Microsoft’s E3 2014 Press Conference Recap!

Microsoft kicked off Day Zero of E3 2014 with a bang. By focusing only on games for the full 90 minutes, they had one of the best E3 conferences ever! Check out my thoughts below:

Like always, I’m just hitting the highlights as opposed to recapping the entire event. 

From the start of the conference to the end, there was nothing but games. No hardware sale boasts, upcoming peripherals, or TV integration mentioned. Not only that, the first half of the con was devoted to titles dropping this year. The first title shown was Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. As usual, Activision played through a highly scripted campaign level. And as usual the game looked great, especially in the graphics department; the facial animations were top notch. The gameplay showed off new abilities and futuristic tech like being able to rip a door off of a car and use it as a shield as well as a gun that creates its own ammo when reloaded. I personally like playing through CoD campaigns, so I’m really looking forward to jumping in this November.


Surprisingly, Lionhead Studios’ Fable Legends also looked good. Here Microsoft showed four heroes battling monsters in a maze like environment. Each one had different abilities and weapons that seem to complement each other in fun ways. I really liked Winter, the mage like character that specialized in ice magic. She would freeze enemies, allowing Inga an opening to bash them to pieces using her enormous shield. Outside of the four heroes, MS showed a little of what the Villain can do. Gamers, playing as the Villain, can spawn enemies and set traps from a top-down view while the hero players fought through them. I couldn’t tell if he was present via a special mode or if he’d be around during the campaign. Still, it was rather interesting.

Sunset Overdrive has always been one of those titles worth talking about. After the live demo today, everyone’s going to want to shoot crazed mutants while grinding along rails. Honestly, it reminds me of Crackdown and Tony Hawk Pro Skater with the stylized combat and combo system. Insomniac went on to announce a new eight-player online mode called Chaos Squad, though we didn’t get to see it in action.


Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Unity was the next highlight for me. Mainly because of the four player co-op mode and the fact that it is being powered by a brand new engine – the results was a stealthy romp that almost stole the show. We didn’t get to see any of the single player story unfortunately (that was saved for Ubisoft’s press event). We do know you’ll play as Arno, a new assassin during the French Revolution whose goal is to overthrow the powers that be. Awesome!

Another highlight was MS confirming that the Halo: The Master Chief Collection was a real thing. Featuring Halo 1-4 at 60 fps in 1080p, Halo 2’s multiplayer, all of the maps from each game, new prologue and epilogue cut scenes that foreshadow Halo 5 and…look, basically it’s a super bundle coming to the Xbox One. What’s interesting is that it’s only $59.99. With how popular Halo is and the sheer amount of content coming on one disk, MS could have charged more.


Dance Central Spotlight, Forza Horizon 2, Evolve, and Project Spark also had brief trailers. Moving on to the games dropping in 2015, CD Projekt RED had a nice gameplay demo of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt featuring a griffin and Ubisoft’s Division showed more shooting. Both are gaining an enormous amount of hype with each video shown. And for good reason; the Witcher has some of the best visuals I’ve seen in any game. I do wish we’d see more from the Division though. Maybe some story info or gameplay that features elements beyond shooting (RPG mechanics, etc.).

I was super excited to hear about Phantom Dust, a remake of an original Xbox game, is coming next year. Crackdown is also getting the remake treatment. Rise of the Tomb Raider seemed cool; it’s hard to tell from a CGI trailer. That said, the last Tomb Raider was great so I’m sure it’ll be great. The last game shown was Platinum Games’ Scalebound, and action game coming exclusively to the Xbox One. Like Tomb Raider, it was all CGI so I can’t say much about it in terms of gameplay. Still, the premise of befriending a dragon to help you battle large monsters is cool.


There were plenty of other games shown including a cool looking indie game called Cuphead. Really though, I just wanted to hit on the major announcements. We’ll certainly cover everything being shown at E3 as the week goes on. As for Microsoft’s press conference, they kept their word; they focused on games and games alone. Something that hasn’t been done by any of the big three companies in years. Even if you didn’t like what MS had to offer, you have to admit that they did a great job of displaying why people should want an Xbox One – for the games!

Final Verdict:


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