E3 2014: Ubisoft Press Conference Reaction
Posted on Monday, June 9 @ 21:18:17 Eastern by blake_petersonI'm not wanting to start off cramping anyone's style, but Ubisoft needs to hire some people who have actually played online games to write the dialogue for the people pretending to play their online games in their trailers. First, The Division at the Microsoft conference and then (the totally awesome-looking) Rainbow Six: Siege featured the most canned and fake dialogue between gamers ever. I don't doubt that the gameplay was real, but c'mon guys, for realism's sake, have your guys start off their encounter with everyone waiting for "Dave" to finish eating a Hot Pocket or someone thanking their significant other for getting them something to drink.
That said, Ubisoft's presser was probably the best one so far (with the Sony yet to start). It got right into the trailer for Far Cry 4, which was similar to the reveal of Far Cry 3, focusing on the villain and his strange and overly intimate relationship with the lead character. It looked like an in-game cutscene, so there's not terribly much to report, except that the dude looked pretty bad, in the best sort of way. The villain Pagan Min (presumed to be Troy Baker) gave me a great David Bowie as totalitarian psychopath vibe.
Aisha Tyler was suitably spunky as the host, delivering quips with the devs equally in English and French, which gave the whole thing a way more casual feel that was nice. If The Division trailer was a nice cinematic montage, and The Crew prompted questions in the room of "Would you really want to drive that far in a game?", they still moved things along, while Shape Up and Just Dance 2015 clearly aimed at the gamification of exercise. And Just Dance's use of the cellphone as a controller will help make it more accessible, but not a better game—you could still get by just moving the controller without moving the rest of your body in the directions necessary; it demands a specific voluntary participation in the style and motion.
Valiant Hearts, built on the same engine as Rayman Legends, looks like a suitably heartbreaking tale of World War I woes. It took the bulk of its trailer to realize that it told the side-scrolling tale of a dog, whose wartime companions are killed over the course of the war while he survives. Looks like a tearjerker with eminently gorgeous animation.
The real standouts, though, were Assassin's Creed Unity and Rainbow Six: Siege. Unity was, the bulk of us watching the conference together agreed, really the first game we'd gotten a look at that really said, "This Is Next-Gen." The crowds, the level of detail, the lighting, the total lack of any noticeable texture or character drop-in or out; as well as the characters' incredible fluidity of motion in the parkour action; with no hesitation in flow between one action or another. Beyond that, simply the level of detail in character faces and animation was astounding.
The big surprise was Siege, presumably a restructuring of Rainbow Six: Patriots. The five-on-five gameplay especially highlighted what appeared to be completely destructible environments (if you break too much stuff, does the house fall in on you, ending the mission in failure for both teams?). What impressed me the most was the way that it seemed to rattle the nerves, how through the tattered remains of a wall, where a player (or players) from another team could be was strikingly nebulous. Sure, you had your little drone to give you eyes-on, but the image wasn't perfectly clear, and no one path to victory or defeat seemed apparent; as if each assault by one team or the other warranted the same kind of apprehension of not knowing when and how an attack might come, and that's not something I've seen established so well visibly in a tactical shooter.
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