BitSnark

A place of scribblings located in the darkest corner of the internet. Yup.

Ubi Days 08′ – What cool stuff was on show?

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Well UbiSoft’s annual event is now behind us, giving the gaming public, retailers and press a much more solid idea about what to expect from Ubisoft for their forthcoming 08/09 slate.

– Brothers In Arms: Hells Highway (PC, 360, PS3)

Looking massively improved over previous builds with the PC version obviously being the most impressive at this stage. Even with that in mind, the console versions boast some impressive graphical trickery such as self shadowing, advanced particle effects and more. Gameplay wise, the game appears to adhere quite closely to it’s predecessors with the famed/hated suppression mechanic making a return and in the process highlighting a stark strategical difference between this title and other WWII FPS romps. Build wise, the devs are currently fine tuning the Unreal Engine 3 that the title uses as frame rate problems currently persist on all versions when the screen gets busy and of course, there is the obligatory bug/glitch squashing too. Ubisoft and developer Gearbox are aiming to get this one out for the end of August, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one to see how it shapes up.

– Tom Clancy’s HawX (PC, 360, PS3)

Taking the famed Clancy lineage to the air, HawX appears to be in many ways Ubisoft’s stern answer to Namco Bandai’s Ace Combat series of games. Apparently sporting a more serious and realistic setting than it’s Japanese peer, the title is set in the same pseudo modern-day setting that most Clancy titles exist in. Gameplay wise, the title is not at all dissimilar from the Namco offering, with plenty of dog fighting, bombing and extraction missions, not to mention a comparable online mode also. Technically the game appears to have a fair amount of sheen, but frame rate problems abound the closer you fly through the detailed cityscapes that the game offers. But with plenty of development time left, I’m pretty hopeful they’ll sort it in good time. Tom Clancy’s HawX is due for a Christmas release.

– Prince Of Persia (PC, 360, PS3, Wii, NDS)

Still without a solid, official title, Ubisoft showed off the newest Prince Of Persia title from the developers of the original Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time. Abandoning the infamous time mechanic of previous titles and using an enhanced version of the Assassin’s Creed engine, Prince Of Persia looks every bit the franchise reboot. Whilst only a little gameplay was shown, the graphical style is staggering, painting an effective love letter to hand-drawn art and a fluidity most games would kill for. Sporting dark, twisted Arabian environments and similarly warped creatures, Prince Of Persia could perhaps be Game Of The Year on style alone. But maybe I’m getting a little too excited here. Very little gameplay was shown as I said and I’m still *very* curious about the state of the combat system, especially considering how wrong Ubisoft got it with previous games and how right over dev’s got it with their titles (I’m thinking of God Of War here). Anyways Prince Of Persia is due for release this Holiday season. Colour me excited.

– Far Cry 2 (PC, 360, PS3)

With original dev’s Crytek now left the Ubi-nest to shack up with EA, valid concerns would always remain regarding the quality of future Far Cry titles, especially considering the less than stellar console *versions*. Well, besides showing a PC version that’s pretty far along and looking mighty impressive, Ubisoft also surprised eager show-goers with a reveal of both console versions running side-by-side. Visually, both versions appear to be quite the treat, with superb physics, accomplished shadowing and great incidental details such as individual splinters spraying from destroyed houses and bits of paper floating through the air depending on wind direction. Again like most titles at the show, the title still requires a fair bit of tinkering on the visual front, with frame rate and VSync issues rearing the ugly heads on both console formats. In terms of gameplay, the game appears to return to the relatively free-form exploration of the first title, with nearly 50KM squared of African wild lands to explore and also sports the same kind of run ‘n’ gun action that the original title pulled off so well. Far Cry 2 is currently due this Holiday season for the PC and early next year for the PS3 and 360. Let’s hope Ubisoft can deliver us the full experience and not some ‘Instincts’ watered down cop out – console owners can do and deserve better.

– Beyond Good & Evil 2 (Platforms Unannounced)

Ranking as perhaps the most worst kept secret in the industry, the Michael Ancel sequel to the awesome game that you missed when you were too busy playing Need For Speed Underground and GTA: Vice City, was finally announced to much critical rapture and excited whooping. The trailer, apparently in real-time showcased some massively advanced effects, such as improved real-time shadowing, real-time reflections on liquid volumes and advanced bump mapping. Basically all that jargon adds up to a game that potentially looks as good as a Pixar movie. This is no joke. It actually DOES look like a Pixar movie. Anyway, nothing was revealed about the gameplay, the trailer instead focusing on showing off the funky new graphics engine and showcasing the pig character from the original game. Some gameplay would be nice, but until then, the very announcement of this game is enough for most people at the moment. No platforms have been announced for the title, nor a release date confirmed, but I would say don’t expect to see it for another year at least.

– Tom Clancy’s End War (PC, 360, PS3)

The traditional RTS gets a voice activated overhaul with Tom Clancy’s End War being the first RTS to be entirely voice controlled. Shipping with a microphone, the title allows players to give precise orders to individual units and organise their armies effectively. While the microphone itself wasn’t shown off too much, it appears to be sensitive enough to recognise commands easily enough; as always the real test will come from people’s differing accents and vocal tempos. Gameplay wise, the title appears to offer a varied selection of units and vehicles from Clancy lore, such as the aircraft used in HawX and the Recon units used in the Ghost Recon titles. Graphically, the game is modestly impressive with a battlefield that can be zoomed right into and soldiers that run, duck and shoot from cover giving them a dynamic to their nature not seen from soldiers in other RTS games. Multiplayer should be a hoot also with people barking orders to their armies and each other over XBox Live and the PSN.

Speaking of which, Ubisoft announced a private beta for the game which XBox Live users can sign up to.

Link below people 🙂

https://www.endwarbeta.com/signup/default.html

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Written by bitsnark

May 30, 2008 at 6:57 pm

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