E3 2013 : Microsoft’s Show
Microsoft were the first to show their cards at e3 this year. Here is our take on everything announced today!
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
The conference started off with a bang, as this open world take on Metal Gear Solid looked stunning, with Snake riding his horse around a massive desert landscape, dodging unwanted attention and generally sneaking around in bona fide next generation landscapes. The second half of the trailer was all awful characters and cringeworthy dialogue. Sigh.
Xbox 360 Games
World of Tanks as a free to play title was a good start, and it was nice to see Microsoft talk about the future of the Xbox 360, with a spiffy new SKU, and Max The Curse of Brotherhood looks decent, but the 360 game we all wanted to see was Dark Souls II, and it was shown with new gameplay video.
Xbox Live Gold
Microsoft announced that, from July 1st, all Gold members will get two free games per month, with Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3 kicking things off. Sounds like it will be an ongoing thing, and has to be their answer to PS Plus. The first two games are pretty old when compared to the onslaught of 2-3 month old games on PS Plus, but it is a step in the right direction for Gold, although no word on how this will work for Xbox One and its lack of three-year old games…
Ryse: Son of Rome
This looks promising, and seems to have dropped a lot of the Kinect based guff initially promised for it. A third person brawler where you are able to give commands to your troops, and even get them into differing formations to attack, the game did seem to have too many QTE’s, with seemingly every encounter beset with them, but the graphics looked really good and I liked the sheer breadth of the battle.
Sunset Overdrive, Forza 5
Sunset Overdrive looked interesting from Insomniac, though we really didn’t get to see enough of it to make a proper judgement, and Forza 5 looked like, well, what Forza 4 would look like if it had a ‘5’ at the end and better graphics. To be fair, the idea of the ‘Drivatar’, where the game sends a representation of you to other gamer’s races while you are away, did look clever.
Well, maybe that should be: Indie? Phil Harrison was talking about indie games, but I guess he and I disagree about what makes an Indie game. Even Mojang don’t think that Minecraft is an Indie game anymore, and is Remedy really an Indie developer? Quantum Break, woeful and confusing script aside, did pique my interest, as did D4 from Swery. I take it that means Indies still can’t self-publish then Phil?
Will it eventually just be called ‘Spark’? Every game, film and book is a project guys. I am currently watching Project Coronation Street. Anyway, this looks like a mix of LittleBigPlanet and er, LittleBigPlanet Karting, with an added pinch of incredible. If this on the fly game builder is what we can expect at the start of this generation, things are looking up.
MS is including Twitch for streaming gameplay to your mates, in a similar way to what Sony is doing with PS4, although you won’t be able to take the reins of gameplay with this. The very fact that Microsoft is using a third-party for this makes me think this is a half arsed reaction to some of what Sony have already announced.
Crimson Dragon, Dead Rising 3 and Witcher 3
All three seemed really good, and added a much-needed injection of variety to the show. Dead Rising 3 is everything you would hope a next-gen Dead Rising would be- bigger, better and with thousands more zombies to mow down, and Crimson Dragon looked stunning, even if the audio was hilariously absent. Witcher 3 was predictably awesome looking, with some of the enemy models looking incredibly detailed.
The new game from the Superbrothers creators was my personal highlight, but then I am a bit weird. There was a bit of CGI of the new Halo game(check back next year), and the announcement that Microsoft have purchased 5 studios. Battlefield 4 looked as good as you would hope, with a lot happening on-screen at 60 fps.
Price, release date
The Xbox One launches in November for the princely sum of $499/£429, which is a lot to ask of gamers that were hesitant to buy the significantly cheaper Wii U, which had none of the baggage about DRM.
The game line up was pretty good. Dead Rising, Ryse and Forza looked decent, but Project Spark was the most promising of the exclusives. Most of the other games will also be on PS4, but I was impressed with what Microsoft had to show, although I really do have to question that price.
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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.