Well, the only big name to appear in this year’s E3 was, once again, Microsoft. Nintendo did do kind of an E3 presentation but it’s more like it just so happens during it rather than actually being a part of it. Sony passed once again to do a show this year. So I had a lot of hope Microsoft would be doing a lot of the heavy lifting when it came to delivering the excitement. I did have high hopes, especially since they did purchase Bethesda already; they even made it a co-sponsored E3 show with them! That’s how big they’ve gotten!
Should I have tempered my expectations? Well, let’s go tackle the entire Xbox and Bethesda E3 show!
My main takeaway from the show is, if you like really beautiful graphic showcases, Xbox and Bethesda has you covered. I’m not sure how Microsoft Flight Simulator actually plays because I’ve never really seen anyone simulating flying the plane in any of the footage. I will say, however, the scenery looks positively gorgeous! I’m still amazed by the level of detail they manage to put into the oceans, mountains, cityscapes and forests even today. I would love to play it but my poor 8-year old PC would whimper and curl up into a ball if I even attempt to render a single square inch of terrain of Microsoft Flight Simulator. I guess I’ll just admire it from afar.
Speaking of slick graphics, Forza Horizon 5 also looks gorgeous. The details in the small towns and the cars looked slick and gorgeous as well. More importantly, they actually showed some gameplay! They were only very brief snippets interspaced with someone explaining what they were doing but I’m just glad they showed an actual demo this time! I’m still rather suspicious no one hit another car with everyone just flying around the areas so the entire thing could be pre-planned. Still, actual gameplay!
I’m also happy to see Diablo II Remastered. I’ve never played the original myself nor have I seen it in action. It’s a highly acclaimed game, that much I know. The brief snippet they did show for the game does look like it’s going to be a good remaster and it might actually be something I would want to play… if my aging PC can still run it without waving the white flag of surrender. Gee, I really need to update my computer, don’t I?
I also did get a chuckle with The Outer Worlds 2 trailer for how honest it was. They didn’t show anything really and all they had was a name. So, instead of just saying they were making it, Obsidian Entertainment put together this faux trailer of things which may or may not be in the game. They also included a lot of the tropes that are usually added to video game previews to make them look all so dramatic and awesome just to poke fun at them. I can’t talk about the quality of the game since they didn’t show anything… but I did love the humor behind it.
Speaking of trailers, I didn’t like the Redfall trailer. It could be a good game but they didn’t show any actual gameplay. Additionally, I hated the characters! They all had special abilities, which may be cool while actually shooting vampires and all. However, they were simply trying too hard to make them come off as edgy and cool who laugh in the face of danger with their one-liners and eccentric personalities. It just looked too fake and artificial. It just didn’t resonate with me.
Halo Infinite looks like it could be a huge system seller for Xbox. I may not be a fan of the series as I’ve never played one but there seems like there’s a lot to love here. The single player campaign looks okay but I know there are many more fans who are gravitating towards the multiplayer aspect of Halo Infinite. The maps look like they’re well-thought of and the variety of weapons and vehicles will have people scrambling for unique ways to maim the other side. I do hope the giant sledgehammer weapon is super powerful because nailing someone with it instead of a gun is hilarious to me for some reason.
By the way, did I miss a memo or something because I have to ask: why were there so many first person shooters coming to Xbox and PC? Did Microsoft put out a bulk order of the genre because they had a lot of them! There was, among others, Stalker 2, Slime Rancher 2, Atomic Heart, Battlefield 2042, Back 4 Blood and, last but definitely not least, Halo Infinite. Having a lot of FPS games in your library isn’t necessary a bad thing but things did start to look same-y at a certain point. They just tended to blend together for me and I started to get confused which was which. Some games, like Halo Infinite and Slime Rancher 2, did have a unique look to them so I could easily pick it out from a lineup. The other, though, just meshed together into a ball of bleh to me after a certain point.
Bethesda didn’t really tell us much about their upcoming Starfield game besides revealing when it’s supposed to be ready. However, they did show us a really neat little teaser trailer at what they think the game will feel like. I’m kind of disappointed because I was expecting something like “Fallout but in space”. If they showed more of what they have planned, maybe I wouldn’t be so critical towards it. Right now, though, I see it as going to be like the original No Man’s Sky… and I wasn’t impressed by No Man’s Sky.
Psychonauts 2 seems to be coming along really well and I’m of two minds with this. The concept of using someone’s mind as worlds would allow for some really interesting levels, especially for platforming. I also do like the game’s quirky look. I do kind of wish they went with a cel-shaded look to make it come off as more cartoony but that’s a minor quibble. Besides, I’m guessing that’s how the original game looked like so changing it now would be a sin for fans of the first Psychonauts. I’m also not so sure about the humor. I mean, the joke about bacon was cringey. I hope the jokes are better than that one. Then again, that is a very low bar to clear.
Microsoft’s Xbox & Bethesda also featured some smaller, more indy-type games like Replaced, Twelve Minutes and the epic Hades. I am happy Microsoft did shine a spotlight on them. Well, maybe Hades didn’t need it and it was more for the Xbox’s benefit as Hades is a highly lauded game already. Twelve Minutes has also been featured for a couple of years now so that’s not exactly new. However, I’m very intrigued by Replaced. It appears to look and play a rogue-like such as Dead Cells but with a Bladerunner-esque atmosphere. If it’s cheap enough, I might actually go ahead and play it.
We also had the stuff I just didn’t care about or just made me facepalm. Fallout 76 is getting free updates. That should made the dozens of fans happy but that’s a big whoop reaction from me. Shredder is a snowboarding game, while it’s probably a boon to those outdoorsy types who like to hit the slopes but can’t, it does look good but I just couldn’t give a hoot. Then there’s the A Pirate’s Life DLC for Sea of Thieves, with the hook being you can partner with Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Carribbean movies. The soundalike they got for Jack Sparrow is pretty good but I just couldn’t muster up any hype for it… and I like the Pirates of the Carribbean films. Well, the first 3, anyway.
The biggest thing about most of these games, whether you’re interested to play them or not, is they’re all going to be available on Xbox Game Pass. Honestly, that’s still pretty awesome in my book. I may not have an Xbox Series X/S system or a PC beefy enough to handle most of these games but, if I did, I would probably get the Xbox Game Pass just so I could try out as many games as I like and see what works for me. This is especially cool as even new games will be part of the subscription.
Overall, while things were hit-or-miss, I generally thought this year’s Xbox & Bethesda E3 showcase was good. It definitely wasn’t the best show of E3 but it certainly wasn’t terrible in any stretch of the imagination.
What did you think of this year’s Microsoft Xbox and Bethesda E3 outing? Let me know in the comments section below!