Microsoft E3 Summary, Pros, and Cons

Microsoft impressed me with a great display of technological prowess at E3 this year. However, I was not so much impressed by  the other developers, for the most part.

 

The conference began with the unveiling of backward compatibility which will even allow the use of all Xbox One’s features, such as Twitch, screencaps, and voice commands. Even the multiplayer from Xbox Live will remain in tact. Pretty impressive start to the conference, I must say!

 

The next showing was of Bungie’s  Halo 5. They teased at the question ‘Is Master Chief a traitor?’ before showing scenes of the new game. I’m not really a fan of this series, but I didn’t see anything new or outstanding to pull me into it since the second game, which was the last one I enjoyed. The graphics were sub-par for the potential of the Xbox One and the gameplay doesn’t look to have gotten any new features that will make people talking up a storm. Armor Abilities are replaced by Spartan Abilities, allowing players to use all of the given set of skills rather than being character-specific. Things such as sliding, or pulling one’s self up a ledge; everything games liek Medal of Honor and Call of Duty have been doing for years. Still awaiting the day they tell me head-shots can OHKO someone, then I’ll come back to the series.

 

Bethesda announced Fallout 4 and with a doozie of a side treat for Fallout fans; modding! Fallout 4 will allow you to take mods created on the PC and play them on the Xbox One. This is the first time anything like this has been officially done (without tampering with the system in some way) and can open up a whole new door for console gaming! They also showed the real-life Pip-Boy in action, and it was your run-of-the-mill side application, but with a realistic polish on it; I’d like to see more games get this kind of treatment.

 

Electronic Arts told the audience that Dragon Age: Inquisition is coming to the Xbox One. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is releasing next spring. The teaser trailer showed Zomburbia having an epic battle with Kenny Loggins’ ‘Danger Zone’ playing in the background. Not exactly sure how I feel about that as I don’t see what it has to do with revving engines or a highway when the game’s setting is a suburb, but whatever. Parodying Titanfall, we watched as a robot (that looked like the one built by the Irkin Elite which Invader Zim uses to destroy his own planet in the first episode) crashes to the Earth at the end of the video.

 

The preview for Forza Motorsport 6 took my attention from the game and to an actual Ford GT that was slowly descended in the center of the audience. Releasing September 15th, Fora Motorsport 6 will be including this fine vehicle. As always, the graphics look right at home on Microsoft’s current-generation console.

 

Keeping with the theme of teaser trailers without gameplay footage this year, Dark Souls III was shown with and early 2016 promise for release. Knights, fire, darkness.. all the normal elements from the series atmosphere was there in a cinematic trailer that told nothing about the game. Hopefully, they will fix the crappy multiplayer connection and just make a traditional friend invite system. So sick of playing these games with such troublesome “did you see my chalk mark? no? Let me lie it back down”. Let’s hope they remove that aggravation and the feeling of wanting to face-plant a nail that comes along with it.

 

Ubisoft announced  a new action RPG; Tom Clancy’s The Division. The beta will be available on Xbox One in December 2015. Also announced,  Rainbow Six: Siege releases in November with Vegas and Vegas 2 – thanks to the backward compatibility -to come free with purchase.

 

Gigantic, a windows 10 and Xbox One exclusive, reminds me of Team Fortress if it were set in a desert valley with eccentric animal-based anthromorphs. Textures in this game are very bland and lacking detail, making it feel almost like a Skylanders game or other similar cartoony games – which it is. Kids and furry lovers might enjoy this alternative to the more violent Halo or  Battlefield style games. The game will feature arena-based combat with the ability to call forth upon ‘gigantic’ creatures such as Chinese dragons to aid you in pulverizing your foes, will be free to play, and have a beta releasing soon.

 

Tacoma teaser explains nearly nothing and graphically reminded me of mid-to-late 1990’s PC games. From what was shown you appear to be a holographic silhouette humanoid of some sort that is trying to find out why they are alone in a spaceship-based galactic museum.

 

Aurora 44’s Ashen also looks visually unstunning, fitting somewhere between Tacoma and Gigantic. The game is said to focus on ‘friend or foe’ choices within its tomb Raider-like dungeon exploration and puzzle solving base.

 

Beyond Eyes was a very short yet colorful teaser. he way a lot of the graphics appeared within the wall of white made me recall The Unfinished Swan’s artistic creativity. Other than a child walking around in pastel glass-like grass and flowers, not much else was really shown.

 

The game I am most interested in from Microsoft’s E3 unveiling is Cuphead, a game inspired by 1930’s cartoons. They recreated the look and feel of some of my favorite classic cartoon styles from such minds as Chuck Jones and Tex Avery, or in particular Disney’s Silly Symphony (especially The Skeleton Dance), with spot-on precision. Cuphead will feature arcade-style action side-scrolling similar to Gunstar Heroes and Castle Crashers. The game is said to be ‘Coming 1936 (plus eighty more years)’.

 

Xbox Game Preview is a new feature coming to the Xbox One which allows people to buy and play games while they are still in development.  This will allow gamers to experience the games they are interested in before deciding whether to fund them on Kickstarter or whatever other means is used. Another nice little concept from the PC being moved to console.

 

Dean Hall’s Day Z is an MMO that will allow players to experience gaming in a variety of new ways, so many that the game may be a bit too ambitious for the Indie Developer to get all of it out right away. the game will be part of the Xbox Game Preview line-up coming out, so some hands-on time to experience these ‘new ways’ will not be out of the question.

 

Rise of the Tomb Raider is the first game to be shown with impressively life-like graphics since the start of the presentation, and sadly, it was shown near the end. It is a cold day in Hell for Lara as she and her friend have catastrophe after catastrophe whilst scaling an ice-clad frigid mountain of death which seemingly has an extreme prejudice for those wanting to climb it.Look for the game to release in time for the holidays.

 

Rareware is making a come-back with Rare Replay, a collection of 30+ games from retro days. Also shown was a new multiplayer share-ware game exclusive to Xbox One entitled Sea of Thieves. A pirate game with environments which remind me of ones seen in aforementioned games on this list – very blank and lacking detail in a cartoony way – focusing not only on arena-like combat but cannon-firing ship-to-ship battles as well. It actually seems pretty enjoyable and though I am not a huge pirate fan I have a particular friend who is which I know would enjoy playing this with me if local co-op or versus is allowed.

 

Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive Fable Legends looked pretty sweet, but the sugary-sweet toothache of awesome is not the graphics, but rather that it is free-to-play AND cross-platform! for those confused between cross-console and cross-platform, the latter means Xbox One users can play with friends on Windows 10 and the former would be Xbox 360 and Xbox One, but the game is exclusive to Windows 10 and Xbox One, so don’t expect cross-console gaming here, in case I confused someone.

 

Microsoft and Mojang’s Minecraft update displaying the new HoloLens was simply amazing! A person wearing the HoloLens can not just play the game displayed on their wall for them to see, but place it on a table-like surface and bring it to life as though it were a Lego display. Once on the table the game can be zoomed in or out, pulled upward to see what is under where you are, and even pierced by a pillar of light to mark a particular location for other people in game (even those without the HoloLens) to see! The presentation was closed by a simple voice command telling the game to strike a pig pen with lightning, creating zombie pigmen much in the same way as creepers get upgrades or townfolk turn into witches.

 

Gears of War Ultimate Edition, a  GoW remastering to release August 25th, was spoken about briefly before Gears of War 4  (simply called Gears 4) was shown. I’ll admit, the game does look pretty nice, despite the series being one of my least-liked franchises due to the controls and a story that does not keep me interested. Gears 4, however, seems to be taking a lot of inspiration from older 3rd-person shooters with some of the action scenes. I’ll definitely be trying this one out with much optimism.

 

PROS:

On the part of Microsoft themselves they are apparently listening to their fans with the inclusion of backward compatibility, some pretty slick new ways of utilizing augmented reality gameplay with the HoloLens, and (though I didn’t mention it earlier) a new metal-cast controller with interchangeable and customizable parts.

 

Rise of the Tomb Raider, Halo 5, and Fallout 4, Gears of War / Gears 4, Forza 6, Dark Souls 3, and Rainbow 6: Siege are  coming soon for fans of those pre-existing franchises.

 

Rare is making a return to the development scene after what felt like forever!

 

Unlike Sony, the majority of games shown actually included release dates.

 

CONS:

 

Most of the games were very ‘smooth’ and ‘bland’ texture-wise, lacking the details we’ve come to know from Sony and Microsoft. Rather, they felt as though they belonged on the Wii U.

 

Too many teaser trailers – even more-so than Sony’s E3 performance – and not enough actual in-game footage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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