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Forget entertainment, Microsoft keeps the focus on games during E3 opener

Hayden Dingman | June 10, 2014
Microsoft held a press event to mark the start of the E3 gaming expo Monday, and nearly every one of the event's 90 minutes was focused on games instead of hardware.

I hope you've stocked up on Doritos and Mountain Dew--it's going to be a long day for gamers.

Microsoft, as usual, kicked off the 2014 edition of E3 with a bombastic press conference. And, since all of last year's hardware announcements have already come to pass, Microsoft put the focus on games, games, and more games for this year's E3 opener. Ninety minutes of games of games, in fact.

How it went down

Call of Duty might have slipped up with last year's installment, Ghosts. But the franchise is still big enough to lead off an E3 press event. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare was the first game we saw this morning, and it looks... well, not a lot like Call of Duty. Somebody spilled a tall glass of Titanfall/Halo onto this Call of Duty game. Near future, homing grenades, jetpack boots--Advanced Warfare cribs liberally from sci-fi mainstays and competing games.

cod advanced warfare

On the plus side, Advanced Warfare looks very little like Call of Duty. For a series that's been under fire for staid gameplay for years now, that could be exactly what the franchise needs. Also, the sound design is gorgeous.

A brief aside followed Call of Duty's appearance so Forza 5 director Dan Greenwalt could announce a new course, Nurburgring, available for free. Then we jumped to this year's release--Forza Horizon 2. As previously revealed, the game takes place around a music festival in Southern Europe. There's a full day-night cycle, "dramatic" weather, "open-world drivatars," and the game runs in 1080p. I can't say I'm too excited to hear about the continued existence of drivatars--Forza's AI system that supposedly resembles your own driving style and those of your friends. Every Drivatar I've ever seen has been a jerk. Outside of that, though, I'm excited. Look for Forza Horizon 2 on September 30.

xbox one sunset overdrive 4 e3 2014
Sunset Overdrive.

From there, the press event jumped to big games we already knew about but haven't seen a ton of in action--Assassin's Creed Unity, Dragon Age Inquisition, The Witcher 3, The Division, and Sunset Overdrive.

assassins creed unity

Assassin's Creed Unity looks more along the lines of the franchise's roots than ACIV's pirate-themed adventure. Whether that's an improvement or not, well, that's up to you. The big change: this year's installment features four-player co-op for lots and lots of stabbing.

witcher 3 wild hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Dragon Age Inquisition, The Witcher 3, The Division, and Sunset Overdrive all got new trailers and demos, but there's nothing particularly new to report. Dragon Age Inquisition still looks grim and brooding. The Witcher 3 still looks like the best RPG on the horizon. The Division still looks like a polished shooter with incredible graphics. Sunset Overdrive still looks silly and lively. Check out the trailers for more.

 

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