E3 2017: Microsoft Conference

You have to admit, Microsoft hasn’t lost their tenacity despite an overwhelming support for the Playstation 4. As much as Microsoft has struggled to improve Xbox One as a platform, you can just feel the gap between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 grow by the minute. In a desperate attempt to compete with the PlayStation 4 Pro, Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox One X. It came as no surprise to anyone who has been following the Scorpio rumors of this powerful 4k capable console. However, showcasing a bunch of indie and console-exclusive games probably isn’t the best way of hyping consumers up. But let’s not get all doom and gloom! Here are some of my highlights for the e3 2017 Microsoft Press Conference.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

I Just never learn. Every year, Ubisoft releases the same exact game, and every year I end up buying it. I don’t know. It’s just become sort of a tradition at this point. For those of us who still enjoy the franchise, 2015’s Syndicate was a step in the right direction, addressing most of the issues I had with Unity. The extra layer of role-playing mechanics seen in the trailer could add some much-needed depth to the series and help break the monotony of exploring every inch of the map. Given the extra year, Ubisoft has taken to release Origins, I expect we will get a more expansive experience from anything we’ve seen so far.

The historical setting is why I still play Assassin’s Creed. At the end of the day, no matter how the game ends up, I’ll still be given a beautiful recreation of iconic time periods and cities. Ancient Egypt is one of my favorite times in human history and interests me far more than Revolutionary France or Victorian London did, so my impressions of Origins are off to a good start.

The Last Night

Wasn’t sure what to expect when the trailer started, but I was pleasantly surprised to see an astonishing looking 2D game with very atmospheric lighting and depth. I love the cyberpunk look of The Last Night and it gave me some serious Blade Runner vibes. With the new film coming out, this will be a nice holdover until its release. But I want to use The Last Nigh to highlight one of the biggest issues surrounding Microsoft’s Conference: Lack of exclusives.

Microsoft throws around the term Console Exclusive throughout the conference. For those of us with a gaming PC, what reason do we have to buy into the Xbox One Platform, when so many of the games shown off are going to be available either on Steam or the Windows 10 store? The Last Night might look charming as hell, but the chances of it staying exclusive to Xbox, when the PlayStation 4 is so much more lucrative, is unlikely. I expect the majority of these “console exclusive” indie games to eventually make the jump to PS4.

Dragon Ball Fighter Z

It’s been almost a decade since we’ve last seen a 2.5D Dragon Ball fighting game and I couldn’t be more excited. This might legitimately be the first Dragon Ball game I’ve been excited for in years. Xenoverse was decent, but the 3D fighting games have always tried to emulate the style of the show more than be competent fighters. Thankfully, acclaimed fighting game developer, Arc System Works (Guilty Gear, BlazBlue), have taken the reigns on this new project.

Arc System Works have taken what they’ve learned from Guilty Gear Xrd’s visuals and applied them immaculately to Akira Toriyama’s iconic art style. What we have is easily the best-looking Dragon Ball game to date. I might not be the biggest fan of 3v3, Marvel vs Capcom, style fighting games, but Arc System Works hasn’t let me down yet.

Code Vein

What amounted to a footnote on most people’s radars, Code Vein looks to be heavily inspired by one of my favorite franchises, From Software’s Souls series. The world could use more Souls clones, and what we’ve seen so far has got me hyped. The anime aesthetic might turn some people off, but it makes a nice distinction from the more realistic human designs of Dark Souls.

Bandai Namco Studios has had some positive experiences in cloning popular game franchises, as seen with God Eater copying Monster Hunter. It might seem strange to rip off a series you publish, but I guess Bandai Namco isn’t satisfied with just waiting around for From Software to release a new game. I personally love the art direction, and the mixture of modern human society and demons reminds me a lot of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise. Code Vein better turns out good, as the world could always use another Souls inspired series.

Super Lucky’s Tale

It’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one who instantly thought Conker the second I saw the bushy red tail in the trailer. So why exactly am I excited for Super Lucky’s Tale? While I haven’t played it, Lucky’s Tale for Oculus VR looks like a mediocre and repetitive platforming game with VR tacked on. I’m surprised the game is getting a sequel, given the reviews.

However, watching the trailer for Super Lucky’s Tale gave me a much more positive impression on the series. As a huge Nintendo fanboy, the game looks highly reminiscent of Super Mario 3D World which is my favorite 3D Mario game to date. The visuals are all bubbly and cute, there is a nice mix of 2D and 3D platforming, and the controls look responsive. As long as it doesn’t turn out to be a collect-a-thon, I’m all in.

Original Xbox Compatibility

original xbox

I’m so happy to see the original Xbox get some love. Xbox 360 backward compatibility came out of nowhere and highlighted Sony’s shameful attempt to push its lackluster PlayStation Now streaming service. With original Xbox backward compatibility incoming, we now have three generations of Xbox gaming on one platform. I can only wish that Microsoft will take the time to support some of the more niche games they missed out on the Xbox 360 compatibility, such as Otogi: Myth of Demons, Gunvalkyrie, and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse.

Anthem

It’s Bioware’s take on Destiny! Or the Division. Or Warframe… Okay so Anthem doesn’t look like the most original of games, but what we’ve seen so far has left me quite impressed. Anthem was a perfect demonstration of the Xbox One X’s power; the draw distance, particle effects, and Level of Detail are certainly impressive. I can only hope it even looks a fraction as good as it did from the e3 trailer.

Now I’m a sucker for any game with giant monsters, jetpacks, and cooperative gameplay, but I can understand why some gamers might be burnt out on the whole Destiny formula. Thankfully,  Anthem is being developed by Bioware’s Edmonton team, so you don’t have to worry about seeing another abomination like Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Some comments online worry Anthem might fall into the same pitfalls games like Destiny and The Division have, but I have faith in Bioware to deliver a more rewarding, story-driven game than its predecessors and can’t wait for its release.


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I was expecting to go in and be sold on the idea of the Xbox One X. What I saw were a bunch of indie games I’ll eventually pick up on a Steam sale weeks after their release. For early adopters of the Xbox One, such as myself, there was a reason we got bored with our Xbox Ones and jumped ship to the PlayStation 4. The lack of true exclusives, not just “console exclusives” are what killed any reason to dust off my system.

Sure, it was disappointing to not end the conference with a Halo reveal, but Microsoft showed us a nice variety of games such as Forza Motorsport 7, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. By no means was it the worst e3 conference I’ve seen, I just wish they would have had more fully exclusive titles to show.

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