- The Xbox showcase this year packed a punch despite some of the hiccups earlier this year. Several high-profile announcements were made along with interesting details on first-party exclusives.
- Persona 3 Reload was leaked ahead of the showcase but Atlus redeemed itself by presenting a proper trailer for Project ReFantasy, now known as Metaphor: ReFantazio.
- Starfield Direct perfectly relayed the qualities of what has to be the most ambitious RPG created to date.
- Clockwork Revolution revealed for Xbox felt uninspired from an FPS standpoint but it may be too early to form any opinions specifically for that title.
Believe it or not, there was a lot riding on the Xbox showcase and Microsoft was under a fair amount of pressure. One way or another, this presentation had to be solid and there were reasons for that. After all, they’re competing with Sony and the PlayStation showcase was a straight-up disappointment. The failure of Redfall along with the Activision Blizzard deal placed Xbox in a weird spot where it had to show that it was in the game.
The Xbox showcase was the best place to prove that and I’m glad it happened. After last month’s PlayStation presentation and the underwhelming Summer Games Fest showcase, I wanted Microsoft to reveal stuff that would pull me in. Stuff that I would find interesting and fun as a consumer because that’s what matters the most when it comes to video games.
2023 has been filled with tons of leaks and rumors. While we’re only halfway through the year, quite a few rumors have turned out to be true while many remain as mere hearsay. One of these rumors was the remake of Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater, now known as Delta. The next big deal was the remake of Persona 3. With the ongoing partnership between Xbox and Sega, I expected Atlus to reveal some big things at the showcase.
There were definitely parts that didn’t really leave a positive impression and I do have a few problems with the event as well. But overall, this year’s Xbox showcase was filled with unexpected surprises that I believe were positives for the consumer and represented what gaming is all about.
The Strengths Of 2023’s Xbox Showcase
For a while now, I’ve believed Xbox to be a better platform for players than PlayStation from a consumer point of view. The way Microsoft has handled Xbox, the services and offers it has introduced over the years and its commitment to keeping things fresh. There were times when it fumbled the bag but that’s normal. This year’s Xbox showcase proved that this was still the case.
There had been rumors about Fable coming to the modern era and as an RPG fan, I couldn’t help but look into it. Since I never got the chance to play the original Fable back in the day, I was looking forward to this new take on this game that countless RPG lovers held in high regard. Starting out with its reveal at the Xbox Showcase was a power move and the trailer itself was quite captivating.
Ubisoft is also developing a Star Wars game but while I’m looking forward to the gameplay presentation, I honestly don’t know what to think about Ubisoft being the developer seat. The CGI trailer looked good but that’s not gameplay and it’s definitely not indicative of its performance. Fingers crossed for that one. Despite the mixed feelings, anything Star Wars related is definitely a win. I hope it turns out well because Ubisoft has the potential.
Then we have Atlus coming in full force at the Xbox Showcase with the official reveal of Persona 3 Reload. That’s right, the Persona game which put the series on the map in the West is getting a remake. I never thought I’d live to see the day when games from my childhood would be remade with new technology. Atlus has proved itself time and again so I’ve no doubts in my mind regarding the quality of Persona 3 Reload.
There are problems with Atlus and how they handle DLC but I’m just going to try my best and not give much thought to that side of things. Persona 5 Tactica was officially announced as well and it seems that Persona 5 is still being milked. Objectively speaking though, it seems to be a solid SRPG so I don’t have any complaints. After all, each project is building up to the eventual Persona 6.
I said Atlus came in full force and that wasn’t just because of Persona 3 Reload. Project Re Fantasy is finally out in the open as a proper game. Metaphor: ReFantazio is an all-new adventure from the makers of Persona 3/4/5. I just can’t get over how different yet familiar that trailer looked. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been more excited for an Atlus game than now. Revealing it at the Xbox Showcase was a power move.
Avowed is shaping up to be one interesting game. I’ve said it before, I’m not a fan of first-person games and only a select few have managed to pique my interest. Regardless of how Immortals of Aveum does, I found it to be underwhelming and it didn’t appeal to me. Avowed, on the other hand, was the total opposite. Granted, it felt as if the visuals were a bit downgraded at the Xbox Showcase event but maybe that’s just my imagination.
Then we also have Forza Motorsport coming out on October 10, 2023. The racing simulator has always been a popular genre but most of the major franchises have fallen off. Need for Speed is not what it used to be and Gran Turismo is exclusive to PlayStation and delivers a very specific kind of experience. Forza on the other hand offers variety.
While it wasn’t much, what Capcom showed of Kunitsukami: Path of the Goddess was enough to pique my interest. It seems Capcom really is back to being Capgod. Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty was given a release date of September 26, finally. Jusant also managed to catch my eye. A climbing simulator with a rather pleasing aesthetic that’s reminiscent of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus? Sign me up.
What really cemented the showcase as the best presentation thus far was Starfield and I’m honestly glad that’s the case.
Starfield’s Scale Is Massive
The finale of the Xbox showcase was over 30 minutes of nothing but Starfield. Todd Howard’s opening speech led into a presentation that had me sold on this space RPG like never before. It’s worth noting that the combat loop of Starfield seems to be rather simplistic. You have some weapons and you shoot things with them. However, how other aspects of it come together is what I found most fascinating.
With multiple galaxies, systems, and planets, I can’t help but wonder whether it will be on a far larger scale than what we’ve seen before or if it’s going to be similar to Destiny 2 where each planet is restricted to a map of a certain size. I honestly want Starfield to prove me wrong and from what I saw during the Direct at the Xbox showcase, I’m getting the feeling that Bethesda is doing something grand.
The ship customization, character builds & skill trees, and spaceship combat were fantastic. The level of customization shown in that presentation definitely makes the team’s words a lot more believable. After all, if we can customize ships with that much depth and think of them as animals, surely I can make a T-Rex instead of Optimus Prime, right?
I still don’t understand the story side of Starfield and whether it will be as strong as some of the other experiences in the gaming space but the game looks phenomenal. By far the most ambitious RPG project I’ve seen. It evoked the same feeling that I felt when entering Limgrave for the first time in Elden Ring. I pray that the launch of Starfield is successful and that it doesn’t end up as another Cyberpunk 2077.
Weaknesses Of The Xbox Showcase
Nothing is ever perfect and the same goes for this Xbox showcase. Though, there’s not a lot of stuff that could really be considered a weakness. Nevertheless, there were things that I found to be rather uninspired and when it comes to events and having the shock value, it can really make or break a presentation. Unfortunately, this event was a victim of certain leaks which did impact the shock factor a little.
One of the biggest disappointments was the trailer leak for Persona 3 Reload. I have no idea why and how anyone working for a company would pull it off but it happened. Atlus’ official Instagram leaked the Xbox showcase trailer for the remake and Persona 5 Tactica before taking them down. This really brought down the hype for the actual but it had a silver lining—Metaphor: ReFantazio.
Beyond that, there were a couple of games that I have a problem with in terms of inspiration and direction, Clockwork Revolution being one of them. I’ve said it before but FPS games are in dire need of evolution. They’ve been following the same formula and pattern for a long time now and it’s gotten stale. Maybe when more details are revealed, we might see some interesting gameplay gimmicks but as an FPS, it feels dated.
33 Immortals is another title that felt off. Looking at the trailer, it felt similar to Vampire Survivors but only in layout and perhaps combat. I’m not exactly sure what to expect from it aside from the co-op factor so can’t really say much about it. It didn’t stand out amongst the rest for me nor did it leave a lasting impression.
The Xbox Showcase Made Me Appreciate The Platform
After being constantly disappointed by Sony, especially with the last showcase, I was reluctant to get excited about the Xbox showcase. The Xbox platform excels over PlayStation but it lacks the strength of IPs. Sony has iconic names on its side whereas Xbox kind of doesn’t. Perhaps that’s one thing Microsoft should try to focus on but I digress.
A fair amount of games revealed at the showcase are coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one. I may have some reservations about the service but its merits can’t be denied. I’m glad Xbox managed to make this year’s showcase as interesting as it did and I’m thankful for that detailed look at Starfield because I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Looking forward to seeing what Xbox puts out next.
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