Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Microsoft @ Gamescom 2015

With all the reveals shown at this years E3 still kicking around in our heads, you'd think the gaming industry showed everything it had up its sleeve for 2015. Well, with Gamescon currently happening as we speaks, that appears to not be the case. Recently Microsoft held their Xbox Gamescon press conference, and showed off some exclusive gameplay of titles that they're hoping will sway you toward buying an Xbox One. So, let's get into it!

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Though many Xbox fans assumed it was 100% exclusive to Microsoft, Rise of the Tomb Raider will be making its way to PC and PS4 in 2016. However, Xbox fans do get the drop on everyone else, as Rise of the Tomb Raider will be available later this year. Anyway, the game world shown here is stunning, and is three times larger than the world previously offered up by Crystal Dynamics in 2013's Tomb Raider. If nothing else, Tomb Raider at least had a wonderfully lavish and beautiful world to enjoy. With the ability to upgrade Lara and her weapons at her camp site, Rise of the Tomb Raider looks to be following the first game rather closely.

I wasn't that happy with what we saw of Rise of the Tomb Raider at E3 this year. It looked more and more like an Uncharted clone instead of a new Tomb Raider title. Sadly, as nice as it looks, I'm still not warming up to it. As you can see the entire gameplay video focuses on Lara Croft essentially stalking and killing guys. Granted they're bad guys and kind of had it coming, but to me Tomb Raider is about exploration and not confrontation. To me that's far more exciting than Skyrim-like cinematic kills. Clearly there's a nice game world out there to explore, but we just haven't seen it yet. So from what Crystal Dynamics have shown us, this is not the Tomb Raider I'm interested in.


I like Hideki Kamiya. I like when he talks shit to arseholes on twitter, and he does that quite a bit. However, beyond being a bit of a salty dude on twitter, he's also a pretty great game designer. You might not recognise his name, but he's the main guy behind the likes of Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 2, Viewtiful Joe and Bayonetta. It was a pretty big deal when it was announced that he was directing an upcoming action game exclusive to the Xbox One, and after watching the trailer for Scalebound, it looks nothing short of awesome.

Scalebound fits in with Kamiya's previous work in the fact that it's a hack-and-slash game. Well, hack-and-slash makes it sound a little mindless, but if Kamiya's other games are anything to go by, Scalebound will most likely be a challenging, fun and at times punishing game to get a handle on. With your own personal dragon-like creature by your side, you play the role of a guy who clearly has some kind of partial dragon form lying in wait. It looks colourful, frantic and very much comes across like Kamiya's answer to Ninja Theory's DmC: Devil May Cry.

Homefront: The Revolution

I didn't like Homefront, the 2011 first-person shooter developed by New York based company Kaos Studios. For all the hype it managed to drum up before release, I found the finished product to be a run-of-the-mill shooter. Beyond the pretty intriguing set-up the game itself was boring, bland and essentially devoid of any uniqueness. After Kaos Studios were shut down in 2011, I didn't think we'd see a sequel to Homefront anytime soon. But here we are...

Homefront: The Revolution looks a lot like Call of Duty, basically. That's fine I guess, but from the overuse of brown and bloom throughout the gameplay trailer, the typical array of weapons at hand, to the little remote controlled car gizmo used to take out a few dudes at once, it's just nothing we haven't really seen before. Then again, with a new development team in charge of this latest Homefront, time will tell if it finally capitalises on the potential the original game had by the bucket-load.

Quantum Break

I'm a huge fan of Remedy Entertainment. Since the release of Max Payne in 2001, I've played and loved all of their games. They put a lot of effort into each title they produce, and in an industry that churns out sequels and rehashes on a yearly basis, they're one of those developers who put years into creating one game. They latest upcoming game is Quantum Break, and though we have seen it before, this latest peek into the game shows us that it may have gotten a bit of a face lift.

Now featuring the likenesses of Sean Ashmore, Aiden Gillen and Dominic Monaghan, gameplay here does it best to show off the time bending possibilities in the game. Though I'm a little disheartened that it's a cover based shooter at its heart, the time distortions look like a lot of fun. With stunning visuals to boot, Quantum Break looks like it's going to be another hit for Remedy Entertainment. You can do Alan Wake 2 now, Remedy! Just sayin'.

Crackdown 3

Back in 2007 I was so hyped for Crackdown. You see, it was directed by Dave Jones. You probably aren't familiar with his name, but he's essentially the father of Grand Theft Auto. He left DMA Design after they made GTA 2, and with the original Crackdown he sought to redefine the open-world sandbox genre. Though it wasn't perfect, Crackdown was a bloody awesome game. A Dave Jones-less sequel came and went, and with the announcement of Crackdown 3 came the promise of the perfect Crackdown game.

Going by the trailer it looks pretty awesome. Though the gameplay shown is pretty early, it looks exactly like I hoped a Crackdown sequel would- colourful, over-the-top action, badass weapons and shit going BOOM. I'm hopeful that Dave Jones can finally make the Crackdown game that has clearly been in his mind for the past 8 years, and what we've seen so far looks pretty epic Plus, with the power of the Xbox Cloud pushing the game in all kinds of powerful directions, I think Crackdown 3 just might find the audience that passed it by back in 2007.

Denis Murphy

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