At the start of September Microsoft kindly invited us along to their Xbox Showcase in London where we were able to get our hands on the new Xbox One X, as well as many game builds from Gamescom earlier this year. Here’s our round-up of the event.
Xbox Showcase gave us the chance to try out the power of the new machine on titles such as Gears of War 4 and Halo Wars 2, showcased in gorgeous 4K, allowing for those who’ve played the games on older hardware to really see the difference. And my God can you. Gears of War 4 looks absolutely gorgeous in 4K, and runs flawlessly. I would have liked to have seen Halo 5 present in 4K at the event, as that seems to be the title Microsoft are pushing the hardest when it comes to 4K for existing titles, but what can you do.
Overall I found that the Xbox One X ran nicely, and seemed to load notably faster. Of course these are optimised demos so they will load faster than a full title, but having said that, every title showcased on the Xbox One X seemed to run and load faster than those presented on the Xbox One S, which can only be a good thing.
We’ve covered our thoughts on Forza Motorsport 7 already, based on both the event and the newly released Demo, but to summarise, it’s bloody brilliant. The game build I had access to was running on PC, which bodes well for the PC release hopefully being a little smoother than that of Forza Horizon 3.
A game I was really happy to get some seat time with was Assassins Creed: Origins, having seen footage of the Gamescom demo I was eager to get my hands on it myself, to see if my rather dulled view towards the franchise over the past few titles could be shifted. I have to say it has shifted my view somewhat. The complete change of time and scenery from the past titles is really refreshing, despite past titles all taking different locations, they all had that same inner-city feeling for me. The new map looks incredible and has a nice blend of tightly packed areas and open land.
The cultural shift is also welcome, and creates a really interesting setting. That’s where the differences end for me however. There’s talk of new combat and new mechanics, but for me it just felt like a different way of creating identical scenarios. The hardcore fanbase are going to love this title. Those who are hoping it might swing them back, still might not be sold on the idea.
The event featured a multiplayer stand for Sea of Thieves, which I was sadly unable to get any time with myself, but watched a good deal, and from how the game looks and judging of the expressions of those playing, it looks to be an absolute hoot. Venturing out on many Pirating ventures, the game give full control to the players, and looks to be a great experience for those with a dedicated group of friends to lose countless hours in sailing the high seas.
I got some time to talk to Jenn McCoy, Director of Marketing for Microsoft’s Mixer platform, about what the streaming service brings to the table against its competition. Those on Xbox will have undoubtedly seen the integration of Mixer into the Xbox’s homepage, yet many are unsure of just what it brings to the table. Mixer allows players to stream straight from the console to the service, even using the Xbox One Kinect for face-cam features, and has an impressively low latency for a streaming service.
Mixer has also introduced “Co-Streaming”, allowing you and up to 3 friends to stream together, allowing you to show multiple viewpoints, or even 4 separate games if you so desire. This is a feature I’ve been after forever personally, as I feel this is something that could really benefit those who play as a team to stream for personal gain, viewed on a computer, this would allow players to see what their teammates are doing at all times, and further their understanding of how each other play. But that might just be the old Halo nerd in me talking. Mixer allows streaming from PC, Xbox and mobile, via the Mixer app.
One of the biggest titles at the event didn’t really have the biggest stand or popularity weirdly enough, and that was PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Now logic tells me that’s because everyone there has also sunk in 40 hours and knows what the game is all about, and there was only one station, but it’s a worthy point none the less. Running on PC, but with a controller, PUBG feels very, very strange when played with a controller, and just seems to have a bit too much going on. Hopefully the control scheme can be refined when the game makes its launch onto the console.
The Xbox Showcase was an amazing event to attend, with a fantastic atmosphere of enthusiastic staff and guests all making the most of the chance to play with the new hardware and upcoming titles. With a lot of exciting titles coming soon, the Xbox One X is sure to be able to showcase its power right from the start.