We’ve finally arrived at the magical week that gamers wait for all year long – E3. Today is the first day, which means there’s going to be a ton of information coming out all afternoon. Expect multiple posts, and definitely stay up to date on twitter.
First up today was Microsoft, who I think was going in with a lot to prove after a somewhat down year last year. They caught a lot of flak from fans for focusing on the console and kinect instead of the games. They took that to heart and this year their show was, as Phil Spector put it, “90 minutes of games.” It was exactly the show that they needed to have, and they really did nail it. I’ll do a quick rundown of the games they showed, with some first impressions, and probably will be talking E3 all month, narrowing down to specific games.
Before the show even got started, they tucked two nice announcements in the pre-stream. Titanfall is showing new content this week, including a new game mode, Titan burn cards and customization. My guess is that it will be in a game update that we see pretty soon. They also sneaked in a Gears of War announcement in the pre-show, as well as Threes coming to the Snap window on the Xbox One.
Call of Duty: Advance Warfare
They opened, as usual, with the latest Call of Duty: Advance Warfare footage. My stream got a little screwy at the beginning, but I managed to catch most of the gameplay. In general, the first thing that struck me was obviously the new graphics engine – the game looks really smooth and awesome. I also immediately liked the new HUD design, tying all the relevant info directly to the gun is a neat touch I think.
They showed a couple cool Forza things – first was the free track, the iconic track at Nürburgring, available today. Second, was showing off the first footage of Forza Horizon 2, an open world take on the Forza formula. The Forza engine has always looked incredible, and this is no different. The game launches on September 30.
The game that has been right toward the top of my list since I first saw it showed off a new monster character, as well as a little bit of new gameplay, and announced an open beta for this fall. Really excited to see more of the new monster in action as the summer rolls on.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity
Ubisoft brought their flagship franchise out and showed a little bit more of the latest installment, set during the French Revolution. The big announcement though was that this will be the first Assassin’s Creed game to include four-player co-op tied into the actual story, showing it off on the main stage during an assassination mission. Plus the actual game looks gorgeous.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
The third installment in BioWare’s fantasy RPG got a new story trailer, showing off a little bit more than we had seen. I have a feeling that this will be one of the games that as the summer goes on, we get a lot more teases of. Plus, as is a trend with these Xbox One titles, it just looks amazing. We also got a solid release date – October 7th.
Insomniac’s new shooter got a really killer trailer/gameplay combo. The lead in trailer I think did a good job of setting the tone of the game, poking fun at “modern” shooters and cover mechanics. The gameplay demo did a better job of showing off the idea of velocity in combat in action though. It was a short example, but man, it looks just like pure fun. The other big announcement was that there is an 8-player co-op mode included with the game, which drops October 28th.
Dead Rising 3
In a somewhat surprising twist, Capcom showed off brand new Dead Rising 3 DLC that is available now, which basically looked like a love letter to Capcom games of past. Each previous Dead Rising character is playable, and the content itself looks like a more arcade take on Dead Rising.
Harmonix came out with some new info – but not for the game I was expecting. I was going in anticipating to see some new Fanstasia footage, instead, we got the announcement of the new Dance Central: Spotlight, coming this fall as a digital only release.
Despite being a big Fable fan, I had stayed pretty out of the loop with this game, so seeing the new trailer and gameplay was really nice. Four player co-op tied directly into the story I think just fits perfectly with the Fable universe. Plus the option to play as The Villain is a really neat twist that could be a lot of fun. It looks like there is a Beta planned for the Holiday, so we’ll see more by then.
Another game I’m not super familiar with, but know some people who are much more so. It looks like a pretty intriguing experience, and the new confirmed co-op campaign, plus mutiplayer looks kinda cool. Plus they have Conker exclusive in the game, so that’s a plus.
Ori and the Blind Forest
It was kind of hard to tell exactly what this game is gonna shape up to be, but it reminded me a lot of Dust: An Elyssian Tail, probably because I was just playing it last month. I really like the art style, so as more comes out, then I’ll make my call on it.
I went in today expecting the Halo 2 Anniversary edition to be announced, but what we got was so so much more. The Halo: The Master Chief Collection is everything that a Halo fan could want – the first four main series entries, on one disc, with a full anniversary update to Halo 2. They’ve gone all out with it, adding cross-game mission playlists, every single multiplayer map, running on the original multiplayer engines, plus 4,000 Gamerscore in achievements to get. But that’s not all – it’ll also come with Halo: Nightfall which looks like the Halo 5: The Guardians version of Forward Unto Dawn, plus entry into the Halo 5 multiplayer beta. And in typical Halo fashion, it’ll be out in November, on the 11, with the beta launching on December 27, lasting a full month. To me, this was the killer announcement of the conference. Plus they trolled the hell out of fans with the opening to the trailer.
Wisely, after the major Halo announcement, Microsoft shifted focus to games that are expected to land sometime next year or even beyond. What this amounted to was a series of trailers and gameplay footage in various states of completion, plus a good section focused solely on the ID@Xbox program. Playdead announced Inside, which looked a lot like Limbo, Square showed off the first trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider, which I think is a terrible title, but should be a great game. We saw a good section of gameplay of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which got me totally on board – although I need to play the first games still. Phantom Dust, a game from the Original Xbox is getting a reboot next year. We also saw new MP footage of Tom Clancy’s The Division which looked really interesting, and I think will be a big player next year. We also got a new game from Platinum – Scalebound, which looks kinda interesting, but it’s hard to tell exactly what to expect from it. And finally, Microsoft closed with a trailer showing off the next Crackdown game, which doesn’t surprise me, but I’m gonna remain a little skeptical for now – I liked the original, but the sequel did nothing for me.
All in all, I thought Microsoft did exactly what they needed to with their conference – focused solely on games, had a lot of good footage and content, a couple surprises, nothing major and played it a little safe. I think as the actual games get a bit more play and info out this coming week, it’ll be a hell of an E3. Buckle up folks, it’s gonna be a fantastic week.