As you might expect, the stands with playable software are drawing the biggest crowds here at ECTS, and Ubi Soft's was no exception. In fact, in typical Ubi style, most of the stand was shut away for press drinks (wahey) and press screening rooms, where we were busy playing Rayman 3 with the game's producer, meaning that the crowds spilt out onto the gangways and caused a right royal blockage. And of course, the more crowded things get, the more people are busy trying to catch a glimpse. A section of the stand facing outwards was given over to what we were told was an E3 demo of Rayman 3, along with versions of Splinter Cell, XIII and lone PC title Raven Shield, which was, if anything, enjoying the lion's share of the spectators. Splinter Cell looked resplendent, with quirky visual modes adding to the MGS-style gameplay, and those immersed at the console simply would not be kicked off. If you thought the screenshots were a bit too good, you should see the game in motion - you'll come to the same conclusion. XIII, likewise, was very impressive in action, coupling typical cel-shading effects with slightly less typical visual approximations of sound effects. "Tap… tap… tap…" gradually crawls along a wall - certainly helpful in the din of ECTS - and before long a guard emerges and you make use of your stealthier weapons to silence him. Rayman 3 was perhaps the biggest surprise to us, borrowing aspects from a myriad different genres and infusing them into one single experience. The game thrusts you from obvious platform elements into boat-racing and helicopting, and juggling the various aspects of the control system is refreshingly different to mastering the likes of Mario Sunshine. The graphical style when it comes to level design, characters and power-up visuals are all extremely distinctive.
Tomorrow afternoon we'll be talking in more depth with Ubi Soft about Splinter Cell, XIII and Raven Shield, and later on today we'll bring you a hands-on playtest with Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc.