by Josh Hamel
Microsoft kicked off E3 2015 this morning with a slew of games and new features for Xbox 360. Here’s what we thought of the presentation.
The company was bound to kick off their press conference with either Call of Duty or Halo 4. This year, they chose the latter.
While I could do without the live-action introduction, the gameplay segment looked almost like a cross between Halo and Metroid and that has me excited. 343 Industries looks like they’re changing up Halo just enough to make it fresh while still pleasing fans of the Bungie era. While predictable, it was a strong start to their presentation.
The Splinter Cell: Blacklist reveal was a good one. It was a bit unexpected and was one of the few games not completely outed before E3 even started. The gameplay shown looked impressive and was a solid title for Microsoft’s time on the stage.
Kinect integration into Madden and FIFA is exciting for some people, but not for me. Still, I did like that the Madden demo shown wasn’t canned but actual gameplay being shown by Joe Montana. I’m not normally into celebrities coming out for announcements, but I was fine with this one.
I think Microsoft mistimed the Gears of War: Judgement announcement. While it’s always good to grab a Game Informer cover, I think it would have been better if they left it for a surprise announcement in their press conference. Nonetheless, even a CGI trailer is still enough to get people excited.
I’m actually a fan of the new direction Forza Horizon is taking for the series. I’m curious if it will blend the simulation driving the series is known for with drag racing or the sim will be compromised for something different.
The next announcement that really caught my eye was the SmartGlass. I think this technology will really help Microsoft and could actually end up hurting Nintendo as it seems to be promising what the Wii U can do but with devices you already own. Much like the Wii U, I’m curious to see what developers will do with it.
Tomb Raider looked really great in the demo shown during the presentation. However, I don’t like Microsoft’s reliance on simply getting first dibs on DLC for third party games rather than building their first party lineup outside of Xbox Live. They did the same thing with Resident Evil 6 later in their presentation.
Speaking of Xbox Live, Ascend: New Gods, LocoCycle and Matter are all interesting downloadable titles that look like they will be downloadable. Microsoft will probably continue their dominance in the downloadable space.
One of my favorite parts of the presentation was South Park: The Stick of Truth. I love that Microsoft let Trey Parker and Matt Stone go out on stage without a script and even make fun of SmartGlass.
While Dance Central 3 will probably be good, this is one of those times I’m not a fan of celebrities presenting. I understand one of the big hooks is that he choreographed a few dances and that his music is in the game, but a lot of the time the demo was actually being shown, it didn’t even look like he was even controlling it.
They didn’t begin with Call of Duty, but Microsoft did end with it. The demo shown looked like great action typical of the series. I do wish they would have shown the more open-ended parts of the game, though, rather than typical run ‘n gun and escort missions.
I’m curious why they didn’t show Crytek’s supposedly in-development game for Kinect, Ryse, that they showed off a few years ago. I wonder if it has been cancelled.
Overall, I don’t think Microsoft had a bad press conference, just a safe one. They had a few solid titles to show off but little in the way of surprise that will really get people talking.