Ubisoft E3 2017 Impressions UbiE3

E3 2017 Impressions: Ubisoft

Ubisoft had a fair spread at E3 this year. It wasn’t quite the maelstrom of new games Xbox pulled out of the bag alongside their new console, nor was it the relative disappointment of Bethesdaland. Without any further ado, let’s go through the titles they discussed.

As a big fan of the X-COM reboots, I honestly think this looks like a really solid adventure. It’s unfortunate Ubisoft are working on something that will exclusively reach Switch owners, and that Nintendo have pushed them towards working with those bastard Rabbids, That said, the combat honestly does look as if it has been ripped straight from X-COM, and I wonder if Firaxis or 2K are going to have anything to say about that. Even Mario’s Hero Sight is just a straight pull of Overwatch.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins gives me a fuzzy feeling in my stomach. The Assassin’s Creed series had been on a downward trajectory ever since the release of games like Unity, Rogue, and even Syndicate. They all felt half-hearted, as if they were more focused on set design than story, context, or combat. Ubisoft has taken a year off, (hopefully) thought about what they need to do to rescue the franchise, and came back with this.

They’ve added RPG elements, an eagle-drone that spots enemies, a more advanced equipment system, camels, and beautiful visuals to accompany what looks to be an expansive open world set in Ptolemaic or Roman Egypt. They’ve chosen an inherently interesting historical period to set the game in. It looks good, but so did Syndicate a couple of years ago. I’m touting this as the new Black Flag, however. I would advise Assassin’s Creed fans to be excited, but with a sizable pinch of salt.

Is this anything that special?

The cinematic announcement trailer made use of Kaleo’s No Good in a thoroughly cinematic way, but The Crew 2… just looks like a motorsports game. It’s pretty, but keep in mind this is Ubisoft, so graphics downgrades are likely. The exploration aspect isn’t stunning me — I think it’s kind of expected from racing games at this point. The freestyle points system has been ripped straight from Steep, which wasn’t the best-performing game of the last year, either.

Just like The Stick of Truth was South Park’s hilarious — and unexpectedly fun — take on classic side-by-side fantasy RPGs, Fractured but Whole seems to be the same developers mocking the slew of superhero films that have been released in the past few years. It looks like the perfect sequel to The Stick of Truth for one reason and one reason alone: The dialogue is still sharp, and it retains the essence of South Park. The humour doesn’t feel forced, which is a trap a lot of ‘funny’ video games can fall into.

Plus, players will get a free copy of The Stick of Truth when they buy Fractured but Whole. That’s a pretty good deal for fans who haven’t played the first Ubisoft offering.

So, if you liked Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, but without any of the assassinations or story, that’s what Skull and Bones seems to be. They seem to have ripped the ship combat engine free of the base game and made it its own venture in itself. It’s… lazy, but I love pirate games.

The ship combat in Black Flag was good; don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I don’t think it alone — especially considering most people who pick this up will have already played the game — can hold this AAA title up. I’m more excited for Sea of Thieves, I have to say, but I’ll be keeping an eye on Skull and Bones to see if it adds any worthwhile story elements.

I never played the original Beyond Good and Evil, and I know virtually nothing about it, so I’m not sure what this means for the franchise. My response is a totally fresh take on the IP, but, honestly, it looks exciting. It feels cinematic and fresh, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I’m assuming the humans-living-in-conjunction-with-anthropomorphic-animals is par for the course and not a new feature here.

Either way, it looks exciting. The set and character design is something that immediately stands out. I want to see where this goes, but also can’t imagine it coming out in the next twelve months. Hopefully the story remains as rich as the trailer makes it seem.

Far Cry 5. For all its controversy upon announcement, after a slew of trailers and now the official gameplay reveal, I don’t really know what to think. On the one hand, this looks like a True Detective-meets-Preacher mishmash which more than welcome. On the other, Far Cry 4 was basically a reskinned — actually, not even reskinned — Far Cry 3 with Barcelona youth star Neymar as the main villain.

Far Cry 5 will get a slow graphics downgrade and there’s still very little revealed about the story. We know the characters’ motivation thanks to the extended trailer released at the end of May, but, honestly, it could just be the same as the two games prior, just set in cult-controlled Hickville. I will remain skeptical until release.

I liked Steep. Mainly because I loved SSX 3 a decade or so earlier. Snow-sports games always have a little place in my heart. Steep wasn’t anything special, but I keep coming back to it for a bit of downtime. The Road to the Olympics expansion looks like it’ll be adding a swathe of new, competitive content, with over a dozen new competitions to try your hand at.

It has, however, been dividing opinions about one thing; Money. Some people think it’ll be free DLC, some seem to think it’ll be paid, some seem to think it won’t even be included on the Season Pass. I’m inclined to believe the last of those, personally. Don’t hold your hopes up.

I don’t really get toys-to-life stuff. It’s quite an impressive concept, but it seems like another way for Ubisoft to capitalize on merchandise, given each different gun attachment will probably cost around too-damn-much. My brother bought a Skylanders game once, so that’s the only experience I have with the concept.

Otherwise, can’t imagine this being anything more than gimmicky and unspectacular.

Drunken post-family party embarrassment mechanism franchise Just Dance is getting another installment. New songs. Supposedly the franchise has sold something like 65 million units? Bruno Mars was on there somewhere. There you go.

Frodo’s getting bored, isn’t he? Transference looks cool, though. A VR-fuelled interactive psychological thriller, rather than full-fledged video game. It’ll definitely cost too much money for what it is, and probably only last for five or six hours. But it’s alright. Frodo made it.

That’s it for the Ubisoft wrap-up. Let us know if you thought these impressions were correct or incorrect in the comments section below!

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