Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Ubisoft @ E3 2015

Ubisoft have a pretty good track record at E3. Since actress Aisha Tyler took over the duties of presentation Ubisoft's E3 coverage, it has always been a very watchable, laid back and enjoyable part of E3 to cover for CeX. This year very little was known about what Ubisoft was going to show off, and with two massive surprises being revealed, it made for one of the better press conferences of E3 this year.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole

Since Trey Parker and Matt Stone created the series South Park back in 1997, there have been a few games based upon it. However, all of these games were made without any input from the comedic geniuses who created the beloved series itself. Needless to say, this ended with all of these games being pretty rubbish, but this changed in 2014 when South Park: The Stick of Truth was released. Working closely with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, developer Obsidian Entertainment went about creating the ultimate South Park game. The result was nothing short of a masterpiece.

Looking like a real episode of the series, The Stick of Truth was literally one of the most hilarious games I've ever played (that sex scene, right everyone?). I've been hoping for a sequel for awhile now, so it's good to see one has been confirmed to be in the making. Whereas The Stick of Truth focused on the kids of South Park role-playing in a fantasy setting, The Fractured But Whole replaces fantasy with superheroes. I'm dying to hear more about it, but I'm a little concerned that veteran RPG creator Obsidian Entertainment are no longer developing the game. Time will tell if it all comes together, but with Matt Stone and Trey Parker back at the helm, things are looking good for this sequel.

For Honor

At the press conference Ubisoft also showed off For Honor. To me it looks a lot of like Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, the hack-and-slash medieval combat game that was originally released on PC back in  2012. However, whereas Chivalry almost came across a little tongue in cheek at times, Ubisofts latest IP is anything but. It's gritty, violent and merges together three legendary warriors types.

Vikings are awesome, right? How about Samurai? Yeah, they're pretty sweet too. How about adding Knights to the mix? Hell yeah! Simply put, For Honor is an online game that puts Vikings, Samurai and Knights into the ring against each other. Boasting a new innovative fighting mechanic dubbed “The Art of Battle” and some incredibly delicious gory visuals, For Honor is one to watch out for in the coming months.

The Division

First announced at E3 2013, The Division is a game, much like Watchdogs, that blew everyone away when it was first revealed. Since then it has been a pretty long wait for its release, but with the game slated for a March 2016 release date, this year marks the last time we'll see it at E3. Though time and time again we've seen games change and receive a visual downgrade with each passing year, The Division is still looking pretty incredible, and this latest direct gameplay video, while technically showing nothing really new, just hit home why it's still a game to keep your eye on.

Gameplay shown is pretty straightforward, and once again it's very much focusing on the idea of online team play, how your team interacts with the virus ridden world and, naturally, the choices you'll have to make when you face up against other online players. There's a great moment in the gameplay video when two online squads come face to face with eachother. With a nearby collection of powerful enemy A.I nearby, there's a moment in which everyone freezes, thinks about their next move at gunpoint and ultimately both end up both taking on the enemy A.I together. Also, the ending of the gameplay video in which one of the squads teammates turns on his friends in order to take the prize for himself is incredible, and this really opens the door to some great back stabbing possibilities.

Rainbow 6: Siege

In 2011 Rainbow 6: Patriots was announced. The announcement was awesome and its accompanying trailer, one that featured a grisly terrorist/abduction storyline, was shocking, thrilling and, above all else, wildly different compared to other Rainbow 6 titles. Sadly though it was revealed in 2014 that Patriots was cancelled. However, in its place another Rainbow 6 game took its place. That game was Rainbow 6: Siege, a game that seemingly drops the very f*cked up morality choices Patriots would have you make, and instead focuses on up close and personal action.

What we saw of Siege here was pretty exciting, and essentially focused on the importance of a team working together and communicating during online play. From the opening moments in which a SWAT team scales a building, peers into one of its windows and silently takes out a bad guy inside, to the eventual over-the-top firefight that kicks off near the end of the video, Siege is clearly a game in which you aren't advised to just run in with guns blazing. Granted that does happen in the video we're seeing here, but there's a lot of importance placed on the planning stages prior to going full Rambo. It's about time we got another smart online shooter, and Siege is shaping is quite nicely indeed.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands

I guess Ubisoft are good at keeping secrets. Though the Ghost Recon series was a huge hit back when it was first conceived, the last few entries haven't been exactly setting the world on fire. It's a shame too, as one of my best gaming experiences was playing Ghost Recon 2 on my Playstation 2 back in  2004. Like Rainbow 6 it was a smart shooter, so it was a great thrill to finally lay eyes on a new Ghost Recon title. However, this is a Ghost Recon game that is very clearly changing up the formula quite a bit, as it drags the series kicking and screaming into the realm of the open-world.

It wasn't clear at first what game we were seeing, but when the title popped up at the end of the trailer, everything came into focus. Seemingly taking command of a 4-person squad of sorts, the trailer focuses on the players attempt at derailing a drug deal. Though the trailer looked incredible and featured some pretty impressive combat, the real kicker for me was the fact that it showed the drug deal mission being done in two vastly different ways. Ubisoft showed the mission being handled both via complete stealth and in a Gung ho style. This fits in perfectly with the ethos of the original games in the series and this, alongside the fact that it's set in an open-world that's freely explorable, easily makes this the most interesting game shown off by Ubisoft. Bring it on!

Overall Ubisoft did a great job here, which was of course really helped along by the presence of Aisha Tyler. She's clearly cares about gaming, and though I could have done without the dance number and the awkward as f*ck moment with the Assassin's Creed cosplayer dude, it was probably one of the better press conferences.

Denis Murphy

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