Saturday, 27 June 2015

E3 Roundup 2015: Microsoft

Right then, so I'm going to try to be a bit more on time this year in terms of the E3 posts (and, as this is the last one, it looks like I have been!). In this post, I shall be rounding up Microsoft's E3 conference and will include information on all of the games, trailers and any other bits of news I can gather from the conference. Of course, spoilers will ensue. Enjoy.

The Xbox conference starts with a quick montage of the biggest names in Xbox gaming from Halo to Tomb Raider to Fable and has all of the mascots of those franchises asking you whether you will step or leap ahead. Well, what will you do? (I'll take the plane, I think...)

Halo 5: Guardians: Locke or Chief? Now that's the question. The trailer begins with a cinematic intro detailing that Master Chief has gone rouge and that Locke has been sent in to find him. Then it cuts to a gameplay section where the player controls Locke as he and his team hunt Chief, and the Guardian, down.This involves them killing lots of Covenant enemies, getting some weapons, a touch of parkour and some friendly banter between the comrades.While the graphics are good (if a bit texture-heavy) it's in the particle and lighting effects where the game really shines. The Keeper then prevents Locke from continuing but lets Chief through (interesting...). Furthermore, there's another montage of more gameplay. The campaign involves you playing as two squads of Spartan's led by either Master Chief or Spartan Locke. The multiplayer mode, Warzone, lets you play with 23 other players as well as AI controlled adversaries and maps that are four times the size of any previous Halo map. Yep, it looks hectic, explosive and brilliant. Release date: 27th October 2015 (Xbox One exclusive of course).

Recore: with beautiful graphics, an interesting looking backstory and the briefest robotic dog sacrifice ever, Recore definitely looks interesting... and a bit like a snowy Horizon. Release date: Spring 2016 (Exclusively on Xbox One).

Xbox One - Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility: woot! Now, this was a good decision. However, it's not as easy as say, Wii U, where all the games Wii games were supported. Instead, there will 100 titles supported by the holidays (although Xbox Preview members can play them now) with more to come (once developers authorise it). In addition digital games will be transferred automatically and retail disks can be inserted into the Xbox One before being downloaded. Furthermore, multiplayer can be played across platform between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One while the Xbox One players can take advantage of the updated Xbox Live functions such as voice control and screen shots as well as game streaming to the Xbox app on Windows 10.

Xbox Elite Controller: the new Xbox controller not only looks great but comes with added features and customisation such as swappable parts, editable sensitivity and button remapping. Combatible with both Xbox One and Windows 10.

Fallout 4: after a nuclear fallout you emerge as the sole survivor of Vault 111, 200 years later than you expected. The gameplay trailer shows the Pip-Boy (your menu) which works both when you activate it and when not looking directly at it (but when holding it by your side). The game, running on various Next-Gen technical jargon, looks beautiful. And, when you return home, you find the family robot, Codsworth (who has been programmed with over 200 common names), still waiting for you (how he survived a nuclear fallout, I don't know). You then meet the ever faithful companion, Dog (although if he's more faithful than Codsworth remains to be seen). The combat system is amazing and combines both first person shooter action and RTS strategy. There's also a new, signature, weapon in the Laser Musket and, as Todd Howard says, you crank it and let it loose. You then climb into a mec-suit with a machine gun and clear the town of hostiles (wow, lot's of people can survive a nuclear fallout, huh? Oh, wait, I don't care - this is too cool). Xbox Exclusive features: Fallout 3 is included with Fallout 4 and you can mod the game on the Xbox (once they've been created on the PC). Release date: 10th November 2015.

EA Access: for $5 you can play EA games 'first, more and for less', only on Xbox One. For example, Madden NFL 2015 will be available to play on August 20th for EA Access owners and on August 25th for everyone else. In addition, gamers will have access to the Vault, - a collection of EA's biggest and best games such as Titanfall (beginning of the summer) and Dragon Age: Inquisition (end of the summer) for free and on Xbox One. Furthermore, EA Access subscribers get 10% off of Xbox Store full game and expansion/DLC downloads.

Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare 2: with new characters and weapons on both sides (which seems to just take the mick out of the shooter game/film genre), this game looks genuinely fun. Release date: Spring 2016.

Forza Motorsport 6: after a quick introduction of the Ford GT, the new Ford GT is lowered onto the stage and into Forza Motorsport 6. Forza 6 looks stunning, with weather effects and beautiful graphics abound and contains 26 world famous destinations, 1080p, 60fps and over 450 cars as well as a 24 car multiplayer. Release date: 15th September, 2015 (Xbox One exclusive).

Dark Souls III: well, that was impressive. They actually made me feel the difficulty from the trailer. Superb. And, I really don't want to face that giant fire and shadow thing. Release date: early 2016.

Tom Clancy's The Division: wow, that was amazing. Great lore, great graphics, great gameplay and a great trailer. One to watch. Xbox One players get an exclusive beta, this December.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege: superb graphics, great tactical gameplay (drones!) and destructible environments. Release date: 13th October 2015. Rainbow Six Vegas and Rainbow Six Vegas 2 will also be available to play this holidays on Xbox One Backwards Compatibility and will come free with Rainbow Six Siege.

Gigantic: a shooter in the same sort of vein as Overwatch but with a South-American feel. Choose your hero from a range of fast moving swordsman, tanky beasts and a fox... archer. Also, unleash your Guardian (a huge dragon-like thing) to deal huge damage! Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive. Beta date: August 2015.

*Montage of ID@Xbox trailers so descriptions are not that accurate:*

Cuphead: a platformer resplendent of the 1930 cartoons with the gameplay of a 16-bit platformer. This leads to a very interesting art style and solid gameplay which, hopefully, will = a great game. Release date: 2016, Xbox One exclusive.

Rise & Shine: a cartoon-y adventure/platformer.

Mean Greens Plastic Warfare: a shooter where you play as one of those little green army men, in a child's bedroom so expect toy-based hazards like toy trains.

The Flame in the Flood: a good looking adventure game with both land and sea elements.

Phantasmal City of Darkness: a horror based shooter.

The Solus Project: a beautiful looking adventure/exploration game.

Westerado Double Barreled: a pixelated wild western shooter.

Sword Coast Legends: a RTS with a party system.

Outward The Adventure Life System: an adventure and, presumably, life sim game.

Goat Simulator mmore goats edition: the goats have become zombies. And joined an MMO.

Game 4: a cartoon-y RTS with hexagon tiles.

Below: a minamilistic exploration and, one would assume, Metroidvania title.

ARK Survival Evolved: a dinosaur shooter.

> Recruits: a military twin-stick shooter.

*SuperHot: a shooter with time elements.*

Tacoma: a story-driven space exploration game. Interesting. Release date: 2016.

Ashen: a harsh, but beautiful, open world game where decisions such as who is friend and foe is left up to the player. Also, the characters don't have faces because... reasons. Xbox One exclusive.

Beyond Eyes: an exploration game where your character is blind and, so, you have to use the other senses to get around (and display the beautiful painted graphics). Interesting and one to watch. Release date: Summer 2015.

Xbox Game Preview: a program that enables Xbox gamers to access and play some early-access titles, thereby, enabling the community to give feedback to the developers and help shape the game. Furthermore, every game on the program comes with a free trial that lets you make a more educated decision on whether to buy the game in early access or not (which I think is just a genius idea and one that Steam should take notice of). Games that will be included in the program, um, include: The Long Dark, Sheltered, Elite: Dangerous and DayZ. Release date: now for The Long Dark and Elite: Dangerous (with more games being released over the year).

Ion: from the creator of DayZ comes a space MMO ran on the Laws of Physics, Biology and Chemistry. With scanners, spacestations, lore and a huge map, it may just give No Man's Sky a run for its money (although, I haven't really seen much of the gameplay). Coming soon and first on Xbox One (on Game Preview) and PC.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: In a gameplay trailer that makes you wonder just how strong Lara is as she is thrown off cliffs and ice shelves before being hit by an avalanche, Rise of the Tomb Raider is shown off in all its glory. Beautiful graphics, sweeping vistas and decent snow physics (always and important one, that) combined with platforming and QTE's makes Rise of the Tomb Raider appear to be a great game and one that is worthy of it's franchises history (however, the voices sounded a bit robotic - although this could have been a mixture of the conference and my speakers - or Lara's a robot, which would explain the superhuman strength). Release date: November 10th 2015, Xbox One exclusive.

Rare Replay: a $30 collection of 30 of Rare's hits including Banjo & Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Battletoads and Conker's Bad Fur Day. Oh, and 10,000 Gamerscore for those of a more achievement hunting deposition. Release date: 4th August, 2015 (to coincide with the 30th Anniversary of Rare this year).

Sea of Thieves: is a shared-world exploration game with a pirate theme from Rare. And it looks amazing, with beautiful, almost un-textured graphics, and solid, pirate themed (such as boat sailing, treasure finding, and plank walkingoffiing) gameplay. Xbox One exclusive.

Fable Legends: a game of adventurers that are not heroes but intruders (interesting perspective, don't you think). An interesting game of fighting monsters and exploring the lands, as well. Release date: holidays 2015 - Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusives. Oh, and it's free to play... and cross platform (and anything that you earn or buy can be used on the other platform).

Valve VR and Oculus Rift: Xbox are in partnership with these two VR developers with Oculus Rift gamers getting an Xbox One controller with every Oculus Rift purchase and Xbox One games being playable on Oculus Rift through Windows 10. Microsoft are also helping to develop Valve VR.

Microsoft Hololens (and Minecraft): wow. Just wow. With Hololens, you can project Minecraft onto surfaces such as a table and then control the world from there, such as by: looking around, zooming in on players, looking underneath parts of the world and marking points of interest for players using the PC or Surface as well as by using console commands and firing lightning strikes at pigs with just your gaze and voice. Amazing. Definitely one to watch.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition: the first Gears of War remastered at 1080p and 60fps multiplayer.

Gears 4: dark, mysterious and explosive. What more could you want? Release date: holiday 2016 - exclusive to Xbox One.

Well that's all on the Microsoft E3 2015 Conference and of E3. I hope you enjoyed it!

Goodbye for now, Harry

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