal. In every single minigame, Globox scored 12,000 points. Your goal is to beat 12,000 points in every single minigame, in Normal Mode of course. Gee, in spite of being such an idiot, Globox is kind of an impressive player... Too bad he's a dumbass who runs away from real danger...

Oh, by the way, there's also a high score for every trip. As is the case for free play, you must play a Trip in Normal Mode to get a score. And the score to beat is still 12,000 for each minigame, except you're playing six minigames in a row, which means you have to beat the high score of 72,000 points. It's a lot more difficult, but possible nonetheless, for every Trip. Well, that's already a lot better than the Challenges in RRR1Wii! Heck, in RR2Wii, beating 12,000 points in every minigame is a LOT easier than it was to reach 1,000 points in the first game. Some minigames are still tricky, but it's nowhere as difficult as it was in the first Rabbids game. Here, you don't need to achieve Herculean feats!

The first time you beat a minigame in a Trip, you can earn an alternate costume for Rayman or for a Rabbid. When you start playing the game, you can select your character: Rayman, or one of three Raving Rabbids (this way, you can play a 4-Player match regardless of how far you are in the game). Sometimes, you'll literally unlock a new playable Rabbid! You can then dress it up with the clothes won by playing minigames and beating high scores.

Rabbids Plaza: Choking risk for children 0-3 years old.
May contain nuts. Common sense not included.
Now that this part of the game has been explained, let's move on to the Plaza. There are four options here: The Credits, a Jukebox, an arcade machine labeled Shooting Games, and a clothing store called Character Customization (What a convenient store name. Character Customization: Answering the clothing needs of all video game people since 1985! At first we just sold plumber uniforms).

The Jukebox will replay any of the six songs that can be played in the music minigames: Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, Satisfaction, Smoke On The Water, Celebration, Teenager In Love and Funkytown. And the Rabbids – including Rayman – will dance to the song, which will be played in its entirety. By the way, Funkytown appears in the Tropics but is not technically part of any location; you unlock it by beating every minigame at least once in Easy or Normal mode.

Just a few examples of costumes in this game.
Character Customization will let you dress Rayman or any of the Rabbids in funny clothes. For each costume, you can pick a hat and clothes. Aside from his real appearance, Rayman has 8 alternate costumes, but unlike the Rabbids, those costumes include shoes. As for the Rabbids? You can select two-piece costumes (hat and clothes, once again), or a one-piece costume. For the Rabbids, there are 54 two-piece costumes (thankfully, you unlock both pieces at the same time, when you beat a minigame for the first time or beat a minigame's high score), and 29 one-piece costumes. You can even make a Rabbid wear a one-piece costume under a two-piece costume, if you want! Yes, it looks extremely silly, but you can do it. By the way, there are tons of references to other games and shows in those costumes, most of which are based on Ubisoft franchises.

Bwaaaaaaassassin's Creed.

I'll be back. Hasta la vista, bunneh.
Somehow, this firearm looks cool despite the plunger in it.
Last but not least, we have the arcade cabinet. Before you ask, no, an arcade cabinet doesn't mean playing a portable console on the toilet. Each time you unlock all the minigames in one location, you can play a Bunny Hunt minigame. The fun thing is that these minigames take place in live-action environment, but the Rabbids, UFOs and enemies are still CGI. That's a very rare occurrence in video games (and thankfully, since this is a video game, it's a lot better than the movies using the same idea, such as Garfield, the Smurfs, or *shudders* Hop...). But it's a pretty fun idea. Also, in every Bunny Hunt minigame, there's one Rabbid wearing an unlockable costume. Shoot that Rabbid and you unlock that costume. Cool. So yeah, as usual, expect to face swarms of Rabbids, some (not-so-scary) bosses, and a lot of hijinks! This is pretty much the final part of the game. I think I have discussed everything now.

So, how's Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 for the Wii? It's pretty great! However, I have a few points of criticism.
-Less minigames than in RRR1 for the Wii (that one had 75), but amore than in RRR2 for the Nintendo DS (it had 36).

-The high score (12,000 points) may be a bit too easy to beat in most minigames, but once again, compared to how it worked in RRR1, this is actually a relief. Though some could make the argument that, on the contrary, getting the Gold medal on each minigame is too easy this time around.
-The fact that there are no cutscenes aside from the intro. The bits from the Bunny Hunt minigames don't really count. There's not even an ending! It just... ends, after the last Bunny Hunt! Sure, having an intro partly made in live-action is impressive, and it's also impressive in the Bunny Hunt minigames, but I would have liked to see more.
-Also, the named Rabbids from the original Rayman Raving Rabbids are barely in the game. Barranco and Clark might make a few appearances here and there, but Pink the robot-Rabbid isn't there, and Serguei is nowhere to be seen.
We even get our own test Rabbid who'll show us what
has to be done in every minigame! Heh, soon you'll be
one to suffer in the minigames... 
-Some minigames aren't explained too well, so you might have to play by trial-and-error for some of them. There was already such a problem in the first game.
-And of course, as is the case with every collection of minigames, there are some that don't work quite right, others that have faulty controls, yet others that I just plain don't like. That's perfectly normal, and I'll discuss this in greater depth this Monday. Heck, some minigames seem to have tricks here and there that you can't quite grab the first times you play, and you need to find out by yourself if you want to beat the highest score. In fact, even with those “tricks”, nothing guarantees your victory in the minigames that are harder to beat.

Aside from those points of criticism, I don't think there is much negative to say about this game. No major glitches that prevent 100% completion, no superhuman abilities required, no insane challenges... I wouldn't go as far as to say it's perfect, but it's pretty good, that's for sure.

Now, what are actually upgrades from RRR1Wii?
-Most minigames can be played at the same time by everyone. No need to wait!
-Playable, customizable Rabbids, which means each player can dress up their Rabbid just the way they want, and use it in the minigames. Heck, one player can even use Rayman if they want!
-No annoying Challenges with pre-determined minigames that you must all ace in order to get more points. Well, aside from the Trip challenges, but since you can get 12,000 points on each minigame more easily, it's easier to beat those, not to mention that this time around it's actually possible.
-Following the preceding line, bye-bye insane score requirements, bye-bye having to get 1,000 points in every minigame, bye-bye bonuses that can only be earned by getting greater scores on all minigames!
-RRR2Wii relies a lot less on minigame sequels; aside from a few minigames getting suspiciously similar substitutes, most minigame ideas aren't actually re-used. Instead, every minigame is broken into two difficulties: Easy, in which each minigame has simpler controls but your score won't matter, and Normal, which adds a few twists and turns, but you can compete for the highest score. That's pretty smart, and it saves you some trouble.
Uh, Boss Rabbid? I don't understand your Rabbid language.
-Serguei and Pink might be gone, but the surprise cameos by Barranco and Clark are pretty fun, and besides, there's a new Rabbid, which I'll just nickname Boss, who appears frequently in the minigames. It's an overweight Rabbid who likes to dress up (but which Rabbid doesn't?), and usually takes on the role of an authority figure in the minigames, like a mafiosi, a teacher, a cook or, well, a boss (duh). He appears a lot, now that I think about it. Still no mention of the one with mismatched eyes from the intro, though.
-All the minigames (aside from the musical ones, of course) have an animated intro (Oh hey, maybe THAT's where all the budget for cutscenes went!), and watching them is a lot of fun. Sometimes the intros are funnier than the minigames themselves.
-I honestly felt the minigames were better in this one. There was more creativity involved, there were less gross-out minigames (No touching a Rabbid's brain this time around! No picking worms out of Rabbids' teeth either! Yay!), and overall I just felt like the minigames were more enjoyable. I also felt there were less muscle-straining minigames (Farewell, carrot juice pumpers! Farewell, cow tossers!). There are still minigames for which it's difficult to score 12,000 points, but at least you can do it with some practice. It's not impossible to beat the high score, like it frequently was in RRR1Wii. Kinda sad, though, that there are less minigames...

In fact, I actually believe Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 for the Wii might be the best of the four Rabbids games I'm reviewing this month. It has the right balance of everything, and manages to get right at least one thing that every other game reviewed this month has done wrong. Does it have flaws? Of course. But it surpasses the other two games I've reviewed so far, and it might even be better than TV Party, which I'll be reviewing soon.

Stay tuned, as I'm going to be listing my 12 least favorite minigames, followed by my 12 favorite minigames in RRR2Wii, this Monday!