Microsoft at E3: Meet the Xbox One X's legion of games (that are coming to PC, too)

At E3, Microsoft revealed the powerful Xbox One X, and an army of games—22 exclusive to Xbox and Windows—to bolster it.

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The Last Night

Raw Fury, publishers of Kingdom and Torment X Punisher, showed off a gorgeous pixel art game called The Last Night. No idea how the game actually plays, but just look at that artwork. Incredible.

The Artful Escape

Okay, stay with me: The Artful Escape is a space-faring platformer where you jump by strumming a guitar and I think make your way through a procession of what looks like 1980s album cover artwork? I don’t even know what to think, but again, it looks gorgeous.

Sea of Thieves

My favorite game of E3 2016, Sea of Thieves, was back for a much longer demo this year. Rare’s seafaring pirate game still looks absolutely incredible, with today’s demo showing off solving written pirate riddles, exploring islands and jungles with your friends, stumbling on abandoned ruins and dank caves, digging up treasure, battling against skeletons and competing crews, and a ton more. If the game hasn’t yet explained exactly what we’ll be doing for hours on end, it at least got a lot closer to an explanation with today’s demo.

My favorite part? Actually needing to follow a compass and count off paces to find treasure hauls.

Super Lucky’s Tale

This one was bizarre. Lucky’s Tale first released as a mediocre Oculus Rift exclusive in 2016, but apparently the developers have decided Lucky the platforming fox has enough appeal to headline an entire series? I don’t...really understand, but can’t begrudge the effort. Anyway, the 2D version is called Super Lucky’s Tale. No word yet whether it’s just an adaptation of the Oculus game or an entirely new adventure.

Cuphead

Another year, another Cuphead demo, with the developers even poking fun at themselves before finally providing a firm release date. September 29 is when we’ll finally get a hold on its Max Ernst-inspired cartoon platforming. It’s still beautiful, after all these years.

Crackdown 3

I feel like Crackdown 3 is another one we’ve been hearing about fooooorever, but it’s finally arriving for real on November 7, a.k.a. the same day as the new Xbox One X drops. With the always-excellent Terry Crews introducing an explosion-filled trailer, Crackdown 3 looks like a hell of a good time. Here’s hoping.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm

life is strange before the storm Square Enix

I’ve been waiting for a Life is Strange 2 announcement ever since the first game ended, and it finally (sort of) came during Microsoft’s press conference. What we’re getting isn’t a sequel though—not yet, at least. On August 31 Dontnod will release the first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm, a Chloe-centric prequel consisting of three episodes. No word whether a proper sequel is also in the works, but I’m excited for more in that universe regardless.

Shadow of War

Microsoft laid claim to a lengthy Middle Earth: Shadow of War demo during its press conference, with the highlight being a fight against a massive troll named Bruz the Chopper who, once dominated, turned into an amenable joker with an Australian accent. A bit weird, but fun.

Shadow of War also showed off its expanded world, which now consists of more regions than before and looks quite a bit more colorful and interesting as a result. Other than that though, it looks similar to what we saw back at GDC, which was in itself similar to Shadow of Mordor. More of it, perhaps, and larger in scope, but this one’s definitely taking a “Ain’t broke, don’t fix” approach to sequel-building.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Blind Forest was one of the best and most beautiful platformers of the past decade, and that’s a huge accomplishment given how crowded the genre became during the indie boom years. It’s only fitting Ori gets a sequel, with Ori and the Will of the Wisps announced with one of the most gorgeous trailers I’ve seen at E3 2017 so far. Can’t wait for this one.

Anthem

BioWare’s Anthem closed out the show. We got our first look at the new game during EA’s press conference Saturday, but it was just a 30-second tease. Today we got an extended look at the game itself.

And wow. After Mass Effect: Andromeda I’m somewhat determined to stay skeptical of Anthem, but wow. This looks like what I expected from Andromeda in the first place.

You play as freelancers, seemingly a company of mercs tasked with exploring different planets in their armored Javelin suits. Conceptually it doesn’t sound that different from Mass Effect, which I guess raises the question “Why not just call this a Mass Effect game?” But regardless of why BioWare decided it needed another sci-fi space marines RPG, Anthem looks incredible—especially the lush jungle shown off in today’s demo and the accompanying suite of god rays.

Not much indication of how it’ll actually play, but consider my interest piqued.

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