Tuesday, June 11, 2013

E3 Day Zero Cliff Notes - Microsoft

Yesterday was the biggest game in gaming of the year. Microsoft and Sony biggest chance to reveal and pitch their new next generation games consoles to us. For those that didn't have 4 hours free to sit through these wonderful spectacles I offer you my cliff notes and personal thoughts on the two big conferences of the day.


Metal Gear Solid 5 (Xbox One / PS4)

Looked absolutely incredible. Previous demos shown were claimed to be last gen (360/PS3) and while many of us thought they looked a little too good to be last gen, there appears to be no question that this Xbox One version looked considerably nicer than it's previous showings.

Open world Metal Gear with Kiefer Sutherland as Snake? While I love Kiefer as much as the next guy, it is very off putting hearing him as Snake (in this case Big Boss) when it SHOULD be David Hayter. Hopefully this switch is a precursor to an eventual Big Boss versus Solid Snake event in the future (with Hayter returning as Solid).

But the game was YUMMY! Anyone that was not convinced by Metal Gear Solid 4 will have to seriously take a second look at the franchise, because this open world approach looks like it may be the absolute pinnacle of stealth gameplay.

By far my most anticipated game of the day. But since it's cross platform and the PS4 is slightly more powerful (and therefore probably the slightly superior version), can't give too much to Xbox One on this reveal.

Xbox 360

Next up Microsoft talked about the continued support for Xbox 360. Including a brand new version of the system redisigned to look more like the ugly boxy Xbox One. Very odd choice. And at $200 for the 4GB model (no Kinect either) and $300 for the $250 model or a 4GB model with Kinect, it's hardly a steal in the price department. Guess this is for people that want the ugly design of the Xbox One, don't already have a 360 and can't afford the Xbox One.

The 360 will also receive a dashboard update to mimic the look and feel of Xbox One.

They then announced that Gold members are finally going to get some of those perks PS+ members get, namely FREE GAMES!

2 games a month apparently. Although it looks like they are only talking about 360 games, not Xbox One games, but that may change. First 3 free games will be Fable 3, Halo 3 and Assassins Creed 2.

Then they rolled out some trailers for new 360 games over the next year. Some nice looking games, nothing game changing. World of Tanks (free to play online tank MMO) revealed. Diablo 3 coming to 360. 

Xbox One 

All the below games are system exclusive unless otherwise stated!


Originally announced as a Kinect exclusive, this Crytek Roman war game (think 300 meets storming the beaches or Normandy) looked stunningly beautiful. And while the gameplay looked a little QTE heavy, it looks to be vastly improved by being made a controller based game.

I'm a big fan of Crytek games, so I am eager to give this a chance now it is not a Kinect game. Very impressive showcase for next gen graphics.

Skip to 1.14 to see the game in action -

Very interesting to note that while Microsoft are forcing us all to own a Kinect, they did not show ANY Kinect based games today. They really seemed to be backing off making it a central part of the game philosophy of Xbox One. Which makes the inclusion of it and its inevitable increased cost on the hardware even stranger. They showed more Smart Glass integration than Kinect!

Killer Instinct

Little surprised this got announced, I thought most people looked back on this game as a ridiculous over-hyped and underwhelming rip off of Mortal Kombat that had such terrible character design that it made MK look like Shakespeare. Graphics were very nice but the game still looks ridiculous to me. And I am a big fan of almost everything else Rare created at that time.

Sunset Overdrive

Super cartoony and exaggerated open world multiplayer game from Insomniac that looks very much like Crackdown in the gameplay department, but with more parkour. Could be great, not a show stopper.

Forza 5 

Looked beautiful but not a game I have any interest in.

Minecraft Xbox One Edition

Seriously, that's its name! Still looks identical to the charming blocky game we all know. But with additional RAM it can have MUCH bigger worlds apparently. 

Quantum Break

OK now we are talking. Remedy's new Xbox One exclusive (creators of Max Payne and Alan Wake). Only showed a cut scene but it was in engine running on Xbox One and looked stunning. Gameplay revolves around being a detective that can freeze time! So freaking cool!


Cell shaded weirdness from Swery65, creator of Deadly Premonition. Could be amazing, could be atrocious. Hell if it's like Deadly Premonition, it could be both!

Project Spark

Think Little Big Planet plus Minecraft but taken to the Nth level! VERY impressive demo showing people creating there own games with this. A must see -

Smart Glass Demo / Game DVR / Twitch

Next up they gave us a Smart Glass demo while playing some Killer Instinct, mainly showing us how we can use it to control the "Game DVR" feature which allows us to capture gameplay clips (no idea if we get close to the 15 minutes PS4 offers though). Then they showed us that while Xbox One does not offer the constant ability to watch what our friends are playing like PS4. It does have Twitch integration, allowing us to broadcast whatever we are playing at any time we want. All VERY cool, even if not quite as impressive as Sony's version of these features.

No more SpaceBucks!

Soon Microsoft will be getting rid of the silly MS points and using real local currency! YAY, about freaking time!

Xbox Live Changes

You will now only need one Xbox Live account per household. Allowing multiple 360/One consoles to play online at the same time with a single subscription! Awesome!

Crimson Dragon

From the creator of Panzer Dragoon comes, a game that looks exactly like Panzer Dragoon! Except with no sound (or rathert a technical issue caused this trailer to play silently).

Dead Rising 3

Now this was the point when I knew I had to have this system this year. WOW. I loved the first Dead Rising (not the second so much but I enjoyed "Off the Record") and this looked absolutely insanely awesome to me. Open world, much darker more Zombies, stunning graphics. I watched this demo 3 times. And best of all, it's coming THIS HOLIDAY! Swoon!

The Witcher 3 (Xbox One/PS4)

Big fan of the Witcher series and this is easily one of my most anticipated games next year. Especially since Dragon Age 3 was pushed back a year.

Open world, story driven RPG. Think Skyrim with Dragon Age 1 quality story. Simply looks awe inspiring, especially the world it allows you to explore. 

Battlefield 4 (Xbox One/PS4)

Don't care about this type of game myself, but I have always had more respect for the Battlefield series than the Call of Duty series. And this game looks like a return to it's heights. 


From the creators of mobile game Sword and Sworcery. An indie 2D platform/RPG. Pretty, but not next gen.

Black Tusk Game (no name given)

Another Xbox One exclusive, very early in development. Just a teaser trailer of what looks to be a cyber punk stealth game. Could be great. Could be 3 years away.


Very cool teaser trailer for an Xbox One Halo (probably Halo 5). No in game footage though.


Online multi-player mech game. Looks cool if it's the type of thing that floats your boat.


Coming November 30th, you can pre-order an exclusive limited edition "Day One" edition right now from certain retailers... and then comes the sucker punch!


I guess with inflation this is not as much as when PS3 launched at this price and was hammered for being too expensive. But I honestly did not expect them to try and sell this at more than $350. I guess forcing that Kinect 2 on us it not cheap.

Thoughts & Used games

Well they definitely did a lot to make up for the appalling reveal conference last month. Very little talking, no BS about TV support or crappy Kinect games and the games looked great. All in all it was enough to convince me to pre-order that day one edition so I can play Dead Rising 3 this year. But I fear the price and all the draconian policies around used games will turn off a LOT of people.

Microsoft released a detailed explanation of how used games will work on Xbox One a week ago. And it's a confusing mess. Essentially you can only sell your games if the publisher allows it and to retailers that have signed up with Mircrosoft to offer the ability.

This means you can't sell your games on eBay. Which means you will be limited to selling them to places like Gamestop, which offer you a pittance of the games value. Personally I would NEVER sell anything to Gamestop at the horrible prices they offer (like $25 for a game that was $60 when it came out 2 days ago!). Not to mention the confusing mess around lending, giving and selling to friends!

But in all honesty, as much as I agree with the vocal haters on how bad this all is. It does not bother me as much as it should. Digital games are the future, and there will be no used games selling when that is the only way to purchase your game. I rarely sell my games anyway and I do love the idea of never having to insert/swap disks after the initial install. And unlike buying digital, this way I get a box to put in my collection. 

So while Agree that it is a very bad and poorly conceived policy from Microsoft. I am not upset enough to boycott the system. Especially when in 5 years everything will essentially be like this since it will all be digital downloads anyway.

Sony Cliff Notes coming shortly...


  1. Ha! It's funny how I was telling my roommate almost the same thing on Xbone and DRM. I don't like it as much as the next gamer but it is the future of gaming. Xbox live set the standard for online consoles and now they're stealing Steam's good ideas for themselves. Sure, they're getting some huge blow-back from it but I think they're plotting long term, planting the roots now. Anything that might stick it to gamestop I'm all for. They're cannibalizing the market and the sooner they're weaken, the better!

    1. Great minds Alex.

      I think the PS4 is the better system though. More powerful, awesome cloud gaming (like all PS4 games on Vita), better price. No stupid DRM.

      The worst thing about the Xbone DRM is that I am far less likely to take a chance on a game. Currently I buy games knowing that if I don't like them, I can sell them on eBay a few days later and get most of the cost back to buy something else. That won't be happening on Xbone.

      But I have GOT to play Dead Rising 3 ASAP. Did you pre-order either system?