The Good, The Bad and The “Meh” of Microsoft’s 2018 E3 Keynote Show

It’s that time of the year again when the juggernauts of the gaming industry lock horns and try to one-up each other at video game’s biggest event, E3. 3rd World Geeks will be covering each and every keynote throughout the week but right now, let’s go talk about Microsoft, which is the first of the big three console manufacturers. The makers of Xbox and Windows once again start ahead of Sony and Nintendo’s E3 presentations so they are again setting the bar.

But did they set the bar high this year with their announcements? Or did they give us a Red Ring of Death? Okay, that’s an outdated analogy but it’s the best one I can come up with! So, let’s go check out the good, the bad and the “meh” moments of Microsoft’s E3 show this year!

The Good

The stage setup looked awesome!

It may be odd to even comment on the way the actual stage was set in the Microsoft theater but it was something I hadn’t seen before. Instead of having a huge open stage with lots of empty space, Microsoft utilized the space to have rows and rows of Xbox One consoles! This may not seem like a big deal when watching it online but for the people that were watching it at the venue, it made a whole lot of sense.

The actual Xbox One army?

They did use the setup to demonstrate Forza Horizon 4’s ability to network various gamers from all over the world but that was it. I’m betting after the end of the show, they allowed the fans in the Microsoft theater go up on stage and test out the games that they had available. This a smart use of space, in my opinion. Also, who wouldn’t want to get up on a snazzy stage like that?

Dying Light 2 makes a big promise

Zombie apocalypse games are a dime a dozen nowadays. If you’re going to try to get yourself noticed in the rather flooded genre, you have to have a hook. Dying Light 2’s hook is that your action influences the world around you. One example that they gave is that, if you help a certain faction, that faction will gain more power in the world. This may make the streets safer in this dystopian future but at the cost of lesser freedoms.

The idea that your actions will change the world is a huge promise and the folks of Techland have their work cut out for them to make it feel like the choices you make actually make an impact. There’s a lot that can go wrong with making a pledge like this. The choices may seem artificial or they don’t really make any drastic changes in the way its played, for example. But, if Dying Light 2 can pull it off, this can be a game changer.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is probably a story driven Dark Souls-like set in Japan

Dark Souls has a very hardcore fanbase thanks to its punishing difficulty and fun but simplistic gameplay. From Software, the guys that make the Dark Soul games, are hoping to capture the magic that made the franchise big with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. They only showed a trailer with some gameplay but, from what they showed, it looked awesome!

Now, I highly doubt Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will have the same extreme difficultly of the Dark Souls game as it looks more story driven and I think From Software are trying to make it a game that will be more accessible to newbies. Still, the artstyle looks terrific, with some great use of muted colors to make it look like an old Japanese painting. The action looks hard hitting as well, which is very Dark Souls-ish.

Forza Horizon 4 has seasons

I’ve never been interested in a Forza game before. Not because I don’t have an Xbox One or a Windows PC powerful enough to run them. It’s just that I’m not a huge fan of racing game. Yet there was something about Forza Horizon 4 that appealed to me. Actually, I know exactly what that “something” is: changing seasons.

It may not seem like much but I really like the idea of different seasons and how it will radically change the game. Not only will it change the paths you can take, such as lakes freezing so you can drive on it during the winter seasons, but how each and every car will handle because of the seasons. I’m not a big gearhead but I do know you’d have to outfit your car with different setups if the roads are slippery or how much traction you’d need on muddy roads. The idea may have even sold me enough to make me think of getting my very own Xbox One in the future!

Cyberpunk 2077, baby!

It’s been ages since we got any news on Cyberpunk 2077. I was even beginning to think we’d have to wait until 2077 until we got the game! Well, Microsoft’s E3 show finally gave us another trailer showing us much more of the game, even showing us what the game engine can do!

Now, the biggest problem is if CD Projekt RED can actually live up to the hype they’ve been building since they teased the game all those years ago. If the trailer is anything to base our hopes on, it looks like Cyberpunk 2077 will deliver!

The Bad

Microsoft’s indy developer buying spree

Honestly, I don’t understand why a lot of people cheered when Phil Spencer announced they have acquisition of Undead Labs (State of Decay), Playground Games (Forza), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few) and, this is a big one, Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice). Microsoft made it seem like this was good news but, in my opinion, this was terrible news!

Doesn’t anyone remember what happened when Microsoft gobbled up other developers like Rare and Bungie? Rare went from making gems like Goldeneye 007 and Banjo-Kazooie to releasing the barebones Perfect Dark Zero and the uninspired Kameo: Elements of Power. Bungie seems like they’re still trying to reclaim the Halo glory days with Destiny, which has made several missteps since the game’s release. I hate to see what Microsoft will do with a company like Ninja Theory who made the fantastic Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice despite being made on a shoestring budget!

Session didn’t nail the landing

Session is an upcoming skateboard game. I’m definitely not the demographic for this kind of game but really? It looked so booooooring!

I totally get there are gamers out there who really, really need their Tony Hawk fix bad but I don’t even think Session is going to soothe them until that comes out! The reaction during the show was abysmal to say the least as no one cheered when it was shown.

Gears of War POP! looks unnecessarily cute

When I think Gears of War, I think of overly muscular guys fighting off aliens with chainsaw guns. I don’t think of cutesy characters who spout of squeaks when they talk and do comical battles. But that’s exactly what Gears of War POP! plans to do… and it’s not even on a Microsoft system! It’s coming to Android and Iphone!

I may be unnecessarily hating on Gears of War Pop! since I have no real love for the franchise but this seems like a total cash grab to me. Microsoft knows that the Gears of War franchise is a big moneymaker for them and their going to pimp it out where ever they can. I was okay with their Tactics game but the POP! game just feels… wrong.

The Division 2 with the overly rehearsed gameplay trailer

When will Ubisoft ever learn how gamers actually talk? Once again, they have a new co-op game coming out, this time, it’s The Division 2, and just like years before it, Ubisoft just makes it look like playing their games is sooooooo serious when they should make the game look like it’s, oh I don’t know, fun to play?

I really hate these gameplay trailers with the players spouting out obviously scripted lines and perfect gameplay. It’s like everyone plays their games like it’s a job or a professional sport. It’s not! Make them sound like they’re actually enjoying the game, Ubisoft!

The Meh

The Adventures of Captain Spirit looks like an adventure I can skip

I love me some Life is Strange. That’s because the two games that have been released so far had some weight to the story. The Adventures of Captain Spirit looks like the direct opposite.

Dontnod does hint that there will be some character development with “Captain Spirit” admonishing his father for drinking during the daytime. And the idea of playing as an imaginative kid does sound rather inventive. My problem is the kid himself as, well, he doesn’t come off as likable or well-written. Yes, he’s going to be someone who’s being bullied and all that so we can “identify” with him. But it’s a stereotype that’s been so played out now. Also, did I mention that it looks like the story seems much smaller in scale than the other Life is Strange games?

Tales of Vesperia is coming to Xbox One… why?

With respect to fans of the Tales series, I don’t understand why Microsoft would plug this ten year old game during E3.

To be fair, it is the “Definitive Edition,” which will include all of the DLC from Japan and will feature both English and Japanese voices and upscaled graphics. But it’s still a ten year old game with somewhat better graphics. To get the full-blown trailer on the main stage seems like a waste of time. It’s almost like Microsoft really wanted to fill in the show with as many trailers as they could. This was not a huge announcement that blew everyone’s mind.

Overall, I really liked Microsoft’s E3 show this year. There were a lot of good trailers and the good generally outweighed the bad and the “meh” portions. The show was tightly packed with good stuff and none of the awful pomp and circumstance, like bringing out a car on stage, of years past. The show made Microsoft looked like it had a bright future ahead of itself and, really, isn’t that the point of E3?

What did you think of Microsoft E3 show this year? Let me know in the comments section below!

One thought on “The Good, The Bad and The “Meh” of Microsoft’s 2018 E3 Keynote Show

  1. Pingback: Microsoft E3 2019: A Tale of Quantity Over Quality | 3rd World Geeks

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