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Wolf Thoughts: Xbox Showcase 2024

Let’s be honest: The State Of Play from Sony and Geoff Kieghly’s yearly ‘Summer Games Fest’ were less than stellar. While both had some interesting games, general consensus seems to be that they were the weakest, especially Summer Games Fest. So, all eyes were on Xbox and their showcase, with everyone hoping we got at least some decent games announced and did we? Well, I’m happy to say that not only did we get that and then some, I feel Xbox may have had the best show they’ve had in a long while! In fact, general consensus seems to be in agreement as well, with a recent poll by Geoff Kieghly ranking Xbox’s showcase with an A, the highest, I think, the showcase has ever gotten. Do I agree? Personally, outside of two games we’ll get to, I think this was the best show I’ve seen in a while!

The showcase began with a gameplay trailer for the upcoming Call Of Duty: Black Ops 6, the 21st(!) mainline entry into the long-running Call Of Duty franchise. All eyes were on this title, after last year’s Modern Warfare III reboot, which I haven’t played yet, so I’m unsure of how much of a disaster that game was, outside of reviews. What I can comment on is that I’m liking how this entry is taking us to an era we don’t really see much of, which is the nineties, in particular the Gulf War, and I like how the game has this almost Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible movie series vibe going for it, with talks of who can you trust and action set pieces. That is something I do like Treyarch’s Call Of Duty games for; Unlike Infinity Wards and Sledgehammers entries which try to be more serious and grounded in their stories, Treyarch really goes for the Big Budgeted B-Movie vibe, like a 80’s action movie from Cannon Films. Outside of that, graphically it looks beautiful but I do have one complaint: A bit after the showcase, they said that the game will require an online connection, even to play the campaign, in order to stream in the graphics. Now, on the one paw, I don’t mind this as it should cut down on the installation size for the game, but on the other paw? I can see this being a problem for those with less than stellar connections. Hopefully, the dip in quality for those with less than stellar connections isn’t too much but, still, I can see this being a problem for many. Still, I’m excited for this game and the fact that it’s been confirmed to be Day 1 on Game Pass is a huge plus for me! There was a Direct afterwards that delved into more details with BlOps6, but I actually didn’t watch it, so I can’t really comment on it. Sorry.

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But if Black Ops 6 was the appetizer, what came next was the main course as they dropped the first major bombshell of the night: Doom: The Dark Ages. A prequel to Doom (2016), this game looks to take the already fast and fun gameplay of the recent games and brings it to a more medieval almost Hexen-like setting, which already got my attention. I don’t mind futuristic and modern settings for games, but whenever a game comes along with a retro or, in this case, medieval inspiration, I get excited and Doom: The Dark Ages looks amazing. I do like how the combat seems slower paced than Doom Eternal’s combat, which is great as, frankly, I felt the fast-paced combat of Doom Eternal did hurt the game for me in the long run and it’s one I really haven’t gone back and do multiple playthroughs of, like I did with past entries. We also got glimpses of six of the game's weapons, including what appeared to be a lever-action super shotgun, a gun that uses a skull as ammo, some sort of nail gun, and a mace of sorts. But the standout weapon was this literal chainsaw shield that the DoomSlayer can throw and catch like he was Captain America but wasn’t afraid to take a life. There were also some sneak peaks at mech combat and a section which almost reminded me of Star Fox in a way, where DoomSlayer is flying on a dragon and taking on enemies. Overall, this game looks amazing and hopefully we’ll hear more come at this year's QuakeCon!

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We also got new trailers for State Of Decay 3, which still looks good, though no release date was giving, and Dragon Age: Veilguard…whooo boy this trailer did not go over well with fans of the series as it was coming off as an almost James Gunn style trailer then what fans were used to with the series. Personally, it looks fine, but I was never the biggest Dragon Age fan, but I know the series has its fanbase. We then got a look at Starfield’s upcoming expansion called Shattered Space. I’m gonna be honest here, this one? Didn’t really get my attention at all as I was really disappointed with Starfield, even after its numerous patches. To me, the problem with the game is that it’s just not fun to explore, which is a cardinal sin when it comes to RPGs, I feel. When I think of vast alien worlds, I think of stuff like Star Wars or the art of Zdzisław Beksiński. In Starfield, all the planets were barren, lifeless, and, well, dull, to the point where I felt myself falling asleep. Why couldn’t Bethesda develop some really interesting planets to explore? Like, maybe there’s a planet of a glass-like substance or maybe a planet made up of lava that is actually cool to the touch. Sadly, it seems Shattered Space is continuing this as the planet doesn’t look any different then the other ones in the game. They did release an update which brought mods to the game and I already saw people modding Star Wars into it, so who knows? Maybe modders can make Starfield actually fun.

We then got a look at an interesting turn-based RPG called Clair Obscur: Expedition 33, with a story about an expedition trying to stop this painter from painting a number as everytime she paints, everyone that age vanishes. The premise alone actually got my attention and I’m looking forward to checking it out when it releases next year, though it’s one I’m going in with an open-mind as I’m not the biggest fan of turn-based RPGs. This was followed by new trailers for Compulsion Game’s South By Midnight, the upcoming WoW expansion ‘The War Within’ (No joke, I legit thought they were announcing a console port for WoW at first, which would actually be pretty cool) and Diablo IV’s expansion ‘Vessel Of Hatred’, and another trailer for next year’s Fable reboot, which looks gorgeous and I’m honestly looking forward to it. We also got the trailer for a new Life Is Strange which, like Starfield before it, I was not interested in, though in this case it’s because I was never a fan of the franchise in the first place and I admittedly checked out when the trailer played.

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‘Winter Burrow’ looks to be a cute little indie game, as you control a cute little mouse trying to restore their home during the winter. The art style has this almost story-book-like feel to it and, even though it’s another indie crafting and survival game, the premise actually has me interested. It kinda reminds me, a bit, of Don’t Starve, except without the Tim Burton style and dark humor. We will have to wait a bit as the game isn’t slated for release until 2025 though I have the feeling it’ll be worth the wait and, yeah I’ll say it, I’d buy a plush of the main character. There were some other games shown as well, including a new look at the upcoming ‘Indiana Jones And The Great Circle’ from Machinegames, but I don’t want to bore you with details so I’ll just get to the final surprise of the show: A new Gears Of War game is finally on its way! Entitled Gears Of War: E-Day, the game is set fourteen years prior to the original game and sees fan-favorite characters Marcus and Dom returning to fight the Locust Horde. Though no other information was revealed and we don’t have a release date yet, outside of its Game Pass confirmation, seeing as the hype for this game is already through the roof, with many taking to Twitter to show them reinstalling the Gears trilogy, I’m pretty sure people are excited. Me personally? I enjoyed the trilogy, even though I admit that Gears Of War: Judgment is my favorite of the series, and I thought Gears Of War 4 was decent, I am looking forward to this game.

Overall, I really do think Xbox, aside from two games, had one hell of a show this year and I’m really looking forward to getting my paws on these games! The only thing I will admit was disappointing and it seems I’m not alone in this: Where were the Activision titles, especially the Call Of Duty games, on GamePass? Yeah, Black Ops 6 is coming, but I, along with others, were kinda hoping for a shadow drop of the previous entries onto the platform. Would’ve been an amazing way to cap off the show and be a cool mic-drop moment, but I guess we’ll just have to wait for that. Still, no shadow drops aside, if I were to grade this showcase, I’d give it a solid 4/5. It would’ve been a 5 if it did the shadow drop or had a new Banjo-Kazooie game but, hey, what we got was still amazing.

DJ MetalWolf
Author: DJ MetalWolf
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Wolf who loves Heavy metal and video games! My Throne - https://throne.com/djmetalwolf
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