Articles tagged with ubisoft

EGX 2017 Impressions:
Sony, Sega and (Ubi)Soft
Posted by Mark at 19:54

The Sony booth this year is the home of the Annual Update Games- specifically, FIFA and Call of Duty, with the more interesting games hidden behind them.

Notable also is the amount of space dedicated to Sony's desperate attempts to make Playstation VR a thing, including a massive VR helmet which makes the booth look like a Daft Punk tribute to Planet Of The Apes.

Like Nintendo's booth, it's full of titles that are already out, like expandalone Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Star Wars licence Battlefront II, inexplicable sequel Knack 2 and microtransaction shitfest Everybody's Golf. Some smaller new titles which were also there included Hob, which is a top-down-ish adventure game where you play as a guy with a massive hand, which he uses to solve puzzles in order to gradually unlock a tower by rotating bits of it.

I've not explained that very well. It does, however, look like what Knack was probably meant to, so there's that.

We saw Monster Hunter Stories on 3DS yesterday and today we say Monster Hunter World on PS4. A more 'curated' demo than its handheld counterpart, this does a much better job of explaining its mechanics and objectives- although this could also be related to the presence of Scoutflies, which effectively point out everything of vague interest to progressing through the mission.

The initial mission offered sees you trying to hunt a monster by first having some footprints drawn to your attention, then a scrape on the ground that the game nicely describes as "skidmarks", then another footprint and another until eventually the Scoutflies form a trail to follow to the monster. This is one of the new features added to make the game more accessible to people less familiar with the series, but it feels that it could turn the game into a box-checking exercise.

There was also Ni No Kuni II, which looks as pretty as you'd expect. The battle system can be a bit chaotic during boss fights, but it seems to work quite nicely in battles against smaller enemies in the world.

Also present was David Cage's new title Detroit: Become Human, which I didn't get the chance to watch today- although I did overhear one of the reps on the booth send one of the professional cosplayers they had manning the booth on their break by calling them over with 'Android, come here" and telling them to go into maintenance mode for thirty minutes.

Sony's recent push into phone-controlled games in the form of Playlink was represented by Frantics, by Affordable Space Adventures dev Knapnok. This is a series of motion-controlled party games, hosted by a slightly posh-talking fox, and controlled using the accelerometers in the phones- four top-of-the-line Sony devices, in the booth's case.

There were three games in my session, one where you have to avoid slipping off an ice platform by tilting the way you want to go, another where you fire yourself out of cannons so some (but not all) of you are on a platform, and another race game where before each race you secretly choose a player to have some modification to their vehicle which may or may not be helpful to them.

There was an interesting twist where, before the third game, the host 'called' one player's phone to give them a secret misison.

It's hard to fault the party games themselves, but the phone apps crashing exposed that each Playlink title needs its own individual app- Frantics ostensibly cannot be played using the app associated with That's You!, which has been out in the wild for some time- and that connecting your phone to your PS4 needs you to enter an IP address, which loses the immediacy of the browser-and-four-digit-code setup of the Jackbox games, and is a far cry from the apps-within-an-app world promised by xBox Smartglass.

Speaking of Far Cry, the Ubisoft booth next door housed the fifth game in the series. The short part of the game available focused around the obligatory Ubisoft Game tower, and charged the player with killing all the cultists around the base of it. A number of ways of achieving this was offered, from flinging in grenades to fighting them in the streets to sniping them from the top of the tower.

This, alongside stablemate Assassin's Creed: Origins which seems to have ditched parkour in favour of putting things really far away from one another and making you travel to them, were the first games to really show any seriously large queues- although Ubi made use of the extra space available to them, running lots of demo units and moving people through quickly.

Most of the booth, though, was some Mario + Rabbids demos sparsely dotted about in an almost empty space dominated by a massive fibreglass Rabbid Kong. (There was also South Park: The Fractured But Whole tucked away in a corner)

Sega, meanwhile, chose to showcase Sonic Forces, which looks like it's as good an extension on the Modern Sonic/Generations format as we're going to see. Three levels were on offer, including one of the mental genre-flip-flopping arrangements Colours perfected, a boss level, and a new 'Avatar' level where you put together disparate elements to create your own Original Character Do Not Steal and play as that. It also doesn't quite work, which I'm assuming is satire.

Last but not least, there was a few PCs running Total War: Warhammer II. Which was Total War: Warhammer II.

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Posted by at 11:02
While the Switch waits for its version of the service to be as much as begun, the Wii U is still getting new games added to it- in North America, at least.

Siliconera reports that the Game Boy Advance games Rayman Advance- the GBA port of the first game in the series- and Rayman 3 are joining the service.

Switch hasn't been left behind, though, as it's getting another of the ACA Neo Geo games, in the form of Fatal Fury.
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Posted by Ben at 11:34
Ok, itís that time of the year again. Well, itís about a month after that time of the year given than most sites put their Game of the Year articles up just before Christmas. We here at Bitparade like to give ourselves a bit more time with games. We donít get to do nothing other than play games all year, more's the pity, so that extra few weeks, after some sales and a week off work, gives us some time to finish up some games, and pick up some others. we also work with a rule that no game can be mentioned twice, so if James, to pick an entirely random and non-resentful example, picks Box-Boy, I (Ben) canít

So thatís why weíre posting in January. Personally the extra month didnít really alter my list, but it very nearly did. Undertale didnít quite deliver the way I hoped, but Until Dawn very nearly snuck on to my list. Truth be told, outside the first couple I could have switched around my other games, bringing in Until Dawn, The Music Machine, Blazblue Chronophantasma Extend, and Everybodyís Gone to the Rapture. All of which are very good games, all of which are worth your time, and were I editing this piece tomorrow rather than today, emminantly likely to be included.

Thereís also a lot of games that we didnít play to even be considered. Again, speaking just for myself, Iíve got Metal Gear Solid 5 sat with a whopping 2 hours played, Mario Maker sat on a shelf, Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines sat on a digital shelf, Batman Arkham Knight was a shambles, and Mad Max a disappointment. Thereís a whole host of games, and genres I guess, that just wouldnít even show on the siteís radar. Not that we actively try to avoid things, but thereís only so much time in a year, we only get sent so much stuff to review, and everything else is what weíve chosen to play. Bear all that in mind as you disagree with our picks!

I know this is a stupid thing to say, but Witcher 3 seems like a Game of the Year Game of the Year. I think I may have picked Witcher 2 as my game of the year a few years back, but that was that was some janky Ďlittleí rpg that was better than it had any right to be. Witcher 3 on the other hand is a huge, stunning, big budget, hyped rpg, you don't really feel obscure for picking it.

I know people have issues with Witcher 3, the one I'd concede is the levelling up system, I'd like to feel a bit more difference in my character than you do currently. The combat though I love, playing on the right difficulty even low level enemies can mess you up if you get swarmed. Witcher 3 is a dangerous world, grim but often funny, and packed with so much content, that I still want to play, I probably won't be done with it by this time next year.

I played the first Disgaea way back when, then replayed it on the DS, not finishing it either time. So when I was tasked with reviewing Disgaea 5 I was more than a little apprehensive. The games are daunting, too long, overflowing with systems, borderline impenetrable grind-fests. Or not as turned out to be the case.

Disgaea 5 still has a lot of systems on the go, but theyíre presented more piecemeal, the story mode drip feeds them to you. And more so than in the first game, you donít really need to engage with them if you donít want to. You might need to pick up and throw every now and again, tower attacks arenít the worst idea, and chaining attacks should become 2nd nature, but thereís a lot else that I never needed to master. Granted, Disgaea 5 is another Disgaea game I havenít finished, but itís one that feels eminently doable once everyone stops releasing videogames for me to play

I quite liked Wolfenstein The New Order, as a reboot for the series it played as a fantastic, over the top, single player fps, that, for me, out stayed its welcome. Wolfenstein The Old Blood is a more condensed experience. It's still not short, and it does feel a little 'built' at times in the way it reuses scenarios, but it's also paced much better. There's some great bad guys, the scene on the train is a particular standout, some ludicrous weapons, and some memorable set pieces to use them in. It also manages to mix some fairly dark themes and violence with moments of humour and absurdity. Honestly, I'm amazed Wolfenstein The Old Blood didn't feature in more Game of the Year lists.

This might be a slightly strange pick because I had some issues with Lost Dimension in my review. My problem was the game exists outside its story, it doesn't justify itself, at least not without seeing the true ending (and even thenÖ). As a strategy rpg though it's great, breezy and light in a way that makes it accessible, with plenty of depth there if you want it. If anything Lost Dimension could do with pushing that more, but not knowing who's still going to be alive hampers that somewhat I guess.

Gunman Clive 2 split the site a little bit. I, correctly, rate it as one of the best games of the year, a refined, fun, action platformer. The WiiU HD port wasnít quite as good, I think because Gunman Clive 2 on 3DS does benefit from some depth, despite largely being played on a 2D plane. Itís basically more of the same as the first game, but itís tighter, fewer frustrating deaths, just generally a better, more varied version. Itís fun, simple as that really

This is a bit of a cheat, Prison Architect was in Early Access for what seemed like forever but was finally released in 2015 with some excellent additions and an extra mode that tasks you with escaping from prison rather than trying to keep inmates contained. Introversion have injected a great sense of humour into Prison Architect and it reminds me of the early Bullfrog "Theme" games. I've sunk more hours into Prison Architect than any other 2015 release, and for good reason!

Dungeon Crawlers are everywhere on handhelds now, but Etrian Mystery Dungeon is, in my humble opinion, the best example of the genre (although Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God is certainly up there for the top down variant of the genre). The reason for this is that whilst Etrian Mystery Dungeon is constantly challenging, its never unfair and the idea of shaking your approach when it comes to the games boss fights means the gameplay never gets stagnant. I said this in my review, but I want to reiterate it here, Etrian Mystery Dungeon is Dark Souls but for the 3DS and that's a great thing.

Some say its light on content, with far too much potentially locked away for the Season Pass, and some say its far too approachable. I disagree with both of those parties, the game modes in Star Wars Battlefront are different enough to keep things interesting and the fact you can pick it up and put it down at will means you never really feel out of your depth. Unlockables are fed to you at a decent rate and it scratches that nostalgic itch of acting out such battles in the play ground. Although I'm bloody awful when it comes to using the Heroes and Villains.

Its more of the same, and yet different. Its as bloodily and brutal as ever but brings an intriguing puzzle element to its levels. There's an organised chaos to Hotline Miami 2 which makes it utterly compelling, which tied into the visuals and (once again) excellent soundtrack, creates an oddly addictive yet disturbing environment that'll test even the most patient of players.

Okay, okay it was actually released in 2014 but let's face it Driveclub was pretty horribly broken until 2015, and for that reason I include it in my GOTY entry for said year. We'll dust over the fact that I didn't actually play it until later in the year. Driveclub is an example of how many developers, or at least their publishers a treating "Triple A" games this generation, adopting a "release it now, patch it later" method of creating games. Its rare that such titles become excellent examples of their genre though, but Driveclub achieves that by making its racing both fun and challenging whilst obtaining a sense of realism and, importantly, community. Evolution have manage to out Forza Forza in this regard, and whilst its missing some of Microsoft's top line racer it more than makes up for it by tying its challenge aspects together seamlessly. Plus let's not forget those weather effects!

BoxBoy! is a great example of when good game design triumphs above all else. Made within the constraints of Nintendo Web Framework, developer HAL Laboratory managed to squeeze as much as possible out of what initially appears to be a very simple 2D puzzle platformer.

The main gist of BoxBoy! involves producing chains of boxes from your character, Quby, to traverse environments and solve puzzles. This initially appears in a simple form that has very little going for it, but whatís impressive is the way HAL takes this mechanic and runs with it, forcing you to think out of the box (haÖha) in each new world you encounter.

While many wanted a straight up sequel to Xenoblade, what makes Xenoblade X all the more interesting is its wildly different take on the RPG, despite it having a few skin-deep similarities to its Wii cousin. With Xenoblade X, Monolith Soft nails open world RPG design, implementing a structure that not only gives you an immense amount of freedom, but the curiosity to explore its vast world in the first place.

There are of course a few trade-offs associated with the move to a truly open world game Ė some of the missions feel like filler material designed to lead you around the environment Ė but taken as a whole, you canít help but admire how well the gameís vast world, NPCs, narrative and systems link together.

Splatoon is just a delight on so many levels. Thereís the most obvious one: Nintendo knocked it out the park in designing a genuinely different and validated take on the shooter genre. Painting the map with ink complements the ability to swim in the stuff extremely well, and thereís nothing quite like it, despite it feeling so instinctively right to play. But itís also worth remembering some of the other things it did, all of which helped make it feel fresh and compelling. It focused on emphasising playing for fun over the need to accumulate levels or perks. Its lobbies allowed players to express themselves through Miiverse drawings, often to comedic effect. And the inclusion of a single player campaign complemented the multiplayer proceedings well.

And the consistent rollout of new content, either purposefully locked away on disc or downloaded, turned out to be a masterstroke that kept the game fresh for months, while also giving us all a good excuse to sink a few more dozen hours in.

If Splatoon is a proof of concept for Nintendoís garage developer programme Ė it initially came about from developer experimentation in an internal ďGame JamĒ event Ė Grow Home is Ubisoftís equivalent. Developed by the unlikeliest of teams, Ubisoft Reflections, Grow Home serves up a refreshing slice of 3D platforming action that most brings to mind Super Mario 64, which of course is a Very Good Thing. Itís easy for 3D, open world platformers to become sprawling, incoherent collectathons, but Grow Home avoids this by focusing on traversal over collecting objects Ė just like Super Mario 64. So where does the ďrefreshingĒ part come from?

Well, there havenít been many games like Super Mario 64 given how hard it is to follow up on a piece of game design and programming that nailed every aspect right down to the nuances in the controls, so itís great to have a 3D platformer that resurrects a forgotten genre. Thereís that, then, but Grow Home feels so refreshing because it has its own identity. You could say the game is characterised by its use of procedural animation for its lead character, BUD. Youíre given control of his arms and legs, all independently, which lets you traverse the sides of the environment, manipulate objects or a manner of both simultaneously. Or you could look at how the game handles traversal itself Ė you spend most of its six hour running time growing a giant beanstalk, and gawping at the distance youíve made along the way. Itís a real treat, and I suspect it will feel just as fresh when fellow 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee is eventually released.

Simogo are always constantly trying new things, from stealth rhythm action platformers to horror adventure games. You can never quite guess whatís coming next, and SPL-T turned out to be no exception. Released out the blue, SPL-T is a puzzle game that recalls simpler times. No online leaderboards. No social media links. No data analytics. Just a well-crafted puzzle game that reveals layer upon layer of depth the more you play it.

To explain the game itself would be to spoil it Ė itís best experienced when you know nothing about it, when you naively prod the screen at first and try to figure out what exactly is going on. And then it all clicks moments laterÖ
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Posted by Ben at 14:22
...accidentally. Sony have a video up on EU PSN that reveals a new feature where, like Steam sales, users get to vote on which game they'd like to see next on PS+ as part of the 'free' game collection

In amongst the promo imagery is a mock up vote. In the lead is Zombie Vikings, 3rd is Armello, and sandwiched in between is the Ubisoft 'sort-of-indie-but-not-because-it's-by-Ubisoft-em-up Grow Home

Ok, so it's not rock solid confirmation, but if it's not coming then putting it in that video is a very odd thing for Sony to do
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Money For
Posted by Ben at 15:47

For most of us the news that Steam had changed their refund policy from "no" to "yes" is welcome news. Granted living in the EU as we do, until a combination of the Conservatives, UKIP, and the Daily Mail ruin it for all of us, we should in theory have had some protection anyway. Anyone who's ever tried getting a refund from Steam will tell you that despite that, it was like pulling teeth. So it was a pleasant surprise that Valve have provided a fairly no-quibble policy, although not everyone is pleased.

Essentially Steam's refund policy is this; if you bought a game and want a refund within 2 weeks, so long as you've played it for less than 2 hours, you're almost certainly going to get it. In fact even if you don't meet those requirements you can still ask and Valve will have a look at it. If you're a developer that isn't quite such good news. It's one thing for the likes of Activision, Warner Brothers, or Ubisoft who will sell tens of thousands of games on Steam, it's another for smaller developers who might just sell tens. That's not to say they should get a free pass, only that you can see why just handing the money back no matter the reason might feel a little unjust.

There's also the issue of game length. An increasing number of games on Steam that could be completed in the 2 hour refund window, theoretically turning Steam in to a deposit down gaming library. It's a concern shared by a number of developers including David Szymanski. It's worth noting at this point that Valve have stated that if they think you're gaming the system then they will stop giving you refunds.

Again another important point of clarification, the developers in the Twitter reactions don't seem to be against refunds in principle, no doubt they're also customers and gamers themselves,only the way it's been implemented. One suggestion was to cut the gameplay time allowed to 15 minutes. While I sympathise, 15 minutes is far too short a window. I've talked before about my issues with Rage, a game I really enjoyed, but had huge troubles getting to run. Starting the game, struggling with it, editing ini files, booting it again to test it. I quite quickly got to 2 hours before I'd got close to getting it running correctly.

As another example, think of your typical AAA game. From the moment you boot the game how long does it take to actually start the game properly. You've got the developer logo, probably a couple of them, the publisher logo, the video codec logo, Speedtree, then the start screen, then the menu screen. Great, now you've got a load, then a cut scene. Now you're in to the game, but it's the tutorial so it's hard to judge, and after that you've got another cutscene and a load. Now you're in to the game and you've been playing 30 minutes. You need time with the game.

That's not to say there isn't issues with the system. put it to the test by purchasing the soundtrack to The Moon Sliver, then simply requesting a refund. Soundtracks from Steam are drm free, so he made a copy and requested, and was given a refund. This is where the warning that Valve give regarding abusing the system should come in, but how many times could you get away with before Valve call foul.

Again the counter for this is that, would you really go to that trouble for a soundtrack you could just Google and find. Same with the games, why risk the wrath of Valve on your Steam account when you could just search the net for a pirate version of the game. I'd also argue that we're at the point where people kind of know what they're getting on Steam. Dear Esther might have been in trouble, as might Gone Home, but now 'walking simulators' are a known concept, same with visual novels and any number of indie genres. They cater to a subset of gamers, the kind who probably don't begrudge handing over money for an experience, and aren't likely to claim an unjust refund.

Of course that's all speculation, and it seems that the refund system might have had the unexpected result of encouraging sales now there's less risk. And I'm not about to start lecturing developers, I've never made a game but I do know from experience that customers are arseholes. It also seems to be the case that there's a huge surge of people taking Valve up on their offer of refunds. Hopefully this is something that will die down, and judging from forum chatter there's a lot of people claiming legacy refunds

Still, I do think it's right that Valve have addressed this, and I'm pleased it's erred more to the consumer side than not, hopefully that sets a precedent.
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Posted by Ben at 17:30

Iím in the unusual position where Iím about to defend the game press. It wont last, in fact it wont even last until the end of this post, but I think it needs doing all the same.

You may have heard today about Ubisoftís press event for Watch_Dogs that took place last night. You likely wouldnít have heard of it, Iím not even sure how much coverage it would generate at this point, were it not for what Ubisoft were handing out. Attendees were given nice new Nexus 7 tablets to take home with them, to keep, and to use however they wanted.

Itís shady, insidious, and suggests that absolutely nothing has been learnt in the 2 years since Doritosgate. It confirms what we all knew, the press and the publishers have a symbiotic relationship, thereís back-scratching aplenty, the PR want to buy the press and the press are more than happy to be bought. Nothing has changed.

Only thatís not true. The reason youíve heard about this latest gaming ethics controversy is because Steve Hogarty, a member of the game press, brought it to everyoneís attention. Since then youíve had Dan Pearson of saying theirs is going to charity, the same for Eurogamer. Edwin Evans-Thirlwell wrote a blog over at Totalxbox, which includes a reply from Ubisoft UK that the Nexusí contained press stuff (pictures, videos, notes, information etc, the sort of stuff we get via email), and not something they make a habit of. Itís also worth noting, and you can see it in the replies to Hogarty, not everyone who attended got a tablet.

So itís only fair that when youíre lambasting the press for how willing they are to sell out you remember that this time it was them who blew the whistle. Sure you can question whether it would have been mentioned had Hogarty not posted about it, and whether thereís people out there who have indeed kept the tablet, but itís clearly not all the press on the take.

However, contrast that with the past weeks other big gaming event, PAX. Out in America, Boston I believe, a decent sized gaming convention with lots of panels. It was worrying to me how close the press were to the publishers and developers. Itís not something I want to dwell on as some of the people involved I mentioned in a God Mode On post a few weeks back, but itís something that really sits uncomfortable with me. You had an IGN editor hosting a panel for Murdered: Soul Suspect, and Giant Bombís incest with the rest of the industry was rampant, and entertaining to be fair.

Iíd like to think lessons have been learnt, at least with regards to Ďswagí. The press really need to sort out their distancing though, particularly the Americans. Maybe next year
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Posted by Duane at 18:10
Ubisoft have begun the promotion of their upcoming platform RPG, Child of Light, beginning with this first part of a three part series covering its creation. Enjoy.

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Posted by Duane at 05:22
Now admittedly this actually happened on Wednesday, so we'll pretend today is Wednesday shall we? No? Whatever.

As the title states, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot has now entered open beta, meaning anyone who signs up can play along on Steam and PC. To mark the occassion a new character has been added to the roster in the form of "The Runaway", a rocker girl who adds an element of speed to her abilities.

To sign up and play, head over to the games Official Website
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Posted by Duane at 10:47
Ubisofts platform RPG now has a release date. Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Child of Light plays out as a traditional side scrolling platform title, albeit one with old-school turn-based RPG combat, an interesting combination I'm sure you'll agree.

The story centre's around a young girl from Austria in 1895, she falls victim to an injury that causes her to fall asleep, upon awakening she finds herself in a fantastical world called Lemuria, a land who's Sun, Moon and Stars have been stolen by the Black Queen.

Child of Light is set for release on XBox 360, XBox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PC on April 30th 2014. Check out its trailer below.

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Posted by Ben at 12:03
I know we keep saying this, but the promising looking South Park: The Stick of Truth rpg has been delayed again.

Only for a few days this time though, rather than coming on the 4th March it's actually coming out on the 7th March. I'd take a wild guess the 4th, which is a Tuesday, is still the American date

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