Karan and I made some sarcastic, out of place puns on Microsoft in our last article about how they are sequel hunting (Which is kind of still the case), but when it came to the conference, Microsoft has given us the goosebumps this time around with the reveals even if they are not all exclusives.
Here’s our formal apology.
Karan: So Pratyush, how do you feel?
Pratyush: First of all, let me just say that the first 10 minutes of Microsoft’s conference were better than whatever was on display from EA yesterday and a stark contrast to whatever Microsoft has been showing the past 2 years. Ori was the first goosebump moment for me. Yes Ori was revealed last year through a cinematic trailer, but with the gameplay reveal, I can pretty much see that the game has undergone significant gameplay evolution. Also Sekigo. I almost confused that for the Xbox version of Nioh in the first few moments. I have to say though, From Soft seems to have taken some inspiration from Team Ninja’s Nioh which is a great sight to see. And with the grapple hook (I don’t really know what else to call it), it looks like we are in for a treat. Though I have to say, I was a bit skeptical when I saw Activision’s name pop out after From Software.
Karan: Microsoft really stunned the world this time. I don’t think there will be anyone who won’t be amazed by the commitment they displayed this year. Not only did they display some of the most awaited games in history (more on this) but they also announced that they have put forth a massive investment. They have bought FIVE (The Initiative, Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, Playground Studios, Compulsion Games) new studios. It seems that they are working majorly to rectify the wrongs committed in recent years (Cancelling Scalebound for one). It’s amazing that they went from the butt of all jokes, to possible the start of the show in one sitting.The company has committed itself to putting out games and catering to core gamers. So that was fun.
Also, Devil May Cry 5 and Cyberpunk 2077 were shown. HOLY CRAP
Pratyush: Let’s leave the two elephants in the room for the last. I still think that some of the other games that were revealed were good. Making a list of them, let’s remove the games that looked meh from the list- The Division 2, Shadow Of Tomb Raider, Sea of Thieves DLC, PUBG new modes, all looked like the same old stuff that the respective company has been doing.
When it comes to games with mixed opinions, Just Cause 4 has to be at the top of my list. It looks extremely similar to Just Cause 3 and I am not sure why Avalanche is making a new Just Cause game after Just Cause 3 had so many problems. My best guess is that Just Cause 4 is more of Just Cause 3, just that it has been optimized better for the consoles since the most fun moments in Just Cause 3 were hampered by frame rate issues.
What are your thoughts on games that were meh or you had mixed opinions on?
Karan: Well, look at it this way. Maybe Just Cause 4 can be the ‘complete’ version of the game that was unfortunately left unrealised with Just Cause 3. Maybe this time, they will put out an amazingly polished product that will just blow people away. I’m not interested in any of the usual stuff (Tomb Raider, Sea of Thieves) and Halo: Infinite seems just another game in the series, with high chances of a BR mode being added to the franchise. It’s amazing that such a fresh series (Back in the day) has been milked so dry. I did like all the new Gears of War games. Gears 5 looks like it can be a fun popcorn romp. Not convinced with the ‘emotional storytelling’ they’re trying to do. I miss the 80’s action movie vibe of Gears 1-3. Still, maybe it could be nice. Visuals look great.
I also enjoyed FORZA Horizon 4. It’s not my thing, but I’ve always been fascinated with the english countryside, and I hope it delivers for fans. Really excited for the ORI sequel, and a couple of the Indie titles they showcased look cool. Especially, the ‘After Party’ ( or whatever it’s called). I sorta was amused by The DIVISION 2. It looks a classic case of a Ubisoft cookie cutter title. But still, I liked that they constantly keep pushing games, and not products/gimmicks. What say you?
Pratyush: As I said, I am on the fence with Just Cause 4. Yes I love Just Cause 3 (Have put 70 hours into the game), but I wasn’t expecting another Just Cause so soon. As for Halo, never been a fan of the franchise, so I can’t say much. Gears did look very cool though. Gears tactics looks like a treat for XCOM fans and Gears 5 looks great and this is coming from someone who didn’t enjoy Gears of War 4. I do see Microsoft going on a trend here with Halo Wars being an RTS game of a FPS franchise and Gears Tactics being a strategy game of a third person shooter franchise.
I did enjoy Forza Horizon 4 as well. I am not an avid racing fan and haven’t played any of the Forza games, but I might buy Forza Horizon 4 when the price is right.
Karan: Also, before we get into the meat on this. Let’s just congratulate Microsoft on putting on a beautiful, elaborate, professional production. The display and lighting were awesome, and once again Phil Spencer proves that he is a true professional. He can command the stage, speak clearly and eloquently and can hold your attention. He’s confident without being cocky and enthusiastic without being cringey. This comes as a HUGE respite, after EA’s shitshow of a conference yesterday.E3 is always known for its stage blunders, but not on his watch. He is a true pro.
Pratyush: I do agree. After all Microsoft is one of the biggest companies on the face of the planet. And they kinda took a step in the right direction by buying 5 studios. Ninja Theory can low-key be helpful to Microsoft in competing with Sony’s Cinematic lineup of games. I am not so sure about Undead Labs since I am not a fan of State of Decay, but Compulsion Games’ latest trailer of We Happy Few really seemed good to me. The Initiative is still an enigma (Or I am out of the loop), but hopefully they can reveal something good and new.
Apart from that Metro Exodus looked good; Nier: Automata, one of the best games of the generation is making its way to the Xbox One which is great for the playerbase; Session looks good as well. Oh and Dying Light 2 is going full blown RPG, written by Chris Avellone, so I am sure that’ll be great (I already loved the first game a lot). Together with Battletoads and Tunic, the conference was very well rounded in my opinion. What’s your say?
Karan: I was one of the people who never got past the 3rd level of Battletoads. So I’m curious what this new title will be like. Dying Light is regarded by many as an underrated current-gen classic, so I’m sure with Chris Avellone on writing duties, there will be plenty of world-building and great storytelling. I think it has great potential. Happy that Automata is coming to Xbox One. It’s a game that deserves to reach out to even more people than it has. Metro Exodus looks good too.
There were a lot of titles that were on display, but to be honest, there are only two that 99% of the people are thinking about currently. Want to get into them finally?
Pratyush: Oh yeah. Wasn’t E3 mostly about these two for us. DEVIL MAY CRY 5 and CYBERPUNK 2077. I have already been beating that drum to the point of breakage. The reveals of both these games were BEYOND PERFECT- THE MUSIC, THE ATMOSPHERE, THE FEEL- EVERYTHING was right about these two. I must have already given both the trailers about 50 views till now. Still getting goosebumps watching both trailers after the umpteenth time. In fact I have DMC5’s trailer going on in th background while writing this. Damn they were powerful and what an end to the MS conference with Cyberpunk. I am sure you are pumped up too.
Karan: Yup. I really loved the new DMC 5 trailer. It’s pretty obvious that it is just a tease and that more will be shown. I like that they bought out Itsuno and highlighted all the fantastic visuals on display. Some of the fan complaints are too nitpicky and are missing the subtleties. If you notice, the music switches from J-pop to Heavy Metal as soon as Dante is shown on the bike. I can understand that passions are high, and fans can be a bit judgemental. But the fact that they got Itsuno out stands as a sign of assurance that this is the DMC of old. Also, it seems to be a ‘mixed aesthetic’ to please both DmC and DMC fans, which I feel is a good compromise. There is a lot more to this game than meets the eye, and I can’t wait to see more. But the gameplay looks hella fun and I can’t wait to see how some of the new mechanics work and how they’re integrated.
As for CYBERPUNK 2077, It feels more like a dream than a game. Though the reveal trailer is one of the best in recent years, I’m still wondering how on earth is a game like this even possible. And was it a CG trailer or a gameplay one? Still, I’m loving the future-noir ‘This is a city of dreams. I’m a big dreamer’ vibe. What about you?
Pratyush: Oh hell yes!!!! Cyberpunk 2077 looks like a game massive in scale. And yes it is kinda a dream game. How will they top WITCHER 3. And if they do, CB2077 will easily be the game of the generation. I think it was an in game cut-scene. I predict that the release date of the game will be in 2020 May considering that WItcher 3 had a similar path- cinematic trailer revealed in 2013, gameplay revealed in 2014 and game released in 2015. Hopefully I am right because 2019 is looking like a good year already with DMC5 and Sekigo.
Karan: Whatever cynicism we all had, can now be put aside. All I’m hoping for now is that we get to know more about these great games this E3, and that more are revealed.
Pratyush: I think the Xbox show was fantastic with DMC 5 and CB 2077 making MS’s conference exceptional. It is a win for gamers and many fanboys are rightly going to argue that Sony has the upper hand in terms of exclusives, but can’t deny the fact that the conference was pretty good and probably the best Microsoft has given this generation.