Features

Player 2 Vs Xbox Gamescom Showcase 2021

GamesCom 2021 is well underway with Xbox getting the ball rolling hosting their GamesCom 2021 live-stream where they showed off a range of first, and third party titles. Matt and Paul watched the stream and have a ton of thoughts, prompting a new Vs piece. Join them for their takes.

Player 2 Vs Xbox Gamescom Showcase 2021

Dying Light 2: Stay Human

Paul: I’m no Dying Light fan. I really tried with the original, but it just couldn’t capture my interest. I can certainly understand the appeal, but for whatever reason, it just couldn’t make me into a fan, and honestly, this new one, again for as promising as it looks in terms of its disparate parts, just isn’t grabbing me either. Can’t wait for fans to get their hands on it though

Matt: It is well known I am a big Dying Light fan, I loved the original despite a few niggles and this looks like it is going to be everything a fan like me could want from a sequel. The parkour looks like it has gone to the next level and that melee combat…just wow. Throw in the intriguing faction systems the devs have promised and this is day one for me. 

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Paul: They’re speaking to a niche within a niche with this one. The GamesCom platform wasn’t the right place for this update, despite how cool it will look to a portion of the audience. Flight Sim is great, but this didn’t need to be here. It’s a tweet, an Inside Xbox, or even a blog post, but not in a larger scale showcase.

Matt: Flight Sim continues to impress. This update really looked at bringing historical planes to the game and it is clear that the devs are doing everything possible to perfectly recreate these craft. The addition of racing is just another avenue for people to enjoy this technical marvel. 

Humble Games on Gamepass

Paul: Humble has some incredible titles going, and the fact that everything they have is coming to Gamepass is awesome news for the indie scene. From the likes of Dodgeball Academia, to Unpacking (both of which look AMAZING), there’s something for everyone here and I can’t wait to start diving in.

Matt: I just love that Gamepass is becoming such a great location for indie titles to really make a name and get players into their titles. There are some cracking looking games here and the fact that Xbox owners will be able to play all of them on day one with their subscription just means that they should get the attention they deserve. Of this group, the highlight for me was Midnight Fight Express, but I am likely to give all of them a crack thanks to Gamepass. 

Into The Pit

Paul: There’s an interesting Hexen X DOOM look and feel about this one that certainly appeals to me, but I’m not sure that I have enough yet to win me over completely. The game intends to release in a very busy window of time, and I don’t know that it’s doing enough to demand my time be redirected towards it. Who knows though, we may see more and that will change my tone

Matt: I almost rolled my eyes when they said roguelike because man… we have a lot of those. Thankfully the gameplay looked like it could be a blast. There have been a few attempts at this point to bring Doom-style gameplay into a roguelike and none have really nailed it, hopefully Into the Pit changes that. 

Age of Empires IV

Paul: Trebuchets… I think we’ve talked about Trebuchets enough. Super keen on the game though! Can I have it in my Nutri Grain? I don’t buy Nutri Grain anymore, but I can go back for a copy of AOE4

Matt: I like this idea of including the actual history of units in AOE4. I am a big believer in the power of games when it comes to learning and just because a title can educate you, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. AOE fans everywhere were already frothing to get their hands on this one, but now kids will be able to convince parents that it is a substitute for history homework too. 

Xbox Cloud Gaming

Paul: I can’t wait until our network is of a standard that we can properly cash in on all that Xbox is going with Cloud Gaming. The tech is reportedly fantastic, it’s just a shame that the majority of us in the land of Oz won’t get to know that for quite some time!

Matt: The push into the cloud continues and honestly the way MS has approached it makes me smile. The removal of hardware restrictions so people can play the latest games, no matter what system they are on, is a noble goal and one that MS is well on the way to achieving. Of course, internet infrastructure is a big problem but that will change in the future without a doubt. The added cool thing is that this, for Microsoft, is just another way to play, not a separate subscription or program. Just another value add for Gamepass. 

Wasteland 3

Paul: It’s great to see the continued support for the Wasteland franchise. I’ve not tried Wasteland 3, and frankly, I’ve got no good excuse for that, but the value continues to add up with every patch, and expansion that gets added in. Good on you inXile!

Matt: It makes me smile so much that Wasteland seems to be doing so well. This looks to be more great content for perhaps my favourite CRPG of all time. Not for everyone, sure, but for me it is gold and I think it is just about time for a replay. 

Sea Of Thieves

Paul: I made a joke in a certain preview piece coming up about Borderlands appearing in an unnecessary way, only to see it suddenly pop up in Sea Of Thieves… anything is possible people! The continued growth in popularity is fantastic to see, but Rare… Banjo? Please?

Matt: The game that just keeps on improving. Every time I turn around it seems this is getting better and better. Well done RARE you persisted and brought the world a winner. 

State of Decay 2

Paul: I’ve not given State of Decay the love it has deserved up until this point, but I’m continually impressed by the support the game is getting from Undead Labs. That all said, it’s probably time to move on after this next big expansion.

Matt: Despite the jank, I love State of Decay, another franchise that had a rough launch but the devs have continued to improve and refine throughout its life span. The fact they are bringing back the original game’s map is certainly exciting for a fan like me and I can’t wait to check it out. 

Stray Blade

Paul: Tonally this one grabbed me. I want to learn more, despite what little it actually said, and that’s a strong foundation. When can we see more of this one?

Matt: This one is intriguing I have to say, it looks like a cross between Kingdoms of Amalur and Godfall and it has me intrigued. I won’t say I am sold yet, but I am certainly going to keep an eye on it, it could be right up my alley. 

Crusader Kings III

Paul: I’d never heard of Crusader Kings until the third title exploded in positive reviews last year, and now that it’s coming to consoles I’m certainly keen to give it a go. You have my undivided attention!

Matt: Not a straight port thankfully, This version of Crusader Kings has been adapted properly for console play. I played a little of it on PC and It never really grabbed me like other strategy titles. That being said it has thousands of fans so a console port is certainly welcome. 

Psychonauts 2

Paul: Not much to say here. I’m incredibly excited for Psychonauts 2, we’ve already got the review up on the site here thanks to Jess and you should honestly just get onto the game ASAP.

Matt: Honestly, just read Jess’ review and play it. It is available now and the fact I am writing this now means I am not playing it. 

The Gunk

Paul: So we’ll start with the positives before getting to the one negative. The game looks great, and 100% has me keen to start playing, so what’s that negative you ask? IT’S NOT A NEW STEAMWORLD GAME DAMNIT!

Matt: To me this seems like a Playstation game and I mean that in the best possible way. Xbox has long suffered because of the lack of titles such as this, but now with Psychonauts 2 and The Gunk that ship is being corrected. I can’t wait to see more of this one. 

Forza Horizon 5

Paul: I’m no racing game guy but Forza Horizon continues to tempt me in. Forza Horizon 5 looks pretty awesome, and that controller they revealed looks schmick!

Matt: I will just quickly say that this looks fantastic and I will have more to say in a more in-depth piece later today. 

Final Thoughts

Paul: Xbox telegraphed early that they didn’t have a tonne of new stuff to show, rather just updates to known commodities. While I don’t like that, I could respect the constraints here, because that would still mean Halo… until Halo didn’t show up. I was adamant it would (and still could with Opening Night Live just hours away) show up, after letting us down gently with some negative news last week, only to pick us right back up again with a release date a week later – and then it didn’t happen. It’s the one thing that everyone wanted and expected, and while I can understand the rationale if Xbox has in fact taken it to Geoff Keighley, it made their own show significantly less impactful as a result. An average showcase overall, with some highlights, but it ultimately meandered on far longer than it should have, emphasised the wrong things for too long, and didn’t give the spotlight to things that needed more time.

Matt: I think it was a very solid showing from Xbox. In the lead-up, Xbox made it pretty clear that there weren’t going to be any big surprises at this show and that was certainly the case. In saying that, it is hard to be too upset with what they did show. Some great original titles, interesting updates on existing titles and new tech innovations like cloud gaming meant there was something for everyone here. Possibly the only disappointment for me was the fact there was no firm release date for Halo Infinite, but otherwise a solid follow-up to their bigger and flashier E3 showing.