Last year I took on the task of summing up what to expect from one of the biggest publishers around, Ubisoft, and the games that it would be hoping to release this year across a variety of platforms. Now that we’re over halfway through 2014 it’s time to get a bit of an update on some of the gaming goods that we were to expect from the industry giant.
Child Of Light released at the end of April across most platforms, and a few weeks back on the Vita. I had the opportunity to review the game and I was pretty taken with it, giving Child of Light a 10/10 in a piece of prose where almost everything rhymed. The game showed strength in its storytelling, and the animations looked fantastic thanks to Ubisoft’s UbiArt Framework engine.
The cast of Aurora and co were well created characters living their lives in an interactive fairytale, and all of whom had their own flaws and situations that had to be overcome. The battle system was well put together, creating enough of a challenge that each encounter would need different tactics to conquer them. The music itself was very nice too and I remember leaving the game on the menu screen just so I could listen to it. If you’re a fan of RPGs and good stories then Child Of Light is definitely worth the price of admission.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One, a conflict in which millions lost their lives and millions more had their lives torn apart by the bloody conflict. It is one of the darker periods of human history and Ubisoft created Valiant Hearts in an attempt to show the cost of war to those people involved. The developer used real letters from those who were present during that time to shape the story of the game, and assigning those experiences to five key characters plus a dog.
Tuffcub reviewed Valiant Hearts for us giving the game an overall score of 8/10, saying that there were moments that packed a huge emotional punch but other parts of the game felt a bit disrespectful to the subject matter. He also said there was very little replay value, and some puzzles felt repetitive. Overall Valiant Hearts has been getting good review scores across the internet, so it’s one that could be worth picking up.
It released! After the many problems that plagued the development cycle of South Park: The Stick Of Truth, including THQ’s shutdown and resulting delays, the game finally hit store shelves in March. Hype was soaring for the game with the first month of sales narrowly falling behind Titanfall and Thief. At the time the game also set the record for being the most downloaded Ubisoft title of all time, with a quarter of sales being attributed to digital downloads.
In terms of the game itself South Park: The Stick Of Truth received an 8/10 from Dan in his review, with highlights including the humour which felt like it came straight from the show, but one of the issues was drops in frame rate. Another bit that was quite contentious for many gamers around the world was the censorship that hit the game on all formats, except for the versions released in North America.
There were six scenes in total that were edited out though in Europe PEGI had said that the uncensored game could be released with an 18 rating. All the cuts were done by Ubisoft voluntarily, with the scenes removed depicting things like abortion and aliens probing people. Matt Stone & Trey Parker had the placeholder scenes put in to the game to describe what players were missing out on, and to not hide the censorship. While a bit of an annoyance it didn’t totally detract from a game that was very fun.
Ubisoft’s The Crew has been locked in for a November 14th release here in Europe, with North America getting it a couple of days earlier. The developer hasn’t shied away from scale in The Crew with the game incorporating a scaled down map of the United States, allowing players to drive from New York to Los Angeles without a single loading screen to break the sense of immersion.
You’ll be able to play solo and attempt that cross country challenge, which will take 90 minutes in the fastest car using the main roads, or join friends and create a crew that will dominate others. In fact, if you’re lucky, you’ll able to check out The Crew before November’s release on PC as the closed beta will be live until the 25th of July. You can register your interest right here, and then keep checking your emails.
Due to how much of the game will rely on the social elements the game will be skipping last gen hardware and coming straight to PS4, Xbox One & PC.
When Watch Dogs was first revealed it blew everything else away, and the hype train sped up to very high levels. Then it was delayed from its original date in November, instead releasing this past May. Our review was handled by Jim who gave the open world hacking and vigilante justice title an 8/10. It also appears that the game’s hype didn’t die down despite the delay, with Watch Dogs setting the record for Ubisoft’s day one sales.
Recently news also came that the total copies of shipped Watch Dogs had hit the 8 million mark. It’s had five number one spots in the UK retail charts too, three of which were in a row. However the game did court controversy as there appeared to be a downgrade in graphical output from the original trailer. There was also controversy in that Ubisoft had handed out Nexus 7 tablets to UK journalists at an event, which could have been interpreted as a bribe.
A solid release date for Watch Dogs on the Wii U is still to be confirmed, though Autumn is the most likely time for it to appear.
There’s bad news for those of you who wanted to experience running around a post-collapse New York City this year as Ubisoft confirmed that Tom Clancy’s The Division has been pushed back to 2015. The apparent reason was that although the game does run well there are some things that need to be sorted out. Peter wrote down his thoughts on his own impressions of the game last week, discovering that The Division really was more than just a third person shooter.
It’s a proper Action RPG. Not just in the way many shooters have dabbled in upgrading skills and choosing classes, either. The Division is a proper RPG, dressed in a shooter’s clothes. It has complex skill trees and points for specific play styles that allow you to progress your character’s skills. It was much more in depth than I expected and even a little too complex to get a complete picture within a brief demonstration.
The game’s Snowdrop engine looks very impressive too with the lighting effects, shadows, and the scenery itself changing as time goes on adding to a world that is decaying. In this version of New York you and your team will have to deal with all sorts of issues, like groups rising to take advantage of those caught in the chaos, and retrieving items to build up bases of operations to bring back order to a city with none.
Expect to see The Division in our Ones To Watch 2015 series, by which time we’ll hopefully have a release date.