Kinecting With the Games You Love
Oh man, today has been crazy crazy crazy! Microsoft and Apple were doing conferences at the same time, EA and Ubisoft have done their press conferences, and Sony is in its super-long 5 hour conference as of publishing. I think at one point, I thought that Halo 4 was coming to iOS. So alright fangirls and fanboys, get kinected to my review of Microsoft’s E3 press conference!
Modern Warfare 3 Demo
Nothing’s more frustrating then rocking a nice kill streak in multiplayer only to have it end by a disconnected controller. I know the pain… anywhoozle, It seems like tradition at this point for Microsoft to start off its press event with the biggest game franchise running today, Call of Duty. Whether you’re still giddy with joy for CoD or your interest in the series has waned like mine (or maybe you don’t care at all), Modern Warfare 3 is going to be a big deal when it comes out November 8th. The gameplay demo shown by @fourzerotwo shows off the SEAL team underwater bombing a sub which rises to the surface. As the player swims up to the top, you see a New York City that is in the process of being devastated by attacks. The Call of Duty franchise has always been sensational in designing these set pieces and really adding that extra oopmh to level design; it will be intriguing to see these levels with MW3 riding the whole concept of World War 3. Nothing new is shown off here in the trailer, which quite frankly is the problem. I’ve bought Call of Duty games ever since CoD2, but this is the first time in the series that I lack excitement and am actually looking elsewhere (Battlefield 3) for my fix of Modern Warfare. There’s still a ways to go, still a lot of multiplayer stuff to show off, so we’ll see what other tricks Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games has up their sleeves.
*Note: The Call of Duty Elite Beta program kicks July the 14th.
Tomb Raider Demo
I’ve really been excited for the new Tomb Raider ever since a feature appeared on the Game Informer magazine, and the demo shown off at E3 was really impressive. It starts off with Lara being hung upside down, almost in a cocoon-like state as she tries to wiggle her way out and shows just a couple of the techniques she’ll be using in a game that has ambitions of being reliant on the element of survival. We see a younger Lara take a hard fall and have to pull a bone out of her stomach that she fell on and we see scary guys grabbing her by the legs and her having to kick free; Lara is going to go through hell unlike never before. The demo showed the survival element really well, with a dark cavern environ, Lara soaking wet and damaged/bloodied, and water drops covering the screen as you try to get Lara to someplace safe. Lara also has a survival vision that can highlight key areas and items to progressing forward. The game will have the occasional Quick-Time event as we saw in a couple spots, especially with her crawling towards the light. I’m thouroughly impressed by what I saw and cannot wait for next year when I can play it. If you haven’t played Tomb Raider before, make this your second game! (your first should be Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, a fine downloadable game)
*Note: If you only heard the audio of Lara in the demo, you might mistake this game for some porno. Sexy~
Mass Effect 3 – Voice Functionality with Kinect
While the date of March 6, 2012 was announced at EA’s Presser, Mass Effect did appear at E3 showing off the functionality with Kinect. ME3 is very well known for its conversation tree and many different options to approach conversation. With Kinect, you’ll be able to speak the lines you see on the screen and even issue commands to your squadmates while in battle. “Liara: Singularity”. The one issue with going through the conversation tree is that what’s written on the tree isn’t exactly what your Commander Shepherd says; there’s going to be a bit of a diskinect with your character when they don’t say the same thing. You might as well just go “Shepherd: A”. I will really like issuing squad commands with Kinect since assigning squadmates to tasks involves pausing the game and usually breaks the flow of battle. I’m scheduling March 6th off work!
*Note: An N7 Collectors Edition has been announced for $79.99.
Ghost Recon Future Soldier – Kinect Support with New GunSmith Mode
Ubisoft appeared on stage to show off how Kinect can make Ghost Recon Future Soldier better, and I have to say, I liked what they showed. GunSmith looked awesome as the demo showed how the use of hand gestures can take apart a gun and how voice commands can identify specific parts of a weapon with many customization options available. They also showed off what I believe to be the first real instance of seeing a hardcore shooter utilize Kinect. The guy grabbed the gun from behind his back and was put into a shooting range. The motion is strange at first as what the guy was doing wasn’t really comparable to holding a gun, but if anything, it shows off potential for on-rail shooting games for the 360. All future Tom Clancy games will utilize Kinect, so when H.A.W.X. 3 comes out, prepare to use your arms to soar like a bird in the skies!
Xbox Dashboard Update
First of all, I’m sick and tired of that Killers song. Secondly, I hate that cover they play even more! Music rage aside, Xbox 360’s latest dashboard update will feature more Kinect voice-enable options than before. Xbox Games, Video and Music were a couple items shown off. Also, Youtube and Bing are making their way to the 360. What I do like about Bing being on the 360 is how the trailer showed the ease of searching for a movie and being able to play it. I’ve spent many a time going the long route to find DLC, and using Bing to speak the commands could go some way to finding what I want faster. I also do like the new redesign of the dashboard as I never came to like the Fall 2010 version of the dashboard. Also folks, go see X-Men: First Class. It really is in my opine the best X-Men movie in the series.
Xbox Live TV
In addition to Hulu Plus, ESPN and Netflix on 360, Xbox Live is going to be bringing us some Live TV programming, with one screenshot showing ABC’s “Castle” and UFC president Dana White showing off the “UFC on 360″ channel which will broadcast fights and allow players to predict outcomes and such. I also saw an item for DVR, meaning that not only can we watch, but record. I’m really anxious for this to take shape as I’d love to cut off cable service and just rely on internet access and the 360/PS3/rest of internet to get my dose of programming. I do wish Crunchyroll would take part in something like this. That’d be awesome to watch the latest anime on it.
Gears of War 3 Demo
“U know dey ain’t safe.” – Ice T
When has Marcus and Co. ever been safe, really? Gears 3 is aiming to be the biggest and baddest of all the Gears games yet, thanks in part to a successful beta run which hopefully will work out some kinks in time for the game’s release. The demo shown at MS’s event showed off the COGs going up against a huge, tentacle-raepy Leviathan monster that got its right eye filled with lead. We also saw the new Silverback mechs that the COGs can ride, and while we didn’t get a great view of what the Silverbacks can do, we did see Marcus use it as cover in the demo. I myself have never been a fan of the multiplayer, but I’m damn anxious to play the campaign mode as everything I’ve seen so far looks, well, epic. Ice T announced the reunion of his band Bodycount for a song about the Horde Mode, and I speak for all of us when I say… please no.
Crytek (they make Crysis) is bringing a medieval, kinect-controlled action game to the 360. If you’ve seen the iOS game Infinity Blade in action, this looks a lot like it as you’ll trade blows and try to dodge and parry attacks. It looks really nice and I loved Infinity Blade, so I’m looking forward to this one.
Halo CE Anniversary
There’s been rumors floating around for quite a while about this, and as the first Halo game is close to its 10th Anniversary, the Xbox 1-launch title will get a remake, built on the Halo Reach engine, for the Xbox 360 on November 15th. Not only will the game sport updated visuals, but it will also bring online co-op to the game and multiplayer with some of my most favorite maps in all of the Halo games. Blood Gulch is of course famous from Red vs. Blue, and Avalanche is another map I really really enjoyed when me and friends were hanging out and screenwatching each other. Also of note, for those with Reach, the Halo 1 maps will be made available to download.
We saw Forza 4 at Microsoft’s press event last year, and I was really impressed by the Kinect functionality of walking around your car and getting a look at it. They showed the usual car pron with 80 different manufacturers, 16 player online multiplayer, and gave us a release data of October 11th.
Fable: The Journey
Peter Molyneux came up, and while he didn’t show Milo we see even better, a new Fable game with Kinect functionality. I mentioned on-rail shooting in my impressions of Ghost Recon, and Fable: Journey does just that as the player was using hand gestures to use magic on enemies, and even rubbed his hands together to charge up a blast that took out a bunch of creatures. It surely doesn’t look like a main entry in the Fable franchise, so only the most hardcore of Fable fans will get excited for this.
Minecraft is some kind of phenomenon. Tons of people (including Fosh) are playing it, and we’ve seen cosplay of it in some of our recent Anime Con posts here at Metanorn, so the quick little announcement of Minecraft coming to the 360 with Kinect support was a pretty big surprise. I’ve never touched Minecraft before, so maybe I’ll get started on making stuff when it comes to 360.
Kinect Disney Land Adventures
This is the beginning of the “USA Today, write about how we’re family friendly!” portion of Microsoft’s press conference. Another slue of Kinect content took over for a while at Microsoft’s event, as games like Disneyland Adventures and more were shown off. In Disneyland, they showed off 2 kids flying along with Peter Pan and another couple of kiddies playing an Alice in Wonderland stage as though they were Monkey Ballin’ it. Those kids are fakes, right?
Kinect Star Wars
Star Wars has you yelling, “Lightsaber, ON!” and more on-rails as you attack droids and swing your lightsaber. They also showed the force grab ability, but I would’ve like to see a little more variety with the lightsaber, namely a moment in the trailer where you might have to deflect laser shots. Can be fun since it’s Star Wars, but I’d like to see some more of this.
Once Upon a Monster
You know that guy who made Brutal Legend and Psychonauts? Yeah, he (Tim Schafer of Double Fine) is making a game starring Elmo and Cookie Monster. The demo shown off looks really cute and the presentation value is really quite good. I’m sure it’ll be a great family game to play on Kinect.
Kinect Fun Labs
There have been numerous reports of Kinect Hacks finding new ways to play games. While this isn’t exactly the same thing, Kinect Labs is available now to take a look at. Kinect Me is a really impressive app that scanned my face and body to make a Kinect Avatar representation that actually looked like me, even with my Vancouver Canucks t-shirt and blue shorts. I did a photo shoot, and might have to repeat to upload pics later on.
Kinect Sports Season 2
Back for some more sporting action, Kinect brings Skiing, Baseball, Golf, Darts, Tennis and Football. The demo showed off the voice functionality of changing golf clubs and calling a play in Football and using your arm to throw. I only checked out the demo for the first iteration of Wii.. excuse me, Kinect Sports, but now with Football in the mix, I might consider picking up Season 2.
Dance Central 2
I was a fan of the first Dance Central game because of how precise it had Kinect capturing player motions while dancing. Dance Central 2 will be a much more complete game, as it has voice controls, a campaign mode and multiplayer dancing. The first game didn’t have simultaneous MP, so I think this’ll be fun to have for a party and dance to songs by Usher, Ke$ha, Katy Perry and whoever else. I’ve loved Harmonix dating back to Amplitude and Guitar Hero 2 up to their Rock Band series, so pretty much by default, I’m onboard with anything they do. Just Dance 3 isn’t real dancing! 😛
Halo 4 – The Start of a New Trilogy
Admittedly, it is pretty exciting to see John-117 return to action after the events of Halo 3. With Bungie now moving on to Activision, 343 Industries will take over control of this new trilogy of Halo games. He exits his cryostasis unit as Cortana warns of their ship’s impending doom. It’s a teaser, but a pretty good one!
Am I Kinecting With This?:
Unlike Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft didn’t have new hardware to show off. Instead, it continued to build upon Kinect and showed much more improvement with what it can do for gaming in the future. I really like how voice functionality is being taken more advantage of, especially in Mass Effect 3, a game heavily reliant on social interaction with NPCs. Games like Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Fable: The Journey and Star Wars showed how on-rails action is really the ideal solution for hardcore Kinect gaming; so much talk of Kinect pre-release was about the lack of tactile feedback, so by this time next year, we’ll see how gamers feel about gaming on the Kinect. I think we’ve still got a ways to go.
Man, I’m really looking forward to Live TV on the 360.It’s definitely gonna cost something extra on top of Xbox Live gold, but if it comes out good enough, I’ll be glad to pay X dollars a month for live TV. This has been years in the making for 360 as it’s becoming as much of an entertainment machine as it is a gaming one. The new dashboard update with Bing will help make the dashboard easier to use than ever.
And of course, Microsoft’s mascot, Master Chief and Halo getting two games. I’m really excited for the Halo CE remake. I love that remakes these days are more than just a graphics overhaul. I’m hopeful for what 343 Industries can do with the franchise heading forward with the next Halo Trilogy. Seeing Master Chief in the Halo 4 teaser really reminded me his presence in the gaming world as a truly memorable character. Maybe we’ll see his face at the end of Halo 6 in 2017! It’s a shame that there was a leak right before the event, but Halo is Halo, and I’m looking forward to it.
Is Microsoft Gonna Win This:
Haha, yousa funny dude! It’s doubtful. They had a good press conference, showing more of what Kinect can do and reminded us that Halo will live on forever, but Playstation has much to show and so does Nintendo tomorrow. My grade: B-.