This year, I’ve decided to shake things up a little bit for E3. Rather than provide a moment-by-moment recap with commentary as I did last year and the year before, I thought I would do something different this year. Something fun, but also challenging– for me, anyway, as I can be terribly indecisive when it comes to sorting things into an ordered list.

But that’s exactly what I’ve done here with Microsoft, and will do for the other two members of the “Big Three” and their press conferences as well (I expect this to be particularly challenging for Nintendo’s, but we’ll see). With any luck, this will be more interesting and keep the obvious things simple– i.e. if I don’t mention it, I probably didn’t care too heavily for it (not to say I disliked it outright, though), and so it’s not here.

Now, without further ado…

5) Project Spark

I’m not a huge fan of game creators, but that’s largely because I’ve not really had the chance to spend much– if any– time with them, though I do remember some rather nice stages being made in Mega Man Powered Up for the PlayStation Portable. That said, I am usually eager to see what people can do when given the tools to make something fun, and with Conker thrown into the mix (so people can make their own sequel, as Microsoft isn’t doing it), it should be all the more interesting.

Hmm… I wonder if we could see other characters pop up. Can you imagine making your own Banjo-Kazooie levels?

4) Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha DLC

My grievance with this game last year was that it looked nothing like a Dead Rising game to me, completely lacking any of the zaniness that allowed me to tolerate yet another zombie-themed title. It seems that some of those elements were in the release version, but it still felt like a bit of a shift.

One year later, and now look where we are! All the classic franchise characters are back in this downloadable content pack, and it seems to be heavily based on everyone’s favorite part of the previous games: Dressing up and playing as stylized cosplay versions of other Capcom characters! What more could I possibly want? I’ll let you know if I think of anything.

3) Ori and the Blind Forest

I was unsure on this one at first, but its beauty and the seemingly sad story presented in the trailer have drawn me in. I want to see this little fellow through to a (hopefully) happy ending.

2) Scalebound

Okay, anyone who knows me knows I dig dragons. I love How to Train Your Dragon, and if I’m reading this trailer right, this looks like a cross between that and Mega Man, with the protagonist seemingly gaining new power/armor by gutting one of the monsters. Add to that the fact Platinum is developing it, and I want a piece of this.

1) Sunset Overdrive

I love the tease at the start here.

We saw a bit of this last year, and it looks even better now. It’s like this game knows what it is, and what’s more, wants to have fun with just that. It’s bright, colorful, humorous, stylish, and doesn’t get itself caught up in being overly realistic, as evidenced by the spoofing done at the beginning. It’s a close race between this and Scalebound, but this one turned the press conference around for me as I began to wonder if I’d even have enough entries to make a Top 5, and somehow that optimism kept me going the whole way through– and it largely paid off.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Fable Legends: I’ve always sort of had an interest in Fable, but have never really gotten to sit down with it.
  • Halo 5: Guardians & Halo: The Master Chief Collection: I’m not sure whether to grant or dock points for the paraphrased reference to Transformers: Beast Machines. That said, I’ve seldom played the Halo games, but I’ve always kind of enjoyed other aspects of it, such as the lore and the music. That theme song never gets old.
  • Inside: A curiosity (and one without a trailer on Xbox’s YouTube channel, no less), but I’d need to see more of this before deciding whether I’m in or not.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: After the reboot, I am curious where they’re going to take Lara and her seeming post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • The Witcher III: Wild Hunt: I’ve not played any of the Witcher titles, but this one looks interesting.
  • Phantom Dust: I don’t know the original game at all, but I found this one rather intriguing. It definitely has a Japanese flavor that’s unusual for Microsoft Studios titles, but it has a distinct shonen-styled vibe that reminds me of stuff like Dragon Ball Z, which is always fun if done right. I hope to see more of this.
  • Crackdown: Crackdown is kind of neat, though I never really got to seriously dig into it, and this game looks gorgeous. On the other hand, I can’t really tell for certain from the trailer, but it looks like it focuses on operating as part of a team– which is neat, but at the same time, I’m not sure I’m into that sort of thing. If there’s a solid single-player component to go alongside it, though, it would feel like a safer bet.

—–

And that’s what I took away from Microsoft’s press conference, which I personally think was overall a lot better than last year’s– almost like a 180. Maybe not mind-blowing, but it certainly provided me a few good, solid reasons to want an Xbox One beyond Killer Instinct. At the same time, that was also part of the problem: I don’t think anything that had my attention, if anything at all, was for the Xbox 360 I own, rather than the Xbox One I hope to someday afford (it’s going to be tough to review games without one).

All in all, a good showing for Microsoft and Xbox One. At least I know if I ever manage to get one, there are some titles I’ll want to check out for sure.

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