Tagged: Ubisoft

Still Playing: Trials Frontier (Android, iOS)


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.

Hot new release ‘Scott Pilgrim’ finally gets online play

It’s been so long I don’t think “better late than never” even qualifies on this one! Almost exactly two years after its release, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is finally getting online multiplayer. Oh, and it costs 400 Microsoft Points.

Major Nelson updated his blog today with a list of upcoming Xbox content and the “Online Multiplayer + Wallace Pack” is listed for release on August 19th. There have been flubs and mistakes made in these posts before so I can’t trust it without more details but mostly it’s because there was always the promise of multiplayer being added and I can’t believe that after so long it’s finally coming.

Achieving: Skill!

I’m not bragging, honestly. For as quickly as I cleared Gigatrack I know I’m in the upper tens of thousands on the leaderboards. For every gold medal I unlock Maxx trumps my best time. But there is something profoundly rewarding about unlocking Achievements in Trials Evolution. While other games have come to dole out the points for basically continuing to play them, Trials asks to see some painstakingly specific feats of skill.

Hard the Hard Way’ not only requires a flawless run on one of the game’s Hard tracks, it also asks that you do it on the slowest, entry level bike. The first time I tried it I couldn’t clear the second jump; the physics of how to get the bike over a vertical gap completely stumped me. Having played through almost all of the game now, though, I came back to it while Katy was getting ready to go Sunday morning and nailed it. A handful of restarts and I’d done it!

The ‘Unyielding II’ Achievement, on the other hand, took much, much longer. It also asks for a flawless run on a specific track but adds the stipulation that you never change your rider’s position. This may not seem like a big deal in most racing games but in Trials it’s like taking away half of your control, maybe more. I had to learn a whole new route through the course which, hilariously enough, wound up being faster than my best attempt when I had full control of the bike. It was an accomplishment worthy of recording in all the glory that pointing my phone at the screen could capture.

I normally give up on games this hard but Trials and others like Super Meat Boy and Ninja Gaiden aren’t just difficult, they’re like teachers. Instead of feeling cheap or that the A.I. is getting the advantage, these games make me feel like an apprentice. Through repetition and tasks that seem pointless (like never leaning the bike) they are teaching me new skills, not just what order to shoot things in or what speed to take a jump at. I actually feel skilled in Trials Evolution. Never perfect, never (ever) boastful but much improved. And that actually is a real achievement.

Achieving: Tales of Pointless Self Reward in Games retold in brief posts whenever we feel like it.

E3’11: Thoughts from Ubisoft’s Media Briefing

Timely as ever, I am pretty late to this press conference recap party so I’m gonna do this in short order for the stifled attention spans of us all. Just some quick thoughts and bullet points from Ubisoft’s Press-a-ma-thing.

Mr. Caffeine was the worst MC ever, even worse than Jamie Kennedy, but let’s not dwell on that. Michel Ancel’s demonstration of Rayman Origins has me reinvigorated and ready to play. The appearance of original Rayman characters was great too, I just wonder how the whole user-created angle is going. Now coming as an on-disc release it seems like this will be a pretty self-contained game without going into the equally stunning looking Ubiart stuff they showed last year. I hope some of that is available to play in some form or another.

In all instances I would readily play the ’25 years ago’ versions of the games they showed as motion graphics that topped most segments, just sayin’. This ‘25 Years of Ubisoft‘ art that popped up in Rayman Origins was also really slick. I need a hi-res version for wallpaper, stat!

Driver: San Francisco looked great but I’m not sure any of that was in-game footage. It seemed like it but really all I need are hills, cars and cops. The Tanner-in-a-coma, car-jumping angle wasn’t featured but even as gimmicky as it is, I hope it’s still in the final product. The Far Cry 3 reveal has, so far, been the most exciting thing I’ve seen out of E3. I wasn’t expecting it at all after the divisive Far Cry 2 but am glad to see more jungles, more stealth and more ridiculously brutal takedowns. The crazy guy, stalking psycho angle could make for a fun element, I just hope I don’t have to constantly be running from him the whole game.

Does Quentin Tarrantino know they ripped of Inglorious Basterds? That’s all I’m gonna say about the ‘proof of concept’ CG trailer for Brothers in Arms: Furious 4. Not too interested in that. I love how Tintin (the game and the source material) look! I couldn’t tell you anything more about Tintin other than to say ‘hey, that’s Tintin’ but it sure looks good.

Ghost Recon has a great user interface but I really couldn’t possibly care less about ever playing any of them. THQ, please take note of the slick UI for a future Full Spectrum Warrior, thanks. Trackmania 2 and ManiaPlanet seem nuts and something I’ve never gotten much into.

As cookie-cutter and derivative as Raving Rabbids Alive & Kicking looks, I love those little guys and will always give them a pass. There are at least a dozen Kinect games that have already done the whack-a-mole thing but these screaming lunatics (both the guys on stage and the Rabbids) get a ‘quick, get on my list while no one’s looking’ OK for shear lunacy. Just Dance 3 and Rocksmith are both kind of appealing music games but ones I’m not sure I’ll ever get to play. For those who already own a guitar it’s great but for me it would require hundreds of dollars in equipment… and leather pants. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved is one of my favorite Kinect games and one of the few exer-games I’ve ever stuck with. So yes, I’m really looking forward to what they’re doing with the ‘2012’ edition and its awesome UI.

I’m currently knee-deep in Assassins Creed: Brotherhood and finding it hard to slog through another massive collect-athon that focuses on Ezio’s adventures. I loved Assassins Creed 2 but this seems like a colossal retread with a character and time period I’m getting tired of. Seeing AC: Revelations takes the madness several steps farther with giant chains, boat-mounted flamethrower cannons, and decidedly unstealthy Quick Time Events. I’m only in it for the Desmond/Altair angle and will begrudgingly wade through this just to get on with Assassins Creed 3.

Far Cry 3, Rayman and Your Shape are my biggest takeaways from Ubisoft’s conference. The stuff they didn’t show — Call of Juarez and From Dust — are also high on my list so while most of the world may laugh it off, I thought it was a pretty good showing.