Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Xbox One has had a tough few weeks - but let's not disregard it yet.

Didn't take Jo long to make a One-Tan.
-Nerf Now!-

As a Sony gamer, I feel I've done my best to report the news and not be too hard on Microsoft.  Sure, there's a certain amount of schadenfreude-fueled satisfaction to watching them squirm on a thousand tiny skewers for their remarkable hubris - the nuclear sub quote's a great example - but I take no joy in viewing facts with eyes clouded by overweening emotion.

Like most gamers, I feel trying to sell physical media that's "licensed" in the same way digital content is, is total bullshit - but I'm also happy to admit that with the DRM and connectivity requirement removed, the Xbox One has a lot to offer.

It's worth noting that we pay for games we've merely licensed all the time.  If you've ever bought anything off XBLA or PSN (and if not, go play Mark of the Ninja or Guacamelee right now), you've already signed up for half of what we're complaining about, in the One - but Microsoft's assumption that we would go quietly into that same cold night with our physical libraries merely due to brand loyalty was an error (see: the PSP Go).

My buddy Blue called me today to tease me with a midnight launch of The Last of Us which I could not attend (my EB Games location didn't get the requisite 100 preorders, plus exhaustion), and we naturally started talking about the best stuff from the show.  And yes, inFamous: Second Son, Final Fantasy XV and Metal Gear Solid V all look phenomenal - but whenever I start talking about the show with someone, y'know what game I end up hyping for them?

If we're talking about new games - games we didn't know were coming months ago - the Game of the Show so far, for me, is Titanfall - a Microsoft exclusive.  I can't describe the action contained in its trailer and gameplay demo (reminder: find and post that gameplay demo) without getting, well, excited.

This is a game in which you're booking it through a war-torn futuristic landscape as a foot soldier.  You leap from the ground and let off a burst from your jetpack to double-jump, wall-run across the side of a building before jumping off that, and - standing above a battlefield strewn with dashing soldiers and hulking mechs - you look to the sky and call down your Titan.

Two seconds later - wham! - it slams into the earth, its pilot compartment open. Walking up to it, it holds out its gigantic hand and hauls you up into the driver's seat.  Every player has a heavily-armored just-like-the-exosuit-at-the-end-of-Avatar-but-way-more-badass mech to pilot, lumbering along like a walking tank with an eight-foot-long rifle in one huge, metallic hand.

...they have ejector seats.

It's just awesome.  Ryse is gorgeous but un-fun looking, Halo is a known quantity and we still don't care about Kinect - but Titanfall was an incredibly wise investment on the part of Microsoft.  If the game turns out to be everything it could be, this may well be the genuine successor to the Halo/Call of Duty multiplayer experience.

'Course, so may Destiny - but it didn't have Titanfall's wow factor.  Not by a long shot.

So sure - boo, Microsoft!  Boo, you're out-of-touch!  Boo required connectivity and boo DRM for disc-based games - but yay for Titanfall.

It's not over yet.  Microsoft still has months of maneuvering time prior to the One's launch, and the picture may indeed look very different in November.  Xbox fans, I'll offer you the same advice I gave Sony fans prior to their presser; keep hope alive.

In the mean time, yes, Microsoft was doing its best to ignore the elephant in the room, and Sony picked up said elephant and dropped it on the One.  Which, let's be honest - is pret-ty funny!

And Tycho just walks away.
-Penny Arcade-

As usual, Jerry Holkins can be relied upon to provide a considered, long-view perspective on the events, in which he suggests that the Xbox One may simply be the next step in a long conversation that must take place between consumers and providers, on the matter of digital content.

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