For the first few days of TGS, I was feeling kind of sorry for Microsoft; PlayStation had wait lines two hours long, while you could literally walk up and play just about anything at Microsoft's booth. That all changed on Saturday, the first day open to the public; even the shops had hour long waits, so it's no surprise that Microsoft's booth was finally packed too, with multiple hour long waits just like everything else, with a four hour wait for Titanfall (although to be fair, they didn't cut off that line like many other booths did, including Sony). Here are our impressions of the Xbox One games we were able to get our hands on during business days, because forget trying to play anything on the public ones.
Ryse: Son of Rome
Ryse was in a small room in the back of the Microsoft booth, ostensibly because as a Cero Z game (the equivalent of a Rated M game in the States), it couldn't be shown in public on the main showroom floor. As it was in the back with Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Fable Anniversary though, I was soon convinced it was actually where they were hiding all their awful games, but more on that in our 360 article later.
Ryse is an action combat game where you play as a warrior in Ancient Rome. The demo level had you playing as a gladiatorial combatant in front of a live coliseum audience, complete with an 'audience entertainment' level gauge. The game sounds cool in concept, and it looked pretty (not nearly as impressive as Killzone or anything, but pretty), but I came away feeling like it needs a lot more work before its release. The combat was rather simple, with a normal attack, shield attack, and dismemberment/decapitation move when enemies were at low enough health; once entering this dismemberment mode, the enemy would flash blue or yellow, and hitting the correspondingly colored button would deal extra damage for maximum crowd entertainment. This was how it was supposed to work, anyways, as half the time the colors wouldn't even flash, and I ended up just slicing off some arms before the enemy died. Also aggravating was my fellow AI controlled gladiatorial combatant, who just couldn't seem to stop dying. You can run up to him and revive him, but no sooner had I done that then he would go wander into some traps on the arena floor (which was a cool idea too, but aggravating in actual practice) and cry to me to revive him so he could go wander off and die again. At one point he died right at the bottom to a platform, which was especially infuriating as you auto-platform in the game. I would try to get close to him to heal him, and instead would find myself standing on top of the platform. It took me about five tries before I could revive him from that place. After running through a few waves of enemies, I stopped playing the demo. Whether there is more to the game or not beyond the coliseum I couldn't say, but I can say that if I was in the audience I would be giving a thumbs-down to put this game out of its misery; I was not entertained.
For years fighting game fans have been waiting for Microsoft to revive this beloved Rare fighter that dominated arcades and home consoles during the late 90s. Thankfully, Microsoft finally unveiled the newly re-invented Killer Instinct at this past E3.
Having been a huge fan of the arcade and home versions, I was excited to play the game firsthand, but had serious reservations thanks to Killer Instinct's previously announced 'freemium' (pay for each character you want) system. The demo I played only had four selectable characters: Jago, Saberwolf, Thunder and Glacius. It played pretty much like your standard Street Fighter clone, with the booth attendant even explaining how to pull off moves by literally telling me to 'throw a hadouken/shouryuken'. Playing like a Street Fighter clone is not necessarily a bad thing however, as it allows anyone with a passing knowledge of fighting games to pick it up and enjoy themselves. Unfortunately, all of the characters (at least the ones that were available in the demo) not only looked, but also felt and played much heavier and slower than they ever did in previous games. Also, the lack of the iconic announcer yelling out 'Ultraaaa Comboooo' and 'Cccombo Breaker' was quite saddening, although according to the booth attendant it actually is supposed to be in the game, it just wasn't on/available for the demo.
All in all, the game was fun, but there is absolutely nothing new on display here (outside of the freemium character purchasing system); the new Killer Instinct's main draw for consumers will be nostalgia.
One of the games on my 'I can quit gaming when this gets a sequel list' is Panzer Dragoon. When a new game from the Panzer Dragoon creator, Yukio Futatsugi, was announced for 360's Kinect two years ago I was beyond excited. Unfortunately, the 360 version was transitioned to the Xbox One, but thankfully sans the Kinect-only control scheme. Also, I now have a reason to buy an Xbox One.
For those of you that never played Panzer Dragoon (and I know there are a lot of you, because the Saturn did not perform well against the original PlayStation), it is an on-rails shooter in which you ride on the back of a dragon, fighting against a myriad of monsters and ginormous bosses. It was an awesome game, with an even better soundtrack (especially Zwei). I am happy to say that Crimson Dragon did not disappoint; fans of the Panzer Dragoon series will be right at home and love every second of this game. The demo features two playable missions, a story mission and a boss mission (where you actually go off the rails), and both were Panzer through and through. From the multi-target lock on system to the barrel-roll dodging, maneuvering while aiming system, I felt like I was back in the mid-90s in the best possible way. It's not completely a re-hash, as Crimson Dragon now features support characters which can be called at a touch of a button to aid you in battle, but for the most part Crimson Dragon is Panzer Dragoon in every way except its name.