Hey folks, Valkor here. The last two rounds TOV met with Ubisoft, they came to NYC - first was the Press Preview, followed by the Dance Party. Both were enjoyable events, showing off some great titles. But if a third meet up was to be had, I didn't wanna wait until Ubi returns to NYC, I'm brought it to their turf. Yup TOV went to San Francisco last week, where we got the chance to hang out in the Ubisoft office, play some cool new Xbox 360 Kinect games, plus get more hands on time with Rocksmith.
Before we start things off, let's give a shout out to "The Hero Feed", check em out if you're into the video game music scene.
The Adventures of Tintin: The Game (Kinect Mode) – When we first hung out with Ubisoft, we got the chance to only look at the Tintin title, this round we were handle to try out the Kinect portion of the game. With the Kinect portion, you're given different scenarios to play through which involves driving and shooting, flying and shooting, or swashbuckling. With the driving and shooting, you start out as the driver while the computer controls the shooter. You gotta keep up with the enemies so your partner can take em out. The next round the roles are reversed and now you're the shooter. With the flying game, you're both pilot; when you get an enemy in your sites, you'll be prompted when to fire away. With just the flying you'll need to take five pictures and in order to get the right shot you'll need to fly through these rings. When you nail the final ring, you'll get your shot. Finally you have the swashbuckling; you'll wave your arm frantically fighting off pirates. Reminiscent of Star Wars Arcade when you fight either Darth Vader or Boba Fett, you'll be given screen prompts when to block and strike for certain enemies, though most enemies you can just attack. There is one scenario where you'll have to fight two twin pirates and you have to wait until both attack so they can blocked at the same time and then attacked. It wasn't too much of a work out like the next two titles, but it was a lot of fun.
Power Up Heroes – I always wondered how a fighting game would work on the Kinect and now I wonder no more. OK so Power Up Heroes isn't Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken kinda crazy; I mean I can't imagine anyone trying to pull of those moves in their home. However in Power Up Heroes, you'll slap your Xbox avatar into a super suit and pit him/her in full body combat against other super powered beings. When you win, you get their suit and all the abilities that come with it. Using your body as the controller, you'll perform moves such as creating and shooting fireballs, summoning creatures, super-powered knee kicks, etc. Trust me it was a work out, but very entertaining. Oh and I should mention that there's an Ezio (Assassin's Creed) and the Rabbid suit (from the Rabbid games) available, which really piqued my interest. Look for Power Up Heroes later this fall.
Raving Rabbids: Alive and Kicking – Party game + 4 players + Raving Rabbids = fun is about to be on! As hard as you try to keep the Rabbids down, they simply won't stay down and in their latest title, you'll come face to face with the Rabbids (using augmented reality) in an explosion of mini games that up to four people can play at the same time. Whack a Rabbid is a favorite where you get to step on the Rabbids as they come up from the floor, use your body to control a fire fighter to block the Rabbids from destroying a building using burning marshmallows, or guide your Rabbid into a blender type device where you'll use your body to activate bridges and walkways, guiding the Rabbids to their squishy demise. It was definitely a work out and who doesn't need more Rabbids in their lives?
Rocksmith – Last but certainly not least, I got in about 4 hours of hands time with this innovative and ambitious title from Ubi. And I've learned a few things about this learning experience; first, no matter how hard I try, I just can't shake that Guitar Hero/Rock Band feeling. I know that Rocksmith isn't a game - it's a learning experience and I need to get over that hump to fully embrace what this title is trying to accomplish. Second, I've gained a new respect for guitarist everywhere (the real guitarists), after four hours of play... man I really felt in my arms. Mind other than my previous hands on, this was truly the only time I've ever picked up and attempted to play a guitar. Finally, what you play, actually plays on top of what's actually being played, meaning you're not really playing the guitar bits, because if you don't play anything, the game still plays guitar bits and all. Forgive me if most of you know this, but I sure didn't. And that's not a negative in any way towards the game; in fact it will helped me improve in my timing. Forget trying to memorize those color patterns, that's not happening in this title - it's all about listening and hitting the right cord. For first timers, you might wanna check out Ernie Ball's tutorials starting with the basics such as how to hold the guitar, riffs, and strums moving into more advance stuff such as power chords, pinched harmonics, and how to restring your guitar. I also got to try out the GuitarCade, first up is Ducks. In this game, you'll hit the appropriate chord to take down some ducks that are trying to escape. In Super Ducks, the ducks come at you and again you gotta hit the right note to take em down. Finally there's Scale Runner; you'll aid this digital character with the help of your guitar and nailing the right notes guiding him to his goal.
And now for some Rocksmith commentary. I've taken sort of a shine to the title. Notice I try not to call it a game, because I don't feel it is and it shouldn't be marketed that way... however I think people might be less persuaded into buying it if they think it's all about learning and no fun. But I feel Rocksmith mixes both learning and fun into one entertaining bundle. When I first picked up the guitar, even all alone in the PR room, I still felt intimidated, but I quickly shook that feeling because I'm not playing at someone else's pace, I'm playing and learning at my own. And if you've ever wanted to at least learn how to play the guitar, then this is the best method, because you'll have so much fun doing it. I found it even more of a pleasure when I was joined with The Hero Feed guy as well as another (Sorry if I forgot your name and site), because we shared our insight into the game and gave each other encouragement. Rocksmith isn't a game - it's an experience. Look for Rocksmith to hit the shelves next month on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. You can either buy just the game or you can buy the bundle (that comes with a real guitar) for 200 bucks and to be honest, that's not a bad deal at all. I mean you get a real fucking guitar, not some cheap plastic controller! How cool is that?