E3 2018: XBox Press Conference.

 

xbox-e3-2018

Microsoft had a great showing this year showing 50 games over the course of their conference. They opened with a trailer for Halo: Infinite which shows Master Chief returning to a Halo ring in a world that seemed to be very open, so maybe that is a hint that this new game will be more open world than the traditionally linear campaigns that Halo has had before.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider got a new trailer that hinted at a bit more of what we can expect from the story when it releases in September.

Forza Horizon 4 will be set in Britain and was shown to be a shared world where you encounter actual players while you race around the game world. The other big selling point was seasons that drastically change the way the game is played, such as a lake freezing over in winter to allow access to previously unreachable areas.

Crackdown 3 got a new trailer and a release date for February 2019 a month that has become the hot new game release month for a number of big titles.

Kingdom Hearts 3 showed a glimpse of the games new Frozen world, with seriously amazing graphics that are comparable to the way the movie itself looks. Accompanied by a song from singer Utada Hikaru who did the iconic openings “Simple and Clean” and “Sanctuary” among other songs for the other Kingdom Hearts titles.

Sea of Thieves had a reveal of two more content launches for the next few months.

And Dont Nod developer of the critically acclaimed Life is Strange had a trailer for a brand new game in the same universe titled The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit which looks to follow a child in his active imagination and his relationship with his father, and it is FREE which is a bonus.

Metro Exodus finally got a release date joining in the melee that is February 2019 on the 22nd of that month.

From Software fans will be excited that a new game called Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be joining the Dark Souls, and Bloodbourne franchises. From what was shown Sekiro follows a Samurai cursed with un-death out for revenge using his grappling hook replaced left arm for traversal and boss fights.

Fallout 76 had a proper reveal from Tod Howard of Bethesda Studios on stage where the game was revealed to be FOUR times the size of Fallout 4 and take place in West Virginia and follows a vault of people tasked with rebuilding America.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps had a gorgeous new trailer, yet again reminding me that I need to play Ori and the Blind Forest.

We Happy Few had a trailer to showcase the games story mode and its release date of August 10th 2018.

This reveal was around the time Microsoft announced that they had acquired four new studios. Forza Horizon developer Playground games, State of Decay developer Undead Labs, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice developer Ninja Theory, and We Happy Few developer Compulsion Games. Showing just how commited Microsoft is to catching up with Sony’s lead on great exclusive titles.

The Division 2 had a teaser trailer and some scripted game-play showing of the new Washington DC location. Xbox is also getting a remastered version of Tales of Vesperia releasing in Winter 2018 (summer for those of us in the southern hemisphere).

Xbox Game Pass got a lot of love, announcing that a bunch of titles will be coming day and date to game pass the day of the global launch of some games. Such as Forza Horizon 4 and Crackdown 3.

Devil May Cry 5 was revealed, as was an expansion for Cuphead and The Black Desert MMORPG beta is getting an Xbos One release.

A cute one person developed game called Tunic was revealed showing a Fox in a tunic running around a beautiful isometric world with a great Legend of Zelda vibe.

Microsoft continued their reveal of Japanese developed games with Jump Force, which looks to be a 3D fighting game using Shonen Jump characters. Goku from Dragonball, Naruto from Naruto, and Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece were in the trailer fighting Dragonball’s Frieza. At the trailers end Light Yagami and Ryuk from Death Note were teased as well. It looks like it could be a great deal of fun.

In the vein of open worlds both Dying Light 2 and Just Cause 4 were revealed. Dying Light 2 looks to be focusing on the consequences of your choices having physical impacts on your game world. The example they gave was whether to help a faction secure a water reservoir. Helping the Peacekeepers gives everyone water, but the Peacekeepers are  ruthless in making everyone follow their laws and ONLY their laws. Or you could help the outlaws sell the water on a black market but this makes the area a beacon to raiders who want the water for themselves.

Just Cause 4’s trailer focused very much on the story of the game which seems to me a pivot from the usual mayhem and destruction that the franchise is known for. Although that was seen in a game-play trailer as well.

Apparently Battletoads is getting a new game. I don’t quite know who this is for.

Gears of War had a three reveals, the first being Gears of War Pop a mobile game in partnership with Funko Pop toys. Followed by an X-com style Gears of War Tactics, then finally the game the audience was waiting for Gears of War 5. Which looks to be the game that all the fans of that franchise will love.

Finally Phil Spencer’s Closing note was hacked by Cd Projekt Red for the cinematic reveal of Cyberpunk: 2077. Cyberpunks world seems to be a future where digital technology is a part of everyday life. Most people look to have some sort of cybernetic implants and the world is fantastically colorful. We also see the man who could very well be our protagonist as he escapes from someone in his future car. The trailer showed me just enough to start getting me excited for this game when it eventually releases.

Clearly from the wall I just wrote Microsoft is well on their way to providing a number of great games. Some of which may be on whatever the next generation of consoles might be, as Phil Spencer teased that Microsoft’s hardware team is working on whatever is next to come for Xbox. I am certainly looking forward to a lot of what Microsoft showed of this year.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tekken 7: Story Done Justice.

Tekken 7

Finally a fighting game that actually manages to tell a story well, sure its clichéd and predictable but it actually manages to compile a story that allows you to understand the mess that Tekken, and other fighting games tend to be story wise.

At least in the Mishima Saga storyline, the upshot of segmenting the story this way has allowed the developers to focus on the “main” story line of the Tekken series, which is the story of Heihachi, Kazuya, and Jin, and their extremely violent family history. Probably the best thing that this story achieves, is that it manages to tell the story of the full series, so even people who either have never played a Tekken game, or have (understandably) no idea of the story behind these main three characters.

This backstory is told through the eyes of a journalist, who lost his home and family due to the actions of the Mishima family, during his investigations to understand who these people are and why they act the way they do. For a game franchise that has been around as long as Tekken this is important because previous games have not really paid much attention to telling a story, so much as letting people infer what is happening from short cut scenes and the order you fight people during the early story modes.

Tekken 7’s story will run around 5 hours, depending on personal skill levels and which difficulty you want to play on. Importantly the Mishima story experience feels satisfying, story cut scenes tend to end with characters facing off, and the player being dropped into whoever the main character of that scene is. This does the job of making you feel involved with the current fight and the reasons behind it.

After the storytelling of the main campaign the various character stories feel like a last minute addition, as they consist of a single fight per character, usually against their main rival or someone important to that character’s storyline. Seriously take a look at the Tekken characters storylines, there is soap opera levels of connections and rivalries behind them.

I wish there was a little more for each character to do, because what little has been done is genuinely entertaining, if incredibly anime in style. One story for example has Eddy Gordo and the new Idol character Lucky Chloe fighting with a bet of Eddy becoming Lucky Chloe’s backup dancer if he looses. Or Paul being happy that he is finally not fighting Kuma (which apparently is a thing) only for him to end up fighting Panda who has stumbled into the arena while searching for Ling Xiaoyu.

Tekken 7 has also taken the plunge of giving every character a super “rage” ability that becomes available when you reach low health during a fight. This is activated with either a very simple combo input (usually a direction and double button press) or simply hitting the right bumper (R1) on whatever controller you have. These moves do a bunch of damage if they hit and are all superbly animated and satisfying to watch. For low skilled players like me it also acts like a panic button if you hit low health during a fight, to even the health pools out and give you a bit more of a chance.

Gameplay wise Tekken 7 is solid, now I am not good at this game, or any fighting game in this style really. But I still find it fun, I can at least play Asuka to a level I am happy with. I haven’t yet had a chance to play Tekken against someone in the same room which is where I think fighting games work well, but from what I have played online play is very stable. And this is playing through a US region from New Zealand, but I do have a fibre connection.

I have enjoyed what I have played of Tekken 7 so far, enough so that I am considering getting the DLC at some point in the future. The season pass price here in NZ is $35 right now, I think I will wait for the DLC price to drop however as if am paying for extra character stories that are only one fight each I do not think the pass is worth it at that price.

All in all, if you are or have been a Tekken fan I would recommend this installment of the game. Or if you are simply looking just for a solid fighting game Tekken 7 is probably your best bet right now, especially because of how well the online services work if you want to challenge yourself against people worldwide.