Ubisoft didn’t have a perfect E3 showing this year. They kicked their show off with a painful dance routine and their entire conference was plagued with terrible spokespeople. With terrible attempts at humor and hammed up enthusiasm, they went out of their way to make parts of the show akward to sit through. However, as unbearable as the onstage antics were, Ubisoft’s exceptional lineup of games spoke for themselves. They proved that good games are what makes or breaks an E3 showing. Not gaudy gimmicks.
Ubisoft’s succeeded this year by offering a diverse range of games. Specifically, the number of triple A sequels was spectacular. Splinter Cell, Far Fry, and Assassin’s Creed all in one conference. What more could any hardcore gamer want? At the same time, Ubisoft also had one of the few truly unique new IP of this year’s E3. Watch Dogs brought their conference to an exciting end, generating even more buzz than the publisher’s established mega-series.
Adding to the excitement of Ubisoft’s showing was the presence of actual next generation software on display. Long a pioneer in the launch of new gaming consoles, Ubisoft’s planned lineup for the Wii U is filled with compelling software. A full-on Rayman platformer, along with a new Rabbids game should have the family-friendly crowd covered for the system’s launch. Meanwhile, the arrival of Assassin’s Creed 3 on the Nintendo platform is an indicator that the system will have serious third party support.
Watch Dogs is an open-world action adventure game that gives players the power to manipulate a cities central computer network. During the demonstration the main character used these hacking skills to track down and eliminate a targeted enemy. Abilities that were shown off include shutting down cell phone signals to distract NPCs and listening in on enemy communications. Another tool showcased was shutting down traffic lights to trap a target in a multi-car traffic accident. Clearly the protagonist isn’t against endangering innocents to achieve his goals. After casing the pileup, the player maneuvered through the maze of crashed cars, eliminating adversaries tactical gunplay and physical takedowns. Watch Dogs definitely looks like an interesting new IP. It has a unique gameplay hook and clever well acted storytelling to back it up.
Rayman Legends is a Wii U launch title featuring colorfully detailed graphics. Gameplay appears to be a mixture of classic Rayman platforming delivered with an innovative flair, and a stylistic presentation. The game will feature a ton of different coop combinations, supporting up to five different player controlled characters. Rayman Legends is bound to be a stellar family-oriented launch title for the Wii U, much like Rayman: Raving Rabbids was for the original Wii.
Assasins Creed III
Coming to multiple platforms, including the Wii U, Assassins Creed 3 is the latest entry in the titular historical assassination series. Besides featuring improved graphics, Assassins Creed 3 has revamped of the series’ climbing system. Past Assassins in the series were always limited to performing their acrobatic maneuvering on man-made structures. New protagonist Connor is just as at home in the tree tops and along sheer cliffs. The Native American assassin also has several new assassination tricks up his sleeve. One of these involves using a grappling hook to pull enemies up into the tree tops. Another allows Connor's to use a human shield against musket volleys. Furthermore, Connors combat maneuvers are more focused on offense than his predecessors Etzio and Altair.
Just Dance 4
Ubisoft, you do not begin your most important press conference of the year with Just Dance. You just don’t.
Sports Connection for the Wii U look’s to be nothing but a shallow sports mini-game collection. These types of useless shovelware games plagued the Wii and it’s disappointing to see them reveal their ungodly presence again. Besides a shallow golf mini-game, footage at the event also revealed the inclusion of a Mario Kart rip-off in the collection.
With polished sequels to successful series, a robust lineup of launch games for the Wii U, and an intriguing new IP, Ubisoft had the best show of any major company at E3 2012. Thus my final grade for the publisher is an: