In the swing of the E3 conferences, and it’s the turn of Ubisoft. While games such as Watch Dogs 3 and updates for titles like The Division 2 were expected, there’s always room for a surprise or two and as its Ubisoft expect a tirade of nonsense so strap in folks because shits gonna get crazy.
Watch Dogs Leigon: Brexit Edition
After the good but rather prolonged Assassins Creed Orchestra where I may have sung Country Roads by John Denver on the stream. Off the bat was arguably Ubisofts’ biggest showpiece, Watch Dogs Legion. Which is set on the streets of London in a Post-Brexit almost dystopian world. Where the government has collapsed, PMCs run the city and due to a high technological upheaval, unemployment is at an all-time high and the pound has been virtually replaced by cryptocurrency, surveillance and killer drones, which on the face of it makes China these days look rubbish. This game is basically a “what if?”, but a scary one at that. While Ubisoft has been criticised for political statements in their games recently. but for me, Watch Dogs Legion looks more influenced by the world today and culminated in a possible future.
Deadsec, the anonymous inspired hacker organization that’s been the heart of the series is the de-facto resistance. The main USP is there isn’t a singular hero to play. You can play as literally anyone in the world, in previous games they were mere distractions as you cause havoc. Now, in Legion, they can be influenced to join the Deadsec cause (going on a mission for them more likely) and hey presto – They are playable with unique abilities, voices and animation. They can be assigned to one of three classes: Enforcer, Infiltrator and Hacking, oh and Permadeath is a thing so you may want to be a bit more careful with your high-level hacker character, because if they die, they die. However, if they are captured or nicked by the bobbies, they can be rescued. So, you can have a team of people who are former security services to the WI.
On the face of gameplay footage from the conference, the accents were hilariously bad. Although it looked good and familiar to Watch Dogs 2: with the gunplay and hacking, with each of the classes with their roles. Enforcer is the ones you would need for a big shootout and need to spill someone’s claret. Infiltrator is you stealth focused role if you need to get in and out quietly. The Hacker who like in the previous games uses RC vehicles. A drone spider from the gameplay footage as an example and get the job done without setting foot in enemy territory. So, there are plenty of ways to get the job done, and the only class to hack the drones that roam the city.
While it does look rather an ambitious sequel for the series, with the ability to play as anyone which on the face of the details we know is very commendable. But my main concern is that is taking itself too seriously like what Watch Dogs 1 did which ruined the experience for me. And while Watch Dogs 2 rectified this, Watch Dogs Legion looks like is sliding back towards Watch Dogs level of seriousness even with the killer grannies.
Out on 6th March 2020.
Ghost Recon Breakpoint: The Punisher is a bad guy?
Next up is the sequel to the very dreary and underwhelming Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. Instead of taking on a drug cartel like last time, the former comrades have now gone rogue as The Wolves have taken over Aurora (locale for the game) and now has access to powerful military-grade drones to hunt you down with (Ubisoft seems to have a hard-on for drones lately).
The Wolves are lead by the Charismatic Colonel Cole D. Walker, who is played by Jon Bernthal AKA The Punisher. Who made an appearance at the show itself to talk a bit about the game but I was kind of distracted by his own dog (Bam Bam) who appeared on stage, and was definitely a Good Boy.
Anyway, back to the game itself and on the face of it, it looks like a considerable improvement over wildlands “go to the place and shoot the lads” formula. This time around they are the ones in charge and hunting you down, and with tweaks to the AI will make combat a tricky sod. Survival elements like an injury system which can hamper you if not maintained well which adds more tension to the game. New character classes, a revamped stealth system, and using the environment to hide and to strike your foes, it also has co-op where you and your buddies and jump in and out seamlessly, and single player as well with AI teammates. It looks set to be an improvement on Wildlands at least, and with a beta set for the 5th September and releasing on the 4th October, it could spring a surprise?
On a side note, why is the Terminator a thing lately with games? first Gears at Microsoft, now Ghost Recon?
Uplay+. The future for gaming?
During the conference itself, Ubisoft announced that they are also making their own video game streaming service with Uplay+ which launches on the 3rd September. Where for $14.99 a month you can access up to 100+ games of Ubisoft’s catalogue of games from Assassins Creed to The Crew 2, as well as all future titles and DLC. As well as this announcement it will also be partnering up with Google Stadia and making Uplay+ available for Stadia in 2020.
My main issue is that while streaming games may be the future. Would it be worth the cost? Because when Stadia is launches in November 2019. It’ll be priced at $9.99 and with the $14.99 from Uplay+, and you wouldn’t bet against the likes of EA and Bethesda developing similar systems. I admit I could be wrong and all it could be pricey when you add it all up.
Roller Champions and Gods and Monsters – New IPs
Next up is some new IPs from Ubisoft itself Roller Champions and Gods and Monsters. Starting with Roller Champions, which a 3v3 almost Rocket League type of game. Where the objective is to take the ball for at least one lap around the circuit before shooting the ball through the hoop and the more laps you can do before putting the ball through the hoop the more points you score. From the start, it does show its Rocket league inspirations, but looks like it could be good fun still. There is a free demo of the game right now on Uplay from the 10th June to the 14th on PC and will be free to play at launch in early 2020.
From the folks who made Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, we’ve got Gods and Monsters. A new IP set in an open world adventure that set in Greek mythology, and the hero of the game Fenyx is on the quest to restore power to the Greek gods after it was stolen by Typhon, the deadliest creature in Greek Mythology, and take on Gorgons, Harpies and Cyclopes. From the description itself it looks very much Zelda like and with very pretty visuals and art style it could be one to keep an eye on perhaps?
The Division 2 Year One road map details
The Division 2 also made an appearance at E3. Shedding some light on its Year One DLC content, with 3 new narrative driven episodes. First of which is called D.C. Outskirts which takes players outside of DC to places like the Washington National Zoo, and introduces Expeditions to the game. This is out in July 2019 and later on in 2019 the next 2 episodes will be released. Episode 2 Pentagon: The Last Castle which pretty much says it on the tin, and Episode 3 Coney Island: Homecoming, and this isn’t a spiderman themed content but takes players back to New York from the first game.
The Division 2 will also be free to play between June 13th till the 16th and data will be saved as well, so if you do decide to pick up the game then you can carry on from where you left off from. During the sure, a Division feature film is also confirmed and will be made in partnership with Netflix, with Jake Gyllenhaal of Donny Darko fame and Jessica Chastain who may know from Molly’s Game and will play as Adult Beverly Marsh in IT: Chapter Two, and the director of Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde, and John Wick David Leitch is signed on to direct the film.
While the names get me interested, the fact that it’s a video game movie and with the last Ubisoft film Assassins Creed bombed at the Box Office for good reason does the opposite, this is a classic case of let’s wait and see what happens.
Rainbow 6: Seige Updates and Rainbow 6: Quarantine
There was a brief chat on Rainbow 6: Siege with details on the new update for Siege, Operation Phantom Sight, which introduces two new operators. Nokk can render her invisible to Drones, Cameras, Evil Eyes and more, and move much more quietly through the field. And Warden, who with his Glance smart glasses allow him to see through smoke and prevent from being blinded by flash bags. As demonstrated in this part bond and kingsman spoof trailer.
With rework to the map Kafe Dostoyevski, the reverse of friendly fire (thank fuck for that), operators being rebalanced and a whole lot of improvement which can be seen for your viewing pleasure here. Also announced was Rainbow Six: Quarantine a new game that’s PvE where you and 2 mates take on a mysterious outbreak. Not many details are out, other than it based on the gameplay mechanics of Siege and looks inspired or based upon the Outbreak Mode for Siege that was in Year 3. The operators from Siege will also be in the game as well.
Out sometime in Early 2020 on consoles and PC.
And the rest of the show
A quick round-up of the rest of the show: Adventure Time will be crossing over to Brawlhalla with Jake, Finn and Princess Bubblegum being added to the roster, and a new mode called Buddy which looks team-based, and a new stage called Tree Fort.
It’s out now and Brawlhalla is free to play. and plenty more changes here in the update notes
Also announced was another Tom Clancy title (does still get around even for a dead guy) Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad. Which, is a 5v5 XCOM style game that takes characters from across the Tom Clancy games. Rainbow Six, Division, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell (which the last one was a pisstake as I really wanted to see a new Splinter Cell game).
This will be coming for IOS and Android sometime soon, and will be free to play.
For Honor also got a mention showing of its new limited-time event Shadows of the Hitokiri. Which introduces Soul Rush and it looks much more spooky than normal. The event is live from June 10th till the 27th.
You can look up the event notes here.
There was also a new Just Dance game. Just Dance 2020, which is celebrating 10 years. And is also being made for the Wii. That the Nintendo Wii. Which was a surprise? Coming out in November.
Updates for Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was also announced with a story creator mode. Where effectively you can create your own missions and quests in the game itself, and play stories created by others. It’s playable on all platforms but you would need a PC to access the tool itself which is housed on a dedicated site. (more notes on that here). Its Educational mode, where you can learn about the Greeks itself and explore the world freely with a free update this fall.
and lastly, Rob McElhenney (Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) made an appearance at the conference to show off its new TV sitcom based on a game studio that’s preparing to launch its new instalment of an epic fantasy series. Staring McElhenney as Ian Grimm and with F. Murry Abraham, Imani Hajim, David Hornsby (also stars in Always Sunny as well), Danny Pudi, Ashly Burch, Charlotte Nicdao and Jessica Ennis. This is Ubisofts’ first array into Television and is available for Apple TV+ this fall, that’s if you’re bothered about seeing it.
Verdict on the show
The show was rather “Meh” to be frank, but saved by some games like Watch Dogs and Quarantine (Ghost Recon: Breakpoint at a push) grabbing my attention. The rest was for updates for games that are out now and or games that I have little to no interest in *cough* Just Dance. Although Gods and Monsters looked pretty, I would like to see more from that before making my verdict.
The announcement of Uplay+ as well taking my interest for mixed reasons. The rest was either didn’t care, dull, or total nonsense (peak nonsense was a segment in the pre-show on gaming etiquette with Ice-T, which was…something.). Although Jon Bernthal’s dog was a good boy.
And thus E3 2019 Holy Trinity was made: Keanu Reeves, Ikumi Nakamura and Jon Bernthal’s Dog.