Microsoft Gamescom Presentation Review: All Guns Blazing

Pure. Epic. Win.

Microsoft’s commitment to the Xbox, and to trying to turn around the negative perception and damage that occurred to the brand following the Xbox One unveil over a year ago, could not be any more clear at this point. Their E3 conference this year was a clear effort to win gamers back, showcasing lots of nice indie games, multplats, exclusive games for Xbox One coming from first parties and third parties, new franchises, old franchises revived, and more.

And that exact same attitude carried over to Gamescom, where Microsoft had a hell of a showing. Their Gamescom presentation may have started relatively boring and slow, but by the end of it, Microsoft was so in control, and revealing so much exciting content for the Xbox One, it was great. And unlike recent PlayStation conferences, the pacing, apart from the lull at the start, was great, with constant forward movement.

Let’s consider Quantum Break, for example, which may be the star of the show so far. Not only is the footage quite literally jaw dropping, as Remedy promised- the graphical quality was insane, but more importantly, when they showed off the actual gameplay, I got goosebumps, because of how well executed it seems.

A lot of the games Microsoft showed off were expected, and dare I say it, even boring at this point. Yes, Halo: The Master Chief Collection looks amazing (and may single handedly sell me on an Xbox One). Yes, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare looks sweet as hell, sure, Sunset Overdrive looks incredible, and yeah, Assassin’s Creed Unity looks nice, definitely, Forza Horizon 2 looks ace, and yep, Evolve looks seriously progressive. Oh, and FIFA 15 is there too, I guess.

But do you have to walk us through the same games over and over again every single time? That was my question for the first 20 or so minutes of the conference, when Microsoft retreaded a lot of the same ground as they did at E3. Happily enough, new showings of those games (which, yes, all of them look great- I do not mean to downplay them at all, they all look incredible) aside, Microsoft also packed some serious punch into its conference.

The other stuff they showed off looked seriously great. Let’s consider Quantum Break, for example, which may be the star of the show so far. Not only is the footage quite literally jaw dropping, as Remedy promised- the graphical quality was insane, but more importantly, when they showed off the actual gameplay, I got goosebumps, because of how well executed it seems. Remember, Remedy revolutionized games with the Bullet Time mechanic back in the day with Max Payne, and it looks like they might repeat the stunt- it is quite simply the first instance of a game I have seen where I sit up and go, ‘wow, that looks next gen.’

Microsoft also showed off a whole host of indie games coming to the Xbox One, which look nice, and include some great games, such as Threes, Escapist, Space Engineer, Super Hot, and Goat Simulator (no, seriously).

The only thing that sucked about the entire Quantum Break segment? They didn’t give us a release date. Come on, guys! We know it’s due out… some time in 2015, I guess? But when?

Microsoft followed Quantum Break up with two exclusives- Fable Legends, which looks better every time with its asymmetric gameplay (seriously, this is the kind of stuff Nintendo should have tried to develop for the Wii U)- and Screamride, which looks like an intriguing mix of Roller Coaster Tycoon, Mirror’s Edge, and Portal (yes, all three at once) in terms of tone and gameplay, and is slated for a March 2015 launch. Both of these games are under development in Europe, which Microsoft made a big deal out of, since this is in fact Gamescom.

Microsoft also showed off a whole host of indie games coming to the Xbox One, which look nice, and include some great games, such as Threes, Escapist, Space Engineer, Super Hot, and Goat Simulator (no, seriously). They also showed off Ori and the Blind Forest, confirmed to come out by this year’s end on Xbox One and PC. They showed off some more of the Halo 5 beta (and also detailed plans to develop a Halo community). In short, if this had been all that the conference was, it would have been a great one, and we would have gone home happy.

But then Microsoft announced the big one. A legitimate megaton. You see, Rise of the Tomb Raider- the sequel to the much loved Tomb Raider reboot from last year- is coming to Xbox. And only to Xbox. It will be an Xbox exclusive. Square Enix flat out said this, in no uncertain terms. There are no timed exclusivity shenanigans here. This game is Xbox exclusive.

But then Microsoft announced the big one. A legitimate megaton. You see, Rise of the Tomb Raider- the sequel to the much loved Tomb Raider reboot from last year- is coming to Xbox. And only to Xbox. It will be an Xbox exclusive. Square Enix flat out said this, in no uncertain terms. There are no timed exclusivity shenanigans here. This game is Xbox exclusive.

And that was a very big deal- not only was Tomb Raider a hell of a game, but it gives Microsoft a major weapon in their arsenal to counter, say, the upcoming Uncharted 4 (seriously, the Uncharted vs Tomb Raider battles will be ultra interesting now), but it also sends a message that Microsoft is not going to back down from the Xbox One. It also sets a precedent for a major third party franchise that was multiplat (and hell, started out on the original PlayStation) to become an Xbox exclusive.

That announcement tipped the conference over the edge for me. It was a big friggen deal. It’s right up there with when Nintendo announced Bayonetta 2 as a Wii U exclusive, and, just like with Bayonetta 2, I suspect the crying for a port of Rise of the Tomb Raider will also continue well into the future.

All in all, take a bow, Microsoft, take a bow. You did well. You did very well.

Your move, Sony.

SCORE: 9/10

THE VERDICT: A slow start cannot detract from the most aggressive conference Microsoft has had in years.

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  • avi

    It was a great show. I’m still deciding between either the white or advanced warfare Xbox one.

  • Joseph Lan

    You actually think Tomb Raider is a legitimate “competitor” to Uncharted? I’d like some of whatever you’re smoking.

    UC4 will completely demolish Tomb Raider. There’s simply no “battle” here. The latter isn’t even on most gamers’ radars.

    • DA-ROOSTER

      I actually like the tomb raider reboot more than the Uncharted games, so Uncharted 4 isn’t gaurentee to be better than tomb raider

    • bardock5151

      Tomb raider is the original and the best. Tomb raider is obviously on a lot of people’s minds with the amount of coverage its getting right now.

  • ShowanW

    Love or hate MS, their show was amazing.

    And the features coming to the Xbox One is amazing:

    http://majornelson.com/

  • benbenkr

    MS said the same thing about Ryse and Dead Rising 3…. then it’s suddenly coming to PC. Lol.

    When Squeenix stops receiving money from the sales, they’ll release it multiplatform. A rat move that they’ve been doing since the 90s.

    • DA-ROOSTER

      Even if Tomb Raider eventually comes to PC having this game being exclusive to Xbox One is still a significant blow against the PS4

    • Jaedre

      PC or Xbox Microsoft still makes money. lol

  • DA-ROOSTER

    Microsoft isn’t taking any prisoners, Microsoft has won Gamescom hands down, Sony would have to pull off a crazy exclusive to try to make a comeback

    • Agent_Blade

      Still disagree. Their showing was piss poor boring most of the time. Sony showed new game after new game.

  • GHz

    TR exclusive was shocking indeed. QB turned out to be even better than all the vids shown previous. It is now officially number one on my list unseating The Division. But I also expect big things from Sony. I’m hoping they show some Bloodborne gameplay and I’m praying for some Uncharted 4. The Order is no longer on my wish list until they clarify the gameplay.

    • demfax

      Anyone who likes cinematic games will like both The Order and Quantum Break. They both look good.

    • GHz

      My choice my preference. I’m not anyONE. I’m me, and I’m entitled to my own evaluations when my money is involved. Stop talking me.

    • bardock5151

      Based on innovation with cover based shooters QB is the winner, gameplay mechanics look exceptionally refined, graphics and art style look absolutely amazing.

  • MrSec84 .

    After watching both shows Sony definitely won Gamescom for me, they simply showed more, new exclusive and exciting games, I mean Tearaway Unfolded (a brand new Tearaway made specifically for PS4), Until Dawn (very realistic horror franchise, originally planned as a Move game for PS4, but moved to PS4 now) and Wild (an awesome looking open world title, looks like a CG film, where you can play as practically any species, in an environment close to the size of Europe) all looked amazing, especially Wild.

    There was AlienNation too, as a 1st party indie game (or AA I guess you’d call it).

    Gameplay from Bloodborne which looks amazing, more stuff from The Order, this time showing the less gloomy sections of the game.

    Rime, well that just looked amazing, one of the best looking games shown on any console so far IMO, easily up there with the best looking AAA games and it’s an indie title.

    The only thing that Microsoft really had in their favor is the announcement that Rise of the Tomb Raider is exclusive to Xbox One (no gameplay shown yet), which with Ryse and Dead Rising 3 going to PC you can’t really buy that a 3rd party game, that was previously a mulitplat and sold better on PC and PS4 will stay exclusive to a platform that’s sold less than half the hardware of the rival platform.
    The announcement of that game only being on XB1 is just leaving a bad taste in most people’s mouths, since it was a multiplat and gamers from other platforms supported the franchise.

    Quantum Break looked nice, but wasn’t that impressive.
    With QB it’s probably another game that just like Alan Wake will eventually come out on PC.

    TBH the most impressive thing for me was seeing more of Ori and the Blind Forest, but that’s known to be a timed exclusive, plus it’s on PC from this fall and 360 early next year.

    Really Microsoft mainly showed games they’ve already announced.

    For me Sony’s Gamescom beat Microsoft’s E3 and Gamescom combined.

    • Crusina .

      Just finished watching Sony’s conference and to say it was disappointing would be an understatement. 90% hyping up indie games, 9% old news and 1% legitimate improvements. I was really hoping for more in the way of AAA system sellers and UI improvements, so I have to tip my hat to Microsoft for having the better presentation. MP3 and DLNA support is huge and something that Sony didn’t have an answer ready for, and Rise of the Tomb Raider being exclusive was a real kick in the pants.

      They don’t call it the indiestation for no reason.99% of the games you just listed are indies lol

    • MrSec84 .

      LOL.You have to be joking.
      Microsoft’s conference was nothing but mediocre looking indies (Sony’s actually looked good) and games that have already been announced, it was terrible.

      All that talk about Fifa 15, a game that’s just a rehash of the same stuff every year, with some additional content.
      COD, both of those are multiplat anyway.

      Sony’s conference was basically new game, after new game, after new games.

      Mocking Indies, just look at Rime, it blows the majority of stuff Microsoft re-showed far away, that game is stunning.

      Ori and the Blind Forest looked nice, but it’s a timed console exclusive, so it’s available on PC, 360 and XBox One, so you don’t have to get an Xbox One to play the game.

      What new announcements were there at Microsoft’s conference that were made with actual gameplay?
      None is the answer.

      As for Tomb Raider exclusivity, Ryse and Dead Rising 3 were supposedly meant to be true exclusives for the life of the console, but they’re on or are coming to PC.
      Crytek have even gone on record to say that they can do whatever they like with Ryse, so that could come to any platform they choose in the future.

      Sony had more gameplay and way less talking, so I have to tip my hat to them for their presentation, it kept things exciting.

      So many new games coming to the platform, either exclusive or timed, but coming to PS4 1st.

    • MrSec84 .

      @ Mattias Heinz:

      Nope not even close, gameplay has been seen before and this wasn’t even that impressive.

      Sony showed more new games, announced with actual gameplay, more new AAAs that XBox fans try to act like it’s so important and carries more weight just because it’s made by a studio with more money.

      Come back and talk to me after Tomb Raider’s been out for 7 months, because that’s how long it took for Dead Rising 3 to be announced for PC.

      Just because SE and MS have said a game’s exclusive, that doesn’t make it so, MS will say anything to try to fool you into thinking you need to buy their platform, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

      If the game’s still exclusive a couple of years after it’s release fair enough, but I won’t be shocked if when SE sees PS4’s hardware sales numbers and software attach rate by this Xmas they change their tune and jump ship back to multiplat.

      The only way that game’s staying multiplat is if Microsoft buys SE and even then they’d be stupid to keep a game exclusive when it will be a bigger cash cow if they release it on PC.

      Even MS doesn’t have deep enough pockets to buy SE though, not if they want to keep their stockholders happy.

    • demfax

      PS4 Retail AAA Games:

      Amazing Spider-Man 2, Alien: Isolation, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Knight, Battleborn, Battlefield 4, Battlefield Hardline, Bloodborne, Bound by Flame, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Call of Duty: Ghosts, The Crew, Dead Island 2, Destiny, Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, DOOM, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, Driveclub, Dying Light, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends, The Evil Within, Evolve, Far Cry 4, FIFA 14, FIFA 15, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Final Fantasy XIV Online, Final Fantasy XV, The Golf Club, Grand Theft Auto V, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, Hellraid, Homefront: The Revolution, HUNT: Horrors of the Gilded Age, inFamous: First Light, inFamous: Second Son, Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition, Just Dance 2014, Just Dance 2015, Killzone: Shadow Fall, Kingdom Hearts III, Knack, The Last of Us Remastered, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, The LEGO Movie Videogame, LEGO The Hobbit, Let It Die, LittleBigPlanet 3, Lords of the Fallen, Mad Max, Madden NFL 15, Madden NFL 25, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Metro Redux, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Mirror’s Edge, MLB 14: The Show, Mortal Kombat X, MotoGP 14, Murdered: Soul Suspect, Natural Doctrine, NBA 2K14, NBA 2K15, NBA Live 14, NBA Live 15, Need for Speed: Rivals, NHL 15, The Order: 1886, Payday 2: Crimewave Edition, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, Pro Evolution Soccer 2015, Project CARS, Rabbids Invasion, Ratchet & Clank New, Rayman Legends, Samurai Warriors 4, Shadow Warrior, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition, Sniper Elite III, SOMA, Star Wars: Battlefront, Tales from the Borderlands, Tekken 7, The Walking Dead, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Thief, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Patriots, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Tom Clancy’s The Division, The Wolf Among Us, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, Trials Fusion, Tropico 5, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, Watch Dogs, Wolfenstein: The New Order, WWE 2K15, (Japan only) Ryu ga Gotoku Saishinsaku, Ryu ga Gotoku: Ishin!, Nobunaga no Yabou: Souzou, Wonder Flick, Onechanbara Z2: Chaos, Mobile Suit Gundam, Shin Sangoku Musou 7 Empires

      Did you say something about indies? Games like Rime are practically AAA already.

  • CEO Kaz Hirai

    Are you girlfriend of Microsoft?

  • Mark

    This was better than E3 for MS imo. To see the gameplay of their games was reasuring to me. Qbreak was stunning. Not perfect, but it achieves that next gen look for me. Cannot wait to see Tomb Raider in game. Just imagine how insane E3 2015 will be for MS? Halo 5, Tomb Raider, AND Gears! That is a nuke waiting to be dropped on us.

  • XSin Carax

    Oh PLEASE microsft didnt win jack squat

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