Monday, June 6, 2011

E3 2011: Microsoft Press Conference Impressions

Once again, Microsoft’s press conference kicked off E3 (Konami doesn’t count). The entire show can be summed up as sequels, remakes, and Kinect. Overall, I felt like the show was an improvement over their show last year, but it still felt underwhelming.

The show started with the showing of Modern Warfare 3. Almost immediately, the Xbox controller disconnected causing an interruption to the demo. I’ve never been a Call of Duty player, but I can at least respect the series. Too me, the game looks nice and should please the fans of the series. It didn’t do anything to convince me to get the game, but it appears to be the well made game with that action movie feel. I think it’s obvious it’s going to sell well.

For me, the most interesting demo was the new Tomb Raider game. I know some people aren’t fans of the of it having a gritty reboot, but I think it looks good. It feels like a mix of elements from Uncharted and past Tomb Raider games. The demo wasn’t too long and showed a lot of promise. Consider me interested. There was one small problem I had with the demo though. During the demo, Laura left off a lot of moans whenever something bad happened (which was almost all the time). It made things sound like a type of game they couldn’t show at E3, if you catch my drift.

To no one’s surprise, Microsoft also showed off Kinect in great detail. As for Kinect only games, Microsoft has yet to convince me to buy a Kinect. Kinect Sports Season 2 still reminds me of Wii sports too much. Dance Central 2 looks good, but it looks too similar to the first right now. Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster actually looks like a really good family game for the Kinect. Sure, I doubt many “hardcore” gamers will play it, but there’s nothing wrong with a good family game being made. And on a side note, Disneyland Adventures looks like a waste of time.

Speaking of “hardcore” and Kinect, Microsoft did their best to display Kinect games and features for the “hardcore” audience. Kinect only Ryse, by Crytek, and Fable: The Journey, by Lionhead Studios, both look interesting but I need to see more before I can pass real judgment on these games. In addition, Microsoft also showed optional Kinect functions for Mass Effect 3 and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

Mass Effect 3 will include voice command for dialogue and combat. Judging from the demo, it looks good. If you have a Kinect, I’m sure it’ll add a new layer of interactivity. Ghost Recon showed off using Kinect to customize your weapons. It’s basically a fancy menu system. It looks like it’ll work well. However, I’m not a fan of using the Kinect for the actual shooting of the game. The positioning and motions required just look too problematic right now.

Gears of Wars 3 was shown. Ice-T announced that there would be a “whore” mode (was supposed to say “hoard” mode).

As far as the games are concerned, the last thing I want to touch upon is the Halo series. Around the midpoint of the conference, Microsoft announced Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. Normally, I wouldn’t support the idea of remaking a game from last generation, but I like what they are going with this version. The new version will include online multiplayer and additional campaign content all in HD. This is how you do a remake. You add a bunch on new content for the new hardware.

Lastly, Microsoft ended their show by announcing Halo 4. In fact, they also announced Halo 5 and 6 by saying that Halo 4 would be the start of a new trilogy. This doesn’t surprise me at all, although we’ll have to see how Halo will do without Bungie at the helm.

So overall, I was underwhelmed by Microsoft. None of their games shown were new IPs and time was spent mostly to show off the Kinect with varying success in gaining interest. Heck, the two Halo games weren’t even a surprise since Microsoft’s website spoiled the surprise before the press conference started. At the end of the day, I really wanted to see something new and interesting, and I just didn’t get that.

1 comment:

  1. Microsoft was clearly focused on the Kinect hardware at E3 2011.Though many cried it was like a kinect conference more than Microsoft at Los Angeles' Galen Center, the updates were almost leaked. However, I agree that the Star wars with a kinect touch was fair enough and will work pretty well. Seems these hardcore kinect games were the highlight of the E3 press conference!