The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Xbox Games Showcase 2020

I will give a disclaimer right out of the gate: I’m more of a Sony fanboy than a Microsoft fanboy. I have owned every PlayStation iteration since Sony first entered the console wars. I have dabbled with a Microsoft system, the original Xbox, but my experience with it wasn’t great. The disc drive broke after just a couple of months and, after I got a replacement drive, stopped functioning after another month!

But that hasn’t stopped me from looking at other non-Sony consoles because, first and foremost, I like video games! This makes me even more interested in what Microsoft is going to be offering with the Xbox Series X and if it’s going to be the system that will make me finally get a Microsoft system again. And what better way to see what they have to offer with the Xbox Games Showcase!

So, let’s look at the Xbox Games Showcase and dive into the good stuff, the bad stuff and the utterly ugly things!

The Good

Halo Infinite looked impressive

Although my experience with the original Xbox gaming console was limited, there were a few games that really impressed me. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was a lot of fun. But the truly killer game for me was Halo and Halo 2. Those games were fantastic and I am rather sad that I never got to play the later installments as I didn’t get an Xbox 360. So seeing Halo Infinite and actual gameplay during the show did impress me a whole lot.

Now, a lot of fans are complaining that Halo Infinite’s graphics don’t really showcase the Xbox Series X’s power and I can see that. The graphics look a little too “clean” and lacking some personality and grit. Even the background mountains look rather blocky!

However, when looking at it from a gameplay standpoint, it looks phenomenal. The gunplay seems a lot like the Halo games I played and I respect how they did show off a variety of guns and how deadly they are in Master Chief’s hands. And, really, isn’t the actual gameplay what matters.

The promotion of Xbox Game Pass

One thing the Xbox Games Showcase pushed really hard on wasn’t one particular game nor did it even show how powerful the Xbox Series X is. What Microsoft really put out in the forefront was the Xbox Game Pass.

Now, I wasn’t totally familiar with the Xbox Game Pass system as, like I said, I don’t have an Xbox console right now. What I knew about it was it was a subscription service for games much like Netflix. But it seems a little more than what I thought. Rather than just allowing you to play older games, the Xbox Game Pass will allow subscribers to also play brand new games without having to purchase the game separately. Honestly, that sounds awesome!

What makes it doubly awesome is that the Xbox Game Pass will allow you to pick from an already huge library of games right out the gate! This is really huge for the Xbox Series X as it will allow early adopters to play through roughly a hundred games on the console right out of the box if they get the service. This is probably why Microsoft is boasting the Xbox Series X will have the biggest “launch lineup” in history, which is kind of cheating. But who cares? A hundred games is a hundred games! And if it’s true that getting the Xbox Game Pass will allow you access to play the newest Forza Motorsport, Everwild, Avowed, Psychonauts 2 and many more games as they’re released, that’s a steal.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps at 120 fps will be amazing

It’s strange that a simple looking platformer like Ori and the Will of the Wisps is one of the games that impressed me during the Xbox Games Showcase. The game already is gorgeous thanks to its fantastic art design. But the idea that a fantastic looking platform will be running at a silky smooth 120 frames per second gave me goosebumps.

This is because, while a lot of gamers are looking for fantastic graphics, I’m more interested in how next-generation games will improve on frame rates. If Ori and the Will of the Wisps can run at a steady 120 fps throughout, then that’s definitely a showcase for next-gen for me!

The Bad

Everwild is… what is it again?

One of the games the Xbox Games Showcase featured that caught my attention was Everwild. Partially because it’s being developed by Rare. Another reason was it’s gorgeous art direction. It looked like someone in the company was playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and thought, “Hey, I can do graphics like this” and decided to make Everwild. Suffice to say, it looks beautiful.

So I watched the entire trailer with wide eyes to see what the game was going to be like. And I got bupkis! For all its fancy looking graphics, soothing musical score and flowing animation, I still have no idea what Everwild is supposed to be!

This is bad because, as beautiful as Everwild looks, it just infuriated me that they didn’t even include a lick of what I’m supposed to be doing! It was just a trailer that didn’t even hint as what it’s supposed to be! I don’t like that!

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II promoting… their “making of” videos

Look, I get it, Ninja Theory. You’re hard at work at making Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. It’s the sequel to the game that put you on the map and led you to be purchased by Microsoft. Maybe you didn’t have anything ready in time to show during the Xbox Games Showcase. That’s fine. But don’t get too full of yourself and promote your “making of” video with the time they gave you!

To some of you, this might be a good thing. To be able to take a look at the development of a game you’re anticipating as they’re making it does sound like a grand idea. However, to me, it’s a sign of arrogance. That’s because I remember Eidos’ last Tomb Raider game, Angel of Darkness, and the documentary that came with the game!

This was a game that was plagued with delays and possibly was Core Designs self-importance as they spent time making the documentary. This ultimately led to Core Design losing Tomb Raider. Now, I can’t say this is what’s happening over at Ninja Theory. But that doesn’t mean I’m not wary.

Too many game trailers and not enough gameplay

I guess this is true for most “game showcase” even when E3 was still around. But it’s still a bummer when they mostly show trailers instead of genuine gameplay. There were a few games that did feature some in-game action. Medium and the new Phantasy Star Online 2 are examples. But the majority of the stuff, more specifically, the big named titles like State of Decay 3, Avowed and the newest Fable, were just trailers that did not show any gameplay of any kind.

This just tells me the games are ways off and they just put the trailers together to get fans hyped. That’s all well and good. But you know what will get fans more hyped? Seeing the game in action! I’m fine with trailers for the most part, but when your “games showcase” are mostly trailers, then that’s when I have issues with them. Show us games, not glorified movie trailers!

The Ugly

There wasn’t a single thing shown that screamed “system seller”

The main reason why I go plop my butt down and spend an hour of my day watching things like the Xbox Games Showcase is to see if there is anything I would like to play. There wasn’t a single game that impressed me and certainly nothing that would make me consider getting an Xbox One or Xbox Series X.

The only game that truly left an impression was Halo Infinite and that’s mostly because the gameplay looked fun. But will I go out and get a new fangled Xbox Series X just for Halo Infinite? No, it wasn’t that impressive!

I really wanted to see something throughout the Xbox Games Showcase that would’ve made me point at the screen and yell “Now that’s a reason to get a Microsoft console” or something to that effect. As someone who enjoys video games, it doesn’t matter to me if there’s an exclusive that I can’t play because I don’t have the appropriate console. I should want to play a good video game and should want to feel jealous that I can’t play it.

And I didn’t get any of that, sadly. That’s makes the Xbox Games Showcase a huge disappointment. I do hope that Microsoft still has some things up their sleeve and they reveal a true system seller right before the Xbox Series X launches.

After this show, they really need it.

What did you think of the Xbox Games Showcase this year? Let me know in the comments section below!

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