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The Division photo
The Division

Here's when you can play the next The Division beta


Ubisoft confirms beta testing weekend
Jan 15
// Vikki Blake
Ubisoft has confirmed that The Division’s next beta will start on January 28, 2016. According to a recent tweet, the closed beta test will be available on Xbox One from January 28 and on PC and PlayStation 4 from Januar...
The Division photo
The Division

This new The Division trailer looks incredible


Well, I think it does anyway
Jan 13
// Vikki Blake
After a trailer accidentally went up too early, and then was pulled, and was then mirrored and shared and Streisanded all over the place, Ubisoft has now officially released yesterday’s leaked trailer for The Division. ...

Review: Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India

Jan 12 // Chris Carter
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed]) Developer: Climax StudiosPublisher: UbisoftReleased: January 12, 2016MSRP: $9.99 In this tale players will assume the role of Arbaaz Mir -- a cocksure assassin who has just stolen the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a Piece of Eden. The year is 1841, and Arbaaz is caught up in your typical Assassin vs. Templar antics in the brand new setting of India. The narrative mostly takes a backseat, with various puzzles and combat (or rather, the option to avoid combat) challenges to face along the way, and little in the form of exposition or world building. It's...serviceable, much like China, in that the story doesn't really leap out of the screen, but it also doesn't get in the way. India keeps inline with China's unique visual style that looks like it could be housed in an art gallery, but with more vibrant hues and beautiful pastels than the last iteration. Often times I'd stop and ogle at the landscape, which is something I rarely do in recent 2D titles -- but then again, Ubisoft usually nails it in that department (Rayman, Child of Light). In case you're wondering, it's still following the same stealth platformer format from China, so don't expect a whole lot. Levels are very linear in nature, even if specific sections do have a number of different solutions (like whistling to distract guards, going around them entirely with the grappling hook, and so on). Once again the actual platforming mechanics are sound, and the "stealth button/run button" format translates unusually well to the 2D plane. That smoothness starts to grate though once you've made your way through similar looking labyrinthine halls, fighting the same types of enemies over and over. [embed]333470:61826:0[/embed] India still discourages combat and proclaims stealth king, which will probably polarize a few of you out there looking for constant fights. The game punishes you with a low health pool and a limited amount of combat tools, so if you are adverse to stealth you may want to sit out for this series. Personally I revel in the ability to not go in guns (or blades) blazing, so the style suit me quite well, especially with the increased emphasis on the grappling hook. Once the story is all said and done there's a New Game Plus, and a "New Game Plus Hard" option to storm through. Thankfully though Ubisoft added in another element to India in the form of challenge rooms, which are basically in the same surrealistic "VR" style as past entries, with time-based objectives to complete. Sure it's the same old song and dance for Assassin's Creed, but it's nice to have something extra to do, even if there's only six of them. Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India isn't a whole lot different compared to China, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on your prior experience. It sports a slightly less interesting character and setting, but the core experience is replicated, and the addition of a few gameplay tweaks as well as the aforementioned challenge mode ensures that it's on the level. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Assassin's Creed review photo
Hide and Sikh
When the Chronicles series was announced, my response was mixed. I mean, it's cool that we're getting to see new settings outside of the usual suspect after all, but by that same token, I'd rather see those new areas in a fully-fledged 3D game. These Prince of Persia inspired 2.5D gaidens (including last year's China) are the next best thing though, albeit with some provisos.

For Honor photo
For Honor

For Honor will definitely have a campaign element after complaints to Ubisoft


Rainbow Six
Jan 12
// Chris Carter
For Honor producer Stephane Cardin has provided an update of sorts for the project by way of Ubisoft's YouTube channel, and development seems to be coming along nicely. One big revelation however is that Cardin and his ...
The Division photo
The Division

I think this Division trailer is telling us to not lick our money


You're not my supervisor!
Jan 11
// Brett Makedonski
There's no small irony in Ubisoft, a company that very much likes getting money, releasing a trailer advising of the perils of handling money. Don't handle money, don't lick money, don't eat money. Do you want diseases? 'Cau...
Grand_Theft_Auto photo
Grand_Theft_Auto

This Grand Theft Auto V mod adds in Watch_Dogs' hacking


A better Watch_Dogs than Watch_Dogs
Jan 11
// Joe Parlock
I really liked Watch_Dogs. Sure the graphics weren’t what we were shown at first, Aiden Pearce was an unlikable dick, and it wasn’t the most optimised thing in the world, but I still had a lot of fun hacking an e...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Ubisoft provides help for prospective Assassin's Creed cosplayers


Breakdowns of three Chronicles outfits
Jan 08
// Chris Carter
Say what you will about the Assassin's Creed series and Ubisoft's need to annualized it, but one thing's for sure -- the cosplay that's come out of this scene has been pretty awesome. Whether it's the flowing cloaks or t...
Humble photo
Humble

Humble Weekly is all Tom Clancy games, including beta access for The Division


Keeping it Clancy
Jan 07
// Brett Makedonski
A wide assortment of titles is nowhere to be found with this week's Humble Bundle. Instead, Tom Clancy is the name and tactical espionage is the game. It's the game about ten times over, in fact. As a part of the build-up tow...
Rainbow Six Siege photo
Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six Siege is getting better hit registration


Update 1.2 is live on PC
Jan 07
// Jordan Devore
As it stands, Rainbow Six Siege is at the top of my "eventually!" list. While plenty of people seem to be enjoying the game as it stands, I'm fine waiting for Ubisoft to push out more patches. The latest update was released t...
Far Cry Primal photo
Far Cry Primal

Far Cry Primal's PC specs are a wild beast tamed


Not so brutal
Jan 07
// Brett Makedonski
Like its animals that can be turned into tender companions, Far Cry Primal's PC requirements had the opportunity to cause havoc. That has certainly been the case with some recent high-profile games, such as Star Wars Battlefr...
Far Cry Primal co-op photo
Far Cry Primal co-op

Far Cry Primal won't have any co-op


Prehistoric Hurk or we riot
Jan 07
// Nic Rowen
You won't be playing with anyone other than tigers, wolves, and whatever beasts are in Far Cry Primal. Community manager Jason Paradise confirmed on the game's Steam forum that Far Cry Primal is going to be a single...
Assassin's Creed India photo
Assassin's Creed India

[Extremely Simpsons voice] Assassin's Creed Chronicles is going to India!


'Deep dive' trailer
Jan 06
// Steven Hansen
Ubisoft brought the Assassin's Creed Chronicles series back from the brink with recent confirmation for two new entries, India and Russia, that are coming in hot. The former is out next week, January 12, on PC, PS4, and Xbox...
Assassin's Creed Empire photo
Assassin's Creed Empire

Assassin's Creed may be taking a break this year, with an Egypt-set game coming in 2017


An extra year of development is good
Jan 04
// Joe Parlock
Ever since Assassin's Creed II in 2009, Ubisoft's popular stab-'em-up series has seen at least one major release every year. 2014 even saw two games, Rogue and Unity. Critics of the series argue that this relentless release s...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

All signs point to Assassin's Creed going back to a present-day protagonist


Goodbye, Initiate
Dec 30
// Brett Makedonski
"Hello, Initiate." Those are the opening words to Assassin's Creed Syndicate. "Initiate" is you, the player, as the last several Assassin's Creed games (Black Flag, Rogue, Unity, and Syndicate) have made you the out...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

The first Assassin's Creed was originally going to have multiplayer


Local co-op mode possibly?
Dec 23
// Joe Parlock
Here’s a fun little bit of game history for you. According to DualShockers, who attended a talk by Julien Merceron in Paris, Assassin’s Creed was originally going to have a multiplayer mode. While this feature was...
The Division photo
The Division

Here's over an hour of The Division gameplay


Better than that Silent Night trailer...
Dec 21
// Joe Parlock
The Division isn’t getting a public beta test until early next year, but there have been some very closed, very NDA’d alpha tests running recently. Here’s some leaked gameplay footage of that alpha thanks t...
Rainbow Six photo
Rainbow Six

Rainbow Six Siege is doing a free weekend on PC


You'll just need a referral code
Dec 18
// Jordan Devore
Ubisoft is holding a free weekend event for Rainbow Six Siege on PC. You'll need to score an access key from a pal (or a friendly stranger) who owns the game, but that shouldn't be hard. Current players can send up to four Si...
The Division photo
The Division

The Division repurposes 'Silent Night' and, wow, is it ever bleak


Bring back the world that we loved
Dec 17
// Brett Makedonski
All is not calm, all is not right. Not in The Division's war-torn city. "Mom and dad died in the blast." "Everything on earth fell apart." That's a big old lump of coal for humanity, eh? "Silent Night" is no stranger to vide...
Rainbow Six photo
Rainbow Six

A new patch is bringing 4K to Rainbow Six Siege


There's also some less flashy updates
Dec 16
// Laura Kate Dale
Rainbow Six Siege has been out on PC for a little while now, and has been happily chugging along with merely very, very high definition textures. Somehow, it has been getting along just fine with only 1080p visuals, which we ...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Here's Deal 7 in Sony's European 12 Deals of Christmas Promotion


Syndicate Savings galore
Dec 14
// Vikki Blake
Today's 12 Deals of Christmas is Assassin's Creed-flavoured, with discounts available for the standard and Gold digital editions of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, as well as savings on the Season Pass. From now until 11.59pm GMT...
Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed Syndicate's Jack the Ripper DLC coming next week


December 15
Dec 10
// Chris Carter
Assassin's Creed Syndicate has been teasing its Jack the Ripper DLC for weeks now, but this is the first time we've had a really good gander at it. All told, it actually looks quite meaty, and the new story trailer isn't hal...

Review: Rayman Adventures

Dec 08 // Brett Makedonski
Rayman Adventures (Android, iOS)Developer: Ubisoft MontpellierPublisher: UbisoftReleased: December 3, 2015MSRP: Free, with microtransactions Rayman Adventures is an auto-runner that often moves at a restrained pace. Swiping on the screen gets the titular character moving, tapping implores him to jump, and swiping again changes direction. And while many runners press ever-onward left to right, Rayman Adventures tries to avoid that trap, usually allowing the player to dictate the flow. Keeping things from speeding out of control is a smart design decision, but not one that's quite consolation enough for inaccurate inputs. Chaining together swipes and taps works sometimes, but it's a bummer each and every time they don't. More damning, the rest of Rayman Adventures feels built around those moments when the controls falter. The big picture going-on in Rayman Adventures involves saving Incrediballs. These quirky creatures help Rayman grow a tree higher and higher into the sky for whatever reason. Incrediballs occasionally appear fully grown, but they'll often take the form of eggs that need to be incubated (either by waiting or by using resources to speed up the process). [embed]325074:61452:0[/embed] Incrediballs feel very much like a direct response to Adventures' lacking controls. The player can call on a number of them to assist them through a level. The game's broken down into three main level types: exploration-based, combat-based, and collection-based. For combat levels, each Incrediball acts as a shield for Rayman, a second (and third and fourth) chance for when the player inevitably runs into the tightly-placed enemies. That's an example of Incrediballs acting as a crutch, but sometimes they're flat-out necessary. In collection scenarios, dedicated Incrediballs act as a magnet for the Lums; there's no performing well without their assistance. Predictably, this all loops back to the fact that Rayman Adventures is a free-to-play title. Incrediballs grow tired and need to be fed in order to be used again. The game dishes out a fair amount of food, but you can always buy some with real money if the need arises. To its credit, Rayman Adventures never gets heavy-handed with the microtransactions. There isn't any sort of mechanic that forces you to either pay or keep waiting, and resources seem to come at a constant enough clip that there exists the possibility it won't ever become an impediment (unlikely as that may be). However, there's a flood of different consumables that make them difficult to keep track of: gems, golden tickets, food, and elixirs can all be earned/purchased, and they all feed right back into one another. For example, tickets (and more) can be bought with gems. That ticket you scratch off might award some food. Food's used to revive Incrediballs which are used to perform well in levels, where the likes of gems might be the prize. Round and round we go. To what end, it's difficult to say. Scaling back and looking at Rayman Adventures as a whole paints it as a game where progress feels meaningless and sometimes confusing. But spending time inside the Rayman-patented lively world is a joy in small bursts, even if the execution is left wanting. Like those other Rayman titles, Adventures effectively captures the spirit of the franchise; it just has a hard time living up to the sterling precedent those games set -- a tall task that maybe the mobile format never had a chance of accomplishing in the first place. [This review is based on a retail build of the game at launch. No microtransactions were purchased.]
Rayman Adventures photo
So close, yet so far
Rayman has had a good run of it as of late. The last two console games -- Origins and Legends -- were fantastic platformers worthy of the highest praise. Now Ubisoft is testing the franchise's viability in the ...

Assassin's Creed photo
Also coming to Vita
After months of going without any sort of real news on Assassin's Creed Chronicles' last two entries, we now have confirmation straight from Ubisoft that they will be released in "early 2016." Following up China, India a...

The Division photo
The Division

The Division adds alpha, delays beta, keeps release date


But why?
Dec 07
// Brett Makedonski
The pre-release plans for Tom Clancy's The Division got a minor shake-up today. The upcoming survival shooter no longer has a beta before the end of 2015. But, that doesn't mean we won't see it at all in December. Ubisof...
Eagle Flight photo
Eagle Flight

Ubisoft's Eagle Flight is coming to PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive


Feel the breeze
Dec 05
// Zack Furniss
A couple months ago, Vikki wrote about this video where Ubisoft put a camera on a bald eagle to promote Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Looks like that same footage was used for Eagle Flight, Ubisoft's new VR game (PlayStation V...
Far Cry Primal photo
Far Cry Primal

They call him Stompy McBigstompers, the best stomper in the land


Guess how he got that name
Dec 04
// Brett Makedonski
My trip to see Far Cry Primal wasn't completely filled with previews and interviews. I sto[m]pped working for a few minutes to see this giant dude crush stuff. Holiday decorations, gingerbread houses, and guitars were no match for this grade-A stomper. In between stomps, I reflected on my career arc that led to this particular moment in time. This job's weird, man; video games are weird.

Why Far Cry Primal is the purest form of Far Cry

Dec 03 // Brett Makedonski
It was a savage and brutal era, and those are the two adjectives that Decant repeatedly returned to when trying to sum up the feeling that any Far Cry game needs to nail. It's no coincidence that a game set in the Stone Age happened sooner than later. "The people behind the Far Cry brand have been dreaming of doing something like Primal for a really long time," Decant confessed. "I think it's just that we have people who are very good who are doing some crazy prototypes about fire population and about controlling animals and stuff like that. One day we just said 'we should do that.' The Far Cry brand is probably the most open brand at Ubisoft. You can really go in different directions with it as long as you remain savage and brutal in an open world." That flexibility is on full display in Primal. For all the elements of Far Cry 4 that are carried over (it's built on the same framework), it feels surprisingly not like a Far Cry game at times. It's an odd sensation knowing the title's roots, identifying them, but not being impacted in the same way. It's likely because what's new in Primal is enough to distract from anything that feels old. The Stone Age aesthetic of orange-like hues and primitive camps feel like a far cry (boo!) from the tropical islands the franchise is used to. Most notable, there's a new buddy system in the form of a beast-master mechanic. The beast-master system allows the player to tame animals in the wild (there are 17 variations), and call on them in battle. They're handy sidekicks whose worth is immediately validated. They're extremely helpful, as they show no hesitation in leaping into battle and taking on several enemies at once. When they're inevitably hurt, a slab of meat nurses them back to health. Decant didn't downplay his excitement for the animal control feature. In fact, he pegged it as Far Cry Primal's greatest strength. "It's the most exciting, most surprising feature I think we have," he said. Decant gave the spiel about Ubisoft's commitment to authenticity and remaining truthful to the era. However, that came with one caveat; liberties were taken whenever it'd make the game more fun. The beast-master mechanic is a shining example of that. But, despite all the historians consulted and research performed, it's not authenticity that'll make a Far Cry game. No, as Decant pointed out, it's that savage and brutal tone that's the staple. No period can claim ruthlessness quite like the Stone Age, and that's why Primal is the purest form of Far Cry.
Far Cry Primal photo
Light my campfire
Far Cry has always been very good at getting the player into an open world and letting them interact with nature. However, the reasons for arriving there haven't always been as strong. It's how you end up with frat boy turned...

The animals are the real stars of Far Cry Primal

Dec 03 // Brett Makedonski
At a preview event this week, I spent an hour with Far Cry Primal. Free rein to the game wasn't quite permitted, as there were no story missions available; Ubisoft seems to be keeping that under wraps for now. Instead, I was left to wander from campfire to campfire ticking off side objectives and open-world encounters along the way. No matter which direction I traveled, from the glaciers of the north to the swamps of the south, there were ferocious animals all along the way. At first, I'd actively seek them out. Sabretooth nearby? That sounds fun to kill, let's go. I never found out if they were actually fun to kill. My defeat was swift each and every time I encountered one. By the end of the hour-long session, I went out of my way to avoid them. I'd watch them chase around other animals, holding my breath until they were finally out of sight. Safe for the time being. [embed]324054:61365:0[/embed] The reason for being appropriately underpowered had everything to do with my arsenal. Primal is the first Far Cry game that doesn't prominently feature guns. Clubs, spears, and arrows are the weapons on-hand, and the adapting process isn't necessarily easy. No longer can you rely on spraying bullets until you're out of a sticky situation. There's a world of difference between unloading a gun's clip and throwing spears one by one when a mammoth is charging at you. To soften the cold, harsh reality of the Stone Age, Ubisoft has taken some liberties with man's connection to creature. Far Cry Primal features a beast-master system that allows for the taming of animals, which can then be summoned to help in battle at any time. There are 17 variations, but I only saw three: a small jaguar, a white wolf, and a bear. Not only do they serve as a great distraction in battle, but they actually take care of some enemies on their own. As seems to be the theme with Primal, your beasts are at their best when facing off against other humans. There are plenty of enemy people wandering the game's sizable map, but they never feel as formidable as the wild animals. Maybe it's because, like you, they also have to get into position to throw a spear. Whatever the reason, these interactions seem as if they pose a considerably simpler challenge than an unfortunate surprise encounter with a good number of the game's many animals. For all the animal-controlling Far Cry Primal asks the player to do, it's a more passive tactic that proves to be the most delightful. With the press of a button, an owl can be summoned to fly overhead and scout out the surrounding area. Basically, it's Primal's response to not having a camera to tag enemies. The owl comes in particularly handy when checking out human outposts. Once you feel satisfied that you've seen enough, you can divebomb an unsuspecting human and murder him. It's a great way to get a jumpstart on a camp before sending your next animal in. That owl is probably the least threatening thing in Far Cry Primal, but even it has no problem asserting its dominance over mankind. That's just kind of how it goes as Far Cry sees the tables turned for the first time; humans weren't yet the dominant force they'll eventually be. Emphasizing animals seems like a good direction for the franchise. It required turning the clock back a few million years, but consistently befriending and battling beasts feels right in line with the Far Cry spirit -- a savage and brutal affair that's more about surviving than anything else.
Far Cry Primal photo
Friends and foes
The Stone Age is a remarkable moment in history ("moment" meaning 3.4 million years, in this instance) because it was a period when mankind wasn't at the top of the food chain. Beasts ruled the roost and humanity had to tread...

Review: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege

Dec 02 // Chris Carter
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftMSRP: $59.99Release Date: December 1, 2015  First and foremost, let me make it clear that Siege is still very much a strategic game, despite an increased emphasis on action. The crux is engrossed in the "siege" concept, where two teams of players are placed on opposing sides of offense and defense. The former is tasked with infiltrating a specific area, usually a building of some sort, and the latter will put up barricades and properly booby-trap the zone to protect an objective. Defensive capabilities are quite versatile beyond placing traps, with the ability to patch up windows à la Call of Duty's zombies mode, or deploy items for the rest of your team. The sheer entropy that comes out of this simple premise is lovely. There are so many options for breaching and a litany of defensive options that no one game is the same. Players can rappel up almost any window and break in, sneak around and breach doors with charges or a good old fashioned sledgehammer, or blow up walls and create new entrances. The concept of a destructible environment is not new (games like the original Red Faction have been doing it for ages), but the development team really follows through here, with a good balance of destruction to keep things tense. Part of the variety comes from the 20 Operators, which are essentially the classes of Siege. Archetypes range from a bruiser, to a "brainy" tech girl, to a medic, but all of them have a unique twist gameplay-wise that sets them apart from one another. It's also imperative that your team works together, choosing combinations that complement each ability -- this is partially forced by the fact that the game doesn't allow two people on a team to pick the same Operator. In the end though, any combo works relatively well as long as the team is on top of things, and players don't run blindly into rooms without thinking of all of the options available. [embed]323032:61291:0[/embed] While the 5v5 asymmetrical game type is the core mode, there are also two more facets at play -- Terrorist Hunt (PVE) and Situations (single player). The former is a lot like horde mode with a twist, as players will be dropped into levels with randomized objectives and enemy placement, with three varying levels of difficulty to choose from. While I prefer the insanity of playing human opponents given the open-ended nature of the game, I really enjoyed taking breaks with the PVE mode, as it really does provide a ton of different scenarios across its 11 maps. It's tough, too, as one bad move can result in a near-death experience, requiring others to rally around your low health pool, and bust out tactics like going in a vanguard formation with a shield-wielding Operator. From what I've seen people really attempt to use a mic, and if you strive for a shooter that transcends the "point and shoot" mentality, you'll find solace with Siege. If desired, players can also go at it solo, which is a nice option for those of you who don't love being online all the time. Having said that, there is no campaign whatsoever. Instead, you'll have your pick of 11 Situations, which are very similar to Terrorist Hunt, but with their own set of challenges. For instance, finishing a level with a certain amount of health or completing specific tasks will net you instant renown. I actually really like this mode, as objectives can be completed individually, even if you fail a mission -- so there's incentive to come back over time and eventually "three-star" each Situation. It's absolutely not a substitute for a full-on story mode, but it's one of my favorite non-campaign additions in a while, in a sea of multiplayer-only shooters. As previously stated, the way these characters are unlocked will likely turn off some, but it's very much par for the course for the genre, and even ahead of the curve in many ways, actually. In fact, I'm sitting here, having only played the game for a few days, with 10 of the 20 Operators, which isn't bad at all. If you hate the idea of microtransactions on principle you'll likely be angry here, but on my end, I was easily able to ignore them and still enjoy Siege. As for server issues, I've heard reports of other platforms' lack of stability, but Siege has been very reliable for me on Xbox One in the past 48 hours. While there are occasional bouts of connection problems after booting up the game, the issue is resolved in seconds, and I've played hours-long sessions with no problems. Rainbow Six Siege has a lot going for it when it comes to the long haul. While three modes doesn't sound like a lot, the sheer volume of variables involved will result in an experience that constantly stays fresh, even with the current pool of 11 maps. While a few other major shooters have let me down this year, I think Siege is one of the games I'll be playing the most going forward.
Rainbow Six Siege photo
A new taste of Rainbow
The original Rainbow Six was one of the first squad shooters I ever played, outside of the Delta Force series (both debuted in the same year). I still remember hanging out at my friend's house with his dad, who also...

Rainbow Six: Siege photo
Rainbow Six: Siege

Here's how Rainbow Six: Siege's microtransactions work


It's par for the course
Dec 01
// Chris Carter
Since Ubisoft is Ubisoft, there's been some confusion as to how the microtransaction system works in Rainbow Six: Siege. Having experienced the retail version, I'll explain. Basically, everything that comes with a gameplay ad...

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