Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Ubisoft @ E3 2014

Missed the Ubisoft E3 conference? Want to check out the highlights without watching the whole thing? Don't worry, CeX has you covered!

I loved Ubisoft's E3 press conference last year. Walking that tightrope between a professional and laid back approach, the humour didn't seemed forced or fake. It all just felt natural. In a bid to replicate previous success, once again the host of the night was actress Aisha Tyler. Right from the outset it was clear she was a gamer, and she conveyed an admirable and honest level of passion throughout the event. Like last year, this may have been my favourite presentation. Here's the rundown...

Assassin's Creed: Unity (Multi-platform)

I fell out of love with the Assassin's Creed franchise shortly after Assassin's Creed 2, but the last title in the franchise, Black Flag, yanked me back into the fold. It just felt so new, fresh and a far cry from what came before it. This new upcoming entry into the series seems to be doing just that too. Assassin's Creed: Unity is set in 18th century France amid the French revolution, as you control deadly assassin Arno Dorian. The gameplay showed here focuses on the ability for the player to allow 3 other assassins into their game via Xbox Live/PSN. From the sprawling city set before the player, the hordes of townsfolk swarming the streets, to the seamless integration of the other online assassins, Unity was quite the showstopper.  Though I'm often pretty dubious as Ubisoft continues to milk the Assassin's Creed franchise for all it's worth, Assassin's Creed: Unity is without a doubt an intriguing upcoming title.

Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Multi-platform)

Very few games are made based upon World War I, and that is a real shame. It could be the basis for intense drama and, of course, heart thumping action set pieces. Lasting a mere 4 years but claiming the life of over 37 million men, women and children, The Great War was a monumental wound to humanity, as most of us have past relatives who were involved, one way or another. Taking the route of personal reflection using various letters written back home during the war, Ubisoft Montpellier are creating Valiant Hearts: The Great War as a puzzle adventure, which is an interesting decision. However, judging from the trailer, there seems to be more to this title that the chosen genre would assume. It may not be Call of Duty, Battlefield or Uncharted 4, but this is the kind of game I find vastly more compelling. 

The Crew (Multi-platform)

This is one of those games that is clearly being boasted a little too early. During the Ubisoft presentation at E3, the buzz around The Crew was that it would allow the player to drive across America, coast-to-coast. The way they were building it up sounded like every town, street and truck stop in America was replicated in the game. But lets be honest, how on Earth could that be humanly possible, right? I didn't fall into the trap of believing the hype, but they played it up considerably. Of course, it's only now after the initial presentation that they came out and said that to drive across America in The Crew will take 90 minutes. Don't get me wrong, that is quite impressive, but to fall back on that after the suggestion of something bigger, something massive, is just plain mean. Count me out.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege (Multi-platform)

Back in November 2011 Ubisoft released a trailer to Rainbow Six: Patriots, the latest title in the tactical shooter franchise, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six. The footage was thrilling, disturbing and brought a sense of realism to the franchise like never before. However, sadly Patriots was cancelled, but it seems as if Ubisoft restarted development under a new premise and title. Clearly retaining the tactical shooter angle from previous Rainbow Six titles, Siege looks as if it'll try and perfect the ideas and elements covered in the classic Rainbow Six games of yesteryear. From the careful planning before entering the house, the way bullets actually take chunks out of a wall to the bloody awesome finish with the guy going through the damn ceiling... Rainbow Six: Patriots is now a forgotten memory.

Far Cry 4 (Multi-platform)

Last years Far Cry 3 while, for me personally, not as epic as Far Cry 2, was an excellent open-world title. Now Ubisoft are preparing for the upcoming release of Far Cry 4, a game that makes Far Cry 3 look like play-school. Placing you in the role of a man named A.J. Gale, you are hurled into the unforgiving (and fictional) Himalayan region of Kyrat. After being sidelined on a personal journey to spread his mother’s ashes, Gale is now faced with surviving in an environment that is out to get him. Ubisoft are focusing on the notion of choice in Far Cry 4, stating that the player is able to carve out his or her own story across the exotic landscape like never before. I guess I know where I'll be spending Christmas and New Years come November 18th.

Tom Clancy's The Division (Multi-platform)

After the roaring success of Watch Dogs recently, Ubisoft were dying to show off their latest gameplay from Tom Clancy's The Division. It seems Ubisoft are trying to once again redefine the online gaming experience, and it looks like they're doing just that, as The Division looks truly incredible. Set in a New York City utterly devastated by a rampant disease, you take command of a group known as the Strategic Homeland Division (SHD), or The Division for short. Given direct authority by the President himself, your sole job is to do anything to "save what remains". Though many details are still unclear so far, The Division looks like it'll be an online like experience like no other. Fingers crossed it all comes together.

There were no real surprises on offer here, but with impressive and interesting games to show off and a general presentation that wasn't pandering or forced, Ubisoft had a pretty great E3.

I'd give it an A-

Denis Murphy

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