Ubisoft E3 Round-Up

Posted June 17, 2016

Opening with a confusingly garish dance routine to the music of Queen followed up by Aisha Tyler’s particular brand of charismatic and audacious sass – I guess we made it to the Ubisoft E3 press conference.

As with every year, E3 2016 didn’t let us down. It had just enough meaningless teasers, forced hype generation, cringe and pre-show leaks to sustain us for another year.  Oh, and some really cool game reveals and demos as well!  Ubisoft’s conference had a pretty nice balance of the former with the latter and for those of you looking to watch the show in its entire glory then look no further!  Your 2 hour long, slightly bumpy chariot awaits.

For the more time efficient individuals, have no fear – because I’ve got you covered with my slightly less time intensive but probably equally as bumpy Ubisoft E3 round-up.

 

Just Dance 2017  |  Website  |  E3 Reveal
Release:
 October 2016
Developer:  Ubisoft
Platforms:  PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii, Wii U, PC Digital

Not too much can be said about Just Dance 2017 that can’t be summarised by the 5 minute long, overtly camp, choreographed, dance sequence shown in the E3 Reveal, linked above.  If your idea of a good time is a group of friends failing horrendously at dance mimicry or staying at home stealthily practising your dance moves then this game is probably a pretty safe bet.  With basically no platform excluded from its launch, Ubisoft is ensuring Just Dance 2017 infects as many homes as possible until its next installment.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands  |  Website  |  E3 Reveal  |  Checkpoint Article
Release:  March 3rd, 2017
Developer:  Ubisoft
Platforms:  PS4, Xbox One, PC

Okay Ubisoft, I think we need to come to an agreement that there will be no more faked, role-playing, voice communication during your game demos because absolutely nobody talks like this when gaming!  And while we are at it maybe we could tone it down with the overly scripted, vertical slice game-play chunks you give since they have proven to not be an accurate representation of the released product.

Now with all that said and done Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands didn’t look like a terrible game.  Getting a few friends together and playing some third person, shooty, actiony, recon mission could be a total blast but the problem is that this really didn’t look like a Ghost Recon game at all.

The expected stealthy, subterfuge of the game was totally replaced by action movie-esque combat, explosions and vehicle chases.  At this point in time it really does feel like Ubisoft is sapping the individuality out of their games to create some kind of weird, homogenisation of what they clearly think is the perfect game.  So many of their titles now feel and play so similarly to each other that it almost feels like once you’ve played one you’ve played them all.

I guess we should wait to see more before judging too harshly.  At the end of the day, fun is fun right?

 

South Park: The Fracture but Whole  |  Website  |  E3 Reveal  |  Checkpoint Article
Release Date:  December 6th, 2016
Developer:  Ubisoft / South Park Digital Studios
Platforms:  
PS4, Xbox One, PC

Full disclosure – I really enjoyed my time with the original game, the humour and writing felt like it really lived up to the TV show with added jokes only possible in a gaming medium.  My hope is that South Park: The Fractured but Whole can recapture that humour once again because let’s be honest, it was most of the reason you’d want to play a South Park game in the first place.

Gameplay looks to be updated in the most recent title compared to the previous.  Staying in the same rpg genre it’s moving to a tile-based combat system which will presumably offer more strategic and diverse options.  This is a good change in my opinion and will help keep the game-play fresh and enjoyable

Eagle Flight  |  Website  |  E3 Reveal
Release Date:  2016
Developer:  Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms:  VR Devices

Nothing quite highlights the current experimental phase of virtual reality quite like the post apocalyptic, first-person, team based, eagle-centric, sports game that is Eagle Flight.

Controlling an eagle, as you sore through the nature engulfed playground of post apocalyptic Paris whilst competing in a half dog-fight half Quidditch style team game wasn’t quite what I expected from the Ubisoft press conference.  Having said that it wasn’t the most odd thing shown at that conference either so I guess expectations were bound to be subverted.

This game could actually be a serious amount of fun.  The problem with most of these VR titles is that it’s almost impossible to tell.  The awesome feeling of flight and the sickening feeling of disorientation can be a super fine line to walk in the VR space and it’s almost impossible to know which side a title falls on until it’s played.  It’s also worth noting that although Eagle Flight would be a perfect party game it’s unlikely that this is how it will end up being played unless you and your friends happen to own 6 compatible VR devices.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew  |  Website  |  E3 Reveal  |  Checkpoint Article
Release Date:  Spring 2016
Developer:  
Red Storm Entertainment
Platforms:  VR Devices

Star Trek is getting a virtual reality game!  Okay, I’ve got to be honest with you – that basically sums up my entire knowledge pool on this one.  I’m going to admit that I’m not a Star Trek fan.  I didn’t grow up with the show and didn’t develop a taste for it in my later years, so this is one game I won’t be playing.  To avoid saying something stupid or regrettable I’m just going to leave it at that.  You’re far better off watching the E3 reveal or reading through the Checkpoint article linked above than to listen to me anyway!

For Honor  |  Website  |  E3 Reveal  |  Checkpoint Article
Release Date:
 February 14th, 2017
Developer:  Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms:  PS4, Xbox One, PC

Vikings take on Samurais who take on Knights in this amazing clash of a game.  Probably my favourite thing to come out of the Ubisoft press conference For Honor looks like it might be a whole lot of serious fun.

The game-play seems engaging yet challenging with a cool mix of slicing through hoards of less threatening enemies and then slowing it down for more coordinated and tactical 1 on 1 fights with harder foes.  This game will be one to keep your eyes on for sure!

Grow Up  |  Website  | E3 Reveal
Release Date:  August 2016
Developer:  Ubisoft Reflections
Platforms:  PS4, Xbox One, PC

Giving a smaller development crew the money and resources they need to pump out awesome, independent games should always be praised.  That’s because these indie games have a level of creativity and quirkiness to them that AAA games just can’t match. Grow Home was a shining example of how a small scale project can create something really great.  It may not have been the kind of game that appealed to everybody but at $10 it didn’t have to.

With added mechanics and a larger playground hopefully we see Grow Up bloom into something beautiful and reach or surpass the lofty heights of its predecessor.

Trials of the Blood Dragon  |  Website  |  E3 Reveal  |  Checkpoint Article
Release Date:  
June 15th, 2016
Developer:  RedLynx
Platforms:  PS4, Xbox One, PC

From the on stage antics to the game’s announcement and reveal to the games immediate release – everything about Trials of the Blood Dragon was just so… odd.  I don’t even know how this crazy collaboration of a project even came about.  Did the Trials developers begin creating their new game and realise it was shifting in a vibrantly 80’s, action movie direction or was the mash up of 2D stunt racer and neon, first person shooter decided on from the get go?  Either way we are left with the same result and I’m personally pleased.  The aesthetic is pretty cool, even if I didn’t get to experience the era of pop-culture that is being spoofed first hand and it seems like they found a way to fit that aesthetic into the Trials universe.

Having said that there does seem to be some changes to the game-play of Trials as well in an attempt to draw it closer to its Blood Dragon counterpart and this is what I’m slightly concerned for.  Grappling hooks? Sure I’ll accept that, they’re in every other new game reveal anyway.  Narrative, shooting, on foot sections? Well now you might be going a bit too far…

Watch Dogs 2  |  Website  |  E3 Reveal
Release Date:  
November 15th, 2016
Developer:  Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms:  PS4, Xbox One, PC

So, Watch Dogs… ugh…

Before we start I’m going to apologise because this section may get a little… rambly.  The original game had so much promise when it was announced but it fell short in just about every single department.  Even ignoring the graphical downgrade Watch Dogs was just a mess of a title that absolutely did not live up to its covert, on-the-go, cyber hacking premise.  And this new game hasn’t convinced me that it’s going to be any different.  Like so many other titles in their catalogue Watch Dogs 2 looks like it will become yet another generic, Ubisoft, open world game.  This is the problem with homogenisation, everything loses the thing that makes it special, that makes it stand out, that made people so dam excited to play it in the first place.  After all, why go to the effort of stealthily hacking in to your target’s phone to distract and disorient them while you sneak your drone past unnoticed when you can just pull out a gun and kill them instead?

Watch Dogs 2 wants to be the jack of all trades.  Watch through the video’s they have released.  Your uber genius, mastermind hacking character also happens to be a parkour expert, driving legend, master of close combat and can gun down an entire room of enemies by himself.  It just seems so unfocused.  It’s like it wants to be GTA or any other handful of pre-existing open world games rather than sticking to its own niche.

I am also still totally confused as to whether this game is taking itself seriously or not.  Honestly I’m not even sure that the game knows.  In parts it seems so serious and gritty and all important but then we see the playable character put on headphones and music before jumping into a gun fight or hack a display just to give an elaborate middle finger or remotely hack a crane when the control pad is literally two steps away from him.  Also what is the deal with the character with the ’emoji’ helmet?  I feel like it was mid-way through development when somebody suggested that the game should be silly rather than serious but nobody decided to go back over what was already done and alter it to fit their new outlook.

I’m very wary about this release but I desperately hope I end up eating my own words because an interconnected, cyber hacking game of this scope could be incredible.

 

Steep  |  Website  |  E3 Reveal  |  Checkpoint Article
Release Date:  December 2016
Developer:  Ubisoft
Platforms:  PS4, Xbox One, PC

Oh my god, have we finally done it?  Are we through to the other side?  Can we go back to our daily lives?  Well not just yet because there is one last game revealed on Ubisoft’s E3 stage – Steep.

Steep is an interesting take on the sports genre with integrated skiing, snowboarding gliding and wing-suit piloting through an open world environment.  With seamless multiplayer integration it means  you can play alongside friends and drop in / drop out of multiplayer spaces without loads or menus.

I’m definitely not the biggest sports gamer but I could see myself warming up to this chilly title when more information arrives in the future.

Congratulations!  You are now all caught up on the Ubisoft 2016 E3 press conference.  Check out our other E3 Round-Up’s too!



Elliot Attard

About the Author

Elliot Attard

PC gamer, TV show binge-watcher, music lover and elite member of high society (but not really) - Elliot possesses all of the qualities needed to project his word thoughts straight into your eye holes.