Special: Ubisoft's booth was full of games names like Tom Clancy, Far Cry and Prince of Persia. Read what Glenn saw and played at the company's E3 booth.
Ubisoft was showing off quite a range of games this year, whether it was the new game based off Peter Jackson's King Kong or the next hi-tech, tactical shooter for the Xbox 360. Let's look at what they had:
Prince of Persia 3 (PS2, Xbox, GameCube, GBA)
Prince of Persia 3 was shown in video form at the Ubisoft booth, and it looks to blend action from the second game with acrobatics from the first game in order to make a stealth/platforming/action epic. Throughout this third instalment, you'll be able to control the prince from the first game, as well as his evil twin from the sequel. Each of the characters offers a different balance, with the ?light side? prince excelling at platforming and acrobatics, and the ?dark side? prince showing his prowess at stealth and killing.
Obviously, regardless of whom you play as, there has been an emphasis now placed on stealth and stealth killing. Sam Fisher may be the inspiration, but it doesn't mean that it won't be fun. You'll be able to use the dark prince's ?daggertail? to decapitate foes from afar or you can just strangle and pounce on guys from the shadows. It's probably good that Ubisoft went with this two-pronged route, as some absolutely loved the first game, whereas others enjoyed the turn it took for the sequel. Controlling the Sands of Time will still be a key element to the game, as well.
Prince of Persia 3 will be shipping for all consoles and PC in November. Look for more coverage at Gaming Target in the coming months.
Far Cry Instincts (PS2, Xbox)
Far Cry Instincts was in playable form at the Ubisoft booth, and I was able to get some hands-on time with the multiplayer modes. Not a whole lot will be altered for the console release of this game, but seeing some tweaks to the online, including the map editor, is welcome stuff.
I was able to try the predator mode over linked consoles and it was a hella fun. You can employ the special vision blurring and scent modes that were on the PC to find your prey, but there is also a new ?primal attack? that will allow you to club your foes once you get into close range. However you kill, the predator mode is very engrossing due to the stalker-like vision and powers; you'll often be so focused on finding your enemies (who show up in a sort of orange thermal vision) that you'll be running over obstacles and flying at them, much like in the Predator movie. I can easily see this mode becoming a huge hit on Xbox Live. Of course, Xbox Live will also get the map editor, which allows users to customize their environments with foliage and objects, and then share them online. Admittedly, previous attempts at this over XBL haven't worked that well so hopefully this one fares better.
The single-player experience will remain the same, with Jack Carver fighting for survival using stealth, weapons, vehicles and just about everything else. The lush environments seen on the PC appear to have transferred quite well to the Xbox, with some minor hits in resolution and framerate being the only noticeable quips. Look for Far Cry: Instincts to ship later this year.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3 (PS2, Xbox, GameCube, Xbox 360)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 3 was shown in video form by Ubisoft reps, but the footage was actual gameplay and similar to experiences that players would actually have when playing the game. With that in mind, it's quite easy to get excited about Ghost Recon 3 for the Xbox 360 (also available on current-gen hardware, but with an obvious graphical hit). This is easily one of the best looking games to date, and the way in which the squad interaction takes place in this strikingly real environment only serves to build the anticipation even more.
Essentially, your team of ?Ghosts? will be on a series of 14 missions throughout Mexico City in the year 2013. Each of the soldiers will be outfitted with ?cross-com? communication systems which will allow for picture-in-picture style voice communication through eyepieces in the soldiers' helmets. This was demonstrated during missions, and it did look quite effective for receiving orders and keeping abreast of mission happenings ? and it looked pretty damn cool, too. The detail in the city and on the soldiers is crazy, with buildings, tanks, and armor being on heavy display during the sequences we were shown.
The single player experience should take about 20 hours to complete, and there is supposed to be offline and online co-op for up to four players (which is great considering the detail inherent in this game). Expect heavy-duty Xbox Live support for Ghost Recon 3, as well. Look for this impressive squad-based combat title at the 360s' launch in November.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Lockdown (Xbox, PS2)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Lockdown is the next chapter of the Rainbow Six franchise, and it was playable at four networked kiosks at the Ubisoft booth. The game plays quite similarly to Black Arrow (the second Rainbow Six game on Xbox), but it does seem to have a bit more ?weight? in how it feels; this change applies to both the weapons and the characters, themselves. Enemies now display some slightly enhanced A.I. tactics, such as room clearing and flanking, and several extra weapons have been added like the MTAR-21 micro assault rifle.
The multiplayer experience will be changed to allow for the Persistent Elite Creation mode, which enables users to constantly tweak and upgrade their operative. I was able to buy enhanced armor and stamina items after completing multiplayer games, and this seemed to work on a ?points? system where the points you earned could be spent on new equipment or skills. The PS2-exclusive online feature is a mercenary versus operative ?rivalry? mode that seems to be leeching off the Splinter Cell idea a little bit.
The game looked and sounded fairly good, but it still wasn't much different than earlier rainbow games. For those that are into these types of shooters (and there still is a lot of people), RS: Lockdown looks to provide more of what you're looking for, especially with its upgradeable skills and improved online.
And 1 Streetball (PS2, Xbox)
And 1 Streetball seems to be all about attitude and customization on the court. When I played it, the game was vibrant and exaggerated, but it still flowed well and had enough realism to keep the action somewhat grounded. The attitude comes from the array of moves available such as no-look passes, rim-bending dunks, and sweet crossovers, but it also shows itself in the huge soundtrack on display that features East and West Coast flavourings, as well as ?Dirty South? tunes; each court has it's own sound and feel. The customization comes from several inventive new features and one of these is the move editor, which allows you to tailor-make celebrations and scoring moves. Another great customizable feature happens to be the actual style and size of the game; not only can you change the games from one-on-one to five-on-five, but you can also make the court full or half and change scoring options ? pretty cool. The game will have online support and should be headed to consoles in the winter of 2005.
King Kong (PS2, Xbox, GameCube, Xbox 360)
King Kong looks to blend first-person action with third-person mayhem, and it's all based on Peter Jackson's upcoming epic. Many of the sequences on the island will involve the movie's main human characters, such as Jack Driscoll, and you'll be flying down rapids, fighting dinosaurs, and solving puzzles. A lot of the other action will involve King Kong himself, where he actually will fight a T-Rex, and eventually terrorize the city. Look for the game on current-gen and next-gen hardware when it ships later this year.