Robbie Williams is famous for singing ‘Let me entertain you’, but Microsoft went another route with their most recent Xbox showcase. They were loving angels instead, with Halo being the focal point and entertainment in short supply.
Here are three heavenly highs, and three hellish lows from the Microsoft conference.
- We finally saw Halo: Infinite: It seems like a lifetime since we last saw ‘real’ Halo, straight from the DNA of the original. Halo: Infinite is a clear homage to its granddaddy, taking place on a Halo ring and bearing all the hallmarks of the classic first game. We saw tight gameplay, a variety of weaponry, a warthog and an attempt at majestic Halo scenery. It felt like home.
– We finally saw Halo: Infinite: Note that we said ‘an attempt at majestic Halo scenery’. If Halo: Infinite felt like home, that home needs some serious renovation. It’s your grandparents home – it hasn’t changed in 20 years. Halo: Infinite looked surprisingly bad after all this development time.
Not only was there pop-in of certain textures, but character animations looked rough and the environment genuinely looked Xbox 360 standard.
Our hope is that Microsoft has a surprise up its sleeve – perhaps Halo: Infinite is being designed around user-designed levels, like Mario Maker?
– Xbox Game Pass is the best value in gaming All of the games shown during the Microsoft showcase will be available on Xbox Game from day one of their launch.
That means for €10 a month, you get all of them, plus xCloud streaming and all previous titles on the pass. It’s easily, by far, the best value deal in gaming. To make the prospect more enticing, you don’t need a console for that. Game Pass works on PC, too.
– We were watching bad movie trailers The Microsoft showcase had one real gameplay session – Halo. The rest of the showcase was largely made up of game trailers, which is a bit like advertising music through mime.
Sure, the likes of Warhammer: Darktide, Stalker 2, Everwild and As Dusk Falls all appear intriguing in principle, but watching trailers for them was frustrating more than entertaining.
We wanted gameplay details, not poorly directed cinematic tasters.
– The Fable reveal was a story badly told Imagine waiting years and years for a story to continue, only to be shown a boring poster:
Imagine waiting for your favourite author’s next book, only to get the cover. That’s what Microsoft did with Fable at this showcase, ending the event with a ‘trailer’ that captured the dark humour of the series (as a carefree ‘Thumbelina’ style fairy gets eaten by a frog) but showed nothing of the game itself and said nothing about what to expect.
At least the next Fable has finally been confirmed as official, but we wish it was coming sooner.
– The not-so-elder scrolls: We vowed to end this reaction piece on a high – and so Avowed is the perfect choice.
Although we only got a trailer, like most of the games on show, this one at least attempted to imitate gameplay, showing Avowed as a first-person RPG in the style of Elder Scrolls.
Avowed is being made by Obsidian, who made The Outer Worlds, Pillars of Eternity and the best Fallout game, New Vegas. With that pedigree behind it, Avowed was an excellent surprise.
A new game, a new open-world RPG, from the best in the business. We hope to be wowed by avowed.
While big-budget giants like Microsoft and Sony continue to push next-generation, one small team in Tokyo are looking into the past for inspiration.
The team who originally made Japanese RPG classic Suikoden have turned to kickstarter to fund a spiritual successor to their classic creation. Although they don’t have the rights to a Suikoden sequel, their pitch for Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes wears its heritage proudly.
Just like Suikoden before it, Eiyuden will focus on the ambiguity of war, where two friends find themselves on opposing sides of the battlefield.
Also like Suikoden, the player will gather up to 100 heroes to fights alongside them in the story.
Although Eiyuden has very little content to showcase, the team did show a short trailer that highlights the use of graphics very similar to Octopath Traveller from Square Enix.
As of writing, Eiyuden has already blown past its initial funding goal of almost 500,000 euro and is well on its way to meeting it stretch goals.