Ranking the Reveals from the Xbox and Bethesda Developer Direct for January

Well, this kind of snuck up on me. As I’m not really current on my Microsoft, Xbox and Bethesda news, their entire Developer Direct show flew under my radar for a while. This does mean I just wasn’t able to watch it live as it happened. But I did get to watch the replay. Even though I’m not exactly a Microsoft fanboy, I’m still interested what’s going on with Xbox and Bethesda. I do have a pretty good gaming laptop now, so maybe it’s a good idea for me to check out if getting an Xbox Game Pass is really worth it. At the very least, it would be nice to see if Microsoft had anything I would be interested in playing.

This was a relatively small Developer Direct as only five games were showcased this time around. Some of them were great. Others, well, not so great. In fact, let me go rank each of the games that were shown during the January Xbox and Bethesda’s Developer Direct show. From my point of view, of course.

#5 The Elder Scrolls Online: Necrom

I really wish I was more into The Elder Scrolls games. I do understand why the series has a lot of fans as the world is incredibly immersive and how much freedom is given to the players, both from within the game world as well as in the modding community. And, honestly, I do think Microsoft knew how big any update to The Elder Scrolls games and they knew they couldn’t fit an announcement this big into the Developer Direct. So they didn’t even try.

The latest update for The Elder Scrolls Online, called Necrom, was hardly talked about during the Developer Direct. All they did during the show is kind of like, “Hey, we have a new update for your favorite online game. But, if you aren’t playing Elder Scrolls Online, you can start playing now!” They hardly touched on what it contained because, honestly, they had an entirely separate show detailing what to expect from the update. It was the smart move as it would be a waste of time to show off what in Necrom when they have a longer show later on detailing what to expect from it. Still, this was very underwhelming, especially for a non-Elder Scrolls fan such as myself.

#4 Minecraft Legends

Like the Elder Scrolls, I also didn’t get into the entire Minecraft scene. I’m also not a huge fan of tower defense games as well. I’m sorry but they’re just not my thing so I never jumped on either bandwagon. So when they showed off Minecraft Legends, which is basically a tower defense spin-off of the entire Minecraft series, I was totally lukewarm on the entire thing.

Now, I’m not saying the Minecraft Legends was bad. In actuality, I did like how enthusiastic the developers were when describing what could be done in the game. I actually like the quick overview of some of the strategies they’ve been using as well as how your best laid plans could be thrown out the window when opponents do something crazy you haven’t thought of defending against. I can sort of see someone pulling off a version of Starcraft’s Zerg Rush in Minecraft Legends in the future if the game is as dynamic as they say it is.

However, despite the developer’s earnest in showing how good Minecraft Legends can be, it’s still ultimately not something I’m interested in. I can see it getting a solid fanbase in the future and, if it’s as good as it seems, may become a good eSports game in the future. I’m just not going to be one of those watching or playing it, sadly.

#3 Forza Motorsport

Oh, Microsoft. Why do you have to confuse gamers again by not naming things with sequential numbers? You’ve done it with your Xbox consoles and now you’re excluding numbers on your games like the upcoming Forza Motorsport series? But seriously, the eight entry of the Xbox’s premiere racing sim is looking really fine, with some dumbfounding graphics that do look like the real thing. I do think fans will not be disappointed with the latest Forza Motorsport.

However, as a person looking from the outside in, I’m starting to feel it’s a little too focused on realism. If you take a look at all of the previous Forza Motorsport games and how they’ve been promoted, they all basically say the same thing: it’s going to be more realistic. And the latest entry is no different. Better lighting effects. Better reflections on the car. Better dirt placement. Better weather effects. Better real time damage. I get this is Forza Motorsports bread and butter but, at a certain point, it just feels so repetitive, especially for someone who’s been watching how they’ve been promoting the series since time immemorial.

I have no doubt fans will eat up the latest Forza Motorsports game and it’ll receive numerous accolades. If the game is as good as it looks and if it’s as realistic as it promises, it’s all well deserved. I just wish they would showcase something else once in a while.

#2 Redfall

I remember watching the original Redfall trailer way back in E3 2021 and not being entirely impressed with it. The biggest problem is it was promoted as Left 4 Dead but with vampires. This kind of alienated gamers like me as it came off as a multiplayer game only. The latest Developer Direct show did that up as they promised a huge open world game where you can explore the town of Redfall and there was going to be some focus on story, making it seem like it was following Arkane Studios entries like Dishonored and Deathloop. And just like that, my interest was piqued.

The mere fact that there was going to be an actual single player mode with a story campaign should increase the number of eyes on Redfall as there are still some stubborn gamers such as myself who refused to play online with others. And it does look like the gameplay is going to be rather fun, with each character getting their own unique abilities and possibly get their own skill trees. I’m a sucker for these kind of games as I do like the freedom of building my character to suit my own playstyle.

I’m still on the fence if I will actually get Redfall as they still haven’t shown off much of the game and the story. I’ll probably wait for the reviews to come in and see if the single player campaign is still good. I’m kind of worried it’ll be too multiplayer focused so playing solo might be frustratingly difficult to complete. At least this look at Redfall made me want to see if it’ll be good or not.

#1 Hi-Fi Rush

Well, that was a surprise. It’s kind of freaking amazing how Hi-Fi Rush wasn’t leaked to the public. I mean, no one really knew this was in production or anything like that. And it was coming from Tango Gameworks, a developer known for horror games like The Evil Within series and Ghostwire: Tokyo. Then again, Hi-Fi Rush is a brand new IP with very unique gameplay so it probably got lost in the shuffle of bigger games. I guess all that secrecy paid off as Hi-Fi Rush was definitely the highlight of the Xbox and Bethesda Developer Direct show.

On the surface, Hi-Fi Rush looks like your typical action hack-and-slash, albeit with really gorgeous cartoon inspired graphics. What makes the game different is it’s a rhythm action hack-and-slash game. If you manage to feel the rhythm of the in-game music and time your attacks right, you can do more damage. The beat also helps you figure out when an enemy is going to attack and what-not. The mere concept of mashing together a rhythm game and an action game together shouldn’t work but it just seems to work.

It certainly helps that Hi-Fi Rush comes off as a very charming game with a lighthearted atmosphere. I already mentioned how good the graphics look but the game also looks amazing in action. The only thing I was worried about is the music selection. H-Fi Rush looks like it’s uses licensed music and it could be tunes I wouldn’t feel fit to the game’s atmosphere. Thankfully, it does seem you can forego the licensed tunes and go with the original songs made just for the game. Hi-Fi Rush was definitely the best surprise from the Xbox and Bethesda Developer Direct showcase.

The Xbox and Bethesda Developer Direct was a good showing for Microsoft. I can’t say I’m all that excited for The Elder Scrolls Online and Minecraft Legends. Nor can I say it made me want to get the latest Forza Motorsport. However, it did make me want to keep track of Redfall’s development and I’m definitely going to get Hi-Fi Rush. If it got me to want to get a game, then that’s a success in my book. Good job, Microsoft.

What was your favorite reveal during the January Xbox and Bethesda Developer Direct showcase? Let me know in the comments section below!


One thought on “Ranking the Reveals from the Xbox and Bethesda Developer Direct for January

  1. Pingback: Sony’s First State of Play for 2023 Was Depressing | 3rd World Geeks

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