Now that the press events are over (minus the Nintendo Software Showcase) and people know what to expect from the Electronic Entertainment Expo this year from Sony and Microsoft. EA and Ubisoft also had their own press events but this posting is just about the two companies that are releasing consoles for the next generation of gaming. This features highlights and some light thoughts.
I was quite shocked that Microsoft kept their word about ensuring that we only see games during their press event. I didn’t hear much word about TV other than Twitch and the cool ability to directly stream online, the Microsoft event was better than I thought it was going to be but nothing stellar. The Xbox One has been steadily getting news about the features it will be having, like online authentication once every 24 hours to play games and an odd Used Game policy. However, this isn’t necessarily about the console, but the games as that is what they showed.
The New 360: Microsoft has released a new Xbox 360 modeled after the Xbox One. With supposed updates and improvements to the hardware. Pretty much, they didn’t read the Twitter feed about how much the community hates the New Betamax. They managed to make the somewhat sleek Xbox 360 into a blocky mess.
World of Tanks: Rising in popularity, Wargaming.net is now releasing their PvP all Tank simulator onto the Xbox 360 that is F2P for Xbox Live Gold gamers. I guess this is interesting because the 360 is practically dead and irrelevant in the transition of gaming generations.
Ryse: Fall of Rome: Ryse was the first Xbox One exlcusive Microsoft showed attendees and onlookers of their press event. It featured a rather cnemeatic scene of a roman general giving a pep talk of sorts to other roman soldiers heading off to war on their boat, very similar to D-Day but all roman and stuff. While the details were clean I was curious about the gameplay. When the man playing Ryse began fighting I noticed it was more akin to the Warhammer 40k game Space Marine rather than the God of War action I expected. It focuses on short combos with long drawn out brutal executions riddled with Quick Time Event button presses. The guy playing used too many of these executions and it turned me off to the gameplay form the presentation. I fear this game is going to focus too much on a gaming innovation popularized by God of War and continued with Resident Evil.
Forza Motorport 5: I have rarely been into racing games I played Forza 3 a long time ago when it was popular and I was not very impressed. The clunky almost stiff controls made the game almost unplayable. Forza 5 has a nice presentation showing an actual car from the game on stage complete with fog. The presentation focused too much on the detail and graphics of the cars rather than the actual gameplay. Which is something not only common in the gaming industry, but for press events. I am not impressed and if I do get an Xbox One, I will not be picking up this title from what I have seen. However, if you like shiny cars this is a game for you.
Dead Rising 3: Ah yes, a game many gamers were waiting for. Dead rising 3 is an Xbox one exclusive title featuring a new setting, new character, new weapons and a new crafting system. With no signs of stopping the scripted demos kept coming. While I know the gameplay was in real time. The way the person played made it feel unnatural. It boasts a free roaming world with no load times. The presentation was bad but the ideas were nice to think about.
Metal Gear Solid V: We got to see a gameplay trailer of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and with Konami announcing the new voice actor for Snake, it let many enraged. Well, Kojima Productions debuted the characters of MGS V and among them was “Punished Snake”. Not Big Boss, not Solid Snake, not a Snake David Hayter is attached to. Therefore, the new addition of the brilliant actor Kiefer Sutherland is more welcome than ever. The new stealth mechanics like hiding behind giant tanks and horses with real time weather conditions make this an interesting Metal Gear Game. Oh did I mention it is an open world?
Sunset Overdrive: Well, Insomniac Games is just full of surprises. FUSE was released and a step in the door with third person shooters and now they are continuing their lineup of shooters with Sunset Overdrive. An Xbox One exclusive this is a game that is portrayed to take place in “a living world” according to Ted Price the trailer was filled with monsters and a nimble young man with a gun that shot orange soda. While the cartoony atmosphere is not surprising, the focus on shooters is. Not much was given about the game, just a trailer was shown.
Killer Instinct: Quite possibly one of the biggest surprises for the Xbox One press event was the announcement of the new Rare game, Killer Instinct. Yes gamers, Killer Instinct is back and in 2.5D. Taking nods from popular once 2D fighters to 3D model in a 2.5D environment the new Killer Instinct looks to be an Xbox One seller. Not much was revealed about the game other than the visual improvements.
Minecraft Xbox One Edition: Nothing is known about this new addition to Minecraft. We have a trailer and that is it. To be honest, I do not care because the PC version will always be superior to any console version released. We don’t need another Minecraft console game; we didn’t need one in the first place.
Quantum Break: Ah yes, one of the few games shown at the Xbox One reveal it was and still is being advertised as a ground breaking game that allows people to move in and out of phase space interacting with the real world that appears to be frozen in time. Not much is known about the story, and the trailer shown during the press event was very much a cinematic and not actual gameplay.
Dark Souls 2: The sequel to the punishing action RPG is now given a trailer and release window. With some nice visuals and a combat vignette Dark Souls appears to be the same as the original but with a story to continue.
Project Spark: A rather interesting take on the God Genre where you can use the voice commands of the Kinect and the Smart Glass technology you can build a world and make your own instances and play with friends. Of the games shown, this was one I really wanted to see more of. However, it seemed to rely heavily on Smart Glass and that is very off putting.
Other Games: These games include the Pixar esque platformer Max: The Cursed Brotherhood, the latest 343 Studios installment of the Halo franchise called Halo and the new episodic thriller D4. The Halo trailer was rather odd considering it didn’t really show what this Halo game was. The title didn’t have a 5 or anything after it so the trailer felt like it was only made to generate hype. Max looks like a really cool platformer with heavy indie influence, and D4 looks to be one of those games that actually tells a good story.
Non-Gaming Stuff: There will be no more Microsoft Points for the Xbox One marketplace, Smart Glass is going to be a staple in Xbox One games, users of Xbox Live Gold will get two free games to keep forever, and that the Xbox One will launch in November 2013 for $499 USD.
Overall thoughts: The Microsoft event had some nice announcements that caught me sort of by surprise despite most of these games were already leaked. They did what they set out to do and talk about games. However, the current structure of what the Xbox One represent and is giving to gamers does not give it a free past just because it has cool games. Tl:DR The event is ok.