It was finally time! After a disappointing Xbox One launch this was Microsoft’s chance to pull it back. For those who did not see it, the launch was like that of a cable company who never found Dogmeat in Fallout 3. Will Microsoft now allay the fears of gamers and show, finally, what the Xbox One can do for them.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The show opened with a new edition to Konami’s well loved franchise, Metal Gear Solid. Snake is back and this time he is in Afghanistan. In this open world game, we first see Snake riding a horse through a desert. To start, it all felt a bit Red Dead Redemption, but then Snake slid down the side of his horse, and hid, then shot his enemies. John Marston never managed that so hats (stetsons?) off for that.
Cool features included real time weather, enhanced stealth and strategy options and interesting, well-crafted, real-world characters. I particularly found the inclusion of child soldiers an interesting twist echoing real conflict zone issues.
However my enthusiasm was short lived when the only woman character, a sniper stood up. She was outside, in the heat of the Afgan desert, in, wait for it, a bikini top with no under-wire and arse-less leather chaps with giant cut out pieces down her thighs. What the actual fuck? I didn’t actually get her name I was shaking my head so hard in disbelief. They weren’t the only ones though this weekend. See Ubisoft and Reyman.
My anger soon turned to bemusement. A new slimmer 360 is now available for purchase from today. It is promised that it is a less noisy console. But I have never noticed the 360 being particularly loud or bulky. Also with the One coming out in November 2013, what is the point of releasing this? Do they have a load in a shed somewhere? Confused.
Here was some fun news. With gold memberships for a limited time, you get two free downloads per month. This includes titles such as Assassins Creed 2 and Halo 3. This is available for new and current gold subscribers.
Also if a member of the household has gold, the whole household can use it. Finally! This makes sense and will improve the usefulness of gold greatly. But will they raise the price of gold as a result? One can only wonder.
World of Tanks
This is the first time that the same will be featured on a console. The commanders were completely redesigned for the controller. If you like to blow things up with your friends, this game is perfect for you thanks to War Gaming. Enjoy!
Max: the Curse of Brotherhood
One of my favourite games of the show. A 2D platformer from Press Play games, Max was gloriously colourful and cartoony. The story follows a young lad who accidentally banishes his brother to an evil spirit world. There are puzzles, fireballs and enemies to contend with. Wonderful!
Dark Souls 2
Sadists, Namco Bandai has a present for you! Dark Souls 2 will be with you soon. Battle impossible monsters, get knocked off bridges by dragons and ignore your partner while you search the same dungeons for souls. Then fall of cliffs and start again. Frustration will be with you again soon.
Other games mentioned but not shown:
New Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasty, Splinter Cell, and Batman: Arkham Origins.
All the games above are on 36o, below they are Xbox One titles. It was very much drummed into us that these games would not be possible without the One. The cloud was mentioned a lot. So lets delve in and see what this magical gaming fairy has to offer in the next generation of gaming. There are new titles and old favourites for us to enjoy.
Ryse: Son of Rome
Firstup and seriously impressive was Ryse: Son of Rome from Crytek. You play as Mario Titus, a Roman general commanding an army in the Empire. It was kind of awesome. The opening scene was the storming of a beach with noise, dying, missiles, chaos, fire, crashing ships and lots of bloody combat and special fighting moves.
An element that I thought was particularly awesome when you bunched your forces together against an arrow volley. Once you survived you then all threw your spears to take out the archers. It was something that I would love to try and play.
The demo ended with an epic catapult and fight, reminded me a lot of the epicness of the Mass Effect 3 demo. This is a game I will be purchasing.
Is back. The Rareware/Miday game will now be kicking ass on the 360. Still included are the cartoon graphics and O.T.T. violence. They are also releasing retro controllers so you can go back to your childhood and connect with the fight once more.
Insomniac were there representing with a new, crazy one-world shooter. Now that they are connected to the cloud the experience of the game can change everyday. New world events can be crafted and executed inspired by the fame community. It will be very interesting to see how this unfolds once the game goes live.
Style wise, it was bright, colourful, zany and fun. There was parkour, zip-lining and slicing monsters head off with a weapon firing vinyl records.
Now I am not a sim gamer but Forza was very pretty. Turn 10 Studios have done a great job on the details of the cars. The light, the shading and the paint were all done really well. The courses were exotic and interesting, they would definitely would keep any race fan happy.
One new interesting element was the inclusion of a “Drivatar”. This Drivatar is meant to be smarter than an AI and will monitor and record how you do things. This is so it can help to enhance your driving and seek out you challenge matches for you. It even keeps driving when you aren’t. Now I am not sure what the point of this is but maybe someone will get use of it. However I do have to wonder if you are terrible will your poor Drivatar also be terrible?
According to Phil Harrison, Microsoft have been supporting 200 devs to make 400 games which generated 1 billion dollars in revenue. How fancy! So they showed clips of successful indies and some up and comers.
I found this an odd inclusion. Minecraft was already doing well for Mojang so I am not sure if it could be counted as a risk or as a dev needing support. Anyway it is crazy successful but I have been told it is a better experience on a PC. You can get mods there and don’t have to pay for skins, but I am open to correction.
This game from Remedy is meant to blur the lines between games and TV. There was a moment of fear when this was said as we’ve had enough TV from Xbox. But this actually may work. You play as a failed science experiment and the TV show is based on your in-game decisions. The game also looks very slick, good faces, strong expressions and fun explosions.
Not just a postcode in Dublin, D4 is now an episodic murder-mystery game with a front man who looks like Keanu Reeves. I do wonder if it will have the charm of The Walking Dead. Must give it a go to find out!
A new project from Microsoft Studios. Here you can make your own games and worlds using voice commands and smart glass. First there is landscaping, then buildings, people and finally enemies for fighting. A fighting pet rock also featured and I would happily pay Microsoft for a pet rock that would fight for me in real life. Another nice element of the game was the using the landscape to battle enemies. Fun, but I do wonder how long the novelty will last.
They see you when you’re gaming
So now through the Xbox you can broadcast and tape your game play. This can then be shared with friends or with the whole world if you like. Microsoft must be going after the YouTube gaming tutorials market, which is huge. These can also be shared live if you like tournaments or spoilers.
A fun element that I see myself using is the friend stats. Now I can see more about their games and how they play. Could be very handy so there are no spoilers and Christmas presents will be awesome.
If you play online now the Xbox can match you with players who are suited to you. It can even run in the background through smart glass and queue a fight up while you are finishing something else. This is a good move in multitasking development as nobody likes a wait. Looking at you Mario Cart Wii.
The presentation swung back to money now. Finally everything will be in the currency of the country not MS points. This will add transparency and an easy way to compare prices. It has already lead to me being annoyed, see the bottom.
For the love of God don’t stop pretending to be a dragon. This wise phrase was uttered in parody at the Sony PS launch and with Crimson Dragon you don’t have to. A rail shooter game, it was bright, colourful and fast paced. Think a Child of Eden but with Dragons. Sadly the sound blacked-out during the presentation but it still looked and felt, very cool.
Dead Rising 3
Do you like zombies? Do you like killing zombies? If yes then this open world game is for you. It also has no load times. How bloody amazing is that?
Like previous games you can make and mod your own weapons, using whatever you find in your environment. It does have a serious feel with some mild humour, a hoard outside an all you can eat restaurant anyone?
During the presentation it was said that this was much more of a real-world feel. I agreed with this to a point. The city scenes felt more real world but when you can summon an aerial barrage with your smart phone, the real world feel ends. No one has an army on demand.
This has me excited but then again it is a non-linear, dark, free roaming, open-world game. It has promised us 100+ hours of game play. It did feel quite Skyrim by using voice to cast spells (dragon shouts) and initiate combat commands. The environments were also quite similar. But I will love this all the same, even the sexy booby mermaid who gave us a wink from her cold ocean home.
60 frames per second mayhem awaits. It is a fairly straight forward FPS. Lots of noise, death and explosions. The environment was impressive, glass shattering, paper flying in the wind, collapsed pipes etc. felt very natural. The water, in particular the waves, mist and splashes were well done.
Saying that I have no idea how people can see anyone to shoot with all the chaos but fans of the genre will find more to love here. Even if it is DLC announced before the game. This is the way the world is moving sadly.
After the madness of Battlefield, Below from Capybara games is one that I will be added to my “to play” list. It is a rogue game in a world full of secrets, who could not love that? If you need more it is also gorgeous with beautifully painted dainty worlds and characters.
Black Tusk are a studio developing a new blockbuster game. It opened, epic style with fireworks and an abseiling ninja person. But that was it sadly so we may wait and see what happens!
Because it wouldn’t be E3 without it. The presentation opened with a scene like a dark, edgy Journey, with a cloaked figure in a sandy, rocky desert. Then a big ship that looked like a reaper, but thankfully was not one. They died with Shepard. Another game with 60 frames per second prettiness fans will be very happy. You even get a new TV series because Microsoft loves you (TV) that much.
Robots. Guns. Flying Robots. Jetpacks. Space ships. Mechs. Inspirational speech over the grave of a dead loved one. Yes it was another FPS. It looked pretty but to be honest there was not much new here. Fans of FPS will like it, but it may not win over any new ones.
Review of the Games
So overall the games shown tonight were quite a mixed bunch. I am looking forward to some of the indie ones such as Max and Below. Ryse and Witcher will also be good. But there was way too many white male protagonist games, FPS in particular. Towards the end it all got a bit repetitive. The lack of diversity was quite disappointing and shows that while the gaming industry has come along way, there is a lot more left to do.
When can I get my Xbox One?
In November 2013. Prices are £429,€499, and $499. This is where I became annoyed. So often Ireland is left out of getting features open to US Xbox owners. Yet we are expected to pay more for less. Will this be the case this time around? Will all those TV features be available for us too, or if not will there be alternatives? Or will we be expected to pay for 4oD and Netflix access only which we can get on our laptops/tablets anyway? I will wait and see. Also ouch at the UK price. Exchange rates are not kind.