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X16 full of Microsoft gaming greats

August 26, 2016

By John Powell and Alex Cattani - G4 Canada

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Bloodthirsty zombies, crafty robots and courageous soldiers were the stars of this year’s X16 event in downtown Toronto.

X16 X16

Held at the Fermenting Cellar in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, Microsoft’s annual media showcase has something for every gamer imaginable. From Gears of War 4 to ReCore, we checked out the heavy-hitters and here are our impressions.

Dead Rising 4
Developers: Capcom Vancouver
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: December 6th, 2016.

John Powell: The guilty pleasure is back and although we were only playing a showfloor demo, there is plenty to get excited about. Plowing our way through a street cluttered with the undead, the new Exo Suit took the game to another level. The Iron Man-like suit of body armour not only protected us well from the zombie hordes but allowed us to deliver thunderous punches, throws, groundslams and even a suplex or two. Take that, Kenny Omega!

Some other game-changing weapons were the cleaving Ice Sword that cuts a path of destruction like no other Dead Rising weapon, a crossbow that shoots firework explosions and an glowing two-handed axe that acts like Thor’s hammer, raining down thunder and lightning down upon the unsuspecting undead. With the new weapons and freeze frame kills, Dead Rising looks like it could very well be the best installment yet.

Developers: Comcept Armature Studio
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: September 13th, 2016.

John Powell: Joule Adams and her robot companions look to be on a really grand adventure. Searching through some sort of engineering plant we battled make-shift automations with all sorts of deadly attacks. While her Corebot companion, Mack was a great help dispatching the mechanized enemies, another spider-like one also carried her through and along some overhear tracks. ReCore seems to be a really slick, clever quest but we would need to see more to understand all of the mechanics at work. It does look very promising.

X16Gears of War 4
Developers: The Coalition
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: October 11th, 2016.

Skulking through underground caverns we went. The walls and floors littered with gigantic, alien goo sacks. The sacks can be used as but get shot away over time. As a massive storm (a Windflare) sets in and we wound our way back outside, there were blowing blinding debris everywhere and we battled what looked like Locust as they spawned from the ground and pinned us down with mounted machine-guns. Lancer chainsaws. Roadie runs. Active reloads. A Buzzkill weapon firing bouncing sawblades. Winds and weather that actually affect the combat. What’s not to like? We. Cannot. Wait.

X16Tekken 7
Developers: Bandai Namco Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: Q1 2017.

Alex Cattani: The anticipation for Tekken 7 has been on a steady rise ever since its initial reveal two years ago. Something that immediately stood out to me during my time with the game was the cinematic quality of the fights. Elegant transitions between QT events and gameplay made for a captivating experience, something uncommon in most other fighter campaigns. Bandai Namco looks like it wants to genuinely deliver a story mode worth playing with Tekken 7. Whether or not it succeeds remains to be seen, but as of right now, my interest is piqued. Graphically, the title looks superb and the animations move in that trademark Tekken fluidity that is as much of a staple of the series as its characters.

Developers: Rockfish Games
Publisher: Rockfish Games
Release Date: TBA 2017.

Alex Cattani: Everspace is a rogue-like space combat title being developed by the same people behind Galaxy on Fire. My brief time with the title consisted of warping to different areas in space, engaging in combat, attacking space carriers and of course, collecting loot. Since the title is a rogue-like, death is permanent. Refining your approach during each run to maximize your earnings is typical fare in the genre, and Everspace is no different. The ship combat felt solid and was easy to grasp. While I didn’t engage in any story content on the show floor, Everspace does in fact, contain a non-linear story. Stories in these titles have always been of interest to me and I certainly look forward to spending more time with Everspace.

X16Forza Horizon 3
Developers: Playground Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: September 27, 2016.

Alex Cattani: The upcoming Forza Horizon 3 played like a dream and looked fantastic. The demo kicked off with me haphazardly controlling a Lamborghini Centenario and racing across an open road with three other drivers. An appropriately upbeat soundtrack played throughout, which made me feel like I was playing a commercial. Suddenly, an off-road vehicle careened into view and I assumed control over it. The off road gameplay felt appropriately drifty. It did, however, take me a while to gain a feel for it. Thankfully, the rewind mechanic makes a return, allowing those catastrophic wipe-outs to be undone at the press of a button. Forza Horizon 3’s demo was brief but from what was on display, the third iteration in the respected racing series looks to deliver.

X16Halo Wars 2
Developers: 343 Industries, Creative Assembly
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: February 21, 2016.

Alex Cattani: My time with Halo Wars was equal parts fun and confusing. Not due to poor design, but rather my unfamiliarity with the RTS genre. Though, about halfway through the mode, I picked up the controls and proceeded to have a blast. The mode that I played was entitled domination. The goal of the mode was to capture and hold points on across the map. Base building, unit commanding and more typical RTS mechanics are present. What I appreciated the most was the approachability of the title. I for once didn’t feel totally useless while playing an RTS game.

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