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X14 Game Previews

Sept 15, 2014

By Daniel Barron, John Powell - G4 Canada

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Hands-on gaming is what Microsoft's annual X14 event is all about. G4TV had the opportunity to peruse the show floor and here our impressions of some of what we were able to get our hands on.

X14 Hands on gameplayThe Evil Within

The Evil Within is being heralded as the return of survival horror, from Shinji Mikami, the man responsible for the Resident Evil series. Sure enough, after playing a demo of the game at X14, it's staggering just how similar it feels to the first few Resident Evil games.

The level I begin in is much later in the game. I start outside in a wooded area, and end up in a mansion-like facility that's full of creepy pictures, dark rooms, and traps galore.

I'm not going to lie, though - I played on the third-hardest difficulty, and I died, a lot. I wouldn't call the controls quite "tank-like," but your character isn't exactly an acrobat with Navy SEAL training.

Sure enough, ammo is at a minimum, and there are plenty of enemies that don't hesitate to kill you in a moment's notice.

To be honest, I'm downright overwhelmed starting the game so late in the story, knowing little of the controls, and not opting for the "casual" difficulty. There are a few legitimate scares, and I'm creeped out by more than a couple of moments, but it's all lost on me a bit because I'm so busy trying to figure out the controls and stay alive.

I'm a huge Resident Evil fan, and as such, I'm thoroughly intrigued by The Evil Within, especially considering what a huge misstep Resident Evil 6 was. I'm ready to be scared again, and to be challenged again. Here's hoping this title can answer the call.

X14 Hands on gameplayForza Horizon 2

It may have been easy to miss the original Forza Horizon when it came out in 2012 simply because it was released during a busy holiday season, and some people may have thought it was a poor man's version of the non-Horizon Forza series.

It was, in fact, spectacular, and the sequel that's due out in mere days looks to expand hugely on the open world Forza Horizon series.

During my demo of the game, I see just how truly open world this game is. Players are able to go virtually anywhere on the map, and won't be impeded by things like bushes, fences, or otherwise. Draw distances are impressive, and the areas I'm taken around France look beautiful.

Of course, a series like Forza is all about the cars, and developer Playground Games has announced that Forza Horizon 2 will launch with 210 cars, with everything from subcompacts, to rare supercars, to offroading pickup trucks being included.

I legitimately can't wait for this game to launch. It looks to be more biased toward the casual gamer compared to its predecessor, but I'm more than okay with that. If I need to take to the track and tweak race cars to the nth degree, I'll pop in Forza 5.

X14 Hands on gameplayMortal Kombat X

One of the gaming world's goring series returns in 2015, and Mortal Kombat X looks to take advantage of the next-gen horsepower of the Xbox One to make for what looks to be the nastiest MK entry yet.

Eight players are available in the demo on the floor at X14, including four returning fighters and four brand new entrants. I spend time playing as Raiden, as well as Cassie Cage, the latter of which is the child of series stalwarts Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade.

Anyone who played Mortal Kombat 9 will be instantly at home here, as much of the gameplay is very similar, and includes features such as the Super Meter, X-Rays, and of course, fatalities.

The biggest change is that every character features three different fighting styles, focusing on things like ranged weapons, melee attacks, and more. I like this addition, as it's sure to keep players from becoming too predictable.

I'm rarely shocked by gore in any medium, but even I find myself cringing and applauding moves that I witness. Just like in Netherrealm's other recent fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, players can use the environment to their advantage. At one point, I actually see an innocent old woman used as a weapon, then left in a bloody heap on the ground.

Some of the x-ray moves in MKX are more vicious than fatalities in MK9 (seriously!), and I can't help but laugh at one of Cassie's fatalities. She uses a gun to shoot a hole in her downed opponent, then sticks the gum she's been chewing over the hole. The blood and air exiting the hole then results in a bubble being blow from the gum. Offensive, hilarious, and - dare we say it? - quite creative, all at the same time.

So far, Mortal Kombat X looks to follow the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it too much" philosophy, and I'm more than okay with that.

X14 Hands on gameplayLego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

You are The Batman...again. This time around there is one major noteworthy change to the gameplay. All of the special suits and characters in Lego Batman 3 are available to you on the fly. No more having to visit docking stations or stores or other hubs to access what you want.

Like Lego Marvel Heroes, you will play as heroes and the villains in attempt to stop Brainiac's dastardly scheme of taking over the universe using the power rings of the Green Lantern Corps.

In the level we were able to play through, we, as Batman, defended the Justice League's Watchtower from an attack by The Joker. Soaring in the Bat Plane, we collected missiles to take out The Joker in his whirlybird.
In the second part of the mission, we fought baddies as we spacewalked outside but on the circular Watchtower as The Flash, Cyborg and Batman in a 3D not flat environment.

It was very impressive to see the shift away from the usual level design and to be able to turn Cyborg into a huge Transformer-like version of himself. With more changes promised in the latest chapter of The Dark Knight's Lego adventures, we cannot wait to experience the entire package.

X14 Hands on gameplayFable Legends

Fans of the time-honoured Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game will be excited about the new direction Lionhead Studios has taken the latest installment in the Fable saga. It should be no wonder as the creative director once worked for D&D publishers TSR Hobbies and Wizards of the Coast. That's some mighty impressive pedigree in the RPG world.

Like a game of D&D, in Fable Legends the characters/players face-off against the Dungeon Master in a co-operative experience. The Dungeon Master masterminds the quest itself and the elementary actions of the enemies with points they are allotted or earn. The character players can level up, customize the heroes and play mini-games.

A member of an adventuring party, we played through a short scenario traversing through a lush forest and encountering all manner of nasty baddies controlled by a developer subbing as the DM. My character was a an archer who could charge up his shots and take out those pesky distance enemies. He was a bit weaker when it came to close quarters combat.

All in all, our party bumbled along finding our way, took down some nasty beasties while the DM cackled in the background. It was a satisfying experience, we reserve judgment though until we are able to play both sides of the equation and check out the full game which includes a home base village.

X14 Hands on gameplayAlien: Isolation

A very curious entry. As Ripley's daughter, you sneak and creep through a space station that has been attacked by a solitary Xenomorph (Alien) that apparently cannot be killed but can be distracted. Armed with a tracker, you progress through the station hiding in lockers, grates, cabinets; ducking and prowling along carefully as to not alert the ever-watchful Xenomorph.

Although we only played through a part of a level, the game definitely had us on the edge of our seats, especially when the tracker went off in the absolute silence of a room. It is certainly nerve-wracking having to clamber along, looking over your shoulder for any sign of the Xenomorph.

We are not sure how an entire campaign would play out, if the stealth gameplay would ever wear out its welcome but we are itching to find out.

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