Ubi Soft had one of the larger stands in the trade hall at ECTS this year, and it featured four of their biggest titles due out over the next few months, including Splinter Cell, which quite rightly received the ECTS Game of the Show award.


Ubi Soft stand at ECTS 2002 [Photo copyright GamesPaper]


Splinter Cell is shaping up to be one of this Christmas's big titles, and the visual effects such as heat seeking and night vision really are stunning, and the still screenshots that have been released so far only give you a basic idea of how well the modes have been integrated in to the gameplay.

The idea behind the gameplay is to be stealthy and use some highly skilled and thought out tactics to complete missions, such as breaking the lights in a coridoor so as the security guard can't see where he's walking, and then jumping up on to a high position, with your night vision switched on, and watching until the guard fumbles his way past, before leaping back down and running off.

You can of course also play in a more maveric action way, and just try to shoot your way to victory, but although this may work on some levels, you'll find that only the best tactical play allows you to get where you need without setting the alarms off and alerting the security guards.


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One of the impressive moves, as shown in the screenshot above, is to hang upside down from objects that you'd usually walk under such as pipes and light fittings, and this let's you either hide from the line of sight of people as you crawl upside down past windows, place bombs and gadgets, or break the lights so as they are left in darkness.

XIII is a first person shooter which uses the cel-shaded graphics theme to provide a new style of gameplay, with the system based around the Unreal II engine. Graphically XIII is more advanced than just basic cel-shading, and there is a more 3D look to the graphics which means that it's got a bit of an edge and feel to the game rather than just being like a cartoon.

It might not appear that dropping a first person shooter in to a cel shaded graphics theme would work too well, and generally you'd be right, but when you consider that XIII's all part of a comic book storyline, and features comic book style flashback moments, you'll soon realise that the choice of cel-shaded graphics is one that will pay off and that there is actually a reason for the game to have the graphical style that it's got.


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This comic book style is further empahsised by the text that appears on screen, such as "tap... tap... tap...", "arrrrh" and "baoooomm", and this all adds to the cartoon style of the graphics, and all similar in style to the corny but classic Batman TV series. The text on it's own wouldn't be suited to a first person shooter, and would seem gimmicky, but it seems to work well with the style of XIII, and it'll be interesting to see quite how Ubi Soft decide to use the feature when the game is released next year.

Rainbow Six: Raven Shield was first revealed at E3 earlier this year, and sees the much respected series taken to it's third installment, bringing with it a selection of new moves and gadgets for your squad members to use.

Gameplay revolves around Team Rainbow, and will feature a new storyline which sees the team taking part in a number of dramatic stealth operations at locations around the world, including one which takes part in a London bank which is being terrorised by an armed gang.

Another major improvement is that you can now gradually open and close doors and windows, instead of them just being open or closed, meaning you can now open a door enough to see if there are enemies hiding the other side, and throw grenades or fire your gun through the gap, allowing for a much more stealthy style of gameplay.


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Ubi Soft's Montreal Studios have been working with a real hostage rescue squad from Montreal, and an LAPD Tactics member to ensure that everything in the game is as realistic and life-like as possible, and to ensure that operatives and hostages react to situations just as a real human would. Raven Shield is due for release on the PC and Xbox later this year, with PS2 and Gamecube versions expected to follow.

Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc continues the Rayman series, and brings with it a stack of new visual enhancements on top of the already lush selection of the previous title, such as floating bubbles and light glistening, flames flickering and lighting up objects nearby, and generally looking lovely, like all of Rayman's previous adventures.

The developers have tried to keep the same simple but effective style of gameplay that was in Rayman 2, but provide all new challenges, and thanks to the large levels there's thought to be atleast 15 hours of gameplay from the entire game.


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Rayman also benefits from a new scoring system which let's you rack up points as you complete tasks, and kill enemy characters. Infact you can even multiply your point scoring potential by doing a combination of using your special powers at the same time as attempting a normal point scoring action so as to get a bumper sized score.

Overall a good selection of titles from Ubi Soft, and Splinter Cell looks as though it's going to provide some real stiff competition for Konami's Metal Gear Solid series. It'll also be interesting to see how the use of Cel-shading in XIII goes down with gamers when the title is released during 2003.