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By 10 June 2014 | Categories: news

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Along with the likes of Sony, EA and Ubisoft, another major showcase gaming event at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), currently underway in Los Angeles, is traditionally Microsoft’s own, as the company shows how it plans to lure gamers into, or keep gamers in, the Xbox fold.

However, the pressure was really on Microsoft in 2014; last year the company received less than glowing reviews as it focused on the TV and movie features of its then pending Xbox One, to which the hardcore gamers attending the event uttered a collective yawn. The good news is that judging by Microsoft’s showing at this year’s E3, the company has not only learnt its lesson – gamers attending a gaming expo want games, and lots of them – it also showed that it knows how to pull a one-two punch of its own when it comes to exclusives.

To start with, Microsoft pulled out the next entry, Advanced Warfare, in a fairly well known franchise called Call of Duty (you have probably heard of it if you have been residing on planet Earth in the last 20 years or so). Granted, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s existence was leaked and then confirmed a few weeks ago, so it wasn’t a surprise. More importantly though, the almost ten minute long trailer was a clear shot across the bow reminding core gamers that they hadn’t been forgotten by the company.

Another feather in the Xbox One’s cap was the trailer reveal of another highly anticipated title and the follow-on from the superb Tomb Raider reboot, named Rise of the Tomb Raider. This is slated for 2015; and if you enjoyed the reboot entry, and you have been following the lead up comic series, you already know that it’s a title to look out for. Also revealed at Microsoft’s presser was another Tomb Raider adventure, titled Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris.  

Continuing in this strong vein, Microsoft furthered its case for why gamers ‘need’ an Xbox One, showcasing Evolve, from the developers of Left 4 Dead, and speaking of the walking dead, Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix

Also showcased, and appealing no end to those of us who love massive, prehistoric looking creatures – think dinosaurs on steroids – Scalebound was announced, which looks a bit like a cross between Shadow of the Colossus, Monster Hunter and Jurassic Park.

From there, Microsoft’s showcase event took a slightly different – but very welcome – turn. More of Insomniac Game’s newest comic madcap title and its first Xbox One exclusive, Sunset Overdrive, was shown. This one comes just a month past the September launch of the Xbox One locally, and may well be the best Xbox One consolation news we’ve seen since the news that Titanfall wasn’t destined for South Africa broke.

Then, once again changing tack, also unveiled was the beautiful side scrolling platformer Ori, and the Blind Forest from Moon Studios. The two could not be more different from one another tonally; but what they seem to have in common is that both ooze imagination and inventiveness.

Wrapping up, it was perhaps very fitting that the Xbox returned to its roots, with the announcement that we can expect a new entry in the Crackdown franchise in the year ahead, and then debuting none other than the Master Chief (not to be confused with Masterchef) with the Halo: The Master Chief Collection. This gathers together Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4, with multiplayer maps and modes intact,  in 1080p running at 60 fps on the Xbox One.

In short, this year’s Microsoft E3 presentation will be remembered for a solid, well mixed showing of titles to look forward to. As to whose press event was stronger, Sony’s or Microsoft, well that is up for debate. However, whatever console you are on, or in the case of the Xbox One, planning to purchase, it looks like the year ahead for both Xbox and PlayStation games is going to be a very eventful one indeed.

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