Over the years of me obsessing over E3, there has been one recurring event: year after year, Ubisoft's press conference is an absolute shit-show. It has nearly become dyed-in-the-wool E3 folklore by this point. It is nearly as certain as the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening. Most of the time it is insufferable but every now and then (take Mr. Caffeine for last year's debacle) it can be ironically entertaining. This year, Ubisoft finally threw down a good mix; stupidity and good games.
Let's start with the bad parts - because, hey, why not - of this year's show. My main point here is this Toby guy. IN-FUCKING-SUFFERABLE. I have watched a fair share of poor MCing at press events but he takes the goddamn cake. He was the epitome of awful, no question. The whole time, he was shiting all over the main host Aisha (who was doing a very good job, may I add). Anytime he opened his mouth, I wanted to die. The other negative was the entire ShootMania bit, a complete snooze in my estimation.
Now that the inevitable shit-talking is done, let's discuss why Ubisoft have grabbed the brass ring this year. Quality games. We opened up with Far Cry 3, a game already looking strong after last year's showing, moved up a peg in my book. The new layer of psychedelic effects and surrealism is a nice breath of fresh air on the usual shooter fair. Also, boobs.
It also doesn't take much for a Rayman sequel to get me giddy but they nailed it. Copious amounts of surf rock? Yes please. At the moment, they seem to be pushing hard on the whole "Wii U" thing but some amount of me hopes it hits the current-gen to boot. (I am wanting to be a Wii U more and more, mainly as I just want a new game system under my TV after 5 years). Seriously though, I could do with another portion of Rayman-related tomfoolery this year, I nice break in between sessions of Far Cry.
Unsurprisingly, one of the known quantities of this year's E3, the veritable Assassin's Creed, was a big draw at this year's event. We got some open stuff, Liam Neeson-esque wolf stabbing and a hint at a new mission structure. In a nut shell, it's looking like a needed fresh coat of paint for the stab-happy franchise. Although, personally, I am a very casual Assassin's Creed fan, this may be the first entry in the series I pick up at launch. Stop the presses accordingly.
What's that? A new challenger arrives? What in the hell is Watch_Dogs and why does it look so good? Really, I was very impressed. Consider me hitched on the game' s bandwagon. It's good to see the game already has a burgeoning backlash bubbling away just 20 or so minutes after the press conference has ended (albeit a small one). While, yes, the shooter gameplay reigned me in a little bit, this was across the board a super memorable E3 demo. Even the aforementioned shooting looked appropriately tasty. Seems like an eclectic mix of AC, Deus Ex and Hitman. However, the great debate seems to be, was that running on current hardware? I am leaning toward a no. Yes that may have been a PS3 and/or 360 controller hooked up to it but that it looked too sharp for the Xbox or PS3. Presumably, they were just running off a PC. I'm not saying it will be a next-gen game, but it looks like something that we may not see released 'til 2014. At the very least, the PC version looks sick and the console versions will be considerably less so.
I believe it is time for me to raid the nearest flock and chow down and on a tasty bit of crow. I never thought Ubisoft had it in time to produce a presser that both delivered in entertainment, stupid chicanery as well as quality games. Even with it low lights, it still beats Microsoft and EA in terms of just entertainment. The French are pointing middle fingers in the direction of any Power Points.
I can't believe I am saying this but, so far, Ubisoft is the king of E3 2012.