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E3 2018: Does Xbox Marks The Spot?

It’s now Day 2 of E 2018, and Microsoft just finished their Xbox press conference. While it initially feels like a repeat of 2017 where they announced a ton of games but only few exclusives, keep in mind that Xbox’s Game Pass idea kinda makes all of this sounds tempting.

We’ll do a quick breakdown, then get back to that main point.

Xbox Has Third-Party Game Premieres

When it comes to world exclusive announcements, yes, Xbox has those in spades. Huge, HUGE spades. We’ll talk about the ones we care about.

  • We have a new From Software RPG called Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice coming out next year. It looks like Dark Souls but set in Japan and features samurais and ronin. Oh, and your main hero has a retractable shield and a grappling hook. That should spice things up by a ton. Out 2019.
  • Devil May Cry 5 is official. The game features Nero with a new arm, Dante, and most likely Vergil if that box art is of any indication. It’s out Spring 2019.
  • The Division 2 gets an Xbox showcase here. You still team up with people and shoot down insurgents and rogue factions, but now in a dystopian Washington DC that is surprisingly colourful. Kudos to the folks who spray-painted Air Force One in the destroyed plane of that demo.
  • We get a new Frozen level in Kingdom Hearts III. It’s still coming out 29 January of 2019 though.
  • We also get the definitive edition of Tales of Vesperia, a game that originally came out on Xbox 360. Yes, it’ll have the extra content from the special PS3 version.
  • We get a glimpse of Just Cause 4. Rico Rodriguez still has his grappling hook and now he’s going up against a tornado in an undisclosed country.
  • Turns out that there’s a new Dying Light sequel. It still has the same parkour and zombie infestation action, but this time the story and direction is handled by Black Isle/Obsidian legend Chris Avellone.
  • Last but not least, we get to see a full-blown trailer for CD Projekt’s long-awaited RPG Cyberpunk 2077. Androids, mods, guns, rednecks with electric shotguns, fast cars, techno music: what’s not to love?

Just keep in mind that these titles will be out on PS4 too.


Xbox Has Exclusives; Most Of Them For Next Year

We have a new Halo called Halo Infinity. We have a new Ori platformer -Ori and the Will of the Wisp. We have a new Gears of War which some of us are stoked about because of the snow levels, the new Locusts, and the mothereffin’ Kryll. There’s even a Gears Tactics game which is basically X-Com but with the Gears of War universe.

And we have also seen a possible successor to EA’s Skate called Sessions. And new footage for that adorable fox Zelda clone Tunic. And a new Battletoads game. Gotta love the retro throwbacks.

But what’s coming out in 2018 though? Forza Horizon 4, which is set in the historical backdrop of Britain and features dynamic seasons in its open world racing gameplay. Mr Toffee loved Forza Horizon 3 to death, so this one should be up his alley. Still, we can’t dress up the fact that there’s only ONE exclusive this year.

As for Crackdown 3? That’s pushed back for next February.

Xbox Owns Some Familiar Names

Ninja Theory. Playground. Undead Labs. Compulsion Gaming. You might recognize some of these names; they’re now working internally with Xbox. There’s also a new studio called the Initiative and they’re working on an unannounced game. This is nice and all, but shouldn’t they be doing this a few years prior?

You’re Paying $14.90 Monthly For All Of This

But at the end of it, despite the lack of exclusives this year, it all boils down to value and gaming. Assuming you bought an Xbox One a long while ago, all you need to do to play these games is to pay a Netflix-esque subscription.

Almost all of these games are available on the Xbox Game Pass from the get-go. Take a look at the trailer below; all those indie games (and even the game above) are playable from the get-go for that tiny-ass monthly fee. Coupled with the Fast Start update this June which makes new games play and load faster, while solving the download problem via machine learning, players may be experiencing a smooth gaming experience.

Xbox’s streaming service approach to gaming is going to pay dividends. In fact, if you want to play games for a moderate price and can’t afford a PC or can’t be bothered to set one up, you might as well buy an Xbox and subscribe to a Game Pass to save money and time. Let’s also not forget that Xbox head Phil Spencer announced a new Xbox in the making.

All Xbox needs now is just a lot more aggressive marketing and push to be ahead of the curve and make people forget about its lack of exclusives this year.

All in all, Xbox’s showing is at a standstill, but still leaning towards a “hell yeah” in terms of presentation. On one hand, its Xbox Game Pass idea and these game announcements make Xbox’s long-term plan, relevance to the public, and future a lot more stable from here on out.

On the other hand, traditionalists will not find much to cheer for here as there’s only one big exclusive coming out close to the end of the year. But for next year? We’re in for some fun times yo! Edit: after seeing ALL of the major press conferences, we felt that we should give Xbox some more love since they did set out to present all the games they have on tap for their console in grand fashion.

Score: 6/10. Good, but not great.


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