As it was with many company booth tours, Ubisoft was woefully disorganized. We scheduled a full hour on Wednesday to get a feel for their games, but we were only able to get our hands (and feet) on Shaun White for both the 360 and Wii. However, we were invited to the killer Ubisoft party in Hollywood and got an in-depth look at the excellent Far Cry 2 title later that evening and played around with their other offerings on the show floor.
Shaun White looks to be a solid title on the home consoles. Two separate development teams were allocated to each project. In other words, the Wii version doesn't feel like a dumbed-down adaptation. We started out by hopping on to the Wii Balance Board and cruising down the piste. The Balance Board, of course, works ideally for a snowboarding title. Furthermore, my initial reckless (not wreck-less) approach quickly changed to being rather skillful in just 15 minutes. In fact, I was able to exceed both the moderate and high goals provided for us in the half-pipe demo. It looks as though this title should be a real treat for Wii owners.
As far as the 360 version goes (PS3 was not available), the environments look tight. There are four different mountains to choose from, all of which will encompass a large variety of terrain. For demo purposes, we were given a high alpine section (above tree line) to tool around in. The controls felt a little janky at first; they used two analog sticks rather than a familiar Tony Hawk-like setup. But by the end, I was able to pull off some sweet tricks. All in all, the title should be quite solid for the high-powered home consoles. The vast and detailed environments along with a unique jump-in, jump-out multiplayer experience that requires no matching lobbies are quite outstanding.
As for the Prince, well, we didn't get a glimpse at it other than at the Ubisoft press conference. It's not that big a deal though, because no one was allowed to actually play it anyway. Ubisoft was simply offering a guided demo. Nevertheless, the game does look excellent. Thankfully, the Prince's partner in this quest will be no helpless pushover, the creatures and environments are very creative and interesting, and only the graphics seemed to be hit-or-miss depending on one's particular taste. Don't worry, visually The Prince should appeal to most, but the cel-shaded look can be a disappointment for those who prefer the more realistic presentation of the original action/adventure trilogy.