Monday, June 14, 2010

Microsoft E3 2010 Presser Recap

So this morning began all the E3 shenanigans back in Downtown LA with the Microsoft Press Conference. As if last night's soft reveal of Kinect was any indication, it was indeed the big focus of the show. Here's the rundown from the beginning:

The show began with a Call of Duty: Black Ops demo (made by Treyarch) as it takes place in the jungle. This is typical Call of Duty action with shooting and crazy setpieces as they play through a helicopter section raining down airstrikes to the ground. Other than that, its a Call of Duty game and its out in November. Microsoft did the smart thing of signing an exclusive deal with Activision to have upcoming DLC for Black Ops and future Call of Duty titles first on the 360 through 2012, which is pretty obvious considering its the lead platform for that franchise.

Next up is Kojima and his crew showing off a clip of Metal Gear Solid: Rising, the first MGS title to appear on the Xbox 360 (still coming to PS3 too). Starring Raiden, this is not just another MGS spinoff as Rising takes things drastically different being more of a third-person action game. Lightning quick action is the emphasis here as well as dismemberment, dismemberment, and dismemberment with things being cut off nice and smooth. MGS Rising should be out next year.

Gears of War 3 was of no surprise to have a demo at this year's presser as Cliffy B and his Epic cohorts show off a section of the game in four player co-op. More Gears is the good thing for some as new the environments are a little more bigger and open to cater towards having four players cooperatively taking down the Locust and the Lambent. Then again, the Lambent seems to have the same enemies, but a little more crazier like the Berserker, but it is going by the story so that's okay I guess. Other than that, it is the same Gears which is coming out on Spring 2011, but at least there's a new mode called Beast to be showed off at the E3 floor this week.

Fable 3 is also out this fall as Peter Molyneux introduced the latest trailer. Personally, I'm not a fan of the franchise and never played them, but I guess its good.

The Halo Reach campaign get shown off for the first time at this show and oh hey, its more Halo now with space combat sequences! Other than that and some new weapons, nothing really new struck out for me during this demo since I also didn't try out the multiplayer beta a month ago. Reach is still out in September and it will be fine if you still like Halo.

The Kinect portion of the conference starts off with the dashboard functionality and media demonstrations. There is indeed neat stuff already with the social stuff like music and movies embracing the whole controller-free environment for Kinect. I think it is more impressive this time around than the last showing of it when it was still Natal. Also, lol at Justin Bieber too. (Why? Ask them...)

Video Kinect seems to work well too even though who knows how many of us will actually use it, but it is nice it is around.

The big announcement for the social side of the 360 is ESPN integration, which is truly dope for sports freaks out there, but then again there's still the actual channel to watch. It is still a nice touch and proof that Xbox is becoming an entertainment device all-around.

Now Kinect games! First up is Kinectimals and it is pretty much Nintendogs with Kinect functionality as I do appreciate the little girl doing the demonstration making the game be what is meant to be.

Kinect Sports is yes, Wii Sports on 360, but Kinect controls do make it more real and better in my opinion as it is another example of casual console gaming being evolved on 360.

Kinect Adventures is also another neat Kinect launch title going through obstacles and having fun with friends, so more casual fun! Yay!

One of the more impressive Kinect games shown in the Microsoft presser is Ubisoft's Your Shape Fitness Evolved. It has a slick presentation and fitness does work with full body motions. If only that Insanity guy was in the game doing insanity as we follow along, then maybe we'll have a way better fitness game, but this is good enough for now.

My pick for Kinect game of the conference is Dance Central because its well dancing and its made by Harmonix (Rock Band peeps). Harmonix finally makes a dancing game that makes dancing more sense than just DDR. The song selections seem good so far and it could be the party starter the rhythm genre needs on Kinect.

Lastly, the new and highly rumored Slim 360 was revealed and actually something I would buy! It has a 250 GB HDD and built-in Wifi as well as Kinect built in, but the best thing is that its out at the end of this week (300 bucks too!!!) (Surprised me!!!) Lucky attendees of the presser got their new slim 360s Oprah style, which was cool for them too.

Well that's it for the Microsoft presser and I think they had a solid showing for what message they are trying to spread for the general audience. They have games for the core audience, but their Kinect launch on November 4 will be the big moment for them whether or not it succeeds. What was demoed here seems more promising to me than last year and the new Slim 360 is a good reboot for the console. Sure, they may have gone too casual to go after the Wii-like audience, but Kinect's motion control is the key difference. It could have been better like more big 3rd party games to ensure your fall lineup will be awesome and a Kinect price (the camera alone). Now its up to Nintendo and Sony to see if they can one up Microsoft with their offerings tomorrow morning.

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