Microsoft had previously promised that their E3 conference would be all about the games, and boy have they delivered. Their 90 minute conference was probably filled with more trailers and reveals than any other E3 conference that I can recall. Have they done enough to turn gamers around after a fairly disastrous few weeks however? Check out our round-up of the games shown and make up your own minds.
The conference opened with our first glimpse of an in-engine demo of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Looking like a cross between the Metal Gear and Red Dead Redemption franchises, the graphics certainly impressed as Snake covered the dusty open world location on horse back. This is a new direction for the stealth game and it certainly looked impressive, although it is also heading to PS4 of course.
After opening with a big-name multi-platform title, and then spending a brief 10 minutes talking about the Xbox 360, the bulk of the remainder of the conference was dedicated to all-new and exclusive XBox One games. The first of these was the much-anticipated roman game Ryse: Son of Rome. The title seems to have changed a lot from its days as a Kinect based first person gladiator game, and now appears to be a cross between Call of Duty, God of War and Gears of War. It looks truly epic and the detail on your characters armor is phenomenal. The only concern seems to be that pretty much every single enemy encounter finished with a quick time event button press, so I guess we have to wait for some hands-on impressions to see what it will play like. After all Ryse’s developer Crytek is known more for their impressive graphics than gameplay.
Next came a brief surprise as Killer Instinct was revealed, pretty much looking like a next-gen version of the original game. More of this was shown later in the conference and I know it will make a lot of people happy, it looked decent enough and should be fun. Both Killer Instinct and Ryse were shown off in a brief section looking at SmartGlass integration and using the Xbox One’s DVR capabilities to upload and stream live gamplay which all looked easy to use with Kinect voice commands. This is the way that Kinect should be used really, rather than with goofy party games. Everything they showed here worked well, and compared favorably with Sony’s very similar system. Incidentally both Ryse and Killer Instinct were confirmed for a 2013 release which should put them at, or very near launch.
Another game that should greatly benefit from these features is Forza 5, which looked as impressive as you might expect. A European type town circuit was shown off and looked lovely, as did the body work on each of the cars. Forza 5’s big selling point is that there will be no AI cars to race against, only real people whose driving style is incorporated into the game. Your ‘Driveatar’ will also compete in races even when you aren’t actually playing the game, and will accumulate points. Forza 5 was another title confirmed for launch.
Sunset Overdrive from Insomniac will be another XBox One exclusive, and seems to be a cartoony open world zombie game, with shades of inFamous and Jet Set Radio. Although we only saw what seemed to be a non-gameplay trailer it still showed plenty of potential. Other games also shown in brief trailer form included Quantum Break (again, not too sure what that one is all about, we only saw what looked like another cut-scene), Minecraft XBOX One edition, Crimson Dragon which looked like a very impressive shooter, directly related to the old Panzer Dragoon games, and a strange Japanese cel shaded murder mystery game called D4.
Microsoft also appeared to have their own version of Little Big Planet on show, at this stage merely called Project Spark. It actually reminded me a lot of the Xbox 360 exclusive game Kameo, but putting the creation of levels and enemies in the players hands. The game creation tools also extend to making completely new games, as all types of genre were shown in the trailer after the demonstration. Again, using Kinect and SmartGlass could really make this one work, and its focus on a 3D world makes it at least stand out a little from Little Big Planet.
Two more Xbox One exclusives were shown off before the focus shifted to multi-platform; Dead Rising 3, and a sneaky look at a new Halo game. Whilst the Halo reveal was nothing more than a very good CGI teaser, Dead Rising 3 actually looked really good, and much more realistic than the previous games. Set in what seemed to be a Californian city, it was labelled as truly open world, with no loading times and very impressive graphics. It retains the weapon creation tools of the earlier games, but should appeal to a wider audience this time around, it will also be out at the launch of the new system.
Finally to finish off the conference, two further games were shown. The nameless new title from Black Tusk studios was shown in trailer form, with a spy/assassin in a near future far-east city breaching a skyscraper. We were promised more on this title soon. Lastly was the previously leaked Titanfall, which will launch in 2014. Plenty of gameplay was shown off from Remedy’s game, and it certainly impressed. Seemingly combining the best aspects of multiplayer games including gaining points for tasks and kills was mixed with a single player narrative as the player was dropped in the middle of a warzone. At first the player starts off on foot, with the game looking like a futuristic Call of Duty. After a while though the player was able to call down a ‘Titan’ mech from the orbiting ship, and then jump on board. The gameplay seemed to switch focus at this point and became heavier, with the mech also having the power to catch bullets as well as more powerful weaponry. The demo finished as the player was forced to eject from the giant robot, returning to control as the pilot character as he landed. All very impressive stuff.
So there we have it. For those that thought the Xbox One was going to be just a TV machine, think again – there are plenty of new and exciting games due for release on the platform. Has what has been shown today changed any of your opinions on the machine? Let us know what you think below and stay tuned for much more from both the XBox One and the PS4 later in E3.