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Ubisoft E3 2012 Confrence Recap & Impressions

After experiencing the awkward 2011 E3 showing from Ubisoft (the one where they announced they invented laser tag), I wasn’t really sure what to expect from them this year. What Ubisoft ended up delivering was a streamlined presentation that catered directly to its core E3 audience.

Just Dance 4
To kick things off, a crew of dancers emerged to promote Just Dance 4. It wasn’t long into the montage of high-energy dance routines that rapper Flo Rida appeared. He performed his commercially beaten to death song “Good Feeling.” And while it may not be my cup of tea, the audience definitely reacted much more positively than the crickets, blank stares, and confusion that greeted Usher as he tried to hype the audience at the earlier Microsoft conference.  In the end, this was really just a presentation hype act, but did manage to show off the already announced four-player co-op and “Battle Mode.”

Far  Cry 3
BOOBS! TOPLESS WOMEN! BREASTS! TITS! Do we have your attention? Well, that’s what Ubisoft decided to do to kick off Far Cry 3 today. Moments after Producer Dan Hay and Lead Game Designer Jamie Key took the stage to show an extended gameplay demo, the audience was greeted with a giant pair of anonymous breasts bouncing around on the screen. Fortunately, their transparent appeal to the lowest common denominator of male gamers was backed up by a highly impressive demonstration.

Having already shown off this title at Microsoft’s press event earlier in the day, this play through focused on key game elements such as stealth kills, brutal action, and clever destructible environments. For example, in the middle of a firefight, the player shot open a cage door, releasing a captive tiger. The tiger of course used his newfound freedom to viciously maul every opponent on the battlefield. In a matter of seconds, it turned on the player and was gunned down. Leaving everyone in attendance with the vibe of “Well, that just happened.”

Killer graphics and gameplay aside, the standout point for me was actually a footnote comment at the end of the presentation that announced a Far Cry 3 map editor.  While no major specifics were revealed, I’m already looking forward to this, since I love anything that enables users to create and share their own creative content.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Creative Director Max Beland took stage to demonstrate additional gameplay and a new level for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Much like Far Cry 3, it didn’t matter that Microsoft had already demonstrated Splinter Cell: Blacklist only a few hours before. In fact, Ubisoft managed to garner even larger explosive cheers and crowd pops as Sam Fisher effortlessly wiped out a camp of villains. While the cinematic close combat kills are seamless and effective, we hope it won’t become repetitive, since it was widely used in almost every enemy encounter. That being said, they are highly entertaining to watch for the time being, and make this installment of Splinter Cell one of the most brutal we’ve seen.

Avengers: Battle for Earth
Prior to this press conference, all we knew about this game was that it was an Avengers themed game that would appear on the Wii U and the Kinect. That’s still all we know.

Unfortunately, the CG pre-rendered trailer shown didn’t reveal any hints about potential gameplay or story. In fact, it made things more confusing by not even looking like an “Avengers” game and instead featuring a battle between Venom and Wolverine, which escalated to battle between Storm, Spider-Man and Magneto. It wasn’t until the very end did we get a glimpse of the Avengers looking over this battle.  It releases in Novemeber, and I have no idea if you should care yet. Bonus points for a kick ass looking Venom? That’s all I can really say about this.

Rayman Legends

Ubisoft showed off their first Nintendo Wii U exclusive in a very impressive, and well timed, co-op demo that highlighted the games “tablet” gameplay.  While the gameplay did look fun and unique, I’m not totally sold on the idea of playing a tablet while my friend takes advantage of a big screen TV.

Along with the standard “friends helping friends” co-op, Ubisoft impressed viewers with a demo if Rayman’s unique tablet gameplay. In one segment, three players were sprinting along an obstacle course of enemies and rewards, all while the tablet player was mashing on timed environment driven objects to create the massively epic sound track. Think Guitar Hero meets sonic the Hedgehog. 

Zombiu

In one of the most brutal and graphic trailers shown so far, Ubisoft successfully showed the Wii U will be more than just family safe party games.  Despite the fact no actual gameplay was shown, the visceral trailer showed off a huge zombie outbreak in London set to a rock rendition of God Save the Queen. No real details were revealed, but the trailer definitely caught our attention and we’ll be looking forward to more details.

Assassin’s Creed 3
As one of Ubisoft’s biggest franchises, expectations were sky high for Assassins Creed 3. Having already revealed that this installment would take place during the American Revolutionary War, Ubisoft managed to wow viewers with an impressive CG trailer and full gameplay demo. 

While combat is everything you’ve come to love about the series, what really caught my attention was the enhanced free running system. In most Assassins Creed games, you can look at any building and immediately see the hot spots that’s would allow you to scale it. Things are a bit different in Assassins Creed 3.

At one point in the demonstration, Connor (the new assassin) launched himself toward a rocky generic looking cliff. In a situation that I was sure would be death, sure enough, Connor grabbed onto the wall and began to scale it.

It was also revealed that while the Templar are the key villains, the game would have you fighting in favour of both sides of the war in order to battle them. This was shown off in a assassination mission that ended with a massive crowd pop as Connar lunged his blade into the servant of the Templar.  October 30th is definitely a date fans should be marking, as this installment looks to be highly impressive.


Watch Dogs
The Ubisoft press conference ended massive surprise hit. Ubisoft’s Co-Founder and CEO Yves Guillemot appeared on stage and introduced a game that has been in development for three years. The best part? It’s not a sequel or prequel to anything! The name of this game is Watch Dogs.

In a story based on the real world growing concerns of cyber-terrorism, Watch Dogs is a 3rd person open world game packed full of “Hacktion.” A word I just made up to describe computer hacking and action based gameplay.

Players will control Aiden Pierce, who has hacked into “CTos”, a massive system that controls an entire city. Everything from security cameras general power grid is at your disposal. The game demo seemed to imply that you’re an assassin, but your targets are deserving of their fate. Think Dexter meets Hackers.

While the demo did focus on a simple assassination mission, the mechanics of the game made it incredibly fresh and exciting. We were shown everything from hacking NPC’s cellphones, to causing a massive car accident by manipulating traffic lights, which conveniently killed the target.


Shortly after the target was eliminated, a cinematic was triggered and on the opposite side of the stage it was revealed another player had picked up a controller. This mysterious new player was shown to have hacked their way into an in-game camera and was watching your every move. The presentation ended and the audience erupted with cheers, ending the Ubisoft conference with what could be their next major AAA original franchise.