Monday, 10 June 2013

Ubisoft E3 Press Conference

Ubisoft, last year's "winner" by popular vote of E3 mostly due to the epic bursting onto the scene like the kool-aid man of Watch_Dogs, hit back again today with the same brand of somewhat awkwardness and simply quality titles we've seen in the past. This year there was no specific focus on the Wii U as their focus shifted more toward Next Generation consoles. And unlike most games we've seen so far, there was definitely a concerted effort to not only make things look next generation; but play that way too. While I've been critical of Xbox One's "semi-perma online" console, I don't have a problem with online games - so long as it's stated that way. Games that are specifically multiplayer online games have been around for a decade and a half, longer even. But bringing that online always aspect to a game that doesn't need it for the gameplay like say, Sim City, which had a few online elements plugged in but was a single player game. Online is practically everywhere now so Ubisoft are pushing this with their new games "The Crew" and "Tom Clancy's The Division". They also showed off some other games like Rabbid's Interactive TV Series and of course Assassin's Creed IV: The Black Flag.

The Crew in particular sparked my interest, being something that seemed to be brand new for a driving game. I've seen racing games, like Gran Turismo. I've seen open world driving games like Need for Speed: Underground. But this is something new; this is something that is open world, racing, online and wholly new -- at least from my perspective. The Crew looks to be something interesting, something new and fascinating. I'm looking forward to testing this game out and seeing how exactly it will go down for someone like me who hasn't really enjoyed a racing game outside of Mario Kart since Gran Turismo 2 just because of the bog standard that they all seem to be to me.. When I bought Need for Speed: Underground 2, I expected it to be essentially the racing game version of The Fast and The Furious, well The Crew seems to be very much that with a bit of the newer films thrown in for extra action. You can cross roads, bridges, off-road it looks pretty awesome to be honest and I'm quite excited.

Then there was the odd one, the Rabbids Interactive TV Series. I'm not quite sure what was going on there... people were screaming at the television to break a glass over a Rabbid, they were bouncing around. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of an interactive TV series, it sounds fascinating the idea of a game TV series as such. So often games right now are more like interactive movies, big epics. Then there's games like Back to the Future and The Walking Dead both by Telltale which are episodic in nature. I'm not quite sure what this Rabbids thing was, and if it were anything other than the most annoying creatures in media history, I'm sure I'd be invested in this.

Tom Clancy's "The Division" was a hefty introduction, it looks like an awesome online game that uses multiple interfaces from consoles to tablets in one world. Here's hoping the game is also cross platform online too. The game is basically a third person shooter set in a post-disaster New York by the looks of things. The trailer was very vague only really setting up the backstory for a society that is a House of Cards waiting to fall and well... does so after an epidemic breaks out. Ubisoft seem to have a pretty solid Online Third Person Shooter RPG on their hands here. I'm interested to see where they go with this in terms of actual plot and story rather than just the setting they showed here.

There was of course Assassin's Creed IV, which was a CG trailer this time around, not much to comment on that other than, well it's probably going to be a fun game, there's already been a lot of news on that. Much like Watch_Dogs, which as a game just looks to be phenomenal and really strong.  We'll see how that all pans out, I want to play this game now. Maybe if there's some time after all the editing I'll be doing at E3 over the next few days, perhaps I'll get a chance. But the game looks freaking awesome and a very interesting look at how technology is evolving and integrating into our society in our daily lives in ways we often forget when we're screaming "damn computers" or "stupid piece-o-shit iPhone!"

Finally, Rayman Legends,  a game that looks to be fantastic... a little frustrated as it should be out by now on Wii U and owning one just makes me angry that it's no longer an exclusive to that console and I can't even imagine how it's not going to be anymore given what I've played on the Legends demo for Wii U. The trailer looked pretty bad though, at least visually. But we cannot forget the #NagasakiFart, the South Park RPG, South Park: The Stick of Truth, a game that has been in development for a while, switched from THQ to Ubisoft, but still looks to be epic, not shying away to bring in more gamers, this is a South Park game make no mistake about it and I can't wait to see how it plays and pans out in the end because it looks seriously great.

Final Thoughts: Overall a very solid conference, new IP's, old favourites, new ideas, real next gen stuff and not just the boring "oh yeah we've got better graphics" stuff we've seen so far, this is real next generation gameplay and ideas from The Crew's online open world racing/driving game to the weirdness of the Rabbid's fascinating idea of an interactive TV series. Hopefully it pans out but this was an incredibly good conference.

Rating: 9/10 - EXCELLENT