June 19, 2015

The E3 Report: Microsoft 2015 Press Conference Review

Microsoft E3 2015 Press Conference:

Ah Microsoft at grandpa unveiling his newest crazy invention from his garage to impress all the "kids" on the block. The kids usually end up laughing at grandpa, but it turns out that the old man has a bit more up his sleeve than usual this year...

Kicking off the show in grand style, Microsoft cuts straight to the chase by previewing it's top game choices right away, followed by Phil Spencer giving us a clean presentation stating what's to come, whetting our appetite for the game's in store. What follows is a clean, impactful and very entertaining presentation, setting a high standard for the other presenters to follow.

Below is our review of the press conference, with the biggest games and moments listed. Enjoy!

Note: KVR listed most of the games on show, save for a few he didn't consider to be interesting enough to be added. This is done to save your time, and not because of any attempt at "censorship". Rest assured, the most important thoughts and impressions have been added.

Halo 5 Guardians:

Microsoft doesn't waste any time with its presentation, dropping Halo 5 on it's audience right out of the gates.

Halo 5's singleplayer demo showcased average Halo gameplay, which should be pleasing for Halo fans, yet didn't show anything particularly ground-breaking. That was, until we saw some brief Multiplayer footage featuring footage from the game mode Warzone, which promises to be explosively addictive. This new feature is set to revolutionise the online gaming arena for Halo fans, and should prove to be an excellent new feature.

My Prediction: Halo 5 will be a major success as always for the Halo franchise. Campaign doesn't look very revolutionary in terms of gameplay and storytelling, but the multiplayer will be the big draw for the fifth instalment.

Content: Standard stuff, aliens are shot, blood splatters, a scary looking creature near the end of the campaign preview, and a little alien thingy gets blown up shortly after the beginning.


After Microsoft's previewing of Halo 5, they gave us a look at a more subdued project, Recore, a game from one of the developers of Metroid Prime. The game's concept revolves around a "core" which players use to power companions, which is some kind of universal force between characters.

One can speculate about the gameplay, but a safe assumption is that it will feature dynamic switching between characters and customisation options for said characters. Beyond that, not much can be said, so we'll settle for "waiting and seeing" what happens next.

My Prediction: It's safe to assume this won't be a blockbuster hit. However, it may still find a decent following because of it's interesting concept. I can't really say much beyond that, as things may change closer to release as relatively little has been shown of the game thus far.

Content: Mostly robotic sci-fi violence thus far. However, the trailer was a cinematic one and not a gameplay one, so this may change significantly as more is shown of the game.

Phil Spencer subsequently took to the stage again, delivering a monologue about how Xbox fans requested an unnamed feature, only to reveal that the Xbox One will finally add Backwards Compatibility. Needless to say, the audience was stunned. Cheers erupted from all across the auditorium, to which a beaming Phil Spencer proceeded to bask in his glory by giving a preview of Mass Effect 1 on the Xbox One.

While this is a great reveal, it should be said that it's rather eyebrow raising how this is a major reveal when it should've been a basic feature the Xbox One offered at launch. The one big potential flaw is that, as the presenter briefly mentioned, retail games have to download after being inserted into the Xbox One. 

This may just be a "download" from the disc to the hard drive, but if it means "activating the game on the Xbox One and then downloading from scratch onto the console anew", it may quickly get annoying for gamers living in a slow internet region, such as the author.

Fallout 4:

Fallout 4 was previewed next, showing off an amazingly detailed and well-realised world full of fluid animations and sharp environmental details. The graphics are great except for the distracting "dead eyes" effect on show with the facial animations, an immersion breaker often found in games of this size and scope. Nevertheless, the open world of Fallout 4 holds promise of great adventure, and the author, for one, intends to absorb every last bit.

Okay, maybe not everything, but still a significant amount!

My Prediction: Fallout 4 will be a massive success as always for Bethesda. The console mod support is a bit of an eyebrow raiser, but we'll see how it pans out. The game will also be critically acclaimed, as long as it doesn't resort to "dumbing down" the franchise for more commercial appeal.

Content: Plenty of gore. Characters are torn apart by guns and shatter into thousands of little giblets with huge blood splatters. Swearing will probably also feature, as well as sexual references involving prostitution of some kind.

Forza 6:

Forza 6 made it on stage after the big Fallout 4. Microsoft obviously decided they needed a bigger reveal, so they loaded a car on stage (forgot the car model, sorry to disappoint car lovers), which was a nice reveal, even if a little bit grandiose. The author is not a car fan, so the full impact of this moment wasn't felt.

Forza 6 had a smooth trailer which sells the game quite well for its audience. The author was personally not that impressed, but it seems like a nice concept. Forza 6 will probably sell quite well as per usual.

Rise of the Tomb Raider:

Rise of the Tomb Raider showcased amazing graphical quality in its snowy environment, with excellent facial animations, except for the "dead eye" effect once again. The gameplay on show was pretty shallow, featuring Lara climbing, nearly dying, climbing again, nearly dying, swinging from a rope, nearly dying again, and then running from an avalanche, falling and nearly dying AGAIN. 

However, the gameplay trailer at the end of the presentation gave us a lot more to do go for, with amazing worlds on display for the player's exploration. Rise of the Tomb Raider may not transcend 2013's Tomb Raider level of emotional impact, but it may go above and beyond the aforementioned title in terms of sheer fun and playability.

My Prediction: The game will be a major success, obviously, but not hailed as a masterpiece. The game will be moderately long, maybe 10-20 hours or so in length. Mystical enemies will also make another surprise appearance.

Content: Brutal violence, may or may not be as bad as the 2013 reboot. Expect a lot of blood and gore.

Sea of Thieves:

Rare took to the stage, unveiling "Rare Replay", a collection of 30 classic Rare games sure to please fans. Before they left the stage, Rare announced a new IP, which they quickly labeled their most "ambitious project yet". The project started unassumingly enough, with very basic exploration. The pirate theme was slowly revealed, as the reader can see in the video above, until the explosive image of a pirate ship, all complete with several crew mates and control over the colossal ship.

My Prediction: The concept looks great, and should prove to be a lot of fun if full of content and free of glitches. Doubtful whether or not it will be a major commercial success, but it could surprise us all and be a huge hit. More detail needed to make an accurate prediction, however.

Content: Comical violence, featuring swordplay with possible blood and gore. May receive either a T or M rating. It may surprise on that front as well and be very family friendly, with an E10+ rating.

Microsoft additionally unveiled more footage for Fable Legends and Gears 4. As the author has relatively little interest in these franchises, he will omit his complete thoughts. He will add that the games look good, and will probably be very pleasing to their respective audiences.

The last bit I want to cover in this report is the big surprise in a press conference full of surprises. It starts off with an eye-rolling Minecraft bit (yeah yeah, more minecraft...) and showcases a semi-impressive shot of the "man from the future" playing Minecraft on the wall, all from his HoloLens.

Not bad. But then, clearly not satisfied with simply playing the game through the perspective of the HoloLens, the man from the future walks over to a table and...well, see for yourself:

Amazing right? I didn't see that one coming either. This is a revolutionary feature Microsoft dropped on all of us at E3, flooring the audience once again in it's stellar presentation. While the feature is still in its infancy, Microsoft is sure to unveil more footage showcasing the power of the revolutionary HoloLens.

Overall: Let's wrap up the report shan't we? (I'm sorry English language; that was inexcusable.)

Amazing (A+)

+Clean, Straightforward Presentation

+Stunning Reveals

+Exciting Line-up of Games

+Dat Minecraft Presentation

-Won't Win Over New Fans for Key Franchises

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