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Welcome Home - PAX AUS 2014
By Master_Craig
Posted on 11/18/14
Last night I returned home from PAX AUS 2014. Long story short, it wasn't perfect, but it was quite possibly the best weekend I've had this year. It was a lot of fun. If you'd like to continue reading, the long story is just below. Buckle up. This is gonna be...

E3 2014: Microsoft's Press Conference Reactions

Posted on Tuesday, June 10 @ 06:30:00 Eastern by Jessica_Vazquez


From the get-go, Phil Spencer made it clear that Microsoft's Press Conference would be geared toward gamers proclaiming to the audience that “you are shaping the future of Xbox and we are better for it." Of course this all felt a lot like déjà vu considering that last year's press conference promised to be “all about the games” and instead ended up being more about the TV Home Entertainment features of the Xbox One and new reiteration of triple-A titles. This year Microsoft clearly showed they learned to hone its focus and delivered on showcasing some awesome new titles and exclusives coming in 2014 and 2015.
 
I can’t contain myself so I’m gonna get right into the surprise announcements, or at least the one I am the most excited about: Rise of the Tomb Raider. Yes, we may have all known that the Tomb Raider reboot was definitely going to get a sequel, but somehow I still have a feeling of fangirl glee knowing that it has finally been confirmed as a reality. There were also many reboots of popular franchises announced that I had not been expecting. Phantom Dust is getting an Xbox One upgrade as well as Crackdown, which will be providing fans with an upgraded multiplayer experience. Killer Instinct fans can also expect some new content in the way of a new playable character, TJ Combo.
 
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was the first up to get a on-stage demo and it did not fail to impress. The next-gen technology and near sci-fi feel of the advanced combat mechanics clearly makes this a Call of Duty game that will be a breathe of fresh air. Forza Motorsport 5 also delivered the goods by announcing a new playable track, Nürburgring, which is available today for free. This was followed by a steady flow of highly satisfying gameplay demos including Sunset Overdrive and Assassin’s Creed Unity, both of which are going to be implementing some amazing online co-op gameplay.


 
Assassin’s Creed Unity has definitely taken the franchise a step up allowing players to create their own brotherhood and play the game cooperatively with up to three friends on Xbox Live. Being able to call on fellow assassins to help complete missions in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was one of the most satisfying parts of the game so the fact that Ubisoft is bringing that back and allowing you to join up with other players instead of NPCs is amazing. As an Assassin’s Creed fan, I can not wait to play through my first mission with a group of friends; it might make those pesky optional objectives a bit easier to complete. 
 
We also finally got a look at Sunset Overdrive which is shaping itself to be the sandbox open-world multiplayer experience we’ve been waiting for next-gen. If we’ve learned anything from the trailer shown during the conference, it’s that traditional cover system mechanics and combat systems do not make for a smooth flow of gameplay. The general premise for the game is that a contaminated energy drink has resulted in the mutation of most of the human race. The result of this outbreak is a post-apocalypse setting that looks more like a vibrant Six Flags playground than a rehashed dreary world that we’ve seen time and time again. Like many of the titles that were showcased today it boasts a hefty co-op experience promising a 8-player chaos mode. Can you rise to the challenge to defeat the mutant enemy hordes?

Of course you can. "It’s a fucking video game!” *ahem* Moving on…
 
Another game that Microsoft showcased for its multiplayer mode was the much anticipated Tom Clancy’s The Division. I have to admit that military shooters haven’t been my particular jam for a long time, but if one game has the potential to suck me back in, it would most likely be this one.  The on-stage demo displayed an impressive online multiplayer experience where you coordinate strategic attacks with team members in third-person during a cooperative campaign.



Speaking of multiplayer, let’s get down to the most amazing announcement for those diehard Microsoft fans out there. 343 Studios announced the Halo Master Chief Collection, which is basically every Halo fan's wet dream. At $59.99, it’s an impressive price for what you’re gonna get, and I think the low price is very respectful to its fan base. Check out more info on the bundle here.
 
Other notable titles at Microsoft's conference included an exclusive look at never-before-seen Witcher 3 gameplay, where Geralt hunts a Griffon. Yes, it is as majestic as you can imagine it to be. A gameplay trailer of Fable Legends also showed off the multiplayer combat. How about we just pretend that Fable: The Journey was all just a figment of our imaginations, shall we? We also got another look at Evolve, the new IP from the creators of Left 4 Dead. Although I was hoping for another Left 4 Dead game, this will most certainly do the trick. 
 
Microfot's E3 2014 presentation is what it needed to deliver last year. I’m glad the conference stayed on point and focused on its core audience, especially since most of the people attending these pressers or watching the live streams are gamers, not people who need to know the Xbox One can run Hulu Plus. Regardless, I am seeing mixed feedback on social media about how people felt about Microsoft's change of pace so I’m interested to know what you guys are excited about. Make sure to stay tuned throughout the week for previews of the games showcased in the Microsoft Press Conference.
Tags:   E3, Microsoft
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