Elisa Melendez

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is described as everything from “video game Christmas” to “ugh, my liver,” depending on what gaming industry member you ask. The event showcases all of the new hotness in games coming this year and beyond. And yesterday’s major E3 press conferences gave us some surprises, revisits of previous announcements, notable absences (hi, Last Guardian), and plenty of spectacle.

Check out a sampling of the highlights and wrist lights from the Xbox and Ubisoft press conferences below:

The Spectacle

Both the Microsoft and Ubisoft press conferences made the audience a part of the show, with wristbands that lit up in various colors and various intensities to match whichever game was being showcased, as this Vine shows.

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Xbox focused on the games, with the trailers delivering bombast, especially in the case of "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare." I think my ears still hurt from that one.

Ubisoft meanwhile punctuated the heaviness of "Far Cry 4," "Assassin’s Creed: Unity," and "Tom Clancy’s The Division" with levity in the form of a mass Just Dance 2015 dance number. The lights, sounds, and smoke machines are what make E3 the biggest spectacle in games, even leading Ubisoft presser host and comedienne Aisha Tyler to comment that it was “like 420 up in here.” If only, Aisha. If only.

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The New

Microsoft recently announced the release of an Xbox One without Kinect, dealing a blow to games that require the sensor (and were relying on it being a part of every Xbox One purchase). In a notably brief moment in the Xbox presser, Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopoulos announced the next installment in the "Dance Central" franchise, "Dance Central Spotlight," coming out September this year.

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The digital-only title will come with ten songs, and you’ll be able to play any DLC song you’ve bought for "Dance Central" games prior for free. Other new games now tasked with selling the sensor include Ubisoft’s "Just Dance 2015" and "Shape Up", a fitness game that actually looks like a sweaty good time.

Ubisoft’s final ta-da was "Rainbow Six: Siege", which replaces the cancelled "Rainbow Six: Patriots." The reveal showed off some multi-player action taking place between a team of hostage-takers and a team of would-be rescuers in a single-family home in suburban Boston.

The objective? To rescue (or capture, depending on what team you’re on) the hostage using a wide variety of techniques and plenty of bullets. Being able to coordinate with the rest of your team to breach a room and plan takedowns was impressive—although I couldn’t help but feel that the hostage was treated much like flag would be in a Capture the Flag mode. By the time its 2015 release date rolls around, we should know more about how all of these pieces fit within the "Rainbow Six" universe.

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The Not-As-New, But Still Pretty Cool

We already knew that "Assassin’s Creed: Unity" was the next installment in the long-running franchise, and that it would take place in 18th Century France during the revolution. The Les Mis jokes write themselves (“Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of hidden blades.”) But the game was serious business.

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At Microsoft, the game debuted its co-op mode, where you can join with up to three other assassins to help take out debauched Marquis (Marquises? Marqui?) in fantastically bloody ways. The gameplay demo ended up looking like a Game of Thrones episode by the end of it, and I loved it—but it would’ve been cool to see a lady assassin as an option.

Slaying in her own way was Lorde, whose dark cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” slickly slithered over the trailer for "AC: Unity" shown at the Ubisoft press conference and reignited my hype flame.

Final Takeaways

• I’m looking forward to seeing some color in my games again. Thank you, "Sunset Overdrive."

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• Could we try having the number of women talking about games or as protagonists outnumber the amount of severed limbs in the trailers? That would rock.

• That being said, one of the women we did get yesterday was Lara Croft. The applause "Rise of the Tomb Raider" received makes me want to believe.

• I can’t wait to get my hands on the ID@Xbox indie offerings, especially "Inside," "Below," and "Cuphead."

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• If more beautiful, heart-tugging games such as "Ori and the Blind Forest" and "Valiant Hearts: The Great War" make it into future pressers, they should start handing out tissues instead of light-up wristbands.

• I want Aisha Tyler to host my life.