Tagged: Ubisoft

E3 by Me3: Ubisoft

That’s E3 by Me, Me, Me because all I’m doing is writing how I feel about the show. I’m not giving each company a “report card” and I’m not declaring that anybody “won E3”

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I came into Ubisoft’s show about 15 minutes late as we raced home from work and started making dinner. It wasn’t hard to tune out most of the show though and focus on these delicious Huevos Rancheros Quesadillas we cooked. We were finally ready to eat at the tail end of the show which was where all the “Shawn” stuff was hiding anyways.

With the addition of building-scaling parkour in Watch_Dogs 2 Ubisoft is finally making the cyber Assassin’s Creed I’ve always wanted. Even still, there were way too many hackable scissor lifts in the demo that reminded me of Aiden’s fear of climbing in the original. So long, streetwalker. I love a game that lets you do things stupid-loud or ultra-stealth so the emphasis they put on multiple play styles is very much appreciated. Generally just looking forward to ghosting my way around The City this November.

Then they closed with President Yves Guillemot revealing a totally new IP, Steep. To me it feels like the spiritual sequel to SSX 3, my favorite entry in the series. It’s more realistic but not as dire as the 2012 reboot and like SSX 3, it simply plops you down on a big open mountain world to have fun. The combination of snowboards, skis, wingsuits and parachutes adds plenty of variety and the multiplayer interactivity is right at my comfort level. Other players inhabit your game world but you aren’t directly competing against them. The demo reminded me of how much I miss a good Xtreme sports title and how rare they’ve been outside of Trials clones these past several years.

Rewinding to the beginning of the show, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands was the only other game that got me excited. It’s Grand Theft Auto Online with a mission structure, I can’t not love this! The environments looked detailed and sprawling and the movement from stealthy infiltration to wild car/bike/train/helicopter chase scene catered to both sides of my lizard brain.

I was pretty flat on most everything in between these fantastic bookends. The South Park segment was a waste of my time, the competitive VR title, Eagle Flight, and VR Star Trek were of no interest and The Division update was a snooze. I could take or leave For Honor, it’s got some cool style to its combat  but I probably won’t be paying full price to check it out. The mashup of Trials and Far Cry Blood Dragon was hilariously 80’s infused and tugged at my nostalgia (both for 80’s toys and Trials gameplay). I almost bought it after the show… but didn’t. Even the sequel to Grow Home, a game I really enjoyed, didn’t excite me. By the end of Grow Home I was more than happy to be done with it and now Grow Up looks to simply make the same gameplay loop a lot longer. Thanks little BUD, but no thanks.

Like EA and Bethesda before them, I’m just happy I found a few things at Ubisoft’s show that I’m into to confirm I still have a pulse.

Done Playing: Trials Frontier (Android, iOS)

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It was the fourth part in one of the game’s longest string of quests. Each round requires out-racing an increasing number of real player ghosts. After numerous attempts and waiting for the timer on a few bike upgrades I was finally able to top the 26th opponent in my way. With the victory dialog finally ready to reveal something I felt like I was in for a big reward… and then the game broke.

It would be a day of force closing the app, restarting it and watching it crash on that same almost-reveal. I posted to the official forums and another day later was advised to remove the game and download it again. Booting it up didn’t find my save game until I’d replayed the introductory section again but finally, I was able to complete the quest. The reward? Another tier of 26 opponents and a tease of a further sentence of explanatory text. My other quest option was similar; another tier of endless grinding to craft top tier items in races against grueling A.I. opponents.

That was about a week ago at this point and since I haven’t had the heart to load up the game I think it’s safe to say I’m officially ‘Done PlayingTrials Frontier. It was a lot of fun and I played it for a solid two months and change; I even gave them five bucks when they had a pack of coins, gear and diamonds on sale. Those boosts helped but the quests I’m up to now require double the time, luck and energy as the ones I’d worked through in the weeks before.

Here is the apex of what I’m willing to give for some physics-y fun driving and what the game wants to take out of me to let me keep going. And like one of those impossibly steep inclines on an Extreme difficulty Trials track I just can’t throw myself at it any longer. Now, if they’d just put Trials Fusion on sale already!

Continue reading this series with Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 

Still Playing: Trials Frontier (Android, iOS) Pt.3

Here’s some trans-media content for ya, a little video tour of where I’m at in Trials Frontier. I’m using ADB’s screen record function here so there’s no audio and it hits the framerate a little hard in spots but mostly this is what it’s like to play; slick victories and grindy prize wheel spinning alike.

Continue reading this series with Part 1Part 2 and Part 4

Still Playing: Trials Frontier (Android, iOS)

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Quests, coins, upgrades and time sinks

In my last post about Trials Frontier I was on the verge of unlocking a new bike and a new tier of races. That much went fine but shortly after the game’s progression hit one of those trademark Trials inclines that looks impossible to ascend.

The new tier was fun to explore and the courses really feel on par with Trials Evolution. There’s even a few physics-y gimmicks I don’t remember dealing with in any previous Trials game. It was around this point, though, that bike upgrades became a necessity and not just a periodic quest line. It doesn’t look like it by the tiny sliver of top speed or acceleration that you’ll get out of a $20,000 upgrade but you can definitely feel it.

And so the grind has been on for coins and crafting materials while I continue to beat my head against an array of ghost races. At least three different quest lines have you racing AI or live player ghosts to progress; one set is literally a bunch of races against a ghost. Despite the impressive number of tracks available (I’ve got 50 unlocked so far) the game seems to favor the same seven or eight courses which makes things feel even more tedious. Adding to the slow new pace of progress is some actual slowdown. Sometimes a race will load and the framerate on my Galaxy S4 will be cut in half. The slow-mo effect has helped me win a few races by giving me time to fine tune my landings but overall it’s a bummer.

All this could instantly be rectified if I were willing to pump some money into the game. For $5 I could get enough gems to skip the crafting materials and for another $5 I could buy enough coins to pay for the next few upgrades. But the races themselves still have to be run and won so I’m taking this new pace as the game’s slower middle age.

I still play several times a day and almost every day. The slot machine continues to provide fun new challenges and doles out some nice rewards between quest victories. Just the act of playing Trials still feels great and that’s enough to keep me going for the time being.

Continue reading this series with Part 1Part 3 and Part 4

Watch Dogs and the Companion: ctOS app multiplayer side-by-side

I was trying to write something up to explain the Watch Dogs Companion: ctOS app but it was spiraling towards 1,000 words which no one would ever bother to read. Instead, I spent last night setting up Xsplit, a webcam and my phone to record, side by side, the game and the app. Our dialog wound up being just slightly out of sync but the games line up pretty well and give you a clear idea of how the two work. I think it’s pretty astounding stuff.

If you are interested in trying it yourself the ctOS app is available on Android and iOS.