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Xbox One at gamescom: creativity, the cloud and something about Titans

Friday, 23 August 2013 18:10 GMT By Dave Cook

Xbox One’s policies are set and now it’s time to focus on the games. VG247′s Dave Cook plays Titanfall, Dead Rising 3, Forza 5 and learns more about Project Spark to get a feel for Microsoft’s future.

I was going to start this article by re-capping Xbox One’s policy woes to show how the company has come from a sticky situation to having a strong suite of IP in a matter of months. Truth be told I’m bored of it now, and I want to just focus on the games in this piece, because that’s why most of you buy consoles in the end isn’t it?

So let’s just get stuck in shall we?

Titanfall

I’ve never personally witnessed one game impact a trade show so profusely as Titanfall. Every journalist and game I’ve spoken to has said that Respawn Entertainment’s shooter is ‘game of the show’.

Even as I type this there are eight-hour lines in the gamescom public area to get a two-round hands on session. I just walked past a queue of tired, agitated journalists waiting in line to play the game down in EA’s press centre. The Titanfall booth is plastered with more accolade stickers and rosettes than any other game. This game is going to be big.

It’s the best game I’ve played this week, and while you can read my full hands-on impressions and interview with Respawn Entertainment on VG247 next week I couldn’t leave you hanging. I played the game on PC, but it’s also coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360, but I think regardless of platform the core experience is going to impress whoever comes into contact with it.

Perhaps you’ve seen this Titanfall gamescom trailer? None of that footage is bullshit. Everything looks and plays like it does in the video, and that goes for how easy and slick the parkour is, to how fierce the Titan mechs are, right down to how visually accomplished the game looks on the surface.

I played a few rounds on the Angel City map seen in the trailer, and it’s one of the game’s smaller play-spaces. You can navigate the area’s many windows, ledges and rooftops at speed, and perform a wall-run simply by jumping into any surface at an angle, all without a single button press. Hoisting is also automatic, and double-jumping over gaps, while hip-firing down to the streets below, only to score a head shot is simply joyful.

It has the twitch gunplay of Call of Duty, combined with new teamwork aspects such as dropping plumes of magnetic smoke to conceal your allies, or working together to bring down mechs with your anti-Titan weapons. Speaking of which, every so often you can call in an order that sees your Titan hurtling into the map from orbit.

Hearing the words ‘Standby for Titanfall’ then seeing your ride slam into the concrete is genuinely thrilling, but it should be noted that jumping inside the mechs doesn’t make you invincible, as they’re easily defeated by ground troops. You can’t jump, move much slower and are a big target for the other team to hit. It makes sure the balancing doesn’t suffer, and that’s very important indeed.

Ejecting from your mech is also badass, but I’ll go into that in more detail next week. I’m going to stop now as there’s so much more to say and if I keep going I won’t have much of an article left, but I’m seriously excited about this game for the way it shakes up the twitch shooter template and makes it genuinely refreshing one more.

Besides I still have to talk about Dead Rising 3, which is actually really badass. So yes, I hope this was enough of a taster for now. Moving on…

Dead Rising 3

I can’t stand the old Dead Rising games. It was the pressures of the time system that put me off, and while you can activate the clock in Dead Rising 3, I think I’ll be giving them a miss. But this is also why this new game appeals to me so much. It’s the open world setting of Los Perdidos that does it for me, combined with Capcom Vancouver’s wish to see you fuck about in that setting as much as possible.

No really, I’ve just seen a member of the team – as car mechanic protagonist Nick Ramos – combine a Blanka mask from Street Fighter 4 then wear it, giving him the ability to perform the green freak’s crouching punch shock attack, frazzling all the undead around him. He then combined a motorcycle engine and boxing gloves to make a pair of Dragon Punch gauntlets. Ramos then starting punching his way through the horde while screaming “Shoryuken.”

If you were ever concerned that this game has killed off the silly-gene within Dead Rising’s DNA, then don’t be. Seriously, it’s fine and very, very silly. Not convinced, then how about “Jazz Hands”, which are basically big metal gloves with guns for each individual finger? What about combining a chunk of ham and a bottle of whiskey to make a “Spitfire” cocktail? Ramos can then drink it to let him breathe fire.

Combining things is a big part of Dead Rising 3′s fun factor, and you no longer have to be at a crafting bench to tack components together. There are safe zones however, and from there you can re-equip anything you’ve made or found, as well as enlisting rescued survivors to fight alongside you. If you can’t be arsed going back to these areas to get backup, simply use the SmartGlass app to call them to your side.

Speaking of which, the SmartGlass app also doubles as a phone, so you will actually receive calls from quest givers and listen to their chatter through your mobile as if it were a real call. You also have a real-time map, the ability to drop flares from above the city to distract the horde and of course, lay down artillery strikes.

We were told that today’s build was just “weeks old” but it’s already looking fun with an insane number of zombies on-screen at any one time. The frame-rate stuttered often, but we were assured that newer builds have addressed the problem. Either way, it’s a superb technical achievement. The freedom to mess shit up and have a blast without that damn clock has me very keen indeed.

Project Spark

This is one of the most impressive things I’ve seen all week. No really, it’s a very powerful game-making tool for people without the ability to code, and that kind of empowerment should always be applauded. During our session we saw one developer make a level using the game’s simple terrain editor, then dress it up with detailed biome brushes that dropped grass, trees, flowers and much more into the world. Suddenly, that grey, empty space was now a tangible forest world.

The dev then dropped in streams, hills and even an quest-giving NPC. Here’s the point where my mind just blew up inside my skull. Everything in Project Spark can be given a “Brain”, and this determines its logic and reactivity to you, the player. So you can change the demeanour of say, an enemy troll so that it attack you on sight, or shuffles towards you slowly like a zombie. It can be fierce, passive, easily defeated, small, tall, powerful, weak, sad, angry or whatever you want

But when that troll is an NPC you can literally act out how it moves and what it says when you interact with it. We saw the coder moving his arms, dancing a jig and talking gibberish in the room using Kinect’s motion and microphone features. On the screen, his NPC copied him in real-time. Once saved, he dived into the game, approached the troll and it played the recorded motion and dialogue back to him verbatim.

It was insane just how quickly the team were able to make levels that looked better than the output of some studios. The scope is simply unreal. We saw an attempt to re-create Playdead’s Limbo that looked very close to the actual thing. There were turn-based RPGs, top down god sims, air combat battles, puzzle games, a fully-functioning piano and more.

If Project Spark proves popular enough, it could really shake up the games industry, inspire a lot of young minds to become game developers and help forge the next generation of new game creators. It’s genuinely impressive and places so much freedom and creative into the hands of gamers like you or I. This is one to watch for sure.

Forza Motorsport 5

Finally, Turn 10′s Dan Greenawalt talked us through the studio’s aims with Forza 5, and he stated that it was the studio’s most ambitious title to date. I’m inclined to believe him. After all, he commissioned a testing lab that works on ballistic missiles to help the studio test many tire types in order to get the game’s wheel physics feeling as realistic as possible. Greenawalt’s very passionate about cars, I’m sure you’ll agree.

But he’s also a humble chap, and always very aware of what car fans want out of their racing games. For example, he said he felt embarrassed by the fact that very few gamers who pick up racing games actually finish them. He said that while most racers start with slow cars on smaller tracks, and build up to longer, brutal races on long tracks, he doesn’t want Forza 5 to place those restrictions on players any longer.

In career, there are now many event types to choose from that each give you sweet cars from the word go, but if you want to go slower or smaller, you can do so from there. You don’t have to put up with plodding races around easier circuits before you get to the good stuff. It’s all there for you to enjoy in any order you like.

Each of these championships are introduced by the Top Gear team and focus on disciplines like “Rally Sport”, or “Modern Sports” cars. There are 42 of these championships, and because they demand certain car types to enter, Greenawalt confirmed you’ll need about 36 different cars to finish them all, as you can do about two championships with any one car.

The cars themselves aren’t perfect any more. There are paint imperfections visible in Auto Vista mode – which now applies to every single vehicle in the game – and this desire to remove away from pristine, sterile and unrealistic levels of perfection in racing extends to tracks. The team laser-tracked the entirety of Belgium track Spa, so that every crack in the asphalt, every weed growing over the apex and every chipped wall around the track is as accurate as can be.

I wrote some hands-on impressions of Forza 5 here if you want to know more about how it controls, but from a visual perspective the game simply looks stunning at 60 FPS, with dynamic lighting and incredible cockpit view fidelity that should give rise to new levels of immersion. Add to this the game’s Drivatar AI system – which does appear to shake up the way opponents race from what we’ve seen – and you’re looking at a big, absorbing racing experience for fans of the genre.

Xbox One may have had a bumpy ride on the way to Cologne this week, but now that the console’s policies are now set, Microsoft can focus on the games, and so far what I’ve seen is strong. The question is, can the software at hand convince naysayers to look past Microsoft’s gaffes and consider buying the console at launch?

Tell us what you think below.

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11 Comments

  1. Stephany Nunneley

    For some reason the “allow comments” box on this article wasn’t ticked. We usually never check for this because it’s selected by default in the CMS.

    Anyway, I’ve fixed the matter. Go nuts; post something.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. redwood

    TITANFLOP!!!!:D just kidding :P i just had this in my mind every time i read it’s name, just like shadowflop!

    #2 2 years ago
  3. PS4FANB0Y

    Lot’s of good games…

    Forza 5 > Any Racing game

    #3 2 years ago
  4. SlayerGT

    @3 Why?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. PS4FANB0Y

    @4 – Graphics (best I’ve seen), physics (best I’ve seen) and AutoVista is a car fan’s Toy Store.

    Don’t get me wrong, I grew up on Gran Turismo. But unfortunately GT6 is a PS3 game and not PS4 game… so comparing a PS3 game to a Xbox One game is a little tough.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. redwood

    @5 there IS grid 2 running on a high-end PC!

    #6 2 years ago
  7. PS4FANB0Y

    @6 – “Best I’ve seen”… never saw Grid 2 running on a high-end PC.

    But I know PC > Console in graphics.

    Forza 5 > Any CONSOLE Racing Game ;)

    #7 2 years ago
  8. redwood

    @7 http://cdn.styleforum.net/1/1e/1e94947a_Robert-De-Niro.jpeg

    #8 2 years ago
  9. bpd

    Some really good games here. On launch I’m most excited to try Dead Rising 3. Not much of an FPS person, so ill probably hold off on Titanfall. I love the Forza series, great graphics and gameplay, and awesome car customization, but I’ll probably hold off on that till I play some more of Forza Horizon. BUT the game I am MOST excited for from either console is definitely Project Spark. With the videos I’ve seen, I believe people will create amazing games and stories with that software. I know it’s also on win8, but I’m especially looking forward to the kinect and smart glass integration of X1.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. thesnowman

    Not a big multi shooter fan, but Titanfall does look good. Personally looking forward to Dead Rising 3 and Project Spark.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. European

    MS announcing multiplatform games hahaha

    losers xbot and PC beggars

    #11 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]