Player 2 Vs Xbox Partner Preview March 2024

Player 2 Vs Xbox Partner Preview March 2024

In what was something of a surprise, Xbox had another showcase this week, this time, to showcase a range of third-party and independent titles coming to the platform through 2024 and beyond. Player 2 editors, Jess Zammit and Paul James combed through everything that was on show during this showcase to render their verdict in this new Vs feature!

Unknown 9: Awakening

Jess: This was not even a little bit on my radar until now, and damn – what a way to start the show. I feel like I’m going to spend the next week deep diving into the world of this game, because the website has a whole suite of supporting stories and content to go with it. Also – we always love a female protagonist. 

Paul: The Assassin’s Creed x Dishonored vibes are strong with this one, and I’m right here for it. I remember the reveal a few years ago, and the feeling of intrigue but also discontent over the lack of information shared – this showing however gave me all I was looking for in a bite sized trailer. It’s not what I would have picked to come from a Bandai-Namco published title, but they seem to be onto something pretty cool here

Sleight Of Hand

Jess: Witchcraft! The art style! More female protagonists! I want to know so much more about this game, and can’t wait for New Zealand-based devs RiffRaff games to give us some more details. 

Paul: The fact that the trailer was CG-only was a bit of a downer, and certainly curbs my excitement levels a bit, however, the trailer itself was really cool and ensured that Sleight Of Hand remains on my radar at least until it is next shown. Curious to know what makes it a “Hard Boiled” third-person stealth sim though.

The Alters

Paul: The Alters was one of the most fascinating titles of this showcase. I can see Fallout Shelter-type management, layered with a range of other really engaging systems including the ability to create alters of yourself, fresh with unique quirks to each alter that will always keep you on your strategic toes. I’m so keen to learn more about this one.

Jess: Fascinating is exactly the right word for this one. I love everything it’s trying to do – there are elements of psychology and study of the human condition, choice and consequence, and with resource management mixed in. It also looks visually impressive. Basically, I can’t wait.

Creatures Of Ava

Paul: Creatures Of Ava looks like my kind of quaint, beautiful and serene but also choc full of gameplay systems that are really fun to play with. I’m buying all that Creatures Of Ava is selling and with a launch year of 2024, I’m keen to check it out again nice and soon.

Jess: Just seeing Rhianna Pratchett involved makes this one exciting in my books, but that coupled with adorable creatures and what little of the soundtrack we heard in that trailer makes this one very appealing. Like Paul, I am fully on board.

Griefville Survive The Nightmare X Chucky Roblox

Paul: Roblox is crazy popular, and yet I think the core market of gamers are largely in the dark when it comes to the game. I only know enough to know that the game isn’t for me, and so a Chucky crossover holds no water with me.

Jess: The kids are gonna love this in the way they loved Five Nights at Freddy’s. But I am not the kids.

The Sinking City 2

Paul: In a million ways, this game shouldn’t be happening, but for Frogwares to overcome the challenges of a war playing out in their backyard to get to work on a new game is phenomenal. The Sinking City had loads of potential and this sequel could be where they tap into the possibilities in full. Consider my interest piqued

Jess: Well, this looks creepy as hell, as would be expected. Considering the first game is described as an ‘adventure and investigation’ title, it’s frankly weird that I haven’t played it yet. Maybe that should change before the sequel gets closer to release – not that this trailer revealed much about what it’s going to be like!

Final Fantasy XIV Online

Paul: I so desperately wish I had the time to jump in. That mountain to climb though is just so large now. Maybe before the year is out I’ll get started on a Realm Reborn and we’ll see how things go from there.

Jess: Ah, looks like it’s time for me to go through my bi-annual ‘hey maybe I should get into FFXIV’ phase. It always looks like so much fun, I just know that I lack the commitment.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R Original Trilogy

Paul: I was really intrigued by S.T.A.L.K.E.R when it first launched, but also it was on PC so I noped out. Finally, out of nowhere, the original games are now on consoles and that changes everything. Sign me up.

Jess: When this series was first around, I was too much of a chicken for horror games. Now I am… less… of a chicken, but my backlog is so big that I think this one is going to be lost on me again. Visually it looks pretty good? But I can’t really speak to how it compares to the original.

Monster Jam Showdown

Paul: While Monster Jam Showdown looks good enough, it’s not something that I’ll be playing unless I find myself in a circumstance where the game is on elsewhere and I pick up a controller and join in. Otherwise, nah, I don’t have time for it.

Jess: This is not a game I’m ever going to seek out, but if someone sat me down in a room and asked me to play it, I know I’d have a good time.

Persona 3 Reload Expansion Pass

Paul: There’s enough Persona to get through as it is, and now you’re tossing a giant expanion at us? Atlus doesn’t want me to ever access this franchise, do they?

Jess: I don’t have time for Persona 3 Reload as it is, let alone factoring in an expansion pass. But I do kind of love the weird giant snowman Pokemon dudes in the trailer.

The First Berserker: Khazan

Paul: The First Berserker looks great, but it reeks of Soulsborne inspiration and that in this current gaming climate, there’s no word more likely to push me away than Soulsborne. No thanks.

Jess: This trailer also told us very little, but it told us enough for me to say this is absolutely not my type of game, but I do love this art direction.

Tales of Kenzera: Zau

Paul: Everything about Tales Of Kenzera: Zau speaks to me – from the gameplay pillars, to even the cultural inspiration. My worry is that the Metroidvania market is feeling satiated after Prince Of Persia, but hopefully quality wins out.

Jess: I don’t need to see any more trailers for this – I’m already sold. I just want to have it in my hands already!

Frostpunk 2

Paul: I was really into the original Frostpunk, but never found the time to give it a go. This sequel is looking to up the ante significantly, and I’m right here for it. 

Jess: Ah Frostpunk – another one that sits in my backlog. The sequel does look great though – and it’s coming so soon!

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess

Paul: I’m not crazy about this game, but I’m not against its existence either. Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess feels like Capcom experimenting with ideas and new IP, but not feel like it has anything distinctive that will help it to stand out. Maybe we’ve just not seen that element yet, but I think I need ot see more before I’m really sold.

Jess: This definitely looks like a Capcom game. I’m intrigued by the art style of the UI more than anything, even though it only appeared briefly. The game itself seems to be an interesting blend of genres, but still probably won’t be one for me.

Final Thoughts

Paul: I’m glad Xbox is embracing the Nintendo Direct model further, and while this showcase wasn’t full of bangers, it was a great starting point for the company as they try to make a platform for their partners. There are quite a few games that I’ve taken interest in, but there was nothing new that took my breath away. A good, but not great showcase, but a great foundation for more in the future.

Jess: Overall, the showcase was… fine? Nothing to write home about. The highlight for me was The Alters, for sure – I can’t wait to know more about that. Creatures of Ava is undeniably charming at first glance too, and I need to see gameplay footage for Sleight of Hand. It was a fun mix of titles, and I do hope Xbox continues with the trend of doing these semi-regularly.