Tech News on G4

Microsoft cranks the heat at X15

Aug 20, 2015

By John Powell and Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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Microsoft X15Master Chief. Lara Croft. Marcus Fenix. Microsoft unleashed their heavy hitters at the X15 event held at Sound Academy in downtown Toronto. Spotlighting a wide variety of 2015 releases that are sure to have something for everyone, X15 was a gamer's paradise. We toured the show floor and here are our impressions.

Skylanders: SuperChargers

The inventive Skylanders series has returned with yet another playful twist. With SuperChargers, the series remains faithful to its platforming roots but has introduced vehicles into the mix. Whether by land, sea or air, the Skylanders will be racing through tracks avoiding obstacles, blasting baddies and uncovering those secret detours. Players will also be able to race each other online or play together in co-op mode. We took part in a multiplayer race, soaring through the clouds and it had a very familiar and amusing Mario Kart feeling to it, with all the vibrant graphics and settings Skylanders is known for.

Microsoft X15Halo 5: Guardians Warzone multiplayer

Developer 343 Industries couldn't have come up with a more apt name for Halo 5: Guardian's new multiplayer game mode, dubbed Warzone. We had a chance to go hands-on with the 12-vs-12 game type, and simply put - it's a blast. It's Slayer, but players are tasked with completing different challenges while blasting each other away, such as capturing zones or taking out large vehicles. It's hectic, but never overwhelming, and is sure to appeal to fans of both classic deathmatch and objective-type games. Sure to be a setpiece feature for Halo 5 when it releases later this year.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2

The plants are now your enemies. As various campy zombie characters, you defend Zomburbia from the plant hordes. We played a Garden Ops map as a superhero zombie who could punch, throw fire or energy balls, perform a cyclone spin and super kick. The final boss plant was Giga Torchwood, which seemingly, had nothing to do with any Doctor Who spinoff. Lots and lots of fun, especially for those who enjoyed the first installment in this wacky series.

Microsoft X15Forza Motorsport 6

With the more casual-focused Forza Horizons 2 leading the charge last holiday season, the more simulation-heavy Forza Motorsport 6 is ready to hog the spotlight in 2015. I take a few supercars - including this year's cover vehicle the Ford GT - for some laps, and it feels very much like past Forza games, which is definitely a good thing. The new rain effects look - and feel - great, and with new updates such as AI Drivatars that can be set to be "not jerks," I'm looking forward to the newest entry in what I consider to be by far the best racing series on the market right now.

Lego Marvel's Avengers

Building off the superhero franchise, you begin with the core group of Hawkeye, Black Widow and Captain America. Iron Man is there are well but not playable during the first mission. Hulk arrives later to lend a helping hand. As in the first film, you defend the Big Apple during the Battle of New York and kick Chitauri butt, until their serpent-like ships arrive. One of the big changes is, like in Marvel Ultimate Alliance franchise, you can now team-up to execute power moves. Iron Man can fire his repulsors and Captain America can deflect them to take out multiple targets. Interesting but one wonders if it will be as noteworthy as Lego Marvel Superheroes or Lego Batman 3. The first level didn't seem all that remarkable, truth be told.

Microsoft X15Battleborn

The developers of the Borderlands series are once again creating a new IP that's a first-person shooter based around co-op play, but this time around, players will be focused on short MOBA-like battles, as opposed to a massive open world. I get the chance to fight alongside four other players in a mission from the campaign. While everything feels good, and it's easy to pick up and play, I can't help but feel everything was a little too easy, and I didn't notice the MOBA influences as much as I hoped. There's absolutely a ton of potential here, but in my time with the game, Battleborn feels a little too by-the-books.

The Flame in the Flood

Developed by The Molasses Flood, The Flame in the Flood features a survivor and their pet pouch making their way through a flooded, decimated America. Navigating the waterways and dangerous rapids using a raft made from the shell of a rusted out car, you scavenge the scattered land masses for supplies. You can perish from being without the necessities like warmth and water. As you explore, you days and progress are logged. The possibilities of this successful crowdfunded project are intriguing. Cannot wait to play more. Very, very curious indeed.

Gigantic

So crazy and so enjoyable. Two teams of five motley characters battle for checkpoints and support their gigantic, destructive Guardians. We were a pirate, buccaneer character armed with a blunderbuss and explosive attacks. In the same vein as League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients, you level up as you play and are better off co-ordinating your attacks than going it alone. Mirrors Team Fortress 2's graphics but the maps are far more inventive. We want this now.

Microsoft X15Rainbow Six Siege

Rainbow Six is back, and I couldn't be more excited. I get the chance to play a round of attack and defend, and though I had a developer by my side giving me a ton of helpful tips, I can see this being just as easy to learn and become addicted to as past Rainbow Six games. The rounds are relatively quick, but there's still plenty of strategy involved, along with a strong need for communication with your four teammates. Ubisoft recently announced it's pushing the game's release date back by a few weeks to allow for extra polish, and that gives me all the more reason to believe they're working to create something superb. If my time with the demo is any indication, shooter fans are in for a real treat come December.

Microsoft X15Cuphead

The biggest impression is the graphics. Inspired by animation from the 30s and 40s, Cuphead is a vivid and magnificent tribute to the stylings of such pioneers as Max Fleischer, Walter Lantz, Tex Avery, Walt Disney and Chuck Jones right down to the scratches on the film and the blotted colouring. The game looks absolutely fantastic and will bring back memories of the original Looney Tunes, Popeye and Betty Boop cartoons. We played through a number of areas. In one, we were shooting and dodging the hurled boulders of what appeared to be a giant carrot. In another, we were airborne in fighter jets taking aim at a giant bird. We took on a ship captain who looked a lot like Bluto from Popeye in another area. Cuphead definitely stood out from the crowd and we wish we were playing this, like, today.

 
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