After months and months of waiting E3 has finally arrived, has it been worth the wait? Well, yes. Without question the highlight of the show for me was the unveiling of the Xbox One X (or the console formally known as Project Scorpio). Microsoft's new 4K monster looks like it might well make good on all those lofty promises that have been made by the big M over the course of the last year. Native 4K gaming, HDR functionality and the potential to make all of your existing Xbox One, 360 and original Xbox games run and look better. The Xbox One X, or XBOX, arrives on the 7th of November and it will cost, a not too ridiculous, €499.
As excited as I am about Microsoft's new console, I'm not here today to discuss the X. Today I'm going to take a short look at the top 3 games that I'm most looking forward to from E3. I think it's fair to say that Microsoft took a lot of liberties with the word "exclusive" during their conference on Sunday, but for the purpose of this article, I'll be dealing with the "console exclusive" kind, ie, exclusive games that will never show up on the PS4 or Switch. Lets begin.
Forza Motorsport 7
The game that kicked of the show for Microsoft was also probably the most impressive looking of the evening from what I hear. It was the perfect title to showcase what the Xbox One X can do, native 4K, HDR gaming at a buttery smooth 60fps. Turn 10, the developers behind Forza have become masters of their art, they know how to make a great looking racing game but way more importantly than that, they know how to make an excellent, immersive racing experience, that's why fans flock back to it year after year. Between Forza Horizon 3 and Forza 6, Turn 10 pretty much have the racing genre sowing up on the Xbox One already.
In Forza 7, Turn 10 are promising us a collection of over 700 cars to choose from, these will range from the biggest and best sports cars on the planet, like the new Porsche 911 GT2 RS that was revealed to the world during the event, to the mundane Sunday drive type of machine that most of us mere mortals out there drive everyday. There will also be tweaks to the realism of the handling, Turn 10 have put a lot of work into how the car interacts with the surface of the road and how that in turn effects the handling and drive. This is nothing new I hear you scream, and you'd be correct, but Forza 7 will feature fully dynamic weather, puddles will form on the track and get bigger over time so no two laps might be the same.
Sound will also be getting an overhaul, the cars sound crisper, you can feel the power of the engine and you will be able to hear every groan of the body work and every squeal of the tyres as you power through a corner or smash straight into a wall trying, the sound really pops in Forza 7 and with a bit of luck you'll be able to play this in glorious Dolby Atmos upon release.
Forza Motorsport 7 hits the shelves on the 3rd of October and for me the Forza franchise still sets the standard for console racing games today and although Sony hope that Gran Turismo Sport will be top dog when it finally arrives sometime later this century, I still believe that Forza 7 will take some beating.
Video By Xbox
Sea Of Thieves
Rare back in the day they were renowned for their brilliance, GoldenEye, Diddy Kong Racing and Perfect Dark are all examples of the kind off games that Rare put out on a regular basis. Sea Of Thieves could well rank along side those classic N64 titles but we will have to wait till early 2018 to find out if their open world Pirate simulator for Xbox and PC is as good as it sounds. Can Rare reproduce their magic from yesteryear.
Sea Of Thieves has been built from the ground up to be both a co op and competitive multiplayer game all at once. You and a few mates will start out on a brand new pirate ship and set sail on the high sea's looking for adventure and treasure. Once onboard there will be various tasks that have to be completed before you can set sail, for example, someone will need to raise the anchor, someone else will have to drop the sails, steer and navigate the ship, it's all about working together to make sure your ship stays afloat for the adventure ahead.
Your adventure comes to life when you are out on the open sea, this is where you will encounter other players in their pirate ships and what comes next, is what Sea Of Thieves is all about. Do you attack the other ship and try and sink it or do you try boarding it to steal their treasure, the game gives you free will to play it as you like but of course, this is not a serious game, not by any means.
Sea Of Thieves is all about fun. The ship to ship battles look chaotic, cannons fire and burst into the side of your ship, at which point you'll have to muster some crew to head below to try bucket the water back out before you sink like a stone. Boarding another ship looks like madness, people firing themselves out of the cannons to try land on the other ship, the outcome been that more often than not that you'll find yourself slamming head first into the hull and suffer from instant death syndrome or over shoot entirely and splash into the sea on the other side, at which point you might find yourself as shark food. It's crazy stuff and also laugh out loud fun by the looks and sounds of it.
From what I have read from E3, the biggest draw back with Sea Of Thieves seems to be with the controls, they are a bit clunky by all accounts. Combat is always tricky to do in first person and that looks like it rings through here, the gun play has also been criticised but there is still lots of time to smoothen around the edges and polish it up before the games release next year. If Rare can get the controls to feel right, then I think that Sea Of Thieves could be one of the bigger hits of 2018.
Video By Xbox
State Of Decay 2
Undead Labs follow up to their 2013 zombie survival game will hit the shop shelves in the Spring of next year. It will once again toss players into the middle of a zombie apocalypse, indeed State Of Decay 2 takes place about 15 months after the original and the world has not improved much for the folks that are left alive.
Much of the gameplay remains similar to the original, players must fortify strongholds, head out to try find food, weapons and items to help you live another day, you must try to find new survivors so that you can expand your home and make it better and safer.
The biggest difference this time around is that Undead Labs have added online co op game play, which is a game changer in itself and also the map is roughly 3 times bigger than the one in the original. Having a bigger map makes getting around and finding items and food that bit harder, how far do you go out on a mission, how much do you risk.
Lots of the game's mechanics have been expanded upon too, base building is far more detailed, resource management is more important than ever and new zombies also make an appearance, that Juggernaut from the trailer looks like it can do serious damage if left unchecked. Much like the original, players will have certain skill sets that they excel at, but this time around you'll have greater options to level up your skills and abilities so that you can customise your characters play style to what suits your style of play best.
All in all State Of Decay 2 looks like it will be better in every way to the original, if this turns out to be true, then Undead Laps have a sure fire hit on their hands.
Video By Xbox
So that's it folks, my top 3 Xbox Live exclusives from this years E3, what do you guys think, what titles are you most looking forward to in the coming year. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.
Image From ign.com