GameReviewPad’s E3 2015 Reactions: Microsoft


This is a digest of what GameReviewPad contributors thought of Microsoft’s showing at E3 2015.

Louis Hughes says:

For the Microsoft conference it felt like the beginning of a road trip, and E3 is their first stop. This is in part with most of their big games (Scalebound, Quantum Break, Crackdown) being absent for Gamescom. That didn’t mean Microsoft didn’t have a few tricks to show off. After E3 2013, they know games have to be front and center, and that has been their focus ever since.

For me, the big announcement was the backwards compatibility for the Xbox One to play Xbox 360 games. This is huge for me, but after the conference, I realized that the reason I held off on getting an Xbox One is the lack of it so I went through my Xbox 360 library until I felt safe to upgrade. However, since some Xbox Live Arcade games will be making an appearance, that excited me since I wasn’t able to finish my digital collection. Then the tease on the history of Rare with my mind going crazy of what it’ll be, only to reveal Rare Replay. Going back to play some of my favorite games from Rare is something I’m on board with. I also like their new logo. While their new game (Sea of Thieves) left me disappointed, there is Yooka-Laylee.

The more I see Cuphead, the more I want this game to come out. As a former animator, I can’t help but love that this game is using traditional animation in the style of Fleischer Studios. When the VR talk started it was bathroom time for me. Then they showed Minecraft with HoloLens, and when the castle formed on the table I was at a loss of words. I thought to myself, “All this stuff I dreamed of as kid is now coming to life.” Then I remembered how is this going to work in a real setting?

Overall, I thought Microsoft did what they promised, though I am getting sick and tired of CGI trailers with no gameplay. Did I mention there was no Kinect? Now that I think about it, there was no Call Of Duty.

Andre Calvert says:

I went into the Microsoft conference looking for a reason to pick the Xbox One as my next console, but I didn’t go in with any other expectations. I’m not going to go into everything, but just my biggest takeaways.

As someone who has not owned a Microsoft console yet, I thought Microsoft did a pretty good job. They started off their press conference showing Halo 5: Guardians. I am not really a big FPS person, so it didn’t move as much as it might someone into FPS as their favorite genre. That being said, I thought Halo 5 looked interesting enough, that it’s a game I would want to play. The co-op mode was most interesting to me.

The backwards compatibility announcement was, to me, the best technical announcement by any press conference. Although it’s not something that would push more over the top immediately to want to buy an Xbox One, it certainly pushes me in that direction. Xbox One exclusives would push me more over the top. Another Xbox One only feature that interested was me was the announcement of mods for Fallout 4 that are compatible with the PC versions. Like backwards compatibility, doesn’t push me over the edge either, primarily because it’s a feature for one game and I also play PC games.

Microsoft had a lot of announcements with no gameplay, but the announcements with gameplay that caught my eye the most were the indie titles Ashen, Beyond Eyes, and Cuphead. Cuphead stood out the most due to it’s 1930s cartoon style. Although Halo 5 is obviously the top game this year for Microsoft, Cuphead, to me, was the game highlight of the press conference. Unfortunately and back to my original point, Cuphead does not move me to buy an Xbox One. This isn’t because it’s an indie title, but because Cuphead (along with many of other Microsoft’s announcements) were for Xbox One/Windows/Windows 10. I don’t classify games on consoles and PC as exclusive games.

The Rise of the Tomb Raider presentation was also very intriguing, with Lara Croft doing a lot of ice climbing, but this is a timed-exclusive with no time frame announced yet for other platforms. I admit, I’m still not happy that this sequel to the first Tomb Raider (2013), that was multi-platform is turning into a timed-exclusive. I think what Crystal Dynamics did was a dirty move to the fans, but on the other side, I understand the business side of the equation. Due to this move, they are not going to get me to buy an Xbox One for this, and I have feeling a lot of other people feel the same way as I do.

The other item that caught my interest was the Rare Replay by Rare games, that is Xbox One exclusive. Once again, it’s not an exclusive that pushes me over the edge to want to immediately want to go out and get an Xbox One, but the titles within the Rare Replay are classics and I admit I haven’t played all of them.

Microsoft spent a chunk of their press conference towards the end dedicated to discussing virtual reality and augmented reality. The Oculus Rift is something I’m intrigued to see how it turns out. Xbox One games will be able to be streamed to the Oculus Rift via Windows 10, which seems like a lot going on just to get it going. I’m not jumping on that bandwagon yet. They also showed off something called the “HoloLens” (pronounced HA-lo). It doesn’t seem like they put much thought into the name. Between the pronunciation and a possible Halo/Holo mix up, are we looking at a future PR disaster? They demonstrated someone playing Minecraft augmenting the land as a God-like figure with the actual map coming to life right in front of him. The player could then use console commands to disrupt players or mess with the land. I’m not sure how this will be play out for other games, but it certainly left me with a positive impression.

All in all, I thought Microsoft did a pretty good job, but not enough exclusives to really push me over the edge to want to run out and buy an Xbox One. They did have a lot of XboxOne/Windows 10 games, which didn’t exactly do much to give the Xbox One appeal to a PC gamer. The biggest takeaways for me were the backwards compatibility, HoloLens, Cuphead and no Kinect talk (thankfully).

More GameReviewPad contributors may be adding their thoughts before July 1st.

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