Category Archives: Ubisoft

Beyond Good & Evil, PC

Michel Ancel (the creator of Rayman) and his team produced a video gaming classic in 2003 with Ubisoft‘s Beyond Good & Evil.

It is a pseudo sci-fi fantasy, third-person action/adventure where you control a young woman called Jade, with a pig sidekick called Pey’j, and who is battling against the sinister “DomZ”.

Continue reading Beyond Good & Evil, PC

Grandia, PlayStation

Grandia was initially released in 1997 on the Sega Saturn in Japan, and then later in 1999 on the Sony PlayStation.

Only the later PlayStation version received an official English translation (although the Sega Saturn version does have a fan translation, using the same text as the PlayStation version, but was not available in English until the patch was released in March 2019).

Grandia is Game Arts‘ attempt at breaking into the Japanese Role-Playing Game market and it is a very successful one.

It’s a level-grinding adventure starring a young boy called Justin, on a path to uncover a mysterious lost civilisation. The focus of the story is on exploration, technology and magic. The focus of the gameplay is on exploration and combat, based in a simple 3D world populated by 2D characters and enemies.

Visually, Grandia looks a little dated by today’s standards, but the gameplay has definitely lasted. Grinding levels and using magic is a lot of fun, and although Grandia does have a relatively simple story and dialogue the game contains enough charm and content to please both the casual gamer and the hardcore RPG fan.

A HD remake is also due relatively soon. Grandia definitely has a following, and deservedly so.

See also: Grandia II and Grandia III

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandia_(video_game)

Zombi, Atari ST

A strange game, and Ubisoft‘s first ever video game release, coming out in 1986.

Zombi is a clear appropriation [ie. lift] of George A. Romero‘s classic 1979 zombie film, Dawn of the Dead, although I don’t think Ubisoft actually bought an official license for it. They just changed all the names of the characters…

A tiny view window gives you control over four individual characters – each controllable – trying to occupy and survive in a shopping mall.

Mouse clicks shoot zombies in the head (when you’ve found weapons), and you have to get used to the arcane weapon loading system, otherwise the zombies attack you and reduce your health when you think you’re firing but are actually not. Having to click the spanner icon to reload after every shot is not at all intuitive…

Zombi I think is overrated. It’s not a bad game, but it is fiddly and not particularly scary or playable. It’s just a novelty, I think. Although an interesting one.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombi_(1986_video_game)

Far Cry 2, PC

Far Cry 2 first came out in 2008 and is a first-person shoot ’em up set in a war-torn, ficticious African country. It was developed by Ubisoft Montreal.

The game mixes open world exploration with brutal violence, best-in-class combat, and also showcases many exciting action game concepts – such as great vehicle use and a large arsenal of weapons to choose from.

The action takes place across deserts, jungles and savanna regions – all of them crawling with enemies. In fact: as beautiful as the landscape is: you hardly get a moment to admire it because, more often than not, someone is buzzing around your ankles with a machine gun.

Just like in the original Far Cry, the AI of the opponents in the single-player game of Far Cry 2 is set to high. Far Cry 2 is not a game you play to waltz through on ‘easy’. No – you have to approach things carefully if you’re going to survive. You play it for the tactical challenge.

Although Far Cry 2 may be too brutal for some tastes, I have to say that I had a great time playing it when it first came out. As single-player shooters go it is absorbing, varied and very challenging. Some might even argue that Far Cry 2 is the best game in the series.

It’s been ten years since Far Cry 2 was first released, and it’s still available to buy via the usual outlets, and I would say that it is still well worth a play now. Even if it does require that horrible UPlay thing that Ubisoft forces on you…

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_Cry_2
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/19900/Far_Cry_2/
GOG.com: https://www.gog.com/game/far_cry_2

Darkwatch, XBox

Developed by High Moon Studios, Darkwatch is a First-Person Shooter/survival horror game that crosses the American “Wild West” with ghosts, zombies and werewolves and that kind of material.

When it was first released, back in 2005, is was quite impressive for the time. In this day and age Darkwatch looks and plays very simply, but is not entirely without its redeeming features.

Atmospherically, Darkwatch is still excellent, with lots of ghostly visual effects creating some interesting scenes. The horseback chase sequences are particularly good.

Where the game falls down, though, are the terrible cut scenes and the bogstandard script and voice acting.

The weapons and special powers are interesting. The baddies and bosses are interesting. The environments are interesting. It’s just that the dialogue and rather uninteresting protagonists hold Darkwatch back from being a true classic.

These grabs were taken on a development XBox that outputs lossless screenshots over a network, with pixel perfect quality. A grabber’s dream. 🙂

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkwatch

Rayman, Atari Jaguar

I’ve chosen Rayman on the Atari Jaguar to show first because it was the very first version of Rayman ever released, on any video game system. And it was seen as something of a ‘killer app’ on the Jaguar.

Beautiful, colourful, highly French cartoon graphics.

Feast your eyes on this small selection of high quality grabs!

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayman

Far Cry, PC

Far Cry is one of the greatest first-person shooters ever made. Sure: it looks a little simplistic now, but at the time of release (2004) it was a revelation.

What was so good about it was: the jungle environment (it felt so alive); the AI of the single-player opponents (even on the easier skill levels they were a challenge to beat); the vehicles (boats and jeeps are so much fun), and the weapons and combat options. Not only that, but the melding of modern combat with sci-fi and horror elements in the story made the game stand out from the rest. And indeed: the game spawned a number of successful sequels, and also made a name for developer Crytek too.

These screenshots I took in my first playthrough, way back in 2004. At the time I was living in the United States and bought the game to play while I was there. It came on four (or maybe five) CDs. Pretty sure I played it all the way to the end as well. And, typing this, I feel like I want to go back to it. Is it on Steam? Yes it is. Mmmm…

Update: I did go back to it, and – wow – Far Cry is still incredible! Here’s a new set of screenshots to remind us of that fact.

More: Far Cry on Wikipedia
Steam: Far Cry on Steam
GOG.com: Far Cry on GOG.com