Anyone who knows me will know that I am not a massive fan of Xbox, and their presentation at E3 did nothing to change that, even with their announcement of their new Xbox One X console which they dub “the most powerful console in the world”. Whilst I admire (and snark on) their enthusiasm and release of a diverse array of Xbox “exclusives” which suit a wide range of audiences, there is nothing in there makes me gasp and go “I must immediately sell everything I own to get me the new Xbox One X console”. So, whilst I have provided a list below of the games that excited me most at the Xbox One X conference, it’s good to bear in mind that these are ‘Launch “exclusives”‘ aka we just got to announce the game, or ‘Timed exclusives’ meaning that they will be quickly available on other consoles, if they not immediately.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm
From the moment I saw the figure of a young girl smoking a cigarette and the photographs on the wall, I knew immediately that it is was something to do with Life is Strange and let out an excited scream. Having finished playing LIS only a few months ago and now owning my own ‘Arcadia Bay’ t-shirt, I am still riding the LIS high and was sooo excited to see Xbox drop this trailer for Before the Storm. Debuting this summer, Before the Storm will be a 3 episode prequel to LIS which follows a younger Chloe and her best friend Rachel Amber, allowing fans to return to Arcadia Bay but this time see it through the eyes of young Chloe. Having been wondering how on earth LIS will continue on given the decision to allow players to choose between entirely different endings, Before the Storm provides a great opportunity to jump back into the game without forcing players down one consequence track. Given that this game focuses on a younger Chloe, there will of course be differences to the game. First and foremost, given that Max does not exist in Before the Storm there will be no re-wind powers meaning that you will have to live with the decisions you make. And secondly, Ashley Birch will not be reprising her role as Chloe, given her younger age, but instead will be joining the writing team and will be replaced by actress Rhianna DeVries.
Ori and the Blind Forest and the Will of the Wisps
Once again, from the moment I heard the melancholic piano chords and saw the beautiful forest scenery I felt my heart leap. This could only be a new Ori and the Blind Forest Game. Whilst we don’t yet have much further information about Will of the Wisps, it appears from the trailer that this time Ori may be pairing up with the sad little owl baby seen in the trailer as it looks grief-stricken over the skeletons of (presumably) its parents. Ori and the Blind Forest is one of the most beautifully haunting and enchanting games I think that I have ever played, and more than deserves its dubbing as a digital masterpiece and multitude of awards. I am ready to be immersed once again into the world of Ori and have my heart broken. Here I am, take my money.
Other notable mentions
Another game that you can immediately tell what it is from the moment the trailer drops, the Metro franchise will be expanding even further in 2018 with their newest release Metro Exodus. As a long time fan of the Metro games and books, I am super stoked to see Metro take on a more open-world look whilst still staying true to its eery Russian post-apocalypse roots. Focusing more on the gameplay rather than an actual storyline trailer, it’s hard to guess what Exodus might be about but for now executive producer John Bloch has confirmed that it will pick up from Last Light’s ending and you will still play as Artyom.
Assassins Creed Origins
Although I was a big fan of the first three Assassin’s Creed games, I fell away from the franchise due to boredom and ditched it altogether after all of the controversy surrounding Ubisoft’s disgusting reluctance to include female assassins in the franchise (citing ridiculous reasons such as it’s too expensive and difficult to animate female hair?….). Whilst my beef with Ubisoft still isn’t over, and never will be over until they get over themselves and have a LEAD female assassin, I must admit I am intrigued by the exciting new look and feel of the Origins game. Set in Egypt, Origins follows assassin, Bayek, as he runs around doing assassiny things (no surprises there). But Origins does offer something a little different from the past AC games. As there are no tall towers or buildings in the game, players will instead rely on the use of an overhead hawk in order to scout out areas. Origins will also feature boss battles and skill tress, moving it toward a more action-oriented game. But what really excites me is that Origins offers the possibility of jumping back into the franchise without needing to have any prior knowledge or experience of AC, and will be focused much more on historical and mythological aspects of the AC world rather than the Animus.
Having been teased by EA at their own conference with a small 13 second trailer, we were finally given a 6 minute gameplay trailer of Anthem by Xbox during their conference (leading to many fans yelling at EA as to why they didn’t reserve it for themselves). I’m not massively into the idea of Anthem, which to me just looks like a sci-fi co-op smash together of both Destiny and Horizon: Zero Dawn, and has led to much confusion from the BioWare fan base as to the relevance of this as a BioWare game (not mention much anger about facial animation and Mass Effect: Andromeda). Whilst the game looks real nice many are still left wondering what on earth the story line will be, given that this is what really makes BioWare. But this may be something to keep an eye out for.
Xbox sure did offer us up a lot of different “exclusives” during their 2017 conference, but as I said before none of them massively draw me back to Xbox. For me, the announcement of Xbox One X, their most powerful ever 4k console was diminished by the games they had to offer which mostly seemed to be kids games and pixel games. Yeah, because who doesn’t want to spend $499 on a new console to see all of those extra blocks in Minecraft? Whilst Xbox does have some neat things to offer in that it provides a lot of child-friendly games like the soon to be released Sea of Thieves and the super adorable Super Lucky’s Tale, and the one thing that the PS4 doesn’t offer (BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY, THE RAGE) it seems that Xbox’s conference was much more about exciting current owners rather than drawing in new ones. Which is totally fine given that all of the above games will be out on the PS4 anyway.