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Letters from the Front

The big Microsoft showcase that has been hyped up and down since May has finally come and gone, detailing a lot of interesting games built for the Series X, the One, and Windows PC. Of course, we got to see the debut gameplay of Halo Infinite.

The message Microsoft offered was clear and precise, emphasizing Xbox Game Pass as the premier way to experience content coming out of Xbox Game Studios for the next decade. So, what did we learn and what is my review? Well, let’s dig in!

What I loved

Throughout my time as an Xbox player and someone who is interested in what Xbox is doing and someone who is a big part of the Xbox ecosystem, ever since the original Xbox, I’ve grown to love and appreciate the diversity of games Microsoft is trying to claw themselves into. As someone who doesn’t primarily use Game Pass or doesn’t particularly care for Game Pass, I can understand how Game Pass can help someone discover new genres and how Game Pass helps a smaller studio get more exposure.

It’s fantastic to see that all the games coming to the Series X will be available on Game Pass starting from day one. Seeing games that I have no affection for or games that isn’t particularly up my alley being available on Game Pass is great to see because someone would be interested in games like that, seeing STALKER 2 come to the Series X and the Medium makes me happy and filled with joy. Some of these announcements like STALKER 2 and the Medium and some of the smaller announcements really resonated with me, some of them have even landed on my most anticipated lists of Fall 2020.

One thing I’ve really hated about modern day Microsoft is how reluctant they have been in years past, especially in the early years of the generation, they have been to describe games that were years out, rather than a few months out, perhaps in reaction to canceled titles that has plagued them throughout a major part of this generation. That fear cost them the generation and it seems like that fear have been shed, since Microsoft showed a few teasers that were CGI for games that are years away.

For example, State of Decay 3 was revealed and Fable was announced. It’s great to see Fable will retain its iconic humor that is quintessentially British, sidestepping rumors that it was going to be a mature take on the iconic franchise that defined the Xbox during the early years. If you’re still looking for that mature take on a fantasy setting like I am, then we have Obsidian’s Avowed, which looks to be the answer to the Elder Scrolls. We got a brief look at Forza and the debut gameplay of Halo Infinite.

What I didn’t like

Halo Infinite was split into two parts, a cinematic trailer and a gameplay demo. The cinematic trailer was a complete doozy against the gameplay demo, which was less impressive. I remember being blown away by Halo 4 in 2012, which ran on an Xbox 360 and I was blown away by Halo 5 in 2015, Halo Infinite doesn’t look all that glamorous and especially when you compare against other open world games. There is a lot of unanswered questions that needs answering.

Another thing I didn’t like how there was a lack of gameplay yet again with some of their major titles. Even Hellblade II didn’t get any gameplay and that was announced almost half a year ago at the Game Awards. All of this makes me wonder when we’re going to get our hands on with some of these games.

In the end, nothing about the Showcase blew my mind but it was a good step at delivering a roadmap and what to do look forward as primarily an Xbox gamer and a PC gamer. What it did slam home to me was that Xbox Game Pass is the future of Xbox and the Xbox brand and that I see no reason to move away from the Xbox and from PC gaming, Game Pass is delivering unprecedented value and at the same time, I saw nothing of value here that would essentially make a Playstation oriented person which sides which speaks a lot to the show itself. Nothing that was shown on Thursday suggests Xbox will steal the crown from Sony, but they don’t need too. In my opinion, Xbox is doing its own thing, much like Nintendo is, Microsoft and the Xbox brand is delivering for people who are already in their ecosystem and building from there. And as the facts clearly show, Microsoft is crushing it on the sales front. There is nothing to fret.

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