My take on Microsoft's marquee E3 games.

Here’s a look at the games-to-watch that were featured as part of Microsoft’s E3 press event.


Halo 5: Guardians

343 Industries’ next Halo iteration seems to boil down to super soldiers hunting a super soldier searching for answers regarding some sort of aliens. With Nathan Fillion for some reason. And a returning cast of characters from Halo 4. And some new guy that just screams “while I am the playable character, I am secretly the story’s antagonist and I won’t live to see the end of this story because my mission is to kill an decade-old icon of gaming that still is contractually obligated to appear in the sixth Halo title.”

All of that campaign plot stuff hides the real purpose of the title: to bring Titanfall’s moveset to a community that would throw all of the slurs at the very idea of mobility if it could.


Don’t get me wrong, I think Halo 5 is going to be a great game — I mean, Microsoft basically threw four player campaign co-op at their showcase audience that stressed “look, this is a Halo game — A HALO GAME.” That’s all peachy keen, but if I end up playing this game (who knows, I probably will because I am a sad Xbox One owner) I more than likely won’t play through any of the campaign missions with others. I’ll be playing them solo to try to breeze through the plot while learning how to adapt to this iteration’s mechanics for an attempt at multiplayer.

It’s a Halo reunion of sorts. I beleive most characters in the picture represent key or playable characters from Halo 2 onwards.

Speaking of multiplayer, I’m not entirely sure if I want to play along. I hear that Halo games have been having a rather difficult time on the Xbox One lately. Something about a Master Chief Collection shipping with no multiplayer and then delievering a broken multiplayer experience after launch?

You might not be aware, but 343's last Halo outing was technically a port of the previous games to the Xbox One. The MCC was designed to be a pack-in deal-sweetening signal for any Xbox 360 owner to get on board with the next generation. Microsoft has been giving things away to users who purchased the collection early on, but simply receiving the original promise of the product they purchased bit-by-bit wouldn’t be cut it for me. Thankfully I avoided that waste of money and time.

With luck, 343 Industries will learn from all the mistakes they committed with the MCC and put that knowledge towards giving the Halo multiplayer faithful the Titanfall movement set their franchise deserves.

Halo 5: Guardians will see exclusive release for the Xbox One this fall, 27 October 2015.


Forza Motorsport 6

Turn10 Studios’ sole mission is to make Forza the most beautiful yet compelling racing simulation in the industry. Even so, Forza is traditionally not a strict simulator; its rewind functionality allows players to clean up driving mistakes or maneuver unexpected track twists with second — or third — or fourth — chances.


Forza’s strength lies within the range of experiences available to players. Want to drive an Automatic transmission car without the simulated damage? You can. Want to drive in a twenty-four player race? You can. Want to be lazy and just look at your car’s finely digitized body?

Whoa, we’re still talking about cars, right?

We’re also talking about 24 player racing. Most races don’t even have 24 competitors anymore (unless you’re talking about NASCAR). That’s how insane circuit running on multiplayer is going to be.

Forza Motorsport 6 will see exclusive release for Xbox One on 15 September 2015.


Dark Souls III

My wallet: zero.

I mean, do I even have to explain this?

You saw that colossus-sized giant king in the trailer.


Yeah, there was only a trailer for this game, but I don’t care. IT’S GOING TO BE EPIC. I MEAN, DID YOU SEE THAT GIANT? HE IS LEGIT ON FIRE. HE HAS A HUGE SWORD. ALL OF THESE DETAILS ARE IMPORTANT.

Dark Souls III will be released for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Q1 2016.


Cuphead

While there are other upcoming indie titles enrolled in the ID@Xbox program that were showcased, there was only one that had such an absolutely striking art style and presentation that made me want to see it in action on a console.


With beautiful, seemingly hand-drawn characters and stages, Cuphead seems most like to win an award for art direction and fidelity out of all of the games that come to mind scheduled to be released in 2016. If it handles anything like Donkey Kong Country combined with a co-op scrolling-shooter design like Contra, this is going to be an instant classic.

I’m not familiar with the Cuphead character’s zeitgeist, but I’d estimate that it’s going tobe hard to separate it from the Xbox brand moving forward.

Cuphead will see exclusive release on the Xbox One sometime in 2016.


Rise of the Tomb Raider

Crystal Dynamics returns with another adventure that will take the reinvented Lara Croft to new hidden parts of the world. And, if the platforming in this title resembles its predecessor, then, when you screw up, Crystal Dynamics has a perfectly gruesome death scene for you to watch.


My feelings on Tomb Raider in a nutshell: it’s the most fluid action, platform adventure I’ve ever seen that makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something right up until the point where I make a mistake and are forced to watch a snuff film scene as a consequence.


Rise of the Tomb Raider will see exclusive release for the Xbox One this fall, on 10 November 2015.


Gears of War 4

If you think the premise for Halo 5 is decent, you might also be genuinely excited for another Gears of War. If you’re genuinely excited for another Gears of War, please consider therapy.

Watch out for this one to be a complete waste of time.


Unless you’re a Gears fan, you won’t want to bother with this game.

Gears of War 4 will be out for Xbox One in Q4 2016.

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