By Jay Parks (GrimlockTheDino)
Microsoft took the stage at E3 2017 Sunday night, and came out swinging, from new hardware to video games and services. Here's the recap of the major details of the presentation, and my E3 grade for Microsoft.
2017 was by far Microsoft's best E3 presentation since the Xbox 360 days. The energy was high, the camera work was on point, and the content was GREAT! The new 4K screen on stage was beautiful and the stage presence was short, to the point, and entertaining. Phil Spencer is one of those leaders in the gaming industry that is a true gamer himself. Phil is a super hero in my eyes and after this E3, I believe in the Xbox brand once again, thanks to Phil and his team.
Xbox One X
The Xbox Scorpio has an official name: the Xbox One X. It's the most powerful console ever, and it's also the smallest Xbox ever created. Basically it looks like a mini Xbox One S and will support all Xbox One accessories (Kinect still needs an adapter like on the S model). The Xbox One X will be available November 7th, 2017, and it can be yours for the price tag of $499.99. Overall the system looks good; its size is very impressive, but the unit was rumored to cost $400. Launching at $100 more than the PS4 Pro is going to be a tough sale for a company that is already behind Sony 2 to 1 in console sales. The unit is impressive and with proper game support you are looking at the new king of console gaming. Now we just need to see exclusive games and proper third party support for this beast of a machine.
This is where Microsoft really stepped up and delivered. Microsoft showed off a total of 42 games, with 22 of them having some form of exclusivity to the Xbox and PC. Here are some of my favorite game announcements.
Forza Motorsports 7 (Release Oct 3, 2017)
Forza 7 was the first to show off the power of the Xbox One X and boy did it ever. From beautiful tracks and locations to gorgeous cars and weather effects, this game made me want an Xbox One X.
Metro: Exodus (Release 2018)
The return of Metro was shown off using the Xbox One X and it was beautiful. Once again, the environments were very impressive; additionally, the trailer showed us intense shooting / melee mechanics against giant rats and what looked like a bear mole. The trailer was full of crazy action with beautiful visuals and in the end, it left us wanting more.
Assassin's Creed: Origins (Release October 27th, 2017)
Assassin's Creed is a series I left a long time ago and watched it crumble from afar. However, recently Ubisoft has brought this IP back from the dead and listened to their fans on what they wanted from Assassin's Creed. The last installment, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, was a great step in the right direction and after watching the world reveal of Assassin's Creed Origins, I think Ubisoft has done it again and made what looks like a great story of how the brotherhood formed. I am back on board! This game looks amazing and the new hero Bayek is a character I can get behind. Set in Egypt, Bayek acts like an Egyptian sheriff who starts to take down the corruption of the Egyptian empire, starting in his hometown of Siwa.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (Release 2017)
Brendan Greene, creator of PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds), took the stage to announce that his game is coming to Xbox later this year. Exclusive to Xbox for a limited time, this is a huge exclusive that Microsoft has managed to grab. Even if it's only a 6 month exclusive, this will be a system seller when it launches later this year on the Xbox.
State of Decay 2 (Release Spring 2018)
State of Decay 2 gets a release window of Spring 2018 and the trailer shows us just how much bigger this game is from the original. I really enjoyed the ability to find a location and make it home base, then customizing your base with walls, gardens, and more to help you survive this nightmare.
Cuphead (Release September 29th, 2017)
Cuphead finally gets a release date and it's THIS YEAR! We will be playing Cuphead on Xbox and PC on September 29th. I am so excited for this game! The art style looks amazing, styled to look like 1930s cartoons. Cuphead can be joined by Mugman for some fun 2 player co-op. I am a huge platformer fan and can't wait to repay my debt from a bet I lost against the devil.
Crackdown 3 (Release November 7th, 2017)
Crackdown 3 is coming November 7th and Terry Crews introduced us to the crazy world of Crackdown. If you have never played a Crackdown game, all I can say is that you are missing out. This open world destruction gun fest is one hell of a time. Collecting orbs to power up your character to be able to do even crazier stunts is what the game is all about. The heart and soul of Crackdown seems to be alive and well in this new game and I can't wait to start throwing cars at people this November.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Release TBA)
Ori is getting a sequel!!! WHAT!!! How did I not know about this? The original game, Ori and the Blind Forest, is one of my all time favorite Metroidvania games and in my top 3 favorite Xbox One games. Now the next chapter begins with Ori and the Will of the Wisps. There is no release date yet for this game, but the trailer is absolutely beautiful. If you have not played the first game you are missing out on a masterpiece. Fair warning, make sure you have some tissues close by.
Anthem (Release 2018)
Anthem, so far, is the game of E3 2017. Developed by BioWare Edmonton, the studio behind Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Anthem is a sci-fi action game set in a "vast open world." The game puts you in the role of a Freelancer tasked with exploring unknown planets and protecting humanity. You'll be able to outfit your character with exo-suits called Javelins, which can be equipped with a range of new gear you can craft or acquire. The game is being "built around a live service" and features a heavy emphasis on cooperative play up to 4 players. Anthem was the closer for the Xbox presentation and left us all speechless and wanting more.
Original Xbox Backwards Compatability
That's right, Phil was not done yet. Speaking to all the Xbox fans and assuring they are listening to the feedback we are providing them, Phil announced that backwards compatibility was expanding by adding original Xbox games with disc support. Even better, Phil let us know it's coming this year.
Microsoft delivered a complete E3 presentation, something they have struggled with in the past. Phil has really gotten the Xbox momentum rolling in the right direction and adding the new king of consoles to their team only means things are looking even better for Xbox. We saw 42 games total with 22 exclusive; some were expected titles, while others were huge surprises. We saw a range of games, from AAA games to some pretty strange indie titles. Microsoft put on an entertaining show that wowed me and for the first time since Gears of War 4, I am excited to play games on a Microsoft device.
Grade = B+
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