Monday, 4 June 2012

E3: Microsoft Conference Summary

So the Microsoft E3 conference is over for another year, but was it any good? Well, if I'm being honest, although there were several games that look fantastic, the huge focus on services and apps was a bit of a letdown. Even Trey and Matt, the creators of South Park, made a little dig at this!

I also Tweeted live throughout the stream. It was the most amount of Tweets I've ever sent out in a a two hour period! If you wish to see all my E3 tweets, then be sure to follow @8_BitGirl on Twitter.

The show opened with a rather glossy and action packed trailer for Halo 4. The trailer seamlessly blended into some gameplay footage, which showed off some new guns and enemy types. The visuals seem to have improved significantly since Bungie's final Halo offering, Halo Reach, whilst many fans will be pleased to welcome back Master Chief once more. 

After some exciting and rather impressive Halo 4 footage, Splinter Cell: Blacklist was revealed. The visuals seem to have improved significantly since the previous Splinter Cell offering. The gameplay demo showed Sam pulling off some Assassin's Creed-esque moves and assassinations, which was a welcome change. 

Microsoft then introduced Fifa 13 and Madden NFL 13, which have both been integrated with Kinect functionality. Joe Montana made an appearance to show off how Kinect can be used in Madden NFL 13. If you like swearing at the referee...then it looks like that may be a possibility in Fifa 13!

After this, the obligatory "game trailer with dubstep" section came along in the form of a trailer for Forza Horizon. Forza Horizon was confirmed as an open world racing title that appears to embrace street racing this time around. 

A very brief but promising trailer for Gears of War: Judgement was shown, a game that takes place 14 years prior to the first Gears of War. It's nice to see Baird (definitely one of the best Gears characters) become the main focus of this upcoming title too. 

Fable: The Journey showcased a flashy trailer which unfortunately lacked in actual gameplay footage. Instead we were shown a clips of the player prancing about in front of the Kinect more than anything, but the trailer did reveal that the game is getting a late 2012 release, probably in time for Christmas. 

And now came the dull period of the whole conference-the services and apps section. Micorosoft placed a huge emphasis on the entertainment side of the Xbox 360 console, and it's Kinect functions more than games this year, and although it was new information, it didn't make it any less boring. First up the director of marketing talked about new services coming to the apps section of the dashboard. Now console owners will be able to download and watch services such as Nickelodeon, Mechinima, and Paramount. NHL and NBA services are also being expanded.

Xbox Music was a new service that was unveiled today. In a move that potentially sees us all kissing goodbye to Zune, Xbox Music will provide over 30 million music tracks, and will also work on Windows 8, tablets and phones. 

Without allowing us to pause for breath, Microsoft hand it over to Nike, who promise that the Kinect is the "future of fitness." Nike Fitness Systems is another fitness style game which will attempt to shape up those looking to get fit. Whilst it looks like it could be quite a good workout, I don't think I agree with the Matthew McConaughey lookalike (aka the Nike presenter) stating that, "if you've got a are an athlete." Not everyone is built to be one!

So, back to the services. Xbox SmartGlass is revealed, which allows for your entertainment experiences to be switched back and forth seamlessly between devices. The presentation showed Game of Thrones being viewed on the Xbox 360, whilst the viewer looked at a map on their tablet which showed the exact position in the Game of Thrones world this particular scene was on. Thankfully they didn't spoil any of Game of Thrones (I was he mentioned how good the season two finale was), as I know plenty of us wouldn't have been impressed!

Speaking of spoilers though, a pretty spoiler-heavy Prometheus clip was broadcasted during the Internet Explorer introduction. Yes, Internet Explorer is coming to the Xbox 360 shortly, allowing users to browse the internet from their consoles. The presenter also took this as an opportunity to show off the Bing search engine on the Xbox 360 and try out some Kinect voice-activation searching. 

My attention dwindling (and judging by Twitter...many of yours too), I was itching for some more gameplay footage. Thankfully, we were back to some interesting stuff again when Tomb Raider, definitely one of my most anticipated games right now, was introduced. Poor Lara, like the trailers, the incredibly fluid gameplay footage showed her being more battered and bruised than ever before, and the action was reminiscent of the Uncharted series. We were shown Lara using her bow and arrows, falling from great heights and confronting plenty of enemies. The action looked amazing, whilst there is a definite cinematic and epic feel about the game. Tomb Raider looks refreshing, exciting and just what the long-running franchise needed.

After this, we were shown off some brief trailers for Ascend: New Gods, Lococycle and Matter, before XBLA title Wrecketeer was demoed on stage. Sporting some dodgy Scottish accented characters, Wrecketeer sees players using catapults to create devastation. In other words...Angry Birds for XBLA

Noew another highly anticipated game took the stage when Capcom introduced some brand new footage of Resident Evil 6. Focusing on the Leon Kennedy section of the game, the gameplay demo showed Leon battling his way through a zombie infested city, flying a helicopter whilst shooting the undead, and a series exclusive...running AND shooting. The graphics are looking brilliant this time around, whilst there was some brilliant cinematic set-pieces shown off. Also, traditional zombies are making an appearance once again!

Resident Evil 6 is swiftly replaced by South Park: The Stick of Truth which was announced by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. True to form, the guys ditch the auto-que for a dig at Microsoft and their huge reliance on integrating technology, Kinect and entertainment features before they go on to talk about their upcoming game. South Park: The Stick of Truth features a "distinctly crappy South Park look" which will make players feel like they are playing an episode of the popular South Park series. You play as the New Kid, who is trying to make it as the 5th member of the gang. It looks set to be a hilarious game, with plenty of Trey and Matt humour, so keep an eye out for this one!

And rather predictably, Microsoft's conference is closed by Black Ops II. Sporting an action packed and rather impressive gameplay demo, unfortunately it seemed to go on for a bit too long...but perhaps by this point my brain was in information overload, what with all the talk about apps and services.

So there you have it. What did you think of Microsoft's E3 announcements? Voice your opinions in the comment section!

My Top 5 Games from Microsoft's E3 Conference:
Tomb Raider
Resident Evil 6
Halo 4
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Splinter Cell: Blacklist

1 comment:

  1. i'm really looking forward to Forza and the new South Park game. not sure what i think of the internet explorer or the glass thing.


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