I’ll give Ubisoft credit, while I’m not interested in everything they’ve shown off today, there was a diverse amount of content for everybody. There were some objectively bad moments, but as a whole this conference held its own against a surprisingly competent EA and Microsoft. But since nothing is perfect, let’s just start off with the worst things thrown out there today:
That Awful Just Dance Promotion
I mean Ubisoft always finds a way to sneak this trash in each year, and unsurprisingly the crowd looks uninterested each time, but the publishing giant still gets some big-name celebrity to come out and dance around stage before an obligatory five seconds of “Just Dance is available on all consoles soon!” before running off stage. It would be different if all two people who cared got some actual gameplay, but if you’re not going to show the actual game, why bother with the dance?
These next two will come down to personal opinion, but this just looks like another gimmicky game. The toys-to-life genre is a kiddy and quite frankly poorly-designed genre. Attaching real life parts to a real action figure ship seems needless in every sense of the word, especially when nearly every video game these days has digital customization. I feel like it goes without saying, but this isn’t something many people will be interested in. Plus, this idea was already a thing thanks to Skylanders, which is pretty much nowhere now. The game looks like a dud, but who knows? Maybe it’ll surprise but I won’t hold my breath.
Far Cry 5
Okay so many people might disagree with this, but from the little that we’ve seen (meaning my opinion is subject to change), I can’t say that this game looks all that impressive. The possibility of another “silent protagonist,” a design choice that grew unpopular years ago, coupled with same-y combat and a possibly weaker stealth system doesn’t make me eager to go pre-order. There’s a very good chance this sin’t reflective of the whole game and if that’s the case then great! But this was such a poor showing for a game teased to have a bigger reveal, considering Far Cry involves much more than shooting rednecks in a truck. It’s a poor first impression, especially when you consider Far Cry’s sister franchise, Assassin’s Creed, had much more detail and coverage (though to be fair, the latter is releasing in a matter of months). I’m hoping Ubisoft plans to show much more of this game soon, but so far what I’m seeing is nothing to write home about.
Ok but now for the best parts of the conference:
The Crew 2
OKAY SO BEFORE ANY SMARTASS REMINDS ME THAT THE FIRST ONE WAS VERY MEDIOCRE LET ME JUST POINT OUT THAT overall I feel like what’s interesting about The Crew is that there’s a sense of ambition in both of these games, and I was impressed by the fact that when the original claimed it would take place across the entire United States, it delivered in spades. I’m not a racing guy, but I felt that the diversity of environments and the level of detail that was applied to the labyrinthine cities scattered in between the boundless and ever-expanding countryside really worked in the game’s favor. While I have no idea how they plan to tackle the world in a sequel, I’m impressed that they’re tackling sea and air as well, and if nothing else attempting to make the definitive racing MMO.
Assassin’s Creed Origins
The more I’m learning about this game, the more I’m excited for Assassin’s Creed to make history great again. Not that any of the previous entries have been “bad” but the dip in quality justified the hiatus of the franchise, and in that year it looks as though Ubisoft Montreal has taken the time to make a jaw-dropping setting come alive. The world is teeming with hidden treasure and opportunities, and a world of this size covering all of Northern Egypt is an excellent setting for the storied franchise. I’m not too sure if the story will be spectacular, or the combat for that matter, but the fact that I’ve seen about an hour of this game so far and I still want to see more, speaks in the game’s favor.
There were other games announced as well that have potential, including a spiritual successor to Assassin’s Creed 4 that will focus solely on naval combat or a Mario-Rabbids crossover, but what I’ve listed above were the biggest hits or misses today. It was a solid 7/10 conference that was par for the course, and if nothing else made me interested for what Ubisoft is planning next. But tonight is going to be the big one that has been wowing us for a few years now, and my fingers are crossed for Sony to win the show yet again. Ubisoft’s conference was a great midway point for today, but I just can’t wait to see more of that new God of War or Spider-Man. Here’s hoping they look as good, or better, as they did last year.