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E3 2015 – Microsoft Press Conference – Top 10 Picks

E3 is well into its 2nd day, and everyone has had their media briefings. Things kicked off with Bethesda on the Sunday evening LA time, along with Microsoft, EA and Ubisoft running the show on the Monday then Sony,  Nintendo, Square Enix and the PC Gaming Show with their hit of the action throughout the day Tuesday LA time, this all meant that over these shores, all the major press conferences were completed by the early hours Wednesday Morning. So with everything out of the way we are going to go though ItsMuchMore’s top moments from each conference.

Depending on the size and scope of the conferences at hand, we will be picking our Top picks of the briefing. This is just the picks from the conference, not the following days after/during E3

To kick things off, here’s my Top 10 picks in no particular order from the Microsoft E3 Press Conference.

xbpc21 – BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY: It’s strange I know, that something about old generation software is such a major deal on the current (next) generation hardware, but for me personally this is a massive deal. I was against Microsoft last year and wrote a post like a 12 year old about the issues , but now it seems like once again that they have listened to their fans, and finally made backwards compatibility an aspect to look forward to. There is supposedly no costs, and you can have the disc in your Xbox One, or it will download from the games history, so it will be interesting to see how this comes in full swing. Considering I’m still a Xbox 360 user with hundreds of games, physical and downloaded, this is a major boost, and has put the Xbox One firmly on my shopping list. I would like then to tell me if they are transferring XBLA games (I have 350+) but from the looks of some of the titles, that may be the case. Not sure if all XBLA games, but if it comes down to the fact that i can transfer alot of my XBLA titles aswell as phsical or Game On Demand titles, then this is MASSIVE. This is available now to Xbox One Preview Members, and then to everyone this Holiday season.

xbpc32 – RISE OF THE TOMBRAIDER: Wow, OK so I know a lot of this looked to be pre rendered CG video clips, but there was a hell of a lot of gameplay in there too, and well, it looked glorious. Microsoft are backing this big time. Its an Xbox One exclusive (but expect it on PC/PS4 at some point) and its a major coup for the company. This is a game that has Sony engraved in its history, and not its coming out only (we’ll see) on a Microsoft console. I have to say I love the style of the game, the graphics, and voice action, and what looks like an intense story. Here’s hoping there are more actual caves and puzzles like the side missions in the original, and that Crystal Dynamics stick to their guns and make the best Tomb Raider game they can. Also this is the perfect time to release Rise of the Tombraider. Its a Drake Fortune type of game, very similar looking in gameplay and graphics, yet a Drakes game is not being released as that point. This may turn heads looking for a action adventure title during a period where none else are released.

3 – MORE ID@XBOX – It’s always pleasing when you hear more about the indie titles and smaller developers getting a piece of the pie too, and its now different with the ID@Xbox platform that Microsoft are running on the Xbox One. Its a mix of the XBLA from the Xbox 360, with some improvement for the Xbox One developing side of the table. I would love to see the XBLA banner come back, but i think the whole ID@Xbox is here to stay. Check the video below for some classy looking titles with the likes of Below, Cuphead, Rise and Shine, The Solus Project, Beyond Eyes and more. It’s an amazingly good time to be a indie gamer too.

xbpc44 – HALO 5 GUARDIANS / WARZONE: Of course there would never be a Microsoft event without a mention of John himself and the Halo Franchise, and its no different here. Kicking off the event was 343 Industries showing off a major campaign section of Halo 5 Guardians, and then a little surprise to some, details on the Warzone multiplayer aspect of Halo 5. I’m not too sure if the franchise has lost a little of its spark, with the whole game being about this one Spartan, and now every game has a team of 4 plus members on your side, the scale never looks big enough to need 4 more team members, but its still going to be a solid title for sure, and it’s easily up there as one of the best shooters in terms of gameplay mechanics, and will be a MASSIVE hit for the console. Expect to see major updates coming, and a Spartan around every corner you turn in the coming months before release. I’m not against the co-op side of gaming, that’s my preference these days, but Halo feels like its losing touch a little with its history, but I’m sure 343 will lay that fear to rest here with Halo 5 Guardians.

xbpc6.55 – RARE REPLAY / SON OF THIEVES – As you can see from Number 1 here and the details on the ID@Xbox, I love me some old school gaming, and some of the best out there with classic platformers or action adventure gamers are RARE. Considering its RARE’s 30th year, they are bringing out a one epic game collection called Rare Replay. So its basically 30 classic RARE titles, which include the likes of Conkers Bad Fur Day, Blast Corps, and Battletoads (please make a new BATTLETOADS please!!) (Please make a new BLAST CORPS!) (Please make a new CONKERS!) (Jeez i love some of the classic RARE titles) and many more (well 27 more) on one set. This could be the nostalgic medicine that us gamers getting into later in life need, for a throw back to some classic 16, 32, 64 bit action.  But fear not, if nostalgia is not your thing, the likes of Kameo, Viva Piñata, and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, are also on this collection, as they are all Xbox 360 titles. So for a low price of $30, so assuming £30 over here, thats excellent. I love having the collection all on one disc, and its great to see here. It also looks like some updates and polish have gone into the collection with the likes of 10,000 gamerscore added, and leaderboards on games. Imagine some online co-op on Battletoads!

xbpc6Staying with RARE, their comeback title ‘Son Of Thieves’ looks gloriously excellent. I really enjoyed the trailer, and it was supposedly all captured in game. If thats the case, then it looks like if could be great fun.  It looks quirky, it looks Banjoesque, it looks funny and it just looks like alot of fun, and something that snot talking itself too seriously, and the hardcore gamer will enjoy just as much as the casual player. Its great to see one of gaming most iconic developers at E3, as its a shame they have been a little quiet on the front over the years, but this should be a big deal to ALOT of people, and I hope that when you are going out and buying your Halo 5’s your Gears 4’s or your Rainbow 6’s, that you also give RAREs 30th a try too!

xbpc56 – PC MODS ON XBOX – This was very much out of the blue, and its still a bit up in the air with what will happen. Its this just linked to Fallout 4, does that mean someone who has mods on older titles like Left 4 Dead, and are playing through backwards compatibility on Xbox One, will not be able to download the mods and play on their Xbox One’s, or well, is it just a slight twist of words on DLC, and in actuality the mods will be what the creators release on PC anyway. I hope not, and i think not as well, mods will be coming on Xbox One, especially with the Windows 10 operating system out next month, and a lot of ideas Microsoft will want to implement to make the two platforms as linked as possible. I know the guys from Bethesda during their Fallout 4 presentation (which im not as stoked about as i should be for some reason) said its all FREE this and FREE that, but only when it starts coming into play will we know the full extent of what the PC Mods on Xbox One really is. Its a nice surprise, and something that might help a PC gamer, who are deciding on a console to play, have that litle nudge in the back of the head saying Xbox One can talk with my PC too.

7 – XBOX ELITE WIRELESS CONTROLLER – OK so its just a controller, but it looks blooming handsome. I see alot of comparrisons with the SCUF controllers that come out, and I agree with that, but what’s wrong with Microsoft getting into the field on their own. We know this should be a delight to use as like all the previous Xbox controllers have been (minus original fat?), and I’m sure with all these differences and additions, that it will find its niche market. The hardcore gamer and even the professional gamer. It looks like a lot of work has gone into this controller. If you view the video below it looks fully modular, you can add and replace nearly all of the moving parts, and could make a difference to many a control freak (literally) gamer out there. From the initial price point it looks expensive (so maybe throw Rich gamer into the market) as they have been quoted at around $130 so would expect it to be about £80 on these shores. I personally would not instantly be buying one, but would love to get my hands on it to give it a test run to see if its worth that sort of investment. Dont forget this is designed for Xbox One and Windows 10, so considering my go to page on the PC is still my wired Xbox 360 pad, this could very well be that needed upgrade.

xbpc88 – TOM CLANCY’S THE DIVISON – This game looks so sweet it really does, but it seems like its been in development limbo for the past year. After the explosive showing last year, then at gamecom, everything on the title went really quiet. It looks so good, and the gameplay looks like it could be an interesting mix of action and survival mixed with elements of RTS and the spy genre. Will you play as one character, or switch between the three that we see in the trailers. Is it going to be single player or cooperative or a mix of both. We just need to see this right now. There’s a lot going on here, but we just do no seem, to be getting much. Each trailer seems to be the same jist that’s coming out, with a little more trickling through every now and then, but we still need to get a feel for what really this game is all about. What’s the real story here, what happened, how are we going to try and resolve things. Why have these three been brought in to save hope, what happened to everyone else, WHY IS IT ALWAYS SNOWING! The Division looks so promising, it has that feel of the new and updated bigger brother version of Freedom Fighters (remake Freedom Fighters anyone?), so I’m pleased that it had another chance on the big stage to show itself off. I just hope we continue to get more information on the title in the coming months, and it doesn’t go quiet again for another yet. I really want to play this game, and I want to play it now.

9. RECORE – This is another one of the Xbox Exclusive titles that were shown at the Press Conference, and this was pretty early on in the show, so I think Microsoft are hoping for big things from this title, plus its a first party Microsoft Game Studies title, so or course they want this promoted! At the moment all were have is the pre rendered CG video clip of the game, so just a pretty trailer to look at, but the trailer looks pretty awesome, and has a nice warm feeling to what the game could be about. The main point here though as shown in the trailer, is that it’s being created by Keiki Inafune and the team behind Metroid Prime. ReCore is about one of the last remaining humans having to get help and work with robots on this world. If its anything like Metroid Prime at its best, this could really be a stand-out title for Xbox One this year. I really hope it finds it’s feet on the Microsoft console, and as long as we have a solid gameplay experience it could be something to really sink out teeth into, or sink out big glowing blue metal orb into, either way, should be fun!

xbpc1010. VR Gaming – Its not something that im big into at the moment, but i can appreciate where gaming is trying to go, and here Microsoft spoke about the new relationship with Valve VR, aswell as the likes of the Oculus partnership on Xbox one and Windows 10. Every Oculus Rift (retail) will now ship with an Xbox One controller at launh. Thats a pretty massive step by Microsoft getting the Xbox One controller in the room of many PC gamers who may have not thought otherwise about the console. This allows the PC gamer to test the pad, and help shape the way games are played in the future via VR. Also noting that Xbox One games will be playable on Oculus Rift by streaming Xbox One games to the Rift via Windows 10, and considering Windows 10 is coming out free in July 2015, this again could be a major boost in number for Xbox One users, and even potential Rift buyers.

xbpc10.5Also spoken out, and shown out in a rather impressive Minecraft stage demo was the Microsoft Hololens, where the Hololens is trying to bring Holograms into the real world. By the looks of it, Microsoft are getting there, and all that Minecraft VR crazy science black magic conbined, looked interesting to say the least. To me its all mind boggling to say the least. VR is here and at least Microsoft is trying to innovate and Hololens (I keep typing Halolens!) looks like its on the right path. Its different and its something to keep an eye out for.

THAT’S IT FOLKS

Thats my 10 picks that stood out to me at the Microsoft E3 2015 Press Conference Media Briefing. Of course there were some other massive titles on show that I’ve not even mentioned (Assassins Creed, Gears 4, Minecraft, Dark Souls 3, Rainbow 6 Siege etc etc), and this is all down to personal option, but if you can find 10 totally different moments from this E3 press Conference, then I’d say Microsoft has a bloody good showing!

You can watch the highlights reel that Microsoft put together below if you want a little taste of what else was on show.