We got the chance at E3 2018 to spend some time in the Ubisoft cave. Happily, the powers that be had no problem with us recording our full sessions while getting our grateful mitts on its three biggest upcoming titles.
The Division 2
First up was The Division 2, and we had two runs at a demo which included three mini-missions. The first two were almost like tutorials in nature, and the last was a more serious “horde mode” style mission in which enemies would constantly spawn until we had full control of the area.
We were impressed right off the bat with how responsive the game feels. It’s all down to that little lean your character does while accelerating. As a player, you know the game’s heard you and the character is moving.
You can’t hear the team communication in the video, but we had a few different classes trying to work together. Enemies were quite smart about trying to flank, and if no one solved that problem, the flanker would quickly cause havoc.
Each class has three weapons, and our sniper class had the least interesting of them: another, larger, sniper rifle. Others would have things such as a goo gun that would immobilise enemies. Special weapons have very limited ammo, and only special enemies will drop the ammo necessary to reload them.
This leads to saving your ammo for the toughest enemies anyway, and in the case of the sniper it all felt a bit redundant — if you save the big ammo for the big enemies so you can reload the big ammo, does the whole system need to even be in place? Would it be any different if the sniper just had two weapons? But at least the special weapons for other classes seemed more interesting.
Skull and Bones
Next up was Skull and Bones, a supercharged version of everyone’s favourite part of the Assassin’s Creed games that included ships.
Controlling these ships feels excellent, and it captures the magic of pressing a button to give a command and seeing a whole crew respond with a scramble and a shout. Quick button presses bring you up to the crow’s nest to see further, and there are several different weapons which each act as minigames to master.
With a few different kinds of ship available we were able to experience how lighter ships would be a lot harder to hit and catch. More time will tell if it’s balance, but it was definitely fun.
A few quick commands will also team you up with other players for quests, and being double-teamed in this game is a very unfortunate thing. There’s a moment when we surrounded an enemy ship with a friend and blasted it from both sides. Instant annihilation.
We’re still wanting to see more about what you do in the world other than shooting ships. From what we played, there were a few quests that involved just being in the proximity of islands and shipwrecks. But we had a great time with the naval combat, so if it’s all about that, we’ll still be happy.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Last up was Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, and while we attempted to find a combat-oriented quest, we spent a bit more time than we’d like in conversation.
That did, however, lead to a flirty conclusion. We also got to see the full map. It’s clear from the gameplay how the game will shape the relationship between Athens and Sparta. What’s less clear is if we’ll see a Persian threat at some point later in the game.
It’s very much keeping the same combat system as Origins though, which is fantastic. We absolutely approve of the move to a hitbox combat system as opposed to choreography combat.
There are a few other things we can determine from the menus as well. Wood and skins will be resources again (and you’ll use the eagle to help hunt for them), as will some kind of metal and stone, and two kinds of gems that will presumably be rarer.
There’s an assassination damage rating, which suggests assassination strikes are once again not a guaranteed kill. If you’re up against someone a few levels higher, you might just take off 90% of their health, and be forced into normal combat for the rest.
We can also see similar builds from the gear screen, such as assassination-focused gear awarding adrenaline rushes for successful blade strikes.