Ubisoft kicked off a big press conference on the first full day of E3 exhibits, starting out with a dance exhibition backlit by video game footage for one of their upcoming titles (Just Dance 4), leading into a full performance by Flo Rida. Starting out with a niche title there, but Ubisoft wasn’t quite done after only one show.
Farcry 3 was the next big title up to be shown – a trailer for the highly anticipated game played right away to show us where the series would be headed next. The game quickly transitioned into in-game graphics (which were, in a word, stunning) as the game went to a live demo, showing off the upgraded combat systems, along with some brief story teasers. The game continues along the story from Far Cry 2 as you try to hunt down Vaas and avenge yourself against him. You seem to do a wonderful job at finding him, then getting stabbed, so apparently your mission is not quite successful in the early stages of the game. Without a doubt, this looks like one of the strongest upcoming games. With an entire group of islands to explore, it promises to be one of the largest titles in the series, with plenty of ground to cover.
The newest Splinter Cell Blacklist was shown afterward, which also made an appearance during the Microsoft press event earlier in the day. The full cinematic trailer gave us a few story tidbits, but no actual gameplay footage showing Sam Fisher’s return. While it was nice to see a Splinter Cell title, it took a back seat to the previous title.
Ubisoft kept the ball rolling by transitioning into cinematics showing off the Marvel cast of heroes and villains in Avengers Battle for Earth, including members of the X-Men, the Avengers, and Spider Men among the heroes. Given Marvel’s recent games, this one has a lot of possibilities in the future, though again this was only the initial announcement.
Rayman Legends made a much anticipated impact next as the first big announcement for the Wii U. Given the success of the Rayman titles on the original Wii, it was not much of a shock that Ubisoft would want to show a live demo of their newest game. Rayman Legends returns to the side-scrolling style of previous titles, using a combination of traditional controls to move the titular character, and the LCD screen to control a secondary character who can perform various actions…though, in the final version, up to five separate players will be able to perform cooperatively. The intuitive controls showed were actually very promising, even though it is an early demo made with an older Wii U developer kit.
Incidentally, I had mentioned yesterday how important it would be for Nintendo to show off a lot of strong games that would sell their system, and Rayman Legends is definitely a good start to that. The game may not be the most complex game that’s ever been out there, but it definitely looked like a blast to play, especially with friends. If this is what Nintendo’s lineup will look like, then the Wii U is off to a good start.
Things got a little messier from there though, as the M-Rated, zombie title ZombiU gave us a quick cinematic, though not much more about the game (except, naturally, that there are zombies in it. Duh). It’s another Wii U exclusive, but we’ll have to look for more details about that at later dates.
Speaking of the Wii U, it’s obvious that Ubisoft will be one of their big developers when the system launches – several more titles made brief appearances in a teaser that showed things like Rabbids Land and a new Wii Fit title.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a E3 show without the heavy hitters present, and Assassins Creed 3 could not have avoided making an appearance. Their trailer began with a view of the American Revolution, inexplicably interrupted by everyone’s favorite assassin charging into an entire British military line and surviving. The new assassin, Connor, will fight his way through that conflict alongside well-known historical figures. Most importantly, however, was a live demo of the gameplay that showed off quite a bit of the familiar system. The main character is definitely a one-man army, and the game looks like it made some improvements on their existing success.
Now, if Ubisoft showed one of their most fun franchises (Rayman), and one of their biggest games (Assassins Creed), then they certainly decided to end the show with what was probably their best presentation: Watch Dogs. The game centers around a world that is a conspiracy theorist’s nightmare: where just about every single service is linked into a central computer system. The game came as a complete surprise, and definitely wowed the crowd without any real effort…but that’s not to say the presentation was debuted lightly. Opening with a quick teaser, and moving right into a live demo, the game immediately put itself on a lot of “must buy” lists for those who saw it.
All in all, thus far, Ubisoft has given the best of the press conferences for the day, though Sony still has a chance to eclipse them if they have a stellar presentation. However, with some big titles and some major demos shown, Ubisoft has moved itself in position to dominate the headlines for the rest of the show. If you’re lucky enough to be at E3, a stop by their booth is guaranteed to generate excitement.
Games to watch: Rayman Legends, Assassins Creed 3, and Watch Dogs are definitely the biggest games of the hour. Farcry 3 gets an honorable mention as well.
Games to miss: ZombiU might be interesting later, but right now it’s just a cinematic and yet another in the long, overabundance of zombie titles. Splinter Cell is one that will be top notch once we have some gameplay footage, same goes for Avengers.
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