Ubisoft Summer BBQ Event

Yesterday I had the pleasure of making my way to the Ubisoft Summer BBQ down in London with my lovely friends at Top Gayer. How excited was I to be trying out a bunch of awesome new games and technology months before release? Very wouldn’t even begin to cover it. There was also free food and drink, but that was only a small incentive…promise.

Naturally, I had to start off by eyeing up the Assassins Creed Brotherhood booths, which were shown in both single player, and the brand new online multiplayer. The multiplayer which is a new feature to the Assassins Creed series allows you to choose from multiple character classes, each with their own unique abilities and weapons. The game will have 4-8 player compatibility and will pit you against each other in an almost death match like scenario. You will each be given a target to take out, whilst also being able to earn further points by taking out your rival assassins. The game play was seemingly very fun, but it was perhaps a little bit difficult to locate your target and assassinate the right person. Regardless though, whether you’re looking for single player or multiplayer, AC: Brotherhood looks stunning with a whole host of new weapons and game mechanics that improve upon its predecessor.

Another game that was being shown in both single player and online multiplayer was the brand new Driver: San Francisco for the PS3. A bit of a blast from the past for many, an original copy of Driver on the PS1 was also being shown around to compare graphics. Obviously there is no competition there, but onto the game. The single player was described to us as being like Life on Mars in the sense that the main character, Tanner, is in a coma and the story takes place in his head. It’s a bit of a weird concept, but it does make room for a rather nifty little feature called Shift. This feature allows you to jump from one car to another without having to physically get out and back in again. It sounds a bit odd and is something that really has to be seen to be understood properly. In multiplayer mode you play against other racers in a bid to get the most points by tailgating a specific car and staying behind it for the longest. It’s not as easy as it sounds. You can also Shift in multiplayer to get a good advantage if you’re falling behind.

Next we just had to try some of these new motion control devices. Those who read my short feature on motion control will know that I am exceptionally sceptical about the whole thing, but I have to say I was mostly impressed with what I saw and experienced.

First of all let’s start with Kinect. I’m still not convinced as to how this is going to work in more mainstream games, but yesterday I had the opportunity to try it out with Your Shape and Motion Sports. The first thing I have to mention is this; not only does the Kinect simply recognise your body shape and height and convert it into a coloured blob on the screen, but it can also take a rather snazzy photographic 3D motion image of your virtual self. I don’t just mean a still photo; I mean you are literally on the TV screen like a slightly pixelated video of yourself. I was already impressed at this before I even started playing the games. The full body recognition really works well, reflecting your exact movements into the game. When skiing with Motion Sports, whatever I did in front of the camera it would do in the game. If I moved one arm in front of the camera, my virtual arm in the game would move and knock me off balance on my skis.

The accuracy of the Kinect was really shown in the Your Shape fitness exercises. The camera tracks the exact positions of your joints when performing Yoga stances and exercises, and will award high points for perfect shapes. The angles of your joints are shown on the screen as you move with a white line complete with dots where your main joints are, changing colour to green as you move into the correct position. Not only is this a really clever piece of technology, but it definitely gives you a proper work out. You don’t realise how much effort you’re putting into it until you feel the strain on your legs and arms. I’m definitely feeling it today, I can tell you that.

Enough of Kinect though. What about Playstation Move? I was actually more impressed with this at E3 than I was yesterday unfortunately. I’m not going to slate it, because I don’t believe that I played the finished products yesterday, but the range that the PS Move could recognise and follow your movements in felt slightly poor. I only had the chance to play the Tennis game on the upcoming Racket Sports for the PS3, and even though it really did put some serious strain on my arms, the camera kept losing sight of my movements if I moved too far to one side, or too far back. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun experience but it just felt like a slightly lighter version of the Wiimotes. There was also another PS Move game being showcased called Ruse which is an RTS, but unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to try that one out.

Last but not least, the Wii games. Everyone loves the Wii in some way, and the two games on show today were definite reasons to dust yours off and have a few friends over.

Just Dance 2 is just as much fun as the first one with some brand new songs and just as energetic dance moves. Sensitivity was sadly still a little lacking, but it was still great fun nonetheless. What better way to spend your afternoon than embarrassing yourself in front of a room people you don’t even know?

Who could forget the Raving Rabbids? These little guys are a lot more popular than I thought they would have been, but they are incredibly funny and kind of cute in a really disturbing way. I’ve loved the Rabbids from the beginning, and the new game Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time is just as ridiculous as the last. This time the Rabbids are travelling through time in a washing machine – yes, a washing machine. We had the opportunity to play the multiplayer game which aptly had each of our characters tied together by a toilet roll; don’t ask, I don’t know either. All I know is that it was absolutely hysterical running around collecting boxes and various other goodies whilst attached to another Rabbid via pink bog roll. There are countless mini games that will take you around the world and through time, and this is looking to be a great party game.

Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to look at everything, but other games that were on show were as follows; Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon; Future Soldier which we were told would make use of Kinect, Shaun White Skateboarding with 3D capabilities on the PS3 and also being released for the Wii, and Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X 2.

The holiday season really can’t come fast enough for me after a taster of all those goodies.

All credit for pictures; Ubisoft official sites.

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