Tuesday, June 11, 2019

E3 2019 Highlights: Ubisoft & Square Enix

While there were a total of seven E3 presentations today, I decided to focus on the two that tend to deliver consistently good shows, and even more importantly, consistently good games: Ubisoft and Square Enix.

Here's what stood out to me from the Monday conferences:

Having set the bar so high in previous years, this show felt like a little bit of a letdown. Most of it focused on games in the Tom Clancy franchise, which is not really my thing, but I'm sure this was very exciting to fans of those games. Thus only a few parts of Ubi's presentation really spoke to me:
  •  Watchdogs Legion - The new Watchdogs is set in a cyberpunk future London. While the basic gameplay looks like GTA with hacking, this game boasts an interesting system in which you can recruit and switch between a wide variety of characters. The assassin granny, was of course, the most amusing. Ubi stated that this game has permadeath (i.e. you can't revive a character once they've been killed) which seems like a shame since I think I would want to keep my favorite characters in my queue the whole time. (preview)
  • Brawlhalla Adventure Time DLC - Finn and Jake are coming to the Smash Bros-like fighter, Brawlhalla. I briefly played some of this game at Momocon, and I could definitely see the Adventure Time characters fitting right in. (trailer)
  • Just Dance 2020 - While I haven't played any of the Just Dance games, I like that Ubi always announces the new ones with a live dance performance. Also, this game is coming to all the typical platforms... and also Wii! Can you believe it, a brand new game for the Nintendo Wii in 2019?! (dance performance)
  • Uplay+ - Similar to Microsoft's Game Pass, Ubi is offering a new subscription that gives you access to 100+ games and each of their new games as they're released on PC. The games can either be downloaded or played via the Google Stadia streaming service. At $15/month, it seems a little pricey.
  • Roller Champions - A colorful futuristic sports game that reminded me a lot of the sport played in Battle Angel Alita. I'm not big on sports games, but I liked the stylized look and friendly tone of what they showed. (trailer
  • Gods & Monsters - It's a shame this game got such a brief tease. It's an absolutely gorgeous action adventure game that appears to be based on Greek mythology from the studio that makes Assassin's Creed. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this one in the future. (trailer)
Square Enix
As one of my all-time favorite game publishers, I always look forward to Square's conference. They crammed a lot into this presentation! I found myself wishing that they had given each game a little more time to breathe, but there was definitely a lot of good stuff on display.
  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake - They came right out with the big guns! The main focus of this part of the presentation was to not only showcase the graphics, but also explain how the combat system works. During battle, regular attacks are executed in real time like an action game in order to build up an ability meter. Special moves consume this meter and can be executed in either turn-based menu-driven style (like in the original FF7) or in real time using button commands. A boss battle showed during the demonstration also showed the the player can use the environment as cover to avoid enemy attacks. Square also said that FF7R will be a series of games rather than a single release; the first game will take place entirely in Midgar. I wasn't especially hyped for this remake before, but now I'm definitely on board! (trailer)
  • Dragon Quest 11 S - The Switch version of DQ11 really does seem to be the most complete version of the game. Both the 2D and 3D art style options looked really good. My backlog is rapidly growing out of control, but this may be the game that pulls me back into Dragon Quest after being away for many years. (trailer)
  • Romancing Saga 3 and Saga Scarlet Grace Ambitions - These two previously Japan-only RPGs are coming to the West! While these are both older titles, it's always nice to get newly localized JRPGs. The only part of the Saga series I've played is Saga Frontier on the PS1. I'm curious to hear about how these are in comparison. (trailer)
  • Final Fantasy 14 Shadow Bringer - This expansion to the MMO Final Fantasy sounded intriguing with its concept of finding balance between the forces of light and darkness (typically all the other games in the series only focus on the Warriors of Light). Even though I'm not into MMOs, I will play at least a little of FF14 in my quest to play every numbered Final Fantasy game. (trailer)
  • War of the Visions - This mobile game may be inspired by Final Fantasy Brave Exvius but the gameplay looks more like Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem. It also seems like it has some interesting lore. Perhaps this will the Square mobile RPG that'll finally get its hooks into me. (trailer)
  • Outriders - A change-up from Square's typical far, this co-op shooter that appears to also involve magic could be interesting.  (trailer)
  • Avengers - I may be kind of burnt out on Marvel's superheroes from all the recent movies, but this is a game from the developers of my beloved Tomb Raider, so it has my attention. There was little shown of the gameplay, but the cinematics were interesting because this an original depiction of the Marvel characters rather than being based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also of note, they appear to be excluding Hawkeye from the Avengers team. While I know some people are big fans of that character, from a gameplay standpoint, he'd likely be the least exciting to play. (trailer)
PC Gaming
I didn't watch this conference, but a few interesting games were pointed out to me by folks on Twitter that I figured I might as well highlight. If you're interested in a full recap of what was shown at this conference, I recommend this article from Venture Beat.
  • Cris Tales - A turn-based RPG about time travel that reminds me in some ways of Chrono Trigger. I really like the art style they used for the characters. There's a demo out on Steam that I'm looking forward to trying. (trailer)
  • Vampire the Mascarade Bloodlines 2 - My streamer pal, Bogus Meat Factory, brought this game to my attention. A first-person RPG with a gothic vampire setting could be an interesting break from the typical fantasy settings we usually see in the genre. (trailer)
  • Shenmue 3 - As a fan of this series, this game has, of course, been on my radar for quite some time (I backed the Kickstarter years ago). Seeing more gameplay was nice and we got confirmation that the game would be releasing this year. It was also announced that the PC version would be exclusive to the Epic Game Store rather than Steam, contrary to what had previously been stated. While I don't have a strong preference for one game launcher versus another, I can still understand why some fans are upset about this sudden change. (trailer)
Watchdogs Legion
Brawlhalla Adventure Time DLC
Just Dance 2020
Roller Champions
Gods & Monsters
Final Fantasy 7 Remake
Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Final Fantasy 14 Shadow Bringers
Romancing Saga 3


  1. Square Enix definitely had the most distinct overall presentation so far - I loved using the picture-wall as a framing device as well as a gauge of progress through the presentation for those paying close attention.

    For all the Final Fantasy material and the buzz around Avengers, it's nice to see the more unique offerings peppered in like Cris Tales and Roller Champions - both of which even have demos already!

    ( #JusticeForHawkeye )

    1. I've already downloaded the demo for Cris Tales. I'll have to try to squeeze it in somewhere with everything going on this month! 😅