Monday, June 13, 2016

E3 2016: Ubisoft

Ubisoft is at it again... for better or worse...

Why is Ubisoft still a thing? I personally cannot stand Ubisoft as a company, and you don't need to look any further than all of the games they've released over the past five years. Churning out yearly games with poorer and poorer launches, glitchy as hell games, or even just bland and generic games that satisfy no one, Ubisoft is the most boring and unspectacular company in gaming today. Yes, people may hate EA more, but if you were to show me pictures of all of Ubisoft's open world action games, I couldn't tell you the difference between them. Ubisoft is that unimpressive and the fact that their one of the highest grossing publishers in the world has to be because of its marketing and not for the quality of their games.

But this is E3, where even companies I may not care for have the chance to show the world what they got. This year, Ubisoft took several bold steps by being as painfully predictable and boring as ever before. More grey and brown games, more open worlds, and more tedium.

Ubisoft opened up with Just Dance 2017 in a bizarre and unwatchable dancing sequence with clowns, giraffes, lions, and Freddy Mercury. It was as awful as it sounds, but then we got right into the lifeless husk of Tom Clancy's legacy, Ghost Recon: Wildlands. A brown open world shooter with co-op that is like The Division, only not as bad and not as grey. The game will probably underperform at launch, which is the Ubisoft standard at this point.

Steep was announced as a new IP, which is a mountain sport game that looks alright, and For Honor was shown off again. The Viking/Samurai/Knight combat seems interesting, but I couldn't help feel a niggling doubt behind my head that the combat and visuals won't nearly be as good as in these trailers and demos. That's the effect that Ubisoft has on their games. Watch_Dogs had a fantastic debut, then the release was graphically inferior and the game was average at best. Same with The Division... and Rainbow Six: Siege... and Assassin's Creed Unity. The list can go on for days. Pretty much every game shown here, even the weird VR games about being a flying eagle, look fine in theory, but I'm sure the reality and the gameplay won't hold up the lofty expectations.

Tons of celebrities came out for interviews and to discuss new games and movies, like a Star Trek VR game that was advertised by Jordy from The Next Generation, and the producer of the Assassin's Creed movie to show off a new trailer for it. It all just seemed so slow and forced. This was a bad press conference back in the days when EA just wanted to get celebrities out there to make them look hip and cool. Ubisoft has never looked more phony before in their lives.

But not all was lost. As I said, For Honor seemed interesting, and the official reveal for Watch_Dogs 2 was fine as well, but the highlight of the show was South Park: The Fractured But Whole, which had two new trailers, Matt Stone and Trey Parker coming onstage to poke fun at literally everything Ubisoft, then show of the game's story, gameplay, character creation system, as well as confirm a December 6th release date. Everything I wanted to know was there, and it made me extremely excited for the game.

The few games that I liked were drowned out by all of the lies that I knew I was being told. Yes, Microsoft and Bethesda may have used a bit of doctored footage in their trailers and demos, but at least I have faith that they'll work on the day of release and be relatively close to that visual quality. Not so with Ubisoft.


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