E3 2011: Ubisoft Press Conference – Live Impressions

Ubisoft São Paulo

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If nothing else, the folks at Ubisoft are a creative bunch. From silly family games to hardcore shooters, multiplayer online games and over-the-top side-scrolling platformers, Ubisoft presented an incredibly varied and unique lineup of titles during their press conference at E3 2011.

The winners:

Ubisoft opened up with Rayman’s hectic and visually amazing return to 2D platforming, Rayman Origins. Outrunning giant spiked wheels, ridiculous airship battles, lava-spewing chili peppers and Tetris just about rounds out what Ubisoft showed of Rayman Origins, and the crowd loved every moment of it.

Ubisoft’s next winner had the audience on the edge of their seat. Being tied to a boulder with one’s hands bound and tossed into a deep water has given me nightmares since Disney’s Aladdin. Far Cry 3′s trailer literally put the audience in that situation, and witnessing it in first-person was some of the most heart-stopping and disturbing imagery I have ever witnessed. Our hero manages to escape this horrific scenario and dish out some badass first-person butt-whooping, but it’s the concept of an island taken over by madmen, and that horrifying villain (“Did I ever tell you what insanity is?”) that really made the Far Cry 3 trailer pop.

Boxart for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Future Soldier

Ghost Recon was expected at some point or another during the conference, and Ubisoft doubled-up by giving us two great pieces of footage. The first was live footage of Future Soldier. While Future Soldier is highly polished cover-based shooter, it also has a heavy multiplayer element. We had not one player, but a team of players working together to scout terrain, synchronize kills, advance the frontline and ultimately secure the hostage. Afterwards we were presented with a bit of Ghost Recon Online, a multiplayer game that is outstanding in that it’s free (my kind of price).

 

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. It’s no surprise that Ubisoft saved Assassin’s Creed for last: it’s the game everyone came to see. The trailer certainly didn’t disappoint, with an older and more grizzled Ezio traveling across seas, deserts, and snow-capped mountains in search of answers. The gameplay portion of Revelations has Ezio trying to charter a ship out of town, but a blockade literally prevents him from leaving. After many explosions an stabbity-deaths, Ezio destroys virtually every ship in the harbor, creating enough of a diversion to sneak out on his own ship unhindered.

Honorable mentions:

Driver: San Fransisco was presented with a short trailer. The high-speed pursuit juxtaposed to a mellow weather and traffic report made for a fun show.

A Brothers in Arms offshoot was revealed, which is over-the-top and clearly tongue-in-cheek. We were treated to a band of four World War II heroes called “The Furious Four” who murder Nazi’s for kicks and giggles. They kill with such vicious and ridiculous flair that I felt a bit sorry for the victimized Nazis as I watched (ed note: Inglorious Basterds the video game? Yes please).

Trackmania 2: Canyon is a great-looking PC-exclusive racing title. While there was quite a bit of boasting about Trackmania being the next big thing in multiplayer games, Shootmania and Questmania (shooting and RPGs galore) are currently in the works. Maybe they’re onto something after all?

 

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