Day 1 Started With A Whisper but Day 2 Continued With A Raspy Cough
Microsoft took the stage today after yesterday’s EA conference and tried to pull the rug out from under the other companies before the show actually kicked into high gear. E3 doesn’t really kick off till Tuesday as far as I know, and the other companies have their own slots filled as far as show floor content. Microsoft was keen to the idea EA going early and followed suit to reveal their Project Scorpio console more than just the specs. Most people are getting the feeling they wanted to cut the competition off at the knees as far as blow away show at E3 and what better way to do it than going first?
Like one of my middle school teacher said “The person who goes first, sets the bar. So going first is always best.” Then they proceeded to babble incoherently before I got in trouble for writing instead of listening to them. The lesson makes sense though, you set the bar by going first, so why not just shoot for the first slot? Could it really hurt the chance of impressing gamers by going first?
To answer that, I’d like to start by saying I have never really been an Xbox person. Maybe the first one because it was something new and exciting, and after that it was always meh. My wife’s 360 is basically collecting dust on a shelf while my PS3 is used in the living room for media and my PS4 is my gaming console. I have felt nothing interesting from the Microsoft camp, nothing pulls on my gaming heart strings like the other consoles, and even the PC camp has me wishing my laptop was a gaming one.
Microsoft just doesn’t interest me anymore. But the question is: Did Microsoft impress me enough to get my attention?
Old Is the New New Again
Short answer: Meh, maybe but I wish more that the exclusives would visit other consoles than buy the console just for 4 games in total.
Long Answer: The poor showing year after year usually just disappoints me. I can’t find a single game worth switching consoles for, the reasons to add an Xbox back into my collection are about as high as the reasons to get a lobotomy. I had such a love for the first Xbox and I found games around every corner that I just had to play. Halo, Cell Damage, Jade Empire, etc. Having the fifth Halo and just carbon copy shooters being the main sell have made enjoying the console very, very difficult. To make matters worse, with the advent of Xbox One, it became a media center and less of a game console. That was the nail in the coffin.
This year made me feel a bit more interest, but I just wished I could have enjoyed more of the games if they were on another console, it left me wishing I could enjoy these somewhat unique games. I just wouldn’t shell out $500 for 3 or 4 games at tops.
This Is What We Came For
The show started off with an intro which reminded me of the original Xbox “green blob” opener, which brought back some of the feels of nostalgia. It quickly panned to gameplay footage and a live action woman holding a control making serious faces.
The console was talked about in depth, the issue I saw was recapping the specs of the console seemed a bit redundant, or at least throwing on all the pomp and circumstance about it. They revealed it a while before the show, why make it such a big deal. Yes, the size of the console was a need to know and the removal of the title Scorpio, replaced with the IQ dropping name of XBox One X was announced. Otherwise, the technical specs section just felt like it dragged on. One interesting thing to note is that this console will be the first to introduce a liquid cooling system, which if you think about it makes it closer to be a PC than ever.
Some Noteable talking points that could have been summed up rather quickly:
- Release November 7, 2017
- All Xbox One Games and Accessories usable on the One X Day 1 as Well as Your Current Download library
- It Being 4K does not kick out those who don’t own a 4K TV, it has Super Sampling that still makes the best looking game for your 1080p tvs. It does this with all games applicable
Overall I felt they lingered too long on the specs talking about the system since they had a reveal conference not too long ago. Maybe they just wanted to fill space?
Otherwise I was impressed but would rather have a custom PC rather than the smallest Xbox to date. Not that size is a problem, just that maybe the system should just merge PCs and Xboxs so we don’t have so many brackets to fall over.
And After The Debriefing: The Games
Now the announced games were interesting enough, I was impressed at the beginning. I was holding out for the Crackdown 3 reveal and maybe a few non exclusive titles that would show up on other consoles, like a sneak peek for the shows later this week.
Starting off, per a Microsoft standard, Forza Motor Sports 7 showcased the power of the One X, and by god was it beautiful. I couldn’t help but stare and I hate racing games. I watched the weather and the desert physics rather than the cars driving around the track. My biggest joy is the physics of the environment, mostly water physics I just get all gamer boner about, so this was amazing. They then showed off a new car and some professional drivers “playing” the game on the stage, sounding about as stiff as possible.
From here, more than 42 games were announced so I’ll cliff note things from here out.
- Anthem: Bioware and EA revealed more about the game they announced yesterday. It took some of the failure aspects of Mass Effect with the facial animations looking beautiful, the futuristic looking tech of Mass Effect and Dead Space looking tech, especially flying around the jungle in what are called Javelins, where you can equip what you want with upgrades (called that yesterday!) and join co-op sessions. The lush jungle was beautiful as well as dangerous, it is under the massive “open-world” banner that looks gorgeously rendered, they said in game recordings. The acting of the “players” was super stiff but looked very promising, and is supposedly for other systems!
- Metro: Exodus: This is something I am excited for really. I could call it was a metro title from the opening moments, but I was still surprised by most of it. Dynamic environments that, if this is gameplay recording, react to not just you but enemies, which sent the mutant bear crumbling off the hill. The beauty of the graphics lends it’s hand to my Must Buy Pile. Also not an exclusive as I could tell.
- Assassin’s Creed Origins: Nah, I’m good. It looks good for the origins of the franchise back in Egypt. It looked great in the cutscene but the gameplay looked like standard Ubisoft style and even in 4K didn’t look that impressive. No Mini-map at least, or not that I could tell. The Hawk is nice though, I’m all for Hawks.
- Player Unknown’s: Battlegrounds: Not sure how I feel for this, it looks like a basic shooter, not much of an interest for me. An exclusive so no skin off my back.
- Deep Rock: The Minecraft with Dwarves, enough said. I’ve had enough Minecraft to last a lifetime. Moving on.
- State of Decay 2: I never played the first, and I’ve been told the game was great and unique in it’s own way. I feel like just watching this trailer was personified by simply saying Hipster Survival Sim. I’m interested in it but not really a must have.
- The Dawn Project: Battleborn and Overwatch’s bastard lovechild, this game basically looked like another MOBA with some quirks for me. It seemed it had some humor attached, which I could get behind, but the live announcer as if it was in an E-sports event was a bit of overkill. Still funny.
- Minecraft: The simple revelation to this was the servers are now connected from all other consoles. Great every console can play together. Oh yeah, they added 4k support. The sunrays are beautiful on that pick axe when 4k is turned on but… yeah… Pixleated blocks in 4K. Woooo.
- Dragonball Fighterz: This one had me feeling all old school japanese import fighter. I loved the way the game look, and I would pick this up in a heartbeat. Hopefully the game includes characters from both OG Dragonball and DragonBall Super.
- Black Desert: Dynasty Warriors but in an RPG magic area. I felt it was going to be a Dynasty Warrior clone, but hell it turned out to be an MMO. I’m ok with looking at this but I don’t need it and that’s good since it is an exclusive to the Xbox One X.
- Last Night: This game blew me away. 8 bit meets 4K, it was a beautiful homage to where games have been and where they are going. It seems simple in it’s own way, but really intriguing. Sadly this is said to be an exclusive but I hope enough interest is garnered to bring to other consoles.
- Crackdown 3: The Terry Crews live action stuff looked hilarious and the event stage screens worked well with his over the top action. The game itself seems impressive on paper but the game style looks too much like the original Crackdown both in style but in graphical quality. Not overly impressed but I loved the first so I’d play, If it wasn’t an exclusive… which it is. *Sigh*
- Sea Of Thieves: More was released about this exclusive, which was fun to watch, but felt like the presenter kept pulling back his personal joke punches too quickly. Like he wanted to make fun of the game but wanted to not get beaten on the nose with a rolled up newspaper. It looked fun, sounded interesting that development they’ve put into it, but sadly I wont get to play it unless some company buys me an Xbox One of some kind and the game. Just Saying. Would play the hell out of it though.
- Shadow Of War: This game looks gorgeous and entertaining. I never played the first game, but I have to say I might just go back and play it just so I can play the second and have some bad ass orc ripping the head of another orc off. The work on the game shows as it’s fluid, has a sense of humor, the environments at least looked beautiful on the surface. It was nice to look at while waiting for another game to come by to catch my interest.
- Ori and The Will of The Wisps: Seriously dark looking game, just looked so kid like and friendly at first and then BAM hits you with the dark realization this forest had been burned down. This is another case of I have yet to play the first of the series, but I have heard it was a great game to play. I can’t say much based off the trailer, but the art style and atmosphere were top notch.
Honestly that was a whole lot more than I intended to enter, but I figured for knowledge sake, I needed to put some of the more memorable titles.
Also announced was that Backwards compatibility stretching all the way back to the Orginal Xbox is in the words. No word on the library they are pulling from, but this actually had me interested for a second. Just a second though.
At the End of The Road
After all was said and done, Microsoft did not manage to sink it’s teeth into me for yet another year. I was tempted, the first time that’s happened for a while, but I realized some of the games announced that I absolutely wanted were on other consoles so I was sated.
The conference itself I’d give a 5/10, was a bit showy with some things, but in a good way when it came to Terry Crews, yet managed to not come to the table with their A game. Heck, I’m almost certain most the crowd didn’t respond after what was supposed to be a big announcement, at least that’s how I saw it. The presenters were a bit stiff, as were most of the people used to “play” the games on stage or in the demos. I just couldn’t connect with them.
They made a valiant effort, but at least the bar was set a bit lower for others to set better records in the following events. I’ll be covering the highlights from Bethesda’s mini panel sometime in the morning, and then keep an eye on the Ubisoft and other panels as much as I can before I head into work.