Now that E3 is well underway, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on my favourite games so far before Sony drops a few big names later tonight. Microsoft are certainly winning thus far, with the Xbox One X being the most ambitious – dare I say it, the most powerful – console on the market to date. Alongside this came a look at Forza Motorsport 7 which is probably the best racing game I’ve ever seen; The visual fidelity on show from the rolling rocks and sand give a small glimpse of what the Xbox One X is truly capable of, despite dropping what was a catchier moniker. Now, I’m not known for admiring racing games, or e-sports for that matter; But regardless of how you feel about the Forza series, it was a high-octane introduction into what was a blazing trail of games, mixed with a few bizarre entries.
The first big showstopper came from Deep Silver, promoting its new game Metro: Exodus, which the boys and I at BestGameEver.co.uk decided had the best-looking grass of the evening, so keep an eye out for #GrassWatch on our Twitter threads. It will be coming to Xbox One and PC in 2018, hopefully, followed by a PS4 release not long after. Despite being set in a dire and barren wasteland, the textures and design of this game looked phenomenal, with the mutated creatures looking just as terrifying as ever. The claustrophobic, damp, dark corridors added much to the tension in the trailer and made the reveal of the outside world even more of a stunning surprise.
Next, we were given a glimpse of the new Assassins Creed game, Origins. Set in Egypt, Ubisoft has created a lush world with shining pyramids, giant stoneworks and beautiful gardens. Sadly, it still felt and looked like a regular AC game and, having never been the biggest fan, I think I’ll be giving this one a miss.
PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds will be making its way as an Xbox console exclusive. This is a bit of a coup for Microsoft and Xbox in my opinion. PUBG as its commonly known is a mod in the style of DayZ with battlegrounds featuring up to 100 players at once in a massive free-for-all barny. It’s basically Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow but with less violence. The unpredictable nature of the physics and absolute bedlam than can be caused has seen this game do gangbusters on Twitch from all the PC players. As I’m typing this right now it’s the number 3 most watched game. Number 2 – League of Legends. Number 1 – E3 itself.
Next to be shown was a quick trailer for Dragon Ball FighterZ and the absolutely gorgeous and oh-so-stylish The Last Night. I’d add more about The Last Light but there’s a bit of a GamerGate issue surrounding him in his inclusive but not of feminist nature. Crackdown 3 also appeared with Terry Crews starring in the ad as a super excitable Terry Crews, which instantly made it an instant hit for me. Ashen, a faceless fantasy world, showed us creepy spider beasties and innovative new design before the showcase jumped straight into Life is Strange: Before the Storm, a prequel to the sleeper hit of 2015 (Life is Strange is available for free with PS Plus, just so you know!)
The next three big reveals were my favourites. Middle Earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The nemesis system is back; it’s bigger, badder and better than ever, with the addition of Bruce the Shark as Bruz the Orc – that’s a pun I can definitely get behind. Ori and the Will of the Wisps almost brought me to tears with its depiction of a beautiful, whimsical but with an ultimately sad land and sombre characters, with a grieving purple owl pulling at my heartstrings. Finally, we have Bioware’s newest project: Anthem and it proved to be hit with the crowd. This is what Andromeda should have been. Imagine Titanfall 2, Destiny and the Mass Effect trilogy had a baby and you’ll be close. Bioware have come out swinging with Anthem. It’s got the pedigree, an exquisitely designed world and jet packs, which Bioware have already successfully trialled with Andromeda. It has all the elements to be the kind of experience only Bioware can deliver and I for one can’t wait.
The biggest elements of the conference, however, were the Xbox One X and its new original Xbox backwards compatibility. Phil Spencer detailed some of the features and bonuses of purchasing the One X, proving once again that Microsoft had listened to their fans. The One X will launch worldwide on November 7, 2017, for $499 or around £450. It boasts some impressive specs: 6 teraflop CPU running at 1.172 GHz, 12GB of GDDR5 memory, and 325 GB of memory bandwidth. All your Xbox One games and accessories will work with the Xbox One X. Players will also benefit from enhanced visuals and faster loading times, which the Xbox One has sometimes struggled with. Supersampling technology ensures that even if you don’t own a 4K TV and therefore cannot bask in the glory of 4K graphics and HDR technology, the 1080p output will still be improved on regular HD TVs. Other bonuses include support for 8 million pixels, HDR, a ‘wide colour gamut’, Dolby Atmos sound systems, and 4K UHD Blu-ray playback. Shockingly, it will also be the smallest Xbox console to date, as the image of the controller resting atop the console depicts. But really all of this is just waffle. It’s the games that matter at the end of the day and we can only hope that the studios behind the games can deliver.
After such an impressive conference, Sony have some big boots to fill. Catch me on Twitter @L_Aitken for regular updates and live tweeting during the Sony conference at 2 am (GMT) on the 13th June.