E3 2016: Microsoft Stuns The Crowd

Okay, the title for this article sounds like my reactions should be positive. And for the most part they are. I’m excited about a lot of what was shown today, but I’m also stunned by the timing of some of these announcements. Mainly the hardware announcements. But first let’s dive into the software that was announced today.

Forza Horizon 3 just made me smile. It’s everything I ever wanted in a racing simulator. The four player co-op the announcement for Windows 10 (more on that in a bit) and just how beautiful the game looked in action. I’ve been a long time Forza fan so now being able to play this with my friends that have Xbox One’s is an added plus. However my  smile didn’t last long.

I’m worried for Final Fantasy XV. Although it’s not a console exclusive, it was shown during the Microsoft presser. And what we saw was incoherent, messy, and flawed. I think the boss battle that was shown was ineffective in showing how the controls, camera, and battle system have improved. Instead it looked like the demonstration highlighted how bad the camera is, how wonky the controls are and how one-dimensional the battle system is. With the release coming in September, I don’t have much hope that this can be improved upon. I’m really hoping it was just a rough patch of gameplay that was shown off.

But moving onto better things. I think i’m officially back on the Gears of War 4 hype train. The gameplay looked smooth like the Gears of War I’ve come to love and remember. I love the improved AI and the ferociousness of the enemies not being afraid to move from cover to cover in pursuit of you. The trailer’s reveal also made me giddy. Horde Mode 3.0 was also confirmed and I can’t wait to suit up and destroy wave after wave of enemies. Best of all it’ll be cross-buy and cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10 (I promise I’m going to go over the Xbox Play Anywhere stuff in a bit).

Platinum Games finally gave us another look at Scalebound with a massive boss battle. I still don’t know what to make of the game as it has a Devil May Cry look to it, but the gameplay is much slower than anything I’ve seen from Platinum before. The boss was gigantic but the whole encounter seemed dull and went on for to long. I can’t wait to see how it shapes up but right now it looks like any other third person action title. No release date for it yet all we know is that it’ll arrive in 2017 for Xbox One and Windows 10.

Recore hit a few nostalgic notes for me it gave off MegaMan Legends vibes and with Keji Inafune [onboard] there’s a good reason why. Although, he’s lost much support from the gaming community due to the Mighty No. 9 issues. I see a glimmer of light here, however, I’m not to fond of the art style. We won’t have to wait long to find out how Recore turns out as it has a September 13 release date.

Moving on to a game I really want to like but I can’t get over the art style. Sea of Thieves sounds like the game I dreamt up as a kid. Captain your own ship with friends and set sail around the world looking for treasures and thinking up new adventures. It all sounds amazing, but the whimsical look of it turns me off. I’ll still keep up with this game just because the premise is too good to pass up. I just hope it meets the high expectations it just set for itself.

The Halo Wars 2 trailer was pretty awesome and captured the insanity we’d expect from a intergalactic war. Better yet, if you own a Xbox One, the Beta is open today until the 20th. I can’t wait to play this game properly with a mouse and keyboard because it’s also coming to PC.

I’m pumped for State of Decay 2. Yes, the zombie genre has been oversaturated, but this just looks like tons of fun with friends. And again Microsoft continues the Xbox One and Windows 10 trend.

With that said Microsoft also showed us Dead Rising 4 another staple in the zombie genre. Expect the same outrageous and goofy action we’ve come to expect from the Dead Rising franchise.

Playdead revealed its follow up to the intriguing Limbo. It’s called Inside and from early looks this may be a sleeper title you may not want to miss. We also saw some Minecraft cross-play between multiple devices so that fairs well. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game looks to cash in on Hearthstone’s popularity. as well and there’s an sign up for the open beta.

Xbox One S
Xbox One S

Microsoft is putting the acquisition that led to that beautiful Xbox One Elite controller to good use. It has announced that you’ll now be able to create your own custom controller leading to 3 million different custom possibilities. I’m a big fan of custom controllers so this was a welcomed surprise. They will be starting at $79.99 an (extra $9.99 for an engraving) and will be the same model that will be packaged with the new Xbox One S.

Speaking of the Xbox One S, Microsoft basically killed this smaller slimmer version of the current Xbox One with its…

Xbox Scorpio announcement, a more powerful version of the Xbox One that is capable of 4K resolution. This reveal does more to solidify an opinion I’ve had for a few years now. Consoles are becoming more like PC’s with each generation and this is likely where the line becomes thinner. Just look at the confirmed specs 6 Teraflops, 8 Core CPU those sound like PC specs more than buzz words to me. Console gamers in the crowd probably had no idea what any of it meant. Heck I received a few text from collogues asking what it all meant. In short the Xbox Scorpio a marginal console upgrade is basically a mid tier gaming PC. I can continue to dive deeper into this but that requires its own piece. But there’s no doubt now PC gaming will likely be the way to go for gamers looking for diversity, options, and they can now play triple A first party titles. If Sony plans on continuing to compete they have to answer back with something similar not just a 4K capable console but my hopes are low in that regard.

Xbox Play Anywhere is Microsoft’s golden ticket to greatness. Microsoft is basically opening up all of its first party titles to PC gamers. Allowing for cross-play, cross-buy. That means the big titles like Gears of War 4, Scalebound, Forza Horizon 3, and Halo Wars 2 are all playable on Windows 10 PCs. Xbox Play Anywhere is the power move Microsoft needed to pull years ago, I’m talking Xbox 360. The infrastructure has been there for nearly a decade. Microsoft has basically just closed the gap between PC’s and consoles. I for one just think this is the next logical step for gaming not Just for Microsoft but Sony has to follow suit also. Although it will create some complications being that Microsoft owns both Xbox and Windows.

Microsoft had a strong showing although the Xbox One S announcement doesn’t make much sense with the reveal of the Scorpio


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