A perennial contender for E3 Showcase of the Year is Ubisoft, mainly for their lineup of quality games. Aside from only one moment of “dead air”, Ubisoft accomplished what they set out to do: get us excited and ready to buy their big name titles. However, it’s one thing to see the game played by others, but it’s an entirely other thing to play the game yourself. Ubisoft invited us to check out a few of the top games shown at E3 2018, and we were surprised to find out how much we loved Trials Rising and the new content coming to For Honor with the Marching Fire DLC.
Ok, I’ll admit I didn’t know what Trials was when Ubisoft announced Trials Rising, during their press conference. It just looked like a random motocross game with a mix of goat simulator. So, when I was invited to play it, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.
When I entered the room, I was greeted by one of the Finnish developers who was tasked with being my tour guide through the world of Trials Rising. He explained that this was a lot harder of a game to produce than many would expect and required logging several hours in these locations, around the world, to make sure that every track they made was true to that location, even if it involved outlandish stunts. If they were able to pull it off, I’m not entirely sure, since the locations I explored didn’t show anything recognizable. Despite that, the attention to detail and off-the-wall (literally) humor is what makes this game fun.
Starting off, my guide gave me a glimpse of the customization screen, showing me the various ways players will be able to create their own unique biker. You can change everything about your character, even adding stuff to the top of the helmet, like bunny ears or a bird’s nest. When that finished, he advised me to use the beginner bike on easier courses to get a good idea about how the game worked. The Americas had the easier locations, perfect for a novice like me.
What I realized, control-wise, is that Trials Rising uses joystick motions that are very sensitive to the outcome of the stunt. For instance, if you want to do a backflip in the air, you have to time it right after the jump to get the most out of the stunt. The more you do, the likelier the chances are of you crashing and burning, which is something that happens early and often, and truly makes the game special. In fact, mastering the game’s sensitivity with more advanced bikes and courses becomes the challenge within the game’s incentive-based challenges. If you’re not ready, like I wasn’t, you may find yourself failing to climb a simple hill in South Korea, over and over and over again.
While it is a fun motocross game, the crashing is truly what makes this game an enjoyable experience. My new Finnish friend (we’re friends because he taught me the Finnish word Nino) showed me the new Trials feature known as Tandem, where you ride a motorcycle together and must work together to perform stunts and make your way to the finish line. What we learned is that this is the perfect mode for competitive siblings to play as there is a button that causes one player’s character to bail out and make the other do all the work. Doing this, created one of the funniest moments of my entire E3.
We were riding tandem, going down a hill. At the perfect time, I hit the bail out button, sending my character flying. The dev starts laughing, going down the hill, flips and lands right into the face of my fallen character, who is still on the track. The game hadn’t yet registered it as a crash so we’re laughing as our bodies are flailing around. Then, it transitioned into rooting for the dev to flip the bike by himself, which is did to cheers all around. He ultimately crashed, but we finished the tandem to end the demo. When I left that room, my face and side were sore from the constant laughter. It’s definitely a game to play with friends at a party, with some spirits!
Trials Rising has a tentative release date of February 2019!
For Honor: Marching Fire
Obviously For Honor is not new to this year. It released last February and was celebrated for its combat mechanics and graphics. One year and a bevy of updates later, For Honor is a more complete game than it was upon initial release. There are tons of new characters with their own specific special abilities, look, and motions. With Marching Fire, there are a few more characters joining the battle and a new mode that could make even the most jaded fan tempted to pick up the game once more.
They started off the demo by giving us a chance to practice with the members of the new Wu Lin Faction, specifically the Tiandi. The movements of this character were very smooth and felt different from the other warriors we’ve played with previously. The Tiandi tend to have a very strange stance where they lean to the side as the strike, almost like the warriors in your favorite martial arts film that protected royalty. Once the tutorial was over, the For Honor team gave us the opportunity to lock swords against the opposing forces on the opposite side of the table, in the brand new multiplayer mode, Breach.
Breach is a 4v4 mode in which one team defends and one team attacks. The team attacking storms the castle being defended by the defending team, using a massive ram that attempts to breach several zones. The objective for the attacking team is to get the ram all the way to the throne room where the King resides. Kill the King and you win. Although, it’s not that easy. The defending team has two ways to win the game, whereas the breaching team only has one. To win, the defending team can either A. Destroy the Ram or B. Kill enough of their opponents to where they simply can’t revive anymore. You can’t revive, you get eliminated, and if all 4 get eliminated you lose and the defenders win.
In our game, my team were the defenders of the castle. Funny enough, we all had the same idea in mind and selected the Shaolin warrior. As the Shaolin, we used silky smooth movements and long staff to incapacitate our enemies. Plus, we had the intriguing ability of appearing behind them to strike a deadly blow. Our first objective was to split off into two teams, one protected the archers above, the other fought off the invaders below. Unfortunately, for us, the opposing team was good enough to make it through the first few walls. However, what really made this playthrough so fun was the tenacity our team showed, using teamwork and coordination to revive our allies and gang up on pursuing enemies. The game came down to the wire, as the breachers found their way into our throne room and began attacking our King. The good thing we had going for us, though, was that we laid the groundwork early on by eliminating their revives to the point where they had no revives left by the time they got to our King. All it took was dividing our enemies and working together. The King was saved and the invaders retreated to an uproarious applause from the dev team behind us.
Admittedly, I had put down For Honor some time ago, but playing Marching Fire really gave me the urge to get back into it. Ubisoft clearly put a ton of time and attention into their new faction, making it fun to experience these new characters. More importantly, though, the Breach mode really allows fans to feel what it’s like to know all out war. We had a blast firing massive crossbows at our enemies, having brutal battles by the ram, all to feel the ultimate satisfaction of victory. Marching Fire is an expansion that makes picking up For Honor again worth it.
For Honor: Marching Fire releases on October 16, 2018!
Check back tomorrow as we breakdown our thoughts on Tom Clancy's The Division 2 and the highly-anticipated pirate game, Skull & Bones!