Quiet! Do you smell that? I believe that’s the smell of the Xbox One after the multiple burns Sony gave it last night.
Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have made their E3 presentations, and the dust has started to settle. So let’s breakdown what we saw over the past few days and try to make sense of it all, shall we?
Microsoft kicked off E3 with their morning media briefing. After their surprisingly entertainment-focused, lackluster Xbox One debut a few weeks ago, Big M was in damage control mode. Fans have been raging over things like DRM, used games, and game ownership, and it was up to Microsoft to calm the vocal gamers down. Too bad they didn’t.
Microsoft kicked off their presentation with a short section on the 360, reassuring us that there are still great games coming, including World of Tanks (which I guess is supposed to be a big deal, but I’ve never heard of it.) The coolest thing from this section is the announcement of “Games for Gold,” where Xbox Live Gold members will be getting two free games each month. We aren’t talking Xbox Live Arcade games either; we get full fledged fan favorites. It looks like Fable 3 is the first offering, and is actually available to download now.
But now onto the juicy stuff: the Xbox One. Microsoft actually kicked off the whole shebang with an amazing-looking gameplay preview of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Someone had the brilliant idea to combine combine Red Dead Redemption and Metal Gear Solid, and they are going to make a whole ton of money. The game is a sight for the eyes, and the stealth play looked mighty cool. The story is all sorts of batshit crazy, but its a Metal Gear game – what do you expect? Oh, and no David Hayter. Boo on that.
Next we saw Ryse, a Roman centurion action game. This game is pure eye candy, but that’s about it. While it has some stunning visuals,the gameplay looked so damned boring. The combat looked like it was all quicktime events, and instead of completing objectives yourself you ordered troops to do it for you. Yay.
Then, they threw in a CCCCCCCOMBO BREAKER!!! and re-debuted Killer Instinct. I haven’t thought about this game since way back on the N64. So, go Microsoft?
Sunset Overdrive, an Xbox One exclusive from Insomniac (whoever thought we’d see these guys on an Xbox?!) was the first game to really pique my interest. The stylized visuals and frantic gameplay style looked pretty cool. The demo was all pre-rendered, but the idea is enough for me. It looks to be an open world shooter with drop in cooperative play. And there is a vinyl gun. Like, a gun that shoots vinyl records. Sold.
Then, things took a turn for the terrible. Forza 5, the game you don’t have to play! No, I’m serious. The game features a “Drive-a-tar” that learns your play style, so that it can take over if you want it to. It will also drive for you while you are offline, making use of Xbox One’s cloud services. Driving games always bore me, but really? Someone designed a feature that makes it so you don’t have to actually play? Promote that man!
Next up was Indie Games! All I really remember from this part was, “Look more minecraft on the Xbox One!”. It’s good to see all of this new processing power rendering lo-res pixelated blocks!
From this point on, we were treated to Microsoft trying to sell some more Windows 8 tabs along with the Xbox One. Project Spark looked like your run-of-the-mill, world-building game. It featured some heavy duty voice command integration and made use of SmartGlass to help control the game, but really, nothing jumped out too much. Well, that’s a lie. It looks like one of the guys you can create slides around like Iceman on a wave of earth. That shit’s cool.
Microsoft also debuted Upload Studio, a feature where you can record some gameplay and upload it to the web for all to see. This is pretty cool. I’ve wished I could have done that with many a Street Fighter 4 fight. They also debuted live streaming to Twitch.tv, which is a bit creepier. If it just streamed your gameplay, that would be pretty sweet. But it can also stream room audio and video via the Kinect. Creepy. And as a parent? SUPER CREEPY.
Dead Rising 3, The Witcher 2, and Battlefield 4 all looked pretty cool. Nothing too spectacular really. Except Dead Rising 3 had a saw attached to hammer. That’s awesome. Oh, and there was a technical break down right before the Battlefield trailer. It didn’t play for a good minute and the DICE guy was visibly pissed. Even when they finished the trailer, the guy looked like he wanted to pack up his toy and go home. It was schadenfreude-laced glorious.
And don’t worry Halo fans, we got our tease. There was nothing specific; just a cool looking rendered trailer of Chief walking through a desert with a cloak on. I asked myself why a guy who wears environmentally sealed armor would need a cloak, but I digress. 343 came on stage and basically said they were developing a Halo game and to enjoy all the other Halo stuff that’s already been announced. Thanks 343 for stating the obvious!
Finally, we were presented with Xbox One price, release date, and a preview of Titan Fall. Titan Fall is a new sci-fi IP from the guys who made Call of Duty. When I first saw it it just looked like Call of Duty with mechs. The mech fighting looks pretty neat but I don’t think it wasn’t enough to get me really excited. And after the $499 price reveal, that was the theme of the presser. Nothing I saw made me want to go and drop $500 on an Xbox One, especially considering the all of the restrictions the console will have.