The past few years Microsoft has had some what lackluster E3 presentations and with new hardware looming, not many exclusives announced, and Sony having an excellent year they needed to come out and show us why the Xbox brand matters. Thankfully they did just that.
Microsoft of course opened the show with most of the details on Scorpio the power, the design, a November 7th release date and the name Xbox One X. Then proceeded into showing off Forza 7 and the new Metro game in 4K which looked jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
Following that we had a quick trailer and gameplay demo of Assassins Creed: Origins, which seems like Ubisoft took a lot of systems from the most recent Metal Gear and mixed in a bit of Horizon for good measure. A quick pause and then Phil Spencer came on stage to talk about Mixer (a service no one will use) and Player Unknown Battlegrounds coming to Xbox. This is a huge win for Microsoft to have this exclusive to their console, even if it is only for a limited time. After Battlegrounds we got a few bigger indie releases shown off like Deep Rock, The Darwin Project, and State of Decay 2 all of which look good, but nothing that blew my mind.
Then we had the yearly Minecraft portion of the show. This time Minecraft is getting a 4K upgrade in the Super Duper Graphics Pack. Along with that it is getting full cross platform support for every platform except Playstation, and a community pack which adds new items into the game. This is neat, but not for me as I couldn’t care less about Minecraft.
But that’s ok because I got my most hype moment of the show Dragonball Fighter Z a Dragonball Z fighting game by Arc System Works, the developers who make Guilty Gear. This looks so unbelievably good. It appears to be mixing the best parts of Guilty Gear with Marvel Vs Capcom and I am just losing my mind. I can’t wait to play it in early 2018.
A new MMO called the Black Desert was shown off with a very action heavy combat system that is coming next year to console and already out on PC. It looks like it might actually grow the MMO market. My reasoning being because there are so few action heavy MMOs out there and even less quality MMOs on console.
Then we had a showcase of more indie developers and Japanese games. The Last Night, The Artful Escape, Code Vein were all shown off and look solid, but we didn’t get enough detail on anyone of them to get me to excited. Other than the Artful Escape which looks like a rock and roll fever dream come to life.
At this point we had an extended gameplay demo of Sea of Thieves which looks amazing, it finally got a release date, and the demo made me laugh on multiple occasions. I really think this could be Microsoft’s next big franchise. But I’m bias because of my love of Rare and Pirates, It’s like this game was made just for me.
This was followed by more indies Tacoma by the Gone Home team which looks great, but so little has been shown and it is so narrative driven that it is hard to get excited. Super Lucky’s Tale which looks like it could be the fun and charming 3D platformer Microsoft has never had. Then closing this batch of indies out was Cuphead finally get a release date after all these years, it is coming September 29th . I was Impressed by two of the three and even Lucky’s Tale looks like it has a chance to be a good game.
Terry Crews is going to be the Captain in the new Crackdown, Microsoft showed a trailer and it looks like a superb open world game. It launches November 7th with the Xbox One X and while I always liked Crackdown it was never a top tier franchise for me, but I have high hopes here.
We then got a horror indie called Ashen. It looks interesting and could have some cool Co-op gameplay, but so little is known about it that I can’t get to excited. Then a Life is Strange 2 trailer, this is another case of a highly story driven game and very little was shown, so it’s hard to get excited. However the first one was fantastic and I am optimistic here as well.
Then we got Shadow of War the new Middle Earth game. While I wasn’t a fan of the first this new gameplay demo looked really intriguing. The way you could play the politics of the different factions against each other, use the system to build an army, and then go siege a keep. This could potentially really draw me into becoming just a political war machine in Shadow of War. I love this idea and can’t wait to see more.
Then back to an indie but this one was a big surprise a sequel to Ori and the Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisps. It looks gorgeous and the music seemed just as good as the original. I am so ready to have my heart broken all over again. We met the developer outside and he even gave me Ori themed tissues for my tears.
Next up backwards compatibility for original Xbox games disc or download with Crimson Skies confirmed. I am a big believer in preserving games as art, so from that perspective this is huge, and it is huge for the legacy of Xbox and the fans that have been there since the start. But it is also huge because the original Xbox was one of the most underrated consoles ever and this gives access to all those really awesome games be it digital download or on disc.
As we approach the end here Phil Spencer comes back out on stage to discuss the Xbox One X and it’s price which is 499. I think it is a bit to high, but for a 4K console that does native 4K it doesn’t seem bad. I also think after the holiday season we will see a price drop. Could be better, I would have loved to see 399, but not the end of the world.
Now we have the final game of the show EA comes out and shows of their new shared world shooter Anthem. This game if it is pulled off right could be a Destiny killer. It looks gorgeous, the shooting looks superb, and just in general I really loved the sense of style. But I am tentative because it is made by modern day Bioware who has made three mediocre games in a row. It looks cool but I need to see more.
And that was all X really gave it to us this year. Tons of different games and exclusives with what felt like something for everyone. If a Halo game was teased and we got some more games in 2017 this would have been an A+ , but I give them a solid A-.