E3 2013: Microsoft Comes Out Swinging
As a PC gamer, it is difficult to admit that Microsoft’s E3 press conference left me impressed, and in some ways, jealous that the Xbox One is getting so much support. For six months now the big M has received the worst negative press from the general public that I’ve ever seen in gaming history. While I agree that their business practices with used games and always-online DRM are a setback, I’m nonetheless excited for Xbox gamers on both current and next generation systems.
If you’re one of the lucky ones ready to drop some serious cash on the Xbox One, you’ll be receiving two free games per month as part of a plan to offer more gaming options for Xbox Gold members. This program is a direct rival to Sony’s Playstation Plus, which rewards paying subscribers with free games and lots of content for their loyalty to Sony. Being that the Xbox One is turning a new leaf to game support, I must elaborate on the things that I found quite exciting.
Not a single game announced by Microsoft had anything to do with shooting, aside from the Halo teaser and Titanfall game play. But even, then both reveals were more than just the generic point and shoot; Titanfall sees you as a futuristic soldier taking data posts and sticking it to the enemy team with giant 30 foot tall mechanized assault bots. Not only this, but Titanfall redefines high octane game play with a refreshing peer to peer combat that will require you to move, pace, strategize and, finally, push with everlasting effort to secure victory for your team.
The first game to be revealed was Metal Gear Solid V, the follow-up to Sony’s MGS4. The game has been redone in glorious 1080p with a very smooth 60 frames per second that had my jaw dropped for most of the game play vide that I saw. Not only were the textures and resolution superb, but the lighting and contrast in the visuals made it impossible for me to be able to tell reality from a video game. I watched the weather effects and AI move around as they would in previous Metal Gear games, but the amount of free roam and freedom given to the player to sculpt their own adventure made me giggle and frolic with excitement. Metal Gear was just the tip of the iceberg.
The most impressive aspect of the conference was game coverage. For an hour and a half, I saw both AAA and indie titles that made me rethink how Microsoft listens to their community, a thing unheard of from the publishing giant since the days of Fable Lost Chapters. Speaking of Fable, Microsoft promised a few goodies for current gen gamers by first announcing that Fable 3 is available for free download for a limited time. This and a few new games were announced for the current Xbox 360; World of Tanks, and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.
Sadly, Microsoft didn’t give much more info about the console use of used game fees. This is surprising since the conference seemed to be going more than positively for them. We’ll have to sit back and wait for any good news to come out of it, but I’ll be completely honest; I don’t see it happening.
What I saw was the true defining of what it will mean to purchase a next generation console. The massive resolution change, the frame rate increase, and social features added to Xbox One seem to be going back to what made us love owning an Xbox. But the unifying of the Xbox One with PC architecture was evident in all the ways that we needed it to be. Gamers were able to see the improvements of HD textures and game play, and most of all the advancements on next gen meant that porting and game support to the PC will be easier than it has ever been before. For the first time, console and PC gaming will utilize the same general technical features in game play, which I’m more than happy to see.
More will be included in the next posting on Microsoft’s staggering conference at E3, and until I return, let me know what you think of the developments of the first E3 coverage day in the comments below!
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