Rather than checking out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows with my wife, my Saturday was spent at the hospital waiting on an only too-brief analysis that I had an ear infection before being sent home to do something about that. After several prescribed doses of ear drops, I still feel like I’m half deaf from the right side, and I can honestly say my spirits were terribly high on the morning of Monday, June 13th — the first day of the 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo (actually, I don’t think the showfloor officially opens until Tuesday morning, but for all intents and purposes, it has begun).

Lucky for me, I had Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2016 Briefing to look forward to. Here are the top five moments I personally took away from this year’s show.

5) Killer Instinct: General Raam

It’s always good to see Killer Instinct at Microsoft’s shows, and this year is no exception. I love what they’ve done with the first two seasons of the game so far, and Season 3 is shaping up nicely as well.

While not quite as up-my-alley as last year’s reveal of Rash from Battletoads joining the party, Gears of War‘s General Raam looks like a fun guy to butt heads with nonetheless. And maybe it sounds greedy of me, but I wish they’d shown off at least one other character as well.

4) Halo Wars 2

Man, Halo Wars. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve long had an appreciation of Halo, with the primary barrier being that I’m just not much of a first-person shooter guy. Halo: Spartan Assault (which I still need to finish up and review, but I played on The Friday Nyteworks Stream, as seen here) provided one way for me to get past that barrier, but another I’ve long looked at has been Halo Wars.

I’ve long been a fan of strategy games, but turn-based, whereas Halo Wars is real-time. It wasn’t too long ago that I discovered there was a free demo of Halo Wars I could try on my Xbox 360, but after downloading it, that system more or less died on me. It’s become backwards compatible on Xbox One, but only the full game — my demo doesn’t count. So I’ve been sitting and wondering.

But now we have a sequel coming! Hopefully one better than the original, and there’s even a multiplayer beta going on right now that I hope I can take advantage of before they shut it down. So this excites me, as I may finally be able to take part in this fruit’s that not quite forbidden, but has simply been a question of whether it appealed to my palate.

Also, the trailer is pretty cool in its own right.

3) Forza Horizon 3

I’ve got a demo of Forza Motorsport 6, but its super-realistic handling as you race your way to victory was a little tough for me to get a good grasp on. Enough that I wasn’t sure if going all-in would be a good idea.

However, I’ve heard that its sisters series, Forza Horizon, has more of an element where you can just drive around at your leisure and take in the sights. That sounds more my speed, and the sights I’ve seen in this trailer for the third in the series look gorgeous. I hope to get a chance to try this one out for myself, since I love off-road style vehicles and nighttime racing, and there looks to be plenty of both on this Horizon.

2) Tekken X Street Fighter

Finally, I thought that Bandai Namco had forgotten all about thi–

Wait, it’s just Tekken 7? With Akuma, apparently?

Yeah, I guess that’s cool. *tosses entry aside*

Seriously, that’s like toying with my emotions. That’s not so cool.

2) ReCore

I said last year that this new product from the mind of former Mega Man producer Keiji Inafune had a sort of vibe to it that reminded me of that series, and that’s only reinforced here, a year since we last heard much of anything about the game. I suppose that distinctive way of dashing certainly helps.

We finally get a release date — September 13th — and a little more about the game, including the reliance on a grappling hook mechanic that reminds me just ever-so slightly of Bionic Commando. My interest has been maintained, if not strengthened by this latest trailer.

1) Scalebound

When this was revealed a couple of years ago, it became one of my top reasons for wanting an Xbox One. A PlatinumGames production (whose games I’ve been playing a fair bit of lately) that looks like — as I like to describe it — “a cross between Mega Man and How to Train Your Dragon” (and maybe a pinch of Monster Hunter?), my interest in this one is still high, though I could do with seeing more single-player and less multiplayer, but seeing any of it is good by me right now.

Honorable Mentions

Tekken 7

Yeah… even though it toyed with my feelings, I’ll admit I’m still sort of curious. I’ve never played much Tekken, but getting to know some of the characters through the Project X Zone series has helped pique my interest a bit.

Dead Rising 4

I really need to play one of these someday. When the first one came out, the text was unreadable on an SDTV (all we had at the time), and things just never came together following that. Much as I’m not a fan of zombie anything, Dead Rising is sort of the exception (thanks to its humor), and I figure I’m about due. Maybe this will finally be the one?

Sea of Thieves

Pirates aren’t my most favorite thing — cowboys, ninjas/samurai, vikings, knights all probably rank above — but nor do I dislike them. And coming from Rare, I’m nothing if not curious about what they’ve pulled together here.

Xbox Design Lab

This is a neat thing, and I wonder why more companies don’t have something like this going on in this day and age. I need a second controller, and while I’d love to try an Elite, customizing my own has an unquestionable allure.

Xbox One S

A lot of people seem to be making a big deal out of this, like those who got an Xbox One model earlier were ripped off or deceived somehow. I don’t really feel that way.

The Xbox One S is smaller, yes, has the power brick built in and can even play Blu-ray discs in 4K, all good things, but nothing that makes me feel like I was ever hoodwinked by not waiting. I’ve gotten to enjoy my console for a while now, and I don’t have a 4K high definition television, so I feel like this is a great option for someone who hasn’t picked up an Xbox One yet or has one of those newer televisions, but I don’t feel put out by it at all. If it gets more people in, then that’s still good for me from an overall consumer support standpoint.

I mean, as it is, it’s not like they can play anything I can’t.

Project Scorpio

Same deal here. I see people flipping out over the Xbox One S and the original Xbox One, saying this is the one to wait for. Sure, if you’ve got a 4K TV and are really hyped for virtual reality. Both of those things are probably still going to be well out of my budget by the time this thing is released a year and a half from now that I’m not even worried about it. It’s a cool thing to look towards in the future, if you can afford all of that to go with it (and good on you if you can), but I’m perfectly content with the now and everything I’ll be playing until then.

We Happy Few

Man, this. I don’t even know. Part of it appeals to me, but more of it kinda creeps me out.

And that’s all I’ve got for this year. Truth be told, not a lot of really new games were shown (and my dreams of a Rare Replay 2 featuring the Wizards & Warriors series and Killer Instinct from the Super Nintendo Entertainment System have been dashed — for now), but the updates on what I’ve been waiting for and sequels to games I’ve yet to try have me feeling pretty good for the time being.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.

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