Monday, June 9, 2014

Microsoft Press Conference Summary, or, Wow That Was Overwhelming

In case you didn't catch it. Hi. I'm Gunblazer42. I'm a new recruit to the team. My first task was to watch the press conference and gather up news. Given how rapid-fire the conference was, I only managed to get tidbits here and there in the live articles. But now that things have calmed down slightly, I can write out a summary of the conference in peace.

First, Call of Duty. Advanced Warfare looks pretty. I like the HUD-on-gun idea, even if it's been done before. It's yet to be seen if the game will maintain the prettiness, but the CoD games have always been at least good in terms of graphics, so I personally have hope.

Forza was next. I'm not much into racing games, but like most racing games of this generation, it's pretty. It actually looks like it handles well gameplay wise as well.

Assassin's Creed: Unity was after. It looks like an Assassin's Creed game, and it plays as one, right down to the hand-to-hand combat, clunky as it may look. It didn't seem to take advantage of the graphical power of the Xbox One,which is a shame since this particular Assassin's Creed will be current-gen only, meaning Xbox 360 and PS3 will never see it. Multiplayer definitely seems like it'll allow for easier planning of assassinations, though it'll be important to balance the gameplay as such that solo play would be too difficult.

Sunset Overdrive was next in the queue. This took the form of a teaser, in which a typical shooter gets "invaded" by the colorful imagery of the game. Then where was gameplay footage.  It's definitely one of the top games of the conference, though it didn't reveal much that we didn't already know.

Then it got a bit odd. The Dead Rising 3 DLC was announced. Capcom is clearly poking fun at themselves with a name like Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha. The fact that it involves loads and loads of Capcom fanservice is interesting, though it feels like a kick in the gut, thanks to the fact that Mega Man is represented through music and some stage assets. ANd it's out now, according to the trailer.

There was a minor announcement of a brand new Dance Central game. I was never big on dancing games, but the Dance Central series has always been good quality. It'll be download-only and named Dance Central: Spotlight, and will be out in September.

Project Spark was next. It was just a trailer, though it had a surprise. Apparently, Conker the squirrel, star of Conker's Bad Fur Day, will be available for use within the software. No word yet as to if he'll be as foul-mouthed as he is in the game he stars in.

Fable Legends next. It seems to be an SRPG. You can play co-op with up to three other friends, or try your hand as the enemy. I do love these games where someone plays the bad guy against their friends.

Then there was another surprise. Ori and the Blind Forest. It's an indie game, from what I could tell. It's almost as pretty as Dust: An Elysian Tail, in terms of background. It seemed like it ran in perfect 60 frames. It seems to be a platformer as well. That's all we know. But it looks interesting. Xbox One exclusive, however.

After that was 343 Industries with the Master Chief Collection. Now...this, this was interesting. They showed a scene from Halo 2, redone with voice over from the Arbiter. By redone, it was made to look like it was using the Xbox One's graphical power to the limit. Then they had live gameplay of a remade Ascension, classic red team versus blue team. They claimed the Halo 2 multiplayer was unchanged from the original, which makes me happy, and not because of BXR all day every day. It could mean super bouncing returns. I just want to play in Lockout again. All four games, from 1 through 4, will be available in their original engines, and each game will have 1000 Gamerscore each. In addition, the menu to access everything, from game-to-game or mode-to-mode, will be via a seamless menu. 120 maps, several playlists. It's like the dream game, and about the only FPS I truly enjoy, especially if it'll have Halo 2 multiplayer intact. Plus, as an added incentive, it comes with beta access to Halo 5 multiplayer.

CGI trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider was after that. Nothing is known aside that it's coming out near the holiday season next year, and that our dear Lara Croft is getting therapy for what happened to her during the previous game. Nothing much to say here, except much hype, very excited, wow.

Phantom Dust...now there was something that was surprising. I never played the original, but the CGI trailer for the new game, featuring a well-dressed male fighting a fun-dressed female with magic powers, looked pretty. Very pretty. But it likely wasn't in-engine. Time will tell.

Platinum Games surprised, as they usually do. Scalebound. CGI announcement trailer featuring a teenager with attitude fighting dinosaurs alongside a friendly dragon-dinosaur type thing. He can don special armor that may increase his abilities. He can also ride on his dragon friend. It'll be interesting to see how gameplay works when they release more information.

And then another big surprise. Crackdown 3, with development being led by the original game dev lead. Co-op seems to be the major focus, as per usual with the Crackdown series. The trailer, CGI, showed three supercops working together to kill a drug kingpin, using a blown up building, a truck packed with explosives, and a sniper rifle to take him out at the penthouse of a very tall skyscraper. It's exciting.

Then there was Tom Clancy's The Division. Nothing special here, but I'm hyped for co-op.

Overall, it was a very good press conference, much better than last year's. No mention was made of Kinect, and it all focused on games. There were montages regarding the games shown off, as well as a collection of indie games. The only issue I take away from the conference is that those games that weren't Xbox One exclusive were timed exclusives, and/or will have DLC released first on Xbox One. Timed-exclusive DLC irritates me, and I dislike that Microsoft is doing such a thing to try and secure games ant attention for the Xbox. But it was a good conference overall.

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