Ubisoft E3 Press Conference Review

After flying high last year, Ubisoft largely disappoints at E3 2013.

It sucks that this happened, because last year, Ubisoft was undisputedly the winner of E3. This year, on the other hand, we got a conference from them that was almost entirely underwhelming. Maybe it was because of the added weight of expectations after last year’s stunning Watch Dogs reveal. Maybe it was because the strength of their lineup this year wasn’t as great as last year (and hell, at least three games shown off this year were also at Ubisoft’s E3 last year). Whatever it is, Ubisoft’s E3 2013 largely disappointed.

It started well enough… ish. The intro was a guy playing a guitar to promote Ubisoft’s new Rocksmith 2014 game (specifically, a game mode called the Session Mode). And while it looked cool and all, it clearly wasn’t anything we were even remotely interested in. But there was this general implicit expectation, especially after their showing last year, that this would largely get all the casual crap out of the way, leaving the meat of their lineup for us later.

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And indeed, if you were to assess at their showing only by looking at the games they showed- Splinter Cell Blacklist, The Crew (an all new, persistently online racing game IP that genuinely looked interesting), Rayman Legends (looking better and more charming than ever before), Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (let’s face it, it’s more Assassin’s Creed, but that’s why it’s awesome), Watch Dogs (which looks better and better with every showing; seriosly, Ubisoft is gonna have an issue trying to manage the hype for this game leading up to its release), and finally their new IP Tom Clancy’s The Division (a persistently online third person shooter that looks like Future Soldier meets Watch Dogs). It was all well and good on that front. Their roster was good.

Except, none of them except for The Crew and The Division were actually demoed. They all got CGI trailers. Rayman, Assassin’s Creed, even Watch Dogs (which we know what it looks like by now, and we know it looks awesome) was only shown off via a CG trailer. Why, Ubisoft? Why would you not let us see your awesome games in action?

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Instead, you showed us a free to play title called The Epic Quest for Ultimate Loot (or something…), and spent an arduous amount of time doing that. You showed us Just Dance 2014. You spent so much time talking about a freaking interactive Rabbids TV show (exclusive to Xbox One, incidentally, because of course it is). Why did you do all of this, Ubisoft, but not show us your games?

To be fair, their reveal for The Division, while almost uncomfortably echoing the reveal of Watch Dogs, looked great. They kept us guessing for the longest time what it was, and guesses and speculation ranged from a scenario for Watch Dogs (or set within the same universe) to a regular post apocalyptic zombie shooter. Of course, it turned out to be none of those, and the reveal was surprising, especially when it turned out to be under the Tom Clancy moniker.

The presentation style itself was abrasive and left a lot to be desired. The main hostess was annoying, who carried jokes a bit too far (girlwood, again? Really? That’s a joke that’s run one year too long), and they just failed to muster any real excitement for any of their games. Her jokes weren’t funny, and were cringe inducing, and unlike last year, she didn’t even have the games to fall back on when her actual presentation failed.

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Ultimately, this conference was a disappointment- the first disappointment of this E3 (not counting Konami, because who counts Konami anyway), and a massive letdown considering what came before (both, the EA and Microsoft conferences before this were excellent, and Ubisoft’s own conference last year was show stealing). Maybe it was raised expectations, but Ubisoft this year sorely disappointed.

The Good:

The games they showed off were great; The Division looked intriguing; Watch Dogs!

The Bad:

Most of the games weren’t demoed; the hostess and her presentation style was obnoxiously bad; too much time spent on casual crap

CONCLUSION:

Maybe it was raised expectations, but Ubisoft this year sorely disappointed, especially compared to what came before.

E3 Conference Review: 5.5/10


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