The 2018 E3 Microsoft showcase was no joke, Microsoft brought a wide variety of games to the Microsoft Theater is Los Angeles, the Sunday before E3. I Got the chance to go in and play several games. First off let me just list what I did play, because even in 3 hours I didn’t get to play everything. I saw Ashen a very fun RPG with lots of exploration and souls like fighting, Tunic a cute adventure game with a fox for protagonist, Children of Morta a pixel based RPG with some rougelike elements, and passed down family traits, Forza 4, what do you want this game is forza Below a 2D exploration and RPG game, with echos of the dark souls series and a serious survival aspect, and finally the big dog of the day Kingdom Hearts 3. So in case you didn’t already see it please check out my video about the Showcase, and then come back here and read about the different games I got play.

Ori and Will of the Wisp

Ori and the Blind Forest was a fun but small indie third person action adventure game that fans of metroid-vania games absolutely loved. Its follow up Ori and the Will of the Wisp showed at previous shows, and was playable at the Xbox Event at E3. I Was surprised to find that it had quite a few people standing around it (though not nearly as many has KH3). Ori and the Blind Forest was a fun action platformer, but it severely lacked something, and I think that feeling of missing polish has finally been wiped away with this second game.

I sat down with it and was honestly impressed, I handy really played much of the first Ori and so I Wasn’t aware of just how many diffrent options the game presented for its platforming and combat. I was immediately impressed by how much fluid the jumping shooting and sword slashing felt. I of course didn’t even get to scratch the surface of the story which im sure will be extensive and amazing. The art style is similar to the first, with Ori being a bright spot in a world of muddy browns and other colors. movement is fast and fluid, relying on a grappling hook, and a double jump to navigate obstacles many times Ori’s size. Enemies are still bigger than you, and still hit SUPER hard, I only got to see a few types, but I am sure there will be plenty of challenging fights in game. Overall Ori is one of the most aticipated games that I got to see at Xbox’s showcase event, and I for sure can recommend it to anyone who likes action platformers.

Ashen

Ashes is a game that surprised me,in the sense that I wasn’t expecting to see a small indie game at the xbox showcase. You would not be remiss to call this game a dark souls type of game. I started off the game with just a slub, and my wits and of course the nice guiding hadn’t of a developer. I used that a god bit becuase as it turns out Ashen is a dark souls style of hack and slash with a heavy emphasis on being aware of whats around you and blocking and dodging. All things I am very bad at. The game has a distinctly cell shaded look to it and a tight control scheme.

game play mostly consisted of me running around and fighting isolated groups of enemies around a map, while picking up items and searching for clues. The developers informed me that this was one of the first areas that we were working in and that later on there would be more open world, which would have other players in it for both pep and teaming up.

The rest of Ashen was pretty much one brutal dark souls combat type of game. I was only alive long enough to find a couple of items, including a small shield, and some health items, but the gist of the game is thus: each of your arms is controlled by a trigger or shoulder button. So you pull left trigger you get a heavy attack from teh left arm. the same with the right. The bumpers did light attacks and the rest of the buttons were for dodging rolling and interacting with the environment.

Tunic

Tunic is one of those games that 90% of people will ignore. A single developer from an eastern European country, and a little story about a fox. Its a fun adventure game, with pretty scenery, and a whole lot of exploration. Its got a distinctly Zelda vibe, with beautiful art thats soft and rounded, and flat, for a look that will remind most people of pixel art, but with out the pointy edges. movement takes place in a 2.5D space with eight way movement on an isometric viewpoin. Combat had a fun lock on system, and a level of difficulty just shy of infuriating.

I didnt have much time with teh demo, which itself was short, but I think we are going to be seeing a lot more out of this game in the future, and I am eager to see what Xbox does with it. Classic adventure games have a place in the hearts of most gamers, from Zelda to Metroid, so its a safe bet that even those who maybe arent in love with foxes (like yours truly is) might want to pick this game up.

Black Desert Online

One of the best MMO’s out there right now is Black Desert Online, with an expansive story line, awesome graphics, and a series of fun to play classes, its one of the best Action MMO’s I have ever played. Now almost two years after it came to PC from Korea, its being ported to the Xbox. Xbox of course has some unique challenges, for though its not a tab targeting MMO like World of Warcraft, BDO does require a lot of key-presses. To adpat the game to work on a controller the developers spent a lot of time working with wheels, and trigger and buttons presses, and the result is pretty satisfying. The demo station was set up to play a caster class I wasn’t familiar with, but I was able to adapt to its controls fairly quickly, and found myself falling right back in to the games awesome story line and combat.

Overall I think may be the first sucessfull MMO port to Xbox if they are able to get enough people playing. The PC community of BDO has a robust player made economy, and plenty of dungeons and PvP all of which require a large player population to work. If the Xbox version can overcome those hurdles then we will see the first successful major MMO on any console.

Children of Morta

Children of Morta is a 2D action adventure game with rougelike elements. Its primary mechanic is called family, and its sort of similar to the one in Rouge Legacy. I started out with a choice of characters, one with small glave sort of weapons and one with a bow. I strongly prefer the melee type of combat so I chose that one. Combat was decidedly gauntlessesque, lots of enemies mostly of a single type, chasing me down and attacking me. I was able to use my basic attack, a dodge roll, and a more difficult combo attack. I also had two single button press powers that were kicked off by the shoulder buttons. Combat was fast and fluid, and health regeneration was only possible by killing enemies, and then picking up their left overs. Overall the game was pretty brutal, fast, and unforgiving.

As refrenced in my video there are also a number of family traits that will be present, as you level each of your characters these traits will continue to be passed down to your next set of family members. Its a near system that I hope to get more info on later, and mroe time with as we get closer to this games release in fall of this year.

Forza Horizons 4

Forza, Forza, what can I say about Forza. The demo provided was extremely short (like <10 minutes) featured a variety of vehicles and was meant to hilight the new seasons options that will come with Forza 4. The driving felt exactly the same, no matter the season, and I was abel to follow the roads line pretty well despite the controls not being configured how I liked them. Then the season changed and I was forced to change cars, and the result was not happy for me at all. I apparently cant drive in winter at all despite living most of my years in Chicago. After sliding all over for literally 4 minutes I gave up and just moved on to fall, which was just regular weather but with falling leaves.

Overall this game is Forza, but prettier, with more cars, and of course the exact same mechanics as last year. Thats not a dig, at Froza, more a declaration that the core mechanics dont need to change in a game that we have been playing for years, becuase they are basically perfect the way they are. Forza fans have become kind of like FIFA fans, in teh sense that they are probably going to buy the next update for their favorite game no matter if that game is good or has any new additions.

Kingdom Hearts 3

What can I say about this game that hasn’t already been said? After almost 15 years Square Enix is fianlly bringing KH3 to gamers everywhere. In the short demo segment I played i got to jump around, slash at things, and call in help from various disney characters. I can honestly do no justice to the series since well, I have hardly touched it before. So just watch the trailer and when its out buy the game.