Monday, June 9, 2014

E3 2014 - Microsoft on a timed exclusive...

Here it is, the full Conference, for those that still haven't seen it:

And I'd say... okay. Good. -ish. Some was a bit meh.

All in all, Microsoft definitely delivered on one thing - it really was all about the games. Now, the games themselves, well, there were some gems, some things I found personally a bit disappointing, one in particular that positively surprised me, and some stuff I have no use for.

One recurring theme, kept popping up, though: Timed Exclusives. Microsoft seemed to have dug pretty deep into its pockets to get timed exclusives for a lot of 3rd Party Game DLCs, as well as one Multiplayer-Beta (eVolve, that one is). Most interesting might be that two games from Ubisoft, a studio that traditionally has always had a very loving relationship towards the Playstation consoles, a part of that roster of "I get it before you do because my X-1 is amazing" list. And yes, this really is all about the money. You can say all you want that "Ubi finally realized what the better platform is", but the only reason you give timed exclusives is because someone pays you a ridiculous amount of money for it.

Okay! Games:

Call of Duty - Advanced Warfare: Looks pretty enough, like a cross between (the best Halo campaign ever) Halo - ODST and the non-Titan part of Titanfall. "Boosters" they called them, mini-jet packs that seem to allow you very quick vertical or lateral movement.
This is my one positive surprise really, as I had abandoned CoD with MW2, but the boosters seem to give the SP campaign a bit more flexibility, movement-wise. On the other hand, if you found the Halo Bunny-Hopping annoying, well, this might take that annoyance to a whole new level.
But it looks good, new, fresh (if any CoD game can be called "fresh"), and one can only hope that it will give you more open environments to take advantage of the new movement options.
MS will  have timed exclusive on new DLC.

Forza Horizon 2: I kinda missed that. I really don't care for driving games, so I went and made myself something to eat. There was something about seamless multiplayer, open-world Drivatars, but it's cars, so... no, thank you.
MS Exclusive Title. I think.

Assassin's Creed Unity: 4-Player co-op. However that will work in an open world when traversing the city. Or maybe it's just during "missions", which are then area-restricted. Looks gorgeous. French Revolution, Heads on Pikes. And the movement. Dear God, the fluidity of dropping down over ledges... beautiful. The gameplay looked nice, but it was all very rush-rush. Oh, and Ubisoft finally listened to me, and made a "sneak-posture" for sneaking around. Apparently the days of "Walk Slowly" and completely upright when sneaking up on someone are finally in the past. Took them long enough.
Another MS DLC timed exclusive.

EVolve: The people that brought you Left 4 Dead made a Multiplayer only game - and a very asymmetric MP experience at that. It's the title I see the absolute most grief-potential this year. 4 people vs. 1 monster. And as soon as people get their hands on it, they will spend days looking for unfair exploits and glitches, ruining it for everyone else. Mark my words. I hope I'm wrong.
MS not only gets all the DLC first, but also an exclusive MP Beta, presumably quite soon.

Super Ultra Bla Bla Bla Dead Rising 3 DLC: 4 player co-op, all previous Dead Rising Heroes, and pretty much everything Capcom ever made in the last 31 years, comes as crazy DLC to Dead Rising 3. And it's available now. As in NOW! It's an incredible fan-service, so let's hope people will appreciate it. Knowing that 80% of gamers are too young to even remember Street Fighter II, who knows...
Since it's for DR3, it's, of course an MS X-1 exclusiv, and, for now, Download Only.

Fable Legends: 4 player co-op. Dungeon Crawling. Annoying Dialog, Fable style. Plus, 1 guy can be the bad guy, in a "Tower-Defense" Dungeon Master kind of way. And while it looks quite fun, like 3D Diablo, I will admit, the banter did get annoying.
X-1 exclusive.

Sunset Overdrive: No 4-player co-op. Which seems to make it the exception on this day. Funny Trailer, but for me the biggest disappointment. While the movement and environmental traversal seemed okay (if not as exhilarating as you'd think it should be), the gun-play was bland, slow and simply average. It's very colorful, but so are crayons, and children still make horrible pictures with them on your bedroom wall-paper.
X1 exclusive.

Halo Masterchief Edition: Halo 1-4, remastered, one box, one disc, 4000 Gamer Points on X-1. Yay! Seriously, I thought Halo 3 was good, Halo 4 was bad-ish, and I never really played the others. So what? The best Halo games I played are those not in the box: ODST and Reach. Those had 4-player co-op, by the way. I don't care about Halo as much as the next guy. I don't. It's not worth killing for.
X-1 exclusive, obviously, also including the Halo TV Series, but possibly more interesting: over 100 MP maps, and it's all on dedicated servers.

Dragon Age Inquisition: You didn't see much, just a short trailer. And, of course, the almost mandatory "X-1 gets it first". DLC, that is. One thing that you did notice: It's not visually stunning. Even if it's in-game engine footage, some of it, especially trees in the distance, looked pretty... ordinary. It most definitely did not looks as amazing as...

The Witcher 3 - Wild Hunt: Wow. Skyrim with mythological monsters and a deeper fighting system. And it looks... just... jaw-droppingly good. And fun. And there's sex.There totally was  Sex in the latest trailer. So, I really can't wait for this one. A huge open world, beautifully realized, with adult themes that don't try - they just are.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: The Second game in the TR Reboot. They showed a trailer. There might have been exclusivity with something, I don't know. The TR Reboot was a great game, the Definitive  Edition on next-gen just beautiful. I wasn't much about archeology or riddles (those it had were almost annoyingly simple environmental... not really puzzles, but... annoyances), and it was sorely lacking in intellectually challenges - so more of that would make this one really Rise to the occasion.

The Division: If you don't know about it, what are you doing here? One of the most anticipated new IPs in the last few years, we now saw one further bit of Gameplay - which looked like the old gameplay. From last year. And, to my eternal chagrin, they had these "totally scripted and acted-out but trying to sound natural" voice-overs from the "players". Seriously, Ubisoft, stop that. People don`t talk or act like that when gaming online. Not in the least. That said, I still want it, very much so...

Inside - The new game from the creators of Limbo. And it looks like... Limbo. In color. And an industrial wasteland-slash-1984-slash-Brave New World-slash-Zombie vibe. It's still 2D, and it's still a bit creepy, and it looks like fun, but... just not something spectacularly new.

And then there was Project: Spark, the "make your own game" game, lots of indie-titles, a few teasers for games we don`t know anything about (Phantom Dust and Scalebound will be X-1 exclusives) - and then came the Crackdown.

No, really, Crackdown 3, which is actually just called Crackdown. MS exclusive. 4-player co-op. New Studio, but the creative director from the first game. The second sucked bad. They took out manual aim and scoping - even for sniper rifles. The argument was, and I'm not kidding here: "If you could already choose a body part to aim at with pin-point accuracy, why would you want to aim manually through a scope?"

And that was it. Oh, no wait, there was some dancing stuff, too. Nevermind. Well, it was better than last year. It was friendlier, not as arrogant and more fun. And it was about the games. And it did show that a lot of established cross-platform IPs will give stuff earlier to Xbox this time around. But, then again, what's the point of getting it early on one platform? I mean, it's not like that many people will train on new MP maps on one platform, and then play against people on the other platform. I mean, who in their right mind would do that?

And the one word you didn't hear: Kinect!

For all your Playstation or Xbox or PC Gaming needs, especially the European needs, head over to Amazon UK - best deals in Europe (mostly). For TV or Movie Streaming needs, as well. Yes, I do buy there myself. Exclusively. Unless I find a better deal, elsewhere...

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