Microsoft at GameStart 2016

The Big Green Monster cometh

GameStart 2016 Microsoft Xbox One Booth

In the previous GameStart, Sony had dominated the convention with their colossal presence (they had a two story booth filled with giant screens and game consoles) and the noticeable absence of their genre contemporary Microsoft. Well… this year Sony dominance was finally challenged. For the first time in GameStart history, the mean & green machine has landed at GameStart 2016! While the Microsoft booth might not be able to match Sony’s grand spectacle last year but they showed off what gamers came to GameStart for Video games.

Gears of War 4 – The return of burly men and their chainsaw rifles

For the first time in Singapore, gamers were treated to an exclusive sneak peek of the latest installment of the Gears of War franchise: Gears Of War 4. GOW 4 is the first game in the gears franchise on the XONE; thematically it revolves around a new generation of COGs and a new but familiar adversary. Gone are the days of Marcus Fenix and his motley crew (The Cole train, you’ll surely be missed), you’re now playing as JD Fenix and his motley crew of colorful personalities.

The mode I really tore into  during GameStart was multiplayer; in the days of Gears 2 and 3 I would regularly get on Xbox live with few friends and just start tearing it up. Even after 5 years, the very fundamentals of the game hasn’t changed one bit; from the way your Lancer handles to the simple act of mantling over low cover felt familiar to me. Visually, the game still retained its gray and grime but with a shiny new coat of lacquer – the game is still beautiful but it wasn’t jawed droppingly gorgeous like the first one. To be fair, you can only polish up the gears color palette just so much before it becomes redundant.

Overall I’m excited for the adventures of JD Fenix and his posse; a new team, a new director, and a new Fenix. Oh and I can’t wait to find out if the curse of the Carmine family still persists in this one.

Final Fantasy XV – It’s finally going to come out

When I first walked up to the MS booth on Friday, FFXV was the first game I played. It wasn’t because I was an FF fan neither was it because of the stunning visuals. No… it was because of curiosity, I wanted to see what 10 years of development and numerous delays looked like and boy, I’m glad they took their time. After a lengthy cut-scene introducing the main character Noctis and his merry band, we were given our first quest of the game: to push an expensive sports car while Stand by Me plays in the background. It was FFXV attempt at a Snake Eater moment- good try but Kojima did it better. The visuals here are absolutely beautiful; the sunlight kissed the horizon in a manner only achievable in Final Fantasy games. Noctis and his crew are not only well designed; their flamboyant J-POP hair would oh so slightly flop in the wind like a hair product advert. Unfortunately, Noctis and his merry band are as clichéd as they come: Gladiolus is the tough guy with a heart of gold, Prompto is your archetypal brash youngster and Ignis is Mr. Know It All. The only standout here was Noctis himself who manages to talk about his upcoming marriage and his royal status in a slightly more matured manner that his emo kid appearance.

It took 10 years and multiple delays to get here and with just a few months before the actual release, I’m happy to report that FFXV might just be Final Fantasy’s saving grace. In the words of Tychus from SCII, “Hell, it’s about time”

PC/XONE Cross Play

GameStart 2016 Microsoft Xbox One Booth

I don’t want to sound like a typical r/PCMR Redditor but I personally try to avoid gaming on my consoles for a number of factors. Factor 1: I only have a single TV in the living room and when my family’s back from work, I can’t play because my mom and sister would want to catch up with the latest Korean entertainment while my dad would want to watch the news later at night. Factor 2: I didn’t drop two grand on a gaming rig for nothing. I want to game on 1440p with everything cranked up at 60 FPS; not locked in at 30 FPS with whatever resolution and visuals the console can handle. Finally factor 3: the price of console games never seem to drop, even during holiday seasons (at least here in Singapore). For PC gamers, there’s always the yearly tradition of steam and holiday sales for digital copies of games.

GameStart 2016 Microsoft Xbox One Booth Forza Horizon 3

Well, Microsoft did something that no one expected…They allowed cross-play between PC and the Xbox One. Which means games bought on the Windows Store would be available for play on both the Xbox One and on a Windows 10 PC. So you get to play on both your giant TV and switch to your gaming rig if you fancy a higher frame rate and more eye-candy. Tired of Forza Horizon 3 on the big TV, head on over to your PC for some of that sweet 8x MSAA and 60 frames a second.

by Chen KangYi

© POPCulture Online 2016

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