Monday, June 9, 2014

E3 2014: Ubisoft Edition

Two down, three to go, it's time we talked about the Ubisoft press conference today. Did it deliver, or was it more of the same? Well it was a little of both, as is often the case, but I never really got invested in what was shown.
The conference kicked off with the long awaited debut of Far Cry 4, a boy oh boy did it live up to the expectations. I had a general idea of what to expect from the game, a distinct location, average Joe protagonist, and an insane villain, and Ubisoft delivered on all of those fronts. There was no demo, but I was certainly intrigued and optimistic about what I saw. It was a good way to lead off the conference, but after that, the event became very mixed for me. 

The good was very evident. Assassin's Creed Unity, though not necessarily my cup of tea, looked promising and enters an interesting period of time, the French Revolution, that I'm sure fans of the series will dig in to. Tom Clancy's: The Division had a new trailer that tugged at the heart strings, but it was nothing compared to the trailer for Valiant Hearts: The Great War. Not only was it beautiful to watch, but it had a great narration and powerful imagery behind it of a dog and the various soldiers that he belonged to during World War I. It was sad, but was attached to a game that looks like it's going to be a sleeper hit when it launches at the end of the month. 

Can't beat the view of the guillotine from up here!
But the sad thing is, these were all titles we were expecting. There were no genuine surprises at all during the conference and it felt like we were seeing the same old games again. Far Cry 4 and Valiant Hearts were great to watch, but everything else came off as unspectacular at worst. I just couldn't get into the hype they wanted to generate because the titles seemed so amorphous. At it's worst, I just didn't care about what I saw. 

Just Dance 2015 was shown and had a huge live demo with about fifty or so people dancing to Lady Gaga's "Applause", but I didn't care about Just Dance 2015. Then Ubisoft had a live demo for a fitness game on the Xbox One called Shape Up!, where two men did push ups on stage to compete with each other. Then there was The Crew, a racing game for the PS4 and Xbox One, and while it did look impressive, I'm not a huge driving game fan. If that's your thing, by all means go for it, but it just didn't do it for me. Even their now infamous tendency to reveal an all new game at the end of the press conference was underwhelming, being Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, which looks to be a game that harkens back to the S.W.A.T games and sets you up as being a member in a SWAT team. It came off as interesting in concept, but I'm not sold on it yet, especially when there are two other Tom Clancy games in development at the moment. 

Ubisoft wasn't bad by any means, but it wasn't goo either. It had the good (Far Cry 4 and Valiant Hearts), the bad (Just Dance 2015 and Shape Up!), and the underwhelming (Assassin's Creed Unity and Rainbow Six Siege). It was straight down the middle and just like all the other Ubisoft conferences. No curveballs thrown this time unfortunately. 


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