With Microsoft’s highly-anticipated first look at next-gen Xbox Series X gameplay done and dusted, we’re left a tad underwhelmed, even a little cheated.
Featuring nothing more than highly stylized in-engine trailers for an unremarkable range of Xbox Series X titles – and a pretty stale joke about the Series X looking like a fridge – the latest episode of Inside Xbox will linger in most people’s minds as a bland affair.
Where exactly was the gameplay, Microsoft?
We should have seen it coming.
The writing was on the wall.
A last-minute hype tweet from Ubisoft revealed that Xbox would showcase Assassin’s Creed Valhalla as an “in-game first look teaser” rather than the advertised gameplay trailer.
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy a good trailer as much as the next person. But today’s showcase was a meager substitution after Xbox made such a big song and dance about treating us to the first look at next-gen gameplay.
Just when you think we’re finally getting into the meat and potatoes of months of drip-fed next-gen info, Microsoft bilks us.
Today’s gameplay reveal elicited none of the promised excitement. Instead, we get more of the same from an industry drunk on holding back information as long as possible. The hype peddlers disappointed us yet again.
Thankfully, the games propped things up – somewhat. Call of the Sea, Scorn, Yakuza: Like A Dragon, The Medium, Chorus, Scarlet Nexus, The Ascent – all these had something intriguing to offer.
And yet Microsoft’s stream also coughed up some oddities that didn’t feel next-gen at all.
Take Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, which, when compared to the trailer for current-gen The Last of Us Part II released yesterday, looks pretty awful graphically.
OK, the game is the work of a third-party studio with a far smaller budget than heavy-hitting AAA outfits. But the pickings must have been mighty slim for Xbox to include the game in a next-gen showcase.
Overall, there’s a sense Microsoft has taken the wind of out its sails with this one.
The good favor and impetus cultivated by the transparent and well-paced Xbox Series X marketing have been lost in the void of a mis-sold event.