Another great year for #E3 has come and gone, but I actually got to go to this one — thanks to being part of the Now Loading community. A lot of games were played and a lot of standing in line was done. It was as much an exercise in patience and leg strength as it was a time to get hyped about some of the biggest AAA games and developers.
During the expo, I had a chance to have some one-on-one time with Ubisoft and the games they were showing off at the convention floor. I got my hands on Assassin Creed: Origins, The Crew 2, Far Cry 5, and Skull and Bones. Getting to experience these games first hand in the #Ubisoft booth was like nothing else, and I'm here to tell you all about it all.
Assassins Creed: Origins
Ubisoft is looking to kick off a fresh start to the Assassin's Creed franchise with this massive, Egyptian-themed entry. The same team that worked on the critically lauded Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag poured four years into making this open world adventure happen. I got to play a demo with a single quest and tried my hand the new arena feature.
When it comes to quest, it felt a lot like standard AC fare in terms of action RPGs. Someone was in trouble and needed help with something so I went to do that thing.
The quest itself wasn't what pulled me in, but the mechanics around the game. I especially like the bow mechanics they've built into the game. The further away you are, the more you have to compensate for that distance by arcing the arrow up. There are of helpful indicators that tell you if the arrow is going to land as well as a preview of how much damage you're about to do.
Landing a head shot from far away is especially satisfying.
I got good taste of the melee system during Arena, which is a series of progressively harder fights leading up to a showdown with a boss. The fight mechanics were pretty smooth even in this early build with the promise of more tweaks and refinements leading up to its release date of October 27, 2017. I just hope I'm better at dodge rolls by the time the game comes out.
The Crew 2
I never got to play The Crew, but getting my hands on the early build of The Crew 2 made me think that maybe I should go and get it to warm up for this entry. Just like in the first game, the planned world for The Crew 2 is massive. You can theoretically drive from one coast of the United States to the other, but it's a 2000 square mile play area so that's going to take a while, which I love.
The big thing with this game is to drive all the things. It gives you the opportunity to be the absolute champion of all motorsports. From powerboats, planes, off-road monsters, and, of course, shiny exotics, you can get your hands on everything in this game. The driving mechanics for all vehicles is just plain fun, and the transition from one type of vehicle to another is fluid. There's a certain language to the way the vehicles all handle, even the very different ones, and it is a delight to play and become fluent in The Crew 2's handling.
One feature that I loved and found surprising was the transformation feature. Basically, you have the ability to change out from a car, to a plane, to a boat at any point in time. Of course, you shouldn't change into a car if you're flying over water because you'll sink, but you could if you wanted. My experience with the system started with a mad sprint down a large stretch of road before changing into an plane and having to pull up. The developer standing beside me then asked me to bank hard right over water then told me to change into a power boat. It was rad.
They really wanted to emphasize exploration and freedom with this entry and they aren't going to let a silly thing like terrain get in the way. Mountains in front of you? No big deal, it's airplane time. River blocking you? Who cares, you're a boat now.
The developer with me gave me a timeline of early 2018 but didn't give an exact date. I'm willing to bet it's going to be around the tail end of Q2.
Far Cry 5
My only experience with the Far Cry franchise is Far Cry: Primal, which, of course, was not a very good primer for what to expect from Far Cry 5. Some things that carried over was the freedom to operate exactly how you feel you should. You want to take a careful stealth approach? Go ahead, but be wary at all times. You want to roll in with a semi-truck guns blazing? You can do that too, but get ready for the fight of your life.
The gameplay was smooth and intuitive, which was what I've come to expect from Far Cry games. You get to bring a 'gun for hire' with you during your forays out into this wild rendition of America. Each one brings something different to the table. Having your dog with you, for example, gives you the chance to scout out a town before you raid it giving you a chance to tag all the enemies. No one notices the dog — it's a dog so who cares? Bringing a sniper with you and putting her on the watch tower can result in some clutch saves when you're in a tight spot.
The A.I in this particular entry is a lot smarter. They kicked my butt. I was attempting a stealth run and was spotted but they didn't just try and pump me full of bullets. They were being tactical and started surrounding me and bringing in vehicles to block paths of escape. I died a painful death more times than I can count. Then again, I also got pretty reckless with dynamite so that's par for the course.
Overall, I was really impressed with the game. Load times were a little intense, but it's an early build and hopefully that will get address as they get closer to release.
Far Cry 5 comes out on February 27, 2018.
Skull and Bones
I didn't know I needed this game, but the moment I started playing I knew I needed it. Set during the golden age of Pirates, Skull and Bones puts you at the helm of your very own warship as you fight for gold and survival. During the course of the game you build a fleet and ally with other pirates in order to gain supremacy over the seas. This game caught me by surprise because it was nothing short of absolute fun and mayhem. I mean, you get to captain your own ship and broadside the crap out of other pirates and merchants. What's not to love?
The build we got to play had three ship types for you to helm in a multiplayer smash-n-grab. There's the Bruiser, which is quick on the water and rams like a champion. The Marksman can best be described a sniper boat; your cannons deal massive damage, but the boat itself is pretty fragile. Then there's the Enforcer which is felt a lot like the tank of the three. It's a huge, lumbering ship that has canons to spare, but cannot turn to save its life. This was my ship of choice during the first match and I had struggles maneuvering but I could take hits like no other.
The multiplayer totally sold me. The moment the match started, my team was engaged and we were all having a good time while occasionally yelling for help or celebrating a solid kill or avenge me goddammit. I can see myself playing this with my friends for hours on end. The ships maneuver pretty realistically (which is to say slowly) so really coordinating with your allies is the key to victory lest someone gets caught alone between two ships (it was me that did that, by the way). If you've ever said "this thing drives like a boat," then get ready for driving an actual boat.
I absolutely fell in love with this game and it was the one I kept talking about even after my time with Ubisoft was over.
Skull and Bones is slated for release in Fall of 2018.
Ubisoft Was On a Hot One
At the end of it all, I can say that Ubisoft was definitely on a hot one for this year's E3. The games I got to play had me excited (especially Skull and Bones) and I'm probably going to pick up the titles I got to play. Since that was their whole intention, I can say that it was a rousing success for them. At least when it came to my experience.
Anything from #E3 got you excited? Let us know in the comments!