E3 - Ubisoft: From casual to hardcore

Ubisoft showed an assortment of games at the company's E3 press briefing on Thursday, including the highly anticipated Assassin's Creed.

President Yves Guillemot opened the 2007 press conference on Thursday showing a variety of "non-game" games, or casual games as they are so often called. Now before you roll your collective hardcore eyes, some of the titles shown looked like a lot of fun.

Jam Sessions, Ubisoft's first foray into rhythm based genre, is a DS title that lets gamers strum a digital guitar using the portable's touch screen pad. Why not the best audio fidelity, the varying intensity of strums, sounds, and modes of play have us thinking this could be a sleeper hit on the DS.

The My Coach games on DS including vocabulary, Spanish, and French varieties seem like a good idea given Nintendo's Touch Generation success on the handheld. Though clearly not true games, they should at least have you sounding more intelligent and/or helping you get your life in order with the My Life Coach version. We could use a little of that.

But Ubisoft didn't just showcase casual games for the entire 1-hour presser. The company also showed several "Proven Brand" games, as they call them, for hardcore gamers.

First up is the new Brother's In Arms: Hell's Highway for Xbox 360 and PS3. The game looks drastically more colorful and bright than the usual dark, and gloomy nature of most WWII games. Not that a war setting is a happy place of bunnies and rainbows, but the aesthic remained fitting and felt refreshing.

Next, Ubi announced and unveiled a new exclusive Wii game entitled NitroBike. The game looks very similar to Nintendo's Excite Truck including massive jumps, dizzying speed, and 20 off-road tracks. The game hits stores this holiday season and will include online multilayer mode of up to 6 simultaneous players.

Haze, the PS3 exclusive announced at yesterday's Sony Press Briefing, was also shown, though only as a teaser trailer. Despite this, the game will be available this holiday.

The publisher's conference ended with an in-depth look at the highly-anticipated Assassin's Creed designed by Ubisoft Montreal. The game looks stellar as it has since last year, and the character fluidity in HD never fails to impress. The on-stage demo wasn't without it's glitches, however, as a handful of times there was slowdown, but hopefully this is just the result of showing an unfinished game due later this year. Still, our early hands-on with the newest build of the game had us giddy with the prospects; it's simply a blast pulling off "Runs" across the high beams of Jerusalem.

We would have liked to have seen more Splinter Cell: Conviction action in lieu of the short trailer shown, but the titles shown today were more than enough to get us excited.

"This is our best year ever in terms of new games," said Guillemot near the close of the conference. Is he right? We'll find out soon enough, though it very well could be.

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