Even though it’s not E3, I gotta hand it to Microsoft for still bringing an E3 conference-like stage show this year. Right off the bat, I will have to say it was the most impressive show for the entire “Not E3” period. Then again, they were basically only competing with one other big show, the Summer Game Fest. Not to downplay Geoff Keighley’s show as it was also good, but Microsoft had just so many good announcements and some really impressive games to show off.
Probably the thing which impressed me the most is the mere fact they only featured games which were going to be Xbox exclusive or, at the very least, have some kind of limited exclusivity for the system. That’s really a huge deal for me because it means every game they featured was going to be something you can only play on Xbox or via Xbox Game Pass. Sure, the Sony PlayStation State of Play revealed Street Fighter 6 and Resident Evil 4 Remake and that’s all well and good. However, both those games will also be going on Xbox so it’s nice to get people excited but hardly a reason why I or anyone else who watched their show should go out and get a PlayStation 5. With Microsoft’s show, they practically plastered the fact you can only get these games on an Xbox Series X/S.
Another thing I loved about the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase is the announcement that all the games that were to be featured were going to be made available in the next 12 months. Once again, I have to talk about the Summer Game Fest because of how it seemed like they scrambled to gather suitable exciting content for the show as they ended the show with The Last of Us… but didn’t actually show anything about what they had in store in the future! The announced the upcoming multiplayer Last of Us game but only showed 1 piece of concept art. They also promised a live-action version of the game but they only got the actors who played the characters from the game. They didn’t even show a trailer or a still from the upcoming show! What a gyp!
The Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase, on the other hand, was definitely much more forthcoming with what we should expect in the near future. While a lot of the games they did showcase, such as Ark 2 and Ara: History Untold, didn’t exactly show any actual gameplay, I still love the fact they basically promised these games can only be played on the Xbox or via the Xbox Game Pass. That’s a promise not to be taken lightly and I’ll hold you to your word, Microsoft!
Speaking of games, it really did feel like Microsoft pulled out all the stops to put their best foot forward as, like in previous years, all they did throughout the show was focus on games. No talk about a possible television show about a game or what the Xbox Series X/S can stream or anything like that. No, it was just pure, unadulterated game trailers for most of the show. They did have those small little stage segments where the head of Xbox would talk about what’s to come or that crappy segue where the Diablo developers patted themselves on the back because of how a lot of fans loved the beta testing. Besides, those small hiccups, Microsoft gave gamers what they wanted: new game trailers.
I also have to say I was impressed with a lot of the games they did show. I’ve never been a huge racing sim fan but the graphics of Forza Motorsport did shock me with how good it looked. I was impressed with the more negligible things which add immersion. Things like the car reflecting off the shiny exterior of another car and how they would go to those lengths to try to make the game feel more real. The same thing can be said for Microsoft Flight Simulator. I can only imagine what it must be like to actually be able to play this game because I still have a crappy computer but the visuals are really super nice and realistic. Sure, it looks super boring… but that seems to be kind of the point. Even so, It still looks super beautiful!
I actually almost forgot about Overwatch 2. I did try playing the first game but, as it didn’t have any real single player component, I did stop playing it pretty quickly, which is a shame as Blizzard put so much effort into making those character trailers! I wish there was one big epic story you can play. While the next entry, Overwatch 2, probably won’t have a really meaty single player experience, it still looks heck of fun to play. On the other hand, I’ve never played a Diablo game in my life and this new trailer didn’t exactly change my mind. However, I do like the character models and the overall art style.
It wasn’t also the big, blockbuster games which I loved. The smaller games also intrigued me. A Plague Tale: Requiem may not be the most visually stunning game but it certainly has a very unique and definitive art style. I never played the first game and I’ve always regretted it and watching this new trailer only compounded my sorrow. I’ve always been more focused on story based games so As Dusk Falls, with its multiple story paths depending on the choices of different characters connected with me instantly. As a big Rick and Morty fan (why isn’t the latest season out on Netflix Asia yet?) so to see the team (and the voice of Rick and Morty) behind the upcoming comedy shooter High on Life should be a blast to play… pun intended.
Of course, the biggest game to come out of Microsoft’s Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase was Starfield. Like a lot of the games I saw here, I never played an Elder Scrolls or a Fallout game ever. I’ve heard a lot of good things but I’ve always feel I’ll be out of my depth because of how massive these games come across. Well, that goes double or even triple for Starfield because you’re not just only exploring a vast amount of land, you’ll be exploring entire planets and, according to Todd Howard, you can explore each of those planets! I just know a lot of open world gamers are just salivating at the thought. On my end, though, if I was intimidated before with “smaller” games like Elder Scrolls and Fallout, you have no idea how my brain froze at the thought of trying to explore every nook and cranny of this game!
All-in-all, I was super impressed with Microsoft’s Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase not only because of how many games they showed but also on how many of them are exclusives. There were a good number of top shelf games previewed here, Starfield specifically. What’s even more impressive is all of these games are coming in the next 12 months. Really good show, Microsoft. It’s almost good enough for me to think of getting an Xbox Series X/S!
What did you think of Microsoft’s Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase? Which was the best show of this year’s “Not E3”? Let me know in the comments section below!