E3 2018 Impressions - Microsoft

Microsoft had a lot riding on their E3 presentation this year, and although they delivered a solid conference with many exciting titles, they're still in need of more exclusive games.

Halo Infinite

With the announcement of Halo Infinite, it seems 343 Industries is going in a different direction with the franchise. The trailer's focus on wildlife, vast plains, and soothing ambience makes the game seem more peaceful. It's likely that Halo Infinite will be open world, but besides from that, it's hard to determine what else 343 Industries has in store for fans. However, we do know that Halo Infinite is a sequel to Halo 5: Guardians, and players will be "joining Master Chief" on a new journey. What that means is currently unknown, but I'm incredibly excited to see if Halo Infinite can make one of my favorite franchises good again. — Mohammad Tabari

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

An incredible trailer for Ori and the Will of the Wisps was shown at Microsoft's conference. With a beautifully colored world and fantastic level design, I was absolutely blown away by the trailer. Not only that, but its combat and platforming seemed immensely satisfying. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is planned to release at some point in 2019, as no specific date has been announced. Regardless, this trailer is certainly convincing me that the game's predecessor, Ori and the Blind Forest, is without a doubt worth playing. — Mohammad Tabari

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

After Hidetaka Miyazaki, president of From Software, claimed they were done with the Soulsborne series, many fans were discouraged. However, it seems as if we've been thrown for a loop. While Miyazaki wasn't lying, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice still seems to take inspiration from the Soulsborne series, and I couldn't be happier. From its captivating sword fighting to the threatening nature of its enemies, Sekiro seems like it'll be an absolute blast to play. I'm highly anticipating how many times I end up dying, and I can't wait to use that damn grappling hook. — Mohammad Tabari

Metro: Exodus

When Metro: Exodus was announced at last year's E3, many fans were disappointed by how scripted and cinematic its gameplay trailer was. Thankfully, we were provided with a proper gameplay trailer this time around, and it looks awesome. I'm quite intrigued by the ability to customize your weapons, and the chaotic gunfights seem fun. Metro: Exodus also got a release date, set to release February 22, 2019 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. — Mohammad Tabari

Forza Horizon 4

As always, Microsoft announces a new Forza. Thankfully, the better iteration of the series is announced with Forza Horizon 4. Being able to explore a vast and vivid world with an abundance of vehicles sounds like an absolute blast. Not only that, but its dynamic four seasons mechanic that allow access to different areas is a wonderful idea. — Mohammad Tabari

Microsoft's Newly Acquired Studios

Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Undead Labs, and Compulsion Games have been acquired by Microsoft. Additionally, new studio The Initiative has been revealed.

Microsoft is taking a step in the right direction acquiring these five studios. The one I’m most happy about is Ninja Theory, since they developed a couple of my personal favorites like DmC: Devil May Cry and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Compulsion Games is also quite fascinating, since We Happy Few can turn out to be a big hit for Microsoft, and seeing future exclusive titles from them is incredibly exciting.

The Initiative, however, is a complete mystery. It’s being headed by Darrell Gallagher, former head of Crystal Dynamics, who is responsible for the recently rebooted Tomb Raider franchise. Since those titles did so well, I’m excited to see where he takes this studio. Meanwhile, Playground Games and Undead Labs were simply logical acquisitions, since they were making exclusives for Xbox anyway—Forza Horizon 4 and State of Decay 2, respectively. — Rami Tabari

Devil May Cry 5

Yes, Capcom! Yes! Devil May Cry is back and looks as gorgeous as ever with Nero in charge of the titular business. Several years after the events of Devil May Cry 4—hopefully after the second game as well—demons have risen in Red Grave City and Nero heads in to stop the demonic invasion with an epic robot arm. Capcom states that there will be three playable characters, all of which have radically different playstyles.

Like Devil May Cry 4, it seemed as through Nero will be taking the lead role, followed by everyone’s favorite, Dante. The third character is a bit of mystery. You can see him on the right side of the cover art, and while he has black hair and tattoos all over his arms, he seems to be carrying a blue katana. This is pure speculation, but, I am hoping that this character is Vergil. This would be fitting, as Capcom stated that this is the latest chapter in the long awaited Sons of Sparda saga. — Rami Tabari

Gears Pop, Gears Tactics, and Gears 5

We all knew we were getting another Gears game eventually, but we didn’t expect it to be so cute! I honestly can’t imagine what playing Gears as Pops is going to be like, but it is an interesting title to get Microsoft diving into mobile games. Gears Tactics, however, looks like it could have potential as a more serious title due to its X-Com vibe. One could only hope that it meets the same standard of difficulty as that series.

Since Microsoft was basically baiting us with these titles, of course they were going to unveil Gears 5. And boy, things have changed. Right away we notice that the gang from Gears 4 have basically joined COG, which is odd given that you’re fighting them in half of the previous game. It’s even more confusing when you realize J.D. is leading them. Not to mention his injured arm surrounded by tech that came from nowhere. It seems as though player one will be Kait this time around, at least for the section showcased in the trailer. Speaking of the gameplay, I am hyped to whip some Swarm butt with that mace she was swinging around. I hope we get to see more innovative gameplay like that in this title. — Rami Tabari

Battletoads

It's kinda strange that a game as small as Battletoads got a trailer that played in the vein as a hugely hyped reveal. Even though Battletoads is a classic, there's no reason to get excited without a look at how it'll play. It could be absolutely anything, and that made the reveal genuinely unsatisfying. — Mohammad Tabari

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course

Thank goodness! The wonderful people at Studio MDHR aren't finished with Cuphead, and I couldn't be happier. With the reveal of a new playable character, Ms. Chalice, we'll get to see if she'll provide any changes to gameplay. Not only that, but we have brand new charms, bosses, weapons, and an additional island to look forward to. Since Cuphead is one of my favorite game's in recent years, I'm so glad I'll be able to continue my journey in its 1930's inspired cartoon world. — Mohammad Tabari

The Division 2

Why are Ubisoft trailers always riddled with paid actors pretending to be gamers? It's hard to get interested in The Division 2 when everything presented felt phony and scripted. Not only that, but it seemed as if nothing has changed from its predecessor. I could easily be convinced that The Division 2 were simply a DLC and not a full game. — Mohammad Tabari

Jump Force

With the announcement of Jump Force, the series is channeling the hype that J-Stars Victory Versus got from its reveal. Dozens of Shōnen Jump funneled into a single fighting game obviously sounds awesome. However, if Jump Force turns out to be of similar quality to J-Stars Victory Versus, fans might want to stay cautious. — Mohammad Tabari

Dying Light 2

Out of nowhere, a surprise announcement of Dying Light 2 blew the audience away. This is especially exciting, as the original Dying Light had a lot of potential. If this sequel can fix the many issues of its predecessor, Dying Light 2 will turn out to be great. However, one thing I'm worried about is how the developers promise that the player's actions have consequences. A lot of developers say the same thing about their game, and once that game releases, it turns out to be the complete opposite. I hope Techland can deliver what they promise. — Mohammad Tabari

Cyberpunk 2077

After five years of hype, fans finally get word on CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077 with a cinematic trailerEven though we don't have the slightest idea about what the game will play like, it's good to see that Cyberpunk is still being worked on. However, it would've been nice to see a bit of gameplay, especially considering how long it's been since the game was announced. — Mohammad Tabari

Verdict

Thankfully, Microsoft delivered a stellar conference with a plethora of games. Even though the presentation didn't hold as many exclusives as it should have, it still turned out great.