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Published on June 11th, 2013 | by Muse Shake

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Microsoft’s E3 Keynote

Well all the big shows from E3 are over even though the event itself has only just began, and if you missed the keynote presentations and can’t really be bothered sifting through all the junk involved in watching one we’ve got you covered.

 

First up we had Microsoft who have been naturally met with a lot of distrust by gamers since the announcement of their lack of support for pre-owned games, the always online verification, and the creepy kinect that never looks away.  These issues mean varying amounts to different people, there are many gamers out there who never buy a pre-owned game or sell their own and are always connected to the internet and thus it is understandable that some people are still welcoming the Xbox One in to their homes with open arms.  For my personal consumption I’m in the same position as those who have nothing to worry about, however the notion that they think this process is ok is what bothers me.  I doubt I’ll even notice the restrictions placed on the console, however my desire to support a company who wants to go in this direction is something else entirely.

 

Microsoft’s presentation came out strong boasting that it’s all about the games – especially after the Xbox One reveal that played so much more to the TV and sporting market than to the gamers.  It’s very obvious that Microsoft are feeling that they need to make up for that and make good with the gamers – but unfortunately this does not mean they’ve lifted any restrictions from the console.

 

First off the bat was a bit of a surprise as the much loved Metal Gear Solid series showed us some stunning graphics in the preview of The Phantom Pain.  The are some definite tinges of the original Assassin’s Creed in the feel to this game with it’s desert like location being shown, and of course the inclusion of horses and on horse combat.  Now MGS isn’t a series that I personally have had any experience with so I can’t tell you how the trailer fairs as far as it’s predecessors go, however I can say that it looks like an interesting stealth game with unusual ways of going about things to achieve your goals.  I think everyone in the room was waiting to have their mouths hang open, as surely if this is what Microsoft pulls out first it would have to be an exclusive however it does not appear this is the case.

Very Assassin's Creed-esque

Very Assassin’s Creed-esque

 

Now before they came to the promised plethora of games a bit of a weird announcement from Microsoft in the revamp of the Xbox360 console so it matches that of the new Xbox One.  Now I know I sound incredibly negative towards the next generation of Xbox but I can’t say that the awkward box design is something I’ve found particularly appealing so it all seemed like a bit of a waste from my corner.  What however is very exciting news is that Microsoft are pulling a Playstation Plus by giving Xbox Gold members will be receiving two free game downloads each month.  Among the first to make this roster are Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3 and this will kick off on the first of July.

 

now with more.. box

 

 

Back to the games!  Crytek are putting their best foot forward with a very pretty looking exclusive called Ryse: Son of Rome.  The demo video was gameplay footage which is really nice to see and featured a Roman general in third person hack and slash combat.  Now the game did seem to be Quick Time Event central however as I discovered in the recent Tomb Raider when done well this isn’t always a bad thing, so I guess for that piece I’ll reserve judgement until later.  What was interesting was the ability to command an army and who doesn’t love a proper spartan style shield system when approaching a barrage of archers.  The game looks beautiful, the setting is new and fresh, and Xbox One has it as an exclusive, so points to them for this addition.

 

All aboard the hype train for Killer Instinct.  I know this is something many fans have been wanting back, and well, it is.  The demo really didn’t look any different to what you’d be expecting of this game, so to long term fans – good news!  To everyone else, lets move along.

 

Next up was a brief look at a game that really caught my attention.  The first few seconds of this trailer had me hooked, and like many others in tweets I unoriginally referred to it as Mirrors Edge on drugs.  Sunset Overdrive is a new IP from Insomniac games which has a wicked art design combined with open world free running and 3rd person shooter action.  It appears to take place in a dystopian world where youths use wacked out moves and weird guns in a living world to fight monsters.  I am very cool with all this, and although just a trailer, if any game from Microsoft’s show makes me want an Xbox One, it’s this one.

 

crazy ass art style

 Seriously recommend taking a look at this teaser

 

Microsoft pulling out the first exclusive series with a new look at a very shiny Forza Motorsport 5.  Racing games have been boasting some absolutely amazing graphics in their cars with the new generation, however I’m not too sure why I should care if the leather in my car, that I’m more likely to only see the outside of, is hand-stitched.  Some cool new tech that was announced with the game however is ‘Drivetar’, now regardless of how stupid the name is the concept is fairly neat.  Information is stored in the cloud, teaching the AI to behave like you, and other drivers.  After learning your style your ‘Drivetar’ races other people online by using actions it feels you would use, and gives you stats and bonuses based on how you do.  It really does feel like the next level of racing games – if they can pull it off.

 

What was really lacking in the Xbox keynote is the support for Indie games.  Microsoft tried to pass Minecraft and the addition of it (for some reason) to the Xbox One has supporting the little guy.  I think it’s been a while since anyone can call Notch the little guy.  What I’m hoping for with this title is that the new Kinect will allow for better control, maybe that’ll be worth it because the graphics aren’t exactly a good reason.

 

Then we had a super quick look at a new IP.  Quantum Break didn’t really tell us much other than you have an interesting time stop mechanic for missions, however it was enough to get some interest happening, and what we did see was very pretty.

 

Fans of Deadly Premonition rejoice!  Swery65 is coming to Xbox One with a new IP called D4.  The game is a murder mystery and the graphics are cell shaded so it looks like there will be enough quirk there to satisfy the cult gathering of fans.

 

Project Spark showed a new way to use smart glass.  This title is about making games and changing them by creating landscapes and scenarios with your touch device.  It’s an interesting concept but it feels like something that would get repetitive and old very quickly.  Creative games on consoles always seem to bring out the best in communities, so regardless of how good the game itself is I’m looking forward to see what people make with this power.

 

pretty.. but whether or not it’ll play well is the question

 

 

We took a brief detour from games in the middle of the presentation to have a look at how other features of the console work.  Thankfully none of this was about TV.  Smart glass is getting a much larger look in the next gen with Microsoft desperate to compete with the Wii U Gamepad and Sony’s integration with the Vita.  It seems a console without a second screen is ‘so last gen’ and Microsoft use a nice touch by allowing you to use pretty much whatever it is you already own.  Using the glass they also debuted their game matching system which claims to have a more detailed process in giving you a better match based on your skills and ratings.

 

Now the feature as a content creator I am most excited to see hitting next gen is the streaming an instant uploads.  Microsoft’s partnership with Twitch to stream straight from the console is definitely a selling point, and not needing a complicated system with a capture card anymore is going to be a godsend.  Features like these will make the next generation of consoles that extra level of connected.

 

NO MORE MICROSOFT POINTS. 

Local currencies are finally being integrated.  I guess they haven’t completely blocked out listening to their fans. This coupled with the addition of the Xbox Live Gold sharing – which gives everyone on the console the ability to use one person’s Gold sub, (which will carry on from your 360 account) almost positions Microsoft back in to a positive light with the consumer.

 

Fans have been asking for a new Panzer Dragoon game for a while now.  The good news is we got a trailer for one, the bad news is it had no sound.

 

Another heavy hitting exclusive IP was announced in Dead Rising 3.  Games like these really make me wish I could care about zombies anymore as the insane customisation of weapons from two appears to be back and crazier than ever.  Other than that it’s zombie business as usual, and from my perspective that’s all a bit dull.

 

Something I was quite interested in is the Witcher 3.  Now this game isn’t really news to anyone however from what we’ve seen it looks far more open world than it’s predecessor and god damned is Geralt just a bit pretty.  The run down is that the game is big, with new and more tactical combat, and apparently over 100 hours of gameplay in a non linier story.  The Witcher uses both the kinect and smart glass to give spell commands by voice, and the UI in your hands.  I know that these two technologies are often seen as gimmicks however with the next level of technology I’m looking forward to trying these out in a series I love.

 

*swoon*

 

 

Xbox really slamming with the big guns now as Battlefield 4 Second Assault makes an appearance on stage.  The pull for Xbox One is that it will be first on this system, how much of a selling point that really is though I’m not sure.  Now much like Panzer Dragoon the sound was not working at first for this presentation, however in this game we stopped everything to wait and make it work.  I found this detail to be incredibly distracting, not because someone made a mistake or something wasn’t working, but I feel it unfair that this game got the chance another didn’t.  I understand that it’s business, and marketing, and it’s a popular title but I couldn’t shake that feeling of watching the bully in the playground showing off.  The graphics on Battlefield as expected did look absolutely incredible, and the gameplay seemed solid, but military shooters are all beginning to look the same to me at this point.

What looked like a realistic take on Sony’s indie smash hit Journey with a cloaked figure making a solitary drudge across a desert actually turned out to be a teaser for the next Halo title.  343 is having another go at the series and they’ve done some really good work so far so hopefully we can continue to see this series milked in a positive way.. chocolate milked.  This will be the first Halo console game to run at 60fps and will be exclusive to the Xbox One – as expected.

We were left with a trailer for Titanfall, a game which to me looks pretty much like a Halo clone anyway.  That’s not to say the game doesn’t look entertaining and fun, Halo are an entertaining and fun series, however I’m not sure if Xbox One really needs two of them.

 

That’s it for Microsoft’s keynote.  We’re at work summarising the rest of the presentations as well as a few other E3 related pieces to come in the next week so stay tuned.

 

Has the Xbox One won you over?  Does the lack of second hand games and always online play a part in influencing your decision on which console you will grab?  Leave us a comment on any of our E3 content on this website along with whether you play on 360 or PS3 and you could win a MYSTERY GAME that was released this year – or by the latest late 2012. You’ve gotta be in Australia though so keep that in mind!

 

~ muse

 

 

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About the Author

Muse Shake

Gamer, geek, artist & all round swell lady. Video games first sparked a passion with me when my parents decided I wasn't allowed them, forbidden fruit always being the sweetest I've not looked back since my first experiences even though they had to be snuck in at friend's houses. When I'm not working or playing games I'm usually drawing, or writing about games, while secretly resenting that when I turned ten no one gave me a Charmander to roam the land with.



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