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E3 Evaluation: Microsoft Press Conference

So last month all gamers waited in anticipation for the E3 Press Conferences to show and wow us with what they have been cooking up for their audience. This year E3 had some solid presentations among its press conferences but also some cringe moments along the way. So basically it was the normal air and fare for E3.

Naturally, from forums to the live Twitch chat, there always seems to be a tremendous amount of competition between gamers who prefer different consoles. Sometimes it’s nice to see fellow gamers sticking up for their preferred systems but more often than not there are forms of bias, harsh words and annoying spammers present as well. For this set of E3 Evaluations, the plan is to comment and judge on the content and overall tone of the press conferences. Did they impress gamers and give their loyal fans something to look forward to or did they drop the ball this year? We finally have gotten down to the last two conferences which are both the big names in the gaming world. Bringing up the back of the herd is Microsoft.

Microsoft came out swinging from the very beginning with Xbox One S. It is nice that Microsoft is giving its fans access to their games for a lower price but with small memory space the question is “is it worth it”? Naturally, Microsoft covered their bases with their exclusives. Following the Xbox One S was Gears of War 4 which had a nice lengthy presentation of its gameplay, played by voice actor Laura Bailey. The game looks gorgeous and has all the crazy violence that fans of the series could hope for.

On the topic of shooters, Microsoft had those in spades this year.Tom Clancy’s The Division and Battlefield One also made appearances during the conference, but it was disappointingly nothing that wasn’t shown or covered in Ubisoft’s conference.  One of the last announcements of the conference was that Halo Wars 2 was in the works, so it is safe to say that Xbox owners have a lot of shooters to look forward to in the future.

Moving on from shooters to zombies Microsoft’s conference had plenty of those. The fourth installment in the Dead Rising series seems to have a strong Christmas theme to go with its December release date. Was not expecting to hear some holiday music in July especially while seeing a guy decapitate zombies. The trailer for State of Decay 2 was not as revealing about what the game has in store for fans, but it looked like it had potential. There was also a healthy amount of fighting titles shown during the conference as well. Killer Instinct has a new character in the works, and Tekken 7’s trailer looked gorgeous and featured Akuma having a slug fest with Heihaci.

Microsoft also devoted a short section on new features coming to Xbox owners. Language region independence and the implementation of Cortana didn’t seem all that exciting. However, the use of background music and the new Arena platform setup for online matches seemed rather useful and made me jealous that my PS4 won’t be getting that kind of treatment. These new features on top of the Xbox Play Anywhere feature make the Xbox One quite the tricked out console.

One surprising fact that Microsoft pointed out in their conference was that they have some very impressive indie games coming out soon. Games like Inside, Cuphead, Below and We Happy Few made a very solid impression. We Happy Few’s trailer, in particular, left me wanting more about its very odd and surreal world.

Curiously Microsoft’s expansive selection of indie games seems reminiscent me of Sony’s conference at last year’s E3.

Although the Xbox One’s indie games had their time to shine Microsoft also showed off some impressive titles which both featured explosions and gigantic beasts. There hasn’t been much released about Scalebound, but the gameplay shown at the conference showed that the huge enemies and cooperation between dragons and humans could be as gorgeous as it is epic.

A short demo of Final Fantasy XV had the player fighting against a humongous Titan, a well-known summon in the Final Fantasy franchise. The scope of the battle was just amazing, and the music that played during it had the right level of hype.

Microsoft was very consistent: they started out with new hardware and ended with another “addition to the Xbox family”. The guys at Microsoft gave Project Scorpio a lot of hype as the “most powerful console this generation” but not too much more than that. Microsoft’s conference was very impressive with plenty of games, new and old, and some new features for their console hardware. They covered every check on the “E3 to do list”. This doesn’t mean the conference was flawless. There were definitely low points during the presentation such as the gameplay for Forza Horizon 3 or the new enhancements to Minecraft, which overstayed its welcome.

One thing that got repetitive and annoying was the announcement before almost every game that it was a “Xbox and Windows Exclusive”. It was fine the first couple of times but after a while, it just seemed redundant. Also during the trailers, there would be little inserts or updates, usually with information we already knew, at the bottom of the screen that threw off the immersion and distracted from the trailers and gameplay.  When weighing the pros and cons of the overall conference, I’d give Microsoft a solid B+. It wasn’t perfect, but it covered so much and had some real epic moments of gameplay and releases that excited their audience.   

Do you agree with my evaluation? Any comments or arguments? If so, please leave a comment and stay tuned to GameSkinny for more E3 Evaluations and gaming news. If you want to check out the entire experience for yourself, you can check it out on Youtube.

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