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Game Time E3 Thoughts: Microsoft


E3 is all about hype. It's a marketing team's dream going in and going out. That will never change. One thing that did change this year was the perceived "winner" of this year's video gaming throwdown.

This is a continuation of a very general breakdown of what we saw at this year's conference and my thoughts on them. I will speak in more detail on the conference with my gaming friends on an episode of Toons Game Time later this week. Weigh in with your own thoughts in the comment section, on facebook or by emailing us at ToonsShow@gmail.com (or just use the contact form in the sidebar of this very page).

My thoughts on Bethesda, EA, Ubisoft and Sony's presentations will come as I have time to type them up. These links will go active below as I get the time to finish them up:


Bethesda | EA | Ubisoft | Sony

Enjoy.

- Brian

Microsoft

Is it okay to say that Microsoft has, by and large, had their collective asses handed to them for the duration of this cycle of consoles? It's probably more than okay. It's probably unnecessary. This year, Microsoft took big steps toward changing that. But they still have a long way to go to make up for three years of "not getting it."

Microsoft kicked off their show by pushing Halo 5: Guardians to the center stage. As I watched this presentation, I couldn't help but think of just how powerful this generation of machines truly is. The visuals on this game were nearly perfect, so far as I could tell. I think my only issue with the game was an "old man" issue in that there was just so much going on that it was distracting (I'd later say the same thing about Call Of Duty: Black Ops III).



But forget about that for a moment. Microsoft and 343 Studios are still in hot water from fans over the disaster that was Halo: Master Chief Collection and righfully so. This game looks to make up a lot of ground for them.

There have been a ton of leaks and releases surrounding this game that really add to the existing story and mythos surrounding Master Chief that should keep the game fresh for players of the campaign and the addition of a 24-player Warzone will keep those more into the multiplayer experience happy with the promisise of the largest maps the franchise has seen. Forbes' magazine is already raving about the Warzone experience HERE.


Following up that presentation was ReCore, an XBox One exclusive. ReCore is an interesting looking title that came across to me as a cross between Lara Croft and Star Wars. Unfortunately, we didn't see anything outside of a CGI trailer but it looked good.

At this point, Phil Spencer came out and I just included that to say that I like him a lot.

Oh, and his announcement of Backwards Compatibility. It was kind of funny to see instant criticism of this on twitter but the only criticism I have of this move is that it should have been done on Day One. That said, gamers should be happy with this move. As should GameStop.

Any criticism of this move beyond that - especially by my fellow PS4 owners - should be promptly disregarded.

Elite, indeed
The XBox One Elite Wireless Controller was announced next. The actual controller exceeded all of my personal expectations as it added a bunch of new features beyond the 3.5 mm audio jack that everybody talked about leading up to E3. The underbelly triggers and adjustable sensitivity features alone will make this a must have controller for gaming on the XBOne and Windows 10 based PCs. And that's not even everything.

I like it a lot.

Fallout 4 for the XBOne was presented by Bethesda's Todd Howard came out to discuss the game (which I covered in the Bethesda article) and users' ability to use PC-created mods in the game for the low cost of free as well as second screen play through their smart device.

Next, Peter Moore of the evil corporation EA discussed EA Access, an XBox exclusive program that gives early access to EA's releases for $5 a month. Games announced for the program included Madden 16, Titanfall, and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

My son was excited to hear about PvZ: Garden Warfare 2, but seeing as how it's not an exclusive game, it seems as though presenting the World Premier of the trailer during Microsoft's presentation was pointless other than the obvious benefit of hearing Danger Zone. EA should have been left to present it during their own show later.

Sexy wheels
Forza Motorsports 6, as expected, looked great. Henry Ford III even came out to help present it. As did a sweet-ass Ford GT (no price available anywhere, by the way). Forza has been a mainstay for XBox and the perfect competition for Sony's vaunted Gran Turismo franchise. The game looked incredible and the music during this presentation was unusual but good.

Next up was the long-awaited Darksouls III trailer. The game trailer felt epic but, again, was just a trailer so I tend to take that for what it was. Announced for Spring of 2016, that game should move some copies.

Tom Clancy's The Division (which will be in Beta form on XBOne first in December) looked fantastic with what appears to be an anarchy-driven theme. I want to play it right now. But, again, CGI trailer.

Also, the military experience in me has to keep asking why, in every military-like combat title we have to have LED tech built into the weapons. Not very tactical for night missions if you ask me. And bringing out Frenchman Laurent Detoc of Ubisoft to speak about it was even more amusing.

He also announced Rainbow Six Siege and its team-based co-op play which looked interesting enough.

Next, the first Windows 10/XBOne exclusive title, Gigantic in all its glory-ish-ness. It looked like an overhyped Disney Infinity property and I wasn't all that interested.

Then we saw a montage of retro-styled games that only an advanced ADHD patient could truly appreciate. I have no idea what all was in there outside of some Western game. And friggin' Goat Simulator. But it was all a part of ID@XBox which is a good thing. So I'll just trust them on this one. It was just terrible presentation of that sequence.

Tacoma, a timed XBOne/PC exclusive title looked interesting in a futuristic first-person kind of way. But it didn't hold my attention that long.

Cuphead looks like legit fun.
I'm a sucker for artistic presentation in games, so Ashen I stuck with. Whether or not it fleshes out, we have yet to see, but I like what I saw artistically. That artistry continued with Beyond Eyes, but it looked like more of a "girl game." Call me a misogynist.

Cuphead looked to capture the essence of 1930s cartoons which is refreshing. And fun.

XBox also announce XBox Game Preview, a program that will allow gamers to try before they buy. Well done, XBox. Well done.

Ion, a timed exclusive looked great visually, but I'm not sure what's going on with it. I just know there's a lot of space stuff going on and that, given an absence of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, it's at least got a fighting chance.

As far as upcoming games go, Rise of the Tomb Raider, ranks up there among the titles that I'm most interested in. I love how the character has evolved over the years and think that XBox has a great thing with this entry. We got to see some gameplay and it looked fantastic. File this game under "I Want."

As far as collections go, nothing at this point will match the Rare collection that will be exclusive to XBOne in August. They had me at Battletoads and locked me in with R.C. Pro Am. If you're a retro gamer and not feeling this collection, you should no longer consider yourself a retro gamer. Period.

Rare then switched gears, introducing Sea of Thieves, a multiplayer pirating adventure game that looked good but far from polished. So, whatever.

At this point, I started to lose interest, to be honest. Oh, that's right....Fable: Legends. I'm tired of Fable. Everybody's tired of Fable, I think. And that sucks because that was once my most anticipated game.

The only way to follow up that stinker was to bring in the Oculus Rift and HoloLens. Both of these peripherals have great potential and the ability of the Rift to stream XBOne games via Windows 10 is pretty interesting.

But the HoloLens.....if that representation was accurate.....I want it yesterday. So very cool.
Of course, it gets a special edition.
Next, and at that point rather anti-climactically, Gears of War Ultimate Edition got its moment in the sun. It's a remastered Gears of War. But purchasing it at $40 will also get you access to the Beta of Gears of War 4 which looks great. And bloody.

The show closed out with Phil Spencer indicating that many more exclusive titles will be showcased at GamesCon in August.

All in all, a great showing for XBox and Microsoft as a whole. In my eyes, they made up a lot of ground after the disaster that was the launch of this generation's system and Spencer - an avid gamer - himself has a ton to do with that.

Biases aside, XBOne has to be happy with this year's show. As a PS4 owner, it kind of ruffles my feathers a bit. Especially that Elite controller.

Dammit.
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