Microsoft – E3 Conference Review 2017

If any needed to hit E3 in a big way this year its Microsoft. With Sony running away with the console war this generation it was Microsofts chance to finally show off Project Scorpio and convince people that the Xbox platform is worth investing in over PlayStation.

Microsoft help a press conference lasting just over 100 minutes where they showed no less than 42 games as well as their showstopper, Project Scorpio. Below I will outline their biggest announcements as well as my review of their whole conference with a score out of 10.

(Please note that a lot of trailers and game demos were shown in 4K but I only had access to a 1080p display)


Project Scorpio is Xbox One X

As expected Microsoft kicked off their show with what everyone was waiting to see, Project Scorpio. What everyone wasn’t expecting was the name however as Microsoft revealed it to be Xbox One X. This now sits along side the Xbox One S in more ways than one as Microsoft somehow managed to fit all that processing power of the Xbox One X into a design very similar to the Xbox One S and amazingly even a bit smaller.

Presented in matte black the Xbox One X looks sleek and would fit into any entertainment system. Along with the look of the system Microsoft announced the great news that all Xbox One accessories will work with the Xbox One X and all Xbox One games will not only run on the system, but will run better with faster load times and look better too. 

The news that might not be as welcome though was the price. Xbox One X will cost £449 ($499). Now with that out of the way Microsoft have a whole conference to convince people that their new system is worth the price tag.


Forza Motorsport 7

It wouldn’t be an E3 conference without Microsoft unveiling the latest instalment from the Forza series and this year we got to see the newest game in the Motorsport devision, Forza Motorsport 7. Just like every Forza game the visuals are some of the best you will see on any console and this year they showed off a stunning road race in Dubai as well as a rain covered Nürburgring. Both of these setting demonstrated Forza Motorsport 7’s stunning lighting effects and environment effects such as dust or puddles reacting to your car.

The presentation also included unveiling the world debut of the Porsche 911 GT2RS which will of course be in the game along with over 700 vehicles.

As a showcase of how capable the Xbox One platform is and specifically the new Xbox One X, Forza alway hits the spot. I do wish that they had shown off more gameplay though but I imagine that will come in the following months.

Forza Motorsport 7 will be released on October 3 2017.


Metro Exodus

Following on from the beautiful visuals of Forza we got to see equally beautiful footage of Metro Exodus. Starting off in confined corridors and leading out to a post apocalyptic world outside all aspects of this game looked visually stunning. This first person shooter will see you take on monsterous beasts taking similar forms to wolves and bears all created just as visually impressive as the world around you.

With just a glimpse of the world they seem to have created I cant wait to see more of this game over the coming year.

Metro Exodus will be released in 2018.


Assassins Creed Origins

After months of rumours and leaks we finally got to see the debu trailer as well as a gameplay demo for Assassins Creed Origins. After taking a year off in 2016 this years instalment definitely looks polished with environments brilliantly representing ancient Egypt. This is still very much Assassins Creed though both in minute to minute gameplay and animations. For those who love this series they will likely be excited to jump back in. For those unconvinced by the previous games though this isn’t the revolution some were expecting given the increased development cycle.

I will admit thought that the world they have build is the most interesting part of this game and is making me want to jump back into the series. Embracing the fantasy side of ancient Egypt is a different take for the series that could be the hook I and others need to give this game the benefit of the doubt.

Assassins Creed Origins will be released October 27 2017.


Player Unknown Battlegrounds

Player Unknown Battlegrounds, the PC smash hit is coming to consoles this year which is sure to excite many players. This mass online shooter looks to provide those fun crazy moments that make online shooters so popular and if the community can get behind the console versions as they have the PC version then this could be one of the go to multiplayer games for years to come.

Player Unknown Battlegrounds will be released on consoles in 2017.


State Of Decay 2

State of Decay 2 is a zombie survival game where you must not only avoid a gruesome death but manage resources found throughout the world. What’s more you must decided if you are better served making it on your own or teaming up with friends to watch each other’s back. The trailer showed off a mixture of action survival gameplay as well as what looked like base building which will likely provide fun dynamic gameplay espically when player with others. Visually this game wont likely blow you away but hopefully the minute to minute gameplay will make it a hit amongst players.

State of Decay 2 will be released in Spring 2018.


Minecraft

Of course Minecraft was going to have a presence at the Microsoft show but what they announced wasn’t obvious at all. Later this year Minecraft will be getting not only a 4K updates but also a ‘Super Duper Graphics Pack’ which dramatically improves lighting and textures to a point where you could mistake the footage for a Minecraft 2. As well as the improved visuals they announced that there will now be dedicated cross platform servers between Xbox, Windows, Mobile and Switch. An update that will be exciting news to all those lovers of creating content in Minecraft.

These Minecraft updates will be released in 2017.



Sea Of Thieves

We have now had plenty of Sea Of Thieves demos but this one really delivered on showing how the minute to minute gameplay will go. The art direction as ever looks brilliant and the voice over in this trailer really expressed the fun I think players will have in this game. Along with both ship combat and hand to hand combat we got to see players embarking on a mission to find treasure in the world. This took place in two locations, salvaging from a sunken ship and using clues to find buried treasure on a island. Once the treasure has been safely retrieved you can then trade it at outposts for unannounced rewards.

Sea of Thieves success will depend on the community of players that adopt and stick with it but from what I’ve seen it deserves every chance to become the new smash hit for Microsoft.

Sea OF Thieves will be released in 2018.


Cuphead

This long anticipated retro style 2D action platformer finally has a release date that will be sure to make many fans very happy!

Cuphead will be released on September 29 2017


Middle Earth Shadow of War

In this latest gameplay demo of Shadow of War we got to see how you can dominate enemies to align them to your cause and then use them to fight against your enemies. This game is as impressive as ever and the improvements to the Nemesis System will only make this game even more enjoyable along with the new expansive environments and enemy types. 

Although still not considered the as one of the major open world francises its demo’s prove that it is a real contender and is looking to build upon the success of the first game. If you like Lord Of The Rings law or not this game looks to be worth the purchase.

Middle Earth Shadow Of War will be released October 10 2017.


Anthem

After its initial tease at the EA Play conference Anthem finally got a full gameplay reveal on Microsoft’s stage and what a reveal it was. BioWare’s latest IP looks to impressive in every department with stunning visuals, incredible animations and excellent gameplay. This open world fantasy Sci Fi game lets you take control of a character with a customisable Exo suits called Javelins. These Javelins will be customisable in a number of ways from appearance to weapons to play styles. You will then use them to complete missions either on your own or part of a team in a gorgeous open world full of a variety of creatures and enemy types.

In the demo we saw the player fly through the skies, dive under water and unleash a series of impressive explosive barrages upon their enemies. With online Co Op and RPG elements that remind me of Destiny this game looks to be the next title to take the world by storm as long as it lives up to this early reveal.

Anthem will be released in 2018.


The Conference

With Microsoft effectively loosing this console generation to Sony they came into E3 having to prove 2 very important points. Is Project Scorpio, now Xbox One X, worth people upgrading and can Microsoft deliver on games?!

After their conference I am sold that the Xbox One X is every bit as good as Microsoft say it is and will undoubtably be the best place to play games. This is even more true now that Microsoft have announced that many of the biggest titles currently available on Xbox One will be getting free Xbox One X optimised updates once the console launches. However all that power and visual improvement is dependant on you have a 4K TV and can afford the £449 ($499) price tag. Two fairly large if’s for the large majority of the public.

The biggest point though comes with games. Microsoft showed off 42 games with 22 of them being Xbox exclusives. The problem is that despite a couple of titles the big AAA brands were all 3rd party and available on PlayStation. Yes they showed off some incredible smaller titles that will without a doubt be great additions to the Xbox family. But without those huge console defining games only found on Xbox they aren’t any further along than before. Especially when you consider the exclusives Sony has promised over the coming years as well as their marketing deals with the biggest 3rd party titles.

As a conference Microsoft did a fantastic job showcasing their Xbox platform and new Xbox One X as well as announcung that original Xbox games will be joining the Backwards compatibility programme, a feature many have been asking for. However as a statement of intent moving forward they fell short of what I feel they had to deliver.

For these reasons I give Microsoft’s 2017 E3 conference

8/10

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