Ubisoft did really well this year, but they weren’t as amazing as they could have been.
No more Aisha Tyler (still not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing) but the cringy dudes who were actually presenting the stream did make a comeback in the form of two guys who were different to the two cringy dudes who actually presented the stream last year.
That and: opening with Rabbids? Seriously? I get that you wanted Miyamoto on stage right at the start to get people hyped but seriously? Come on, Ubisoft, you can do better.
Speaking of Rabbids, Miyamoto gave Ubisoft permission to do something with Mario on the condition that they “did something new with the character” and didn’t make “a side-scrolling jumping game”. Well, that’s not too hard to do; but Ubisoft went with turn-based strategy RPG, with gameplay being eerily reminiscent of XCOM. Which I’ll admit looked kind of interesting but if it were on a convention floor, I probably wouldn’t be too upset if I didn’t get to play it.
So besides Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, I’m only going to talk about the three largest franchises to appear, starting with Assassin’s Creed.
We all know how this goes. Ubisoft wants to make an Assassin’s Creed game, there are leaks everywhere, and eventually, we know what the main character’s name is before the game’s title is even announced (another thing we generally know before the official announcement).
But let’s be honest, Assassin’s Creed: Origins looks spectacular. Eagle Vision is now based on an actual eagle (still want to know how it hovers like that) and not some sixth sense (I’d still like to see how said sixth sense actually became a thing in the Assassin’s Creed canon) and combat has been completely redone. In previous AC games, if you wanted a cool kill animation or killstreak, you had to counter-kill an enemy and chain-kill the rest, or you would just counter-kill everyone; and that’s what the combat was based on: silent assassinations and countering. But in Origins, YOU have a chance to drive combat, you carry a shield with which to block (and attack) and you have several other weapons to choose from. The combat definitely appears more fluid but the one thing everyone is freaking out for is that mid-air shot with the bow that we saw in the very first gameplay footage.
And from the half hour of gameplay footage after the press conference, we find out that the map is enormous and virtually any surface is traversable. Gameplay is also level-based, meaning that the game will continue to provide a challenge no matter how many hours you put in (no word yet on a level-cap), there are three main areas of skill and you can now loot gear from enemies. For those accustomed to playing stat-based games, you’re going to love the new gear system. This isn’t just “do certain missions to unlock the next level of armour”, loot now has a rarity system and there are numbers to crunch. Then there are the effects that different items will have; certain bows will fire poison-tipped arrows and some khopeshes (a type of sword, this will probably be the main melee weapon besides the glaive) will swing faster than others.
The best part about the levelling system is that it works differently to the way it did in AC Syndicate, now, instead of earning exp through certain activities, you earn exp for most of the things you do (including killing random guards).
The gameplay looks incredible and I absolutely cannot wait to give this game a try. But Ubisoft, you have got to explain that giant snake. If that’s Apep, are we gonna fight Sobek too?
After Origins we have The Crew 2, which now focuses on every type of motorsport out there; the trailer showing all manner of aircraft, boats, cars and bikes. The racing game competition just keeps getting tighter this year, with EA throwing out another Need for Speed and another Forza game on the horizon as well. I look forward to giving this game a try, might even buy it and use it to satisfy all my racing needs.
And then we have Skull and Bones, the creative teams at Ubisoft got just as hooked as we did on the naval combat in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. So they made a game based entirely on naval combat. Literally; even when you board another ship, you don’t take control of the captain or any of the crew members, you just hope that you’ve damaged the ship enough for your crew to take command.
I’m all for a little bit of virtual piracy (no, not illegally downloading games, movies and music; SHHHH!!!), and this game seems like just the way to do it. And seeing as there’s co-op, you and your friends can terrorise the high seas together.
And that wraps up this After Action Report, I would talk about the other games Ubisoft showcased but Skull and Bones, AC Origins and The Crew 2 are the ones that really stuck out. What did you think of Ubisoft’s press conference? Let me know in the comments down below.