Xbox One E3

Man, call me 0-2 so far on these E3 press conferences. I’m not batting so well. I thought Bethesda was going to have a strong showing, but it kind of fizzled out and bored me to sleep, leaving me exhausted by the time it got to the game it was leaning its entire show on. Then we have Microsoft, which delayed a few key titles I wanted to see and has been struggling in recent years, whom I thought was going to crash and burn, choking on an excess of AAA glut.

Man, was I wrong. Microsoft killed it this year, and Sony definitely has its work cut out for it later today. Many praised Bethesda for being able to hang with the big boys after its cute little show yesterday, but I hope now people can see the difference between a great press conference and one that is merely a fan-favorite everyone “hopes” is great. There is no comparison. Bethesda isn’t yet ready to handle Microsoft when it is firing on all fronts.

ReCore and whatever else games there were

First the games. Halo 5: Guardians? Yeah, whatever.

ReCore is what it’s all about for me! I stared at that trailer for a few seconds, rolling my eyes at what I believed was yet another genetic sci-fi space shooter. I mean, the heroine was walking across a desert planet, just like Master Chief in the Halo 5 reveal trailer! What was I supposed to think? Boredom, boredom, and then, boom… it hit me. I know these character designs. I know this art style. It’s totally Mega Man!

And my guess proved to be right when Keiji Inafune’s name appeared on screen. Then Xbox boss Phil Spencer came out after the trailer and confirmed that Inafune been given a massive budget to develop the game with the aid of his indie studio at Comcept and Armitage, a Western studio made of former Metroid Prime developers.

Sold. Microsoft caught me right as Mega Man is starting to regain his stride, and I want more from the guy who designed him. Put a price tag on that Microsoft, maybe bundle it with Scalebound, and you’ve got yourself a customer. Now I just need to figure out where to cram an Xbox One into my tiny Japanese apartment.

Microsoft focused on games of all genres and ranges, far more than I believed it had. Other highlights included Plants vs Zombies 2 Garden Warfare, Forza Motorsport 6, Dark Souls III, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and yes… Cuphead.

Not everything was a knockout success. I’m a bit over the Halo franchise, but Halo 5: Guardians was a little impressive at least, far better than Gears of War 4, that’s for certain. What were they thinking showing it off in that fashion? Dark level choice, unpolished graphics that registered as Xbox 360 quality, uninteresting gunplay. I didn’t think any third-person shooter could be less inspiring than The Order: 1886, but Microsoft seems to have found a contender.

Best let that one cook for a while, wouldn’t you say? Give it an overhaul and try again next year. We’ll settle for the Gears of War Ultimate Edition until then.

Rare also showed up with mixed results. If I get an Xbox One this holiday season, the Rare Replay bundle is definitely a piece of retro-gaming software I would like to put right next to my Mega Man Legacy Collection. However, I wasn’t really feeling its Sea of Thieves project. Felt like Microsoft’s answer to No Man’s Sky but with pirates instead of space ships. It seems just as out of touch with the Rare fanbase as every other game from the past decade and a half.

Otherwise, good showing of games from Xbox One, and I can see why Crackdown and Scalebound were delayed.

Non-game announcements

The Last Remnant

Microsoft held back on the non-game announcements this year. No media. No streaming NFL. None of that jazz. However, when it steered from the path to talk about other hardware and software issues though… I mean… whoa.

I’ll cover the smaller of the announcements first. Xbox One getting backwards compatibility is a huge deal for the console, especially since I have quite a few Xbox 360 games that I want to play through but don’t have a home to spin them in. Microsoft even tossed in a jab at Sony, saying that “Microsoft won’t make you pay for the games you already own.”

Burn, indeed. Sony must respond adequately, and who knows how? It has to go all the way back to the original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 to counter a low-blow like that.

Of course, the most outrageous, eye-popping, and even transcending reveal of the night was the Hololens/Minecraft display. Words can’t described what we witnessed on the stage, and the only one that comes to mind is “future.” Let the video do the talking for itself, but this will easily be the highlight of E3 2015.

Does it make me a bad person when the first thing I think of when I see is that I want to play Final Fantasy Tactics. I think my priorities in life need to be straightened out a little.

No Kinect this year, but that was a given. The only other reveal was the Elite Controller, which just has one too many buttons on it, even for an octopus. No thanks. I’ll survive with the ones I already have.

So yes, excellent show from Microsoft, and unless Sony can just pull out something absolutely amazing, Microsoft could ride this presentation right into the victory spot. It was perfectly paced, making Bethesda look like amateurs at promoting games, and I wasn’t bored for a single minute when watching its trailers other than for a few indie titles and Gears of War 4.

Ball is in your court, Sony. Are you game?