E3 2011: Microsoft Press Conference Review

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.

Forza 4

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-.


Produces the MetaVerse podcast. Also plays games and watches sports of all sorts. Is an actual Pirate King.
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19 Responses to “E3 2011: Microsoft Press Conference Review”

  1. Alynn says:

    I don’t have an Xbox, so I can’t really say that I’m extremely hyped about Microsoft’s stuff, but I like looking at it anyways. I love looking at the trailers and judging graphics.

    I lol’d about the Tomb Raider vid. It does sound like it could be a porno if you only heard her voice.

    • Jrow says:

      It’s pretty interesting the direction CD is taking with Tomb Raider. They wanted to tone down her hotness and make it more about survival and gameplay, but in the end I think they’ve managed to make the most hottest Lara yet. Fortunately, the game itself looks even more incredible!

  2. Foshizzel says:

    Woooo nice work Jrow! Some great looking games like Gears 3! I really enjoyed the first two so I have to try the 3rd xD

    MINECRAFT?! Awesome I kind of knew it would only be a matter of time till you saw that jump around.

    Halo news! Always great to see, Halo 4 Wow! Can’t wait to see what happens with that game always loved the story! Not so sure I would get the anniversary version but still not bad.

    And last Tomb raider! I was always a fan of that series, nice to see them updating that series lol going to be mostly her grunting and making noises lolol.

    • Jrow says:

      If Halo 4 were coming out earlier, it’d make a great collector’s edition to include anniversary. It’ll be kind of weird to play a Halo game without the whole array of weapons and vehicles, but Halo 1 was certainly better than 2, in my opine.

      Tomb Raider kinda sounded like a women’s tennis match. 😛

  3. Reaper says:

    Nice work guys! Don’t have a PS3 or Xbox 360 so I won’t be enjoying all the goodness coming (except for PC :)) Definitely looking forward to ME3, SW and MW3 (descending preferences)! can’t help but notice the hate for some of the games I mean, I understand, but it’s just a game. I just play for fun and (in some games like ME3 and ACR) for awesome background story. 🙂

    • Jrow says:

      When it comes to Modern Warfare for me, it’s just years of playing a similar type of game and a natural weariness towards it. I’m likely to skip at least this next year or two of CoD in favor of Battlefield 3, which I think looks a lot better.

  4. Tofu says:

    Modern Warfare 3: After a dissapointing Black Ops I hope they’ll be able to regain the awesomeness they achieved with Modern Warfare 2 but I have a feeling nothing will beat MW2 considering how big it is, even today. I’m expecting a big spike at the start with a drop near the middle and then a stable stream after it gets old unlike Modern Warfare 2 which has continued to increase slightly. I can’t speak too much on it but this is by far how much I know currently.

    Gears of War 3: I’m definitely keeping an eye on this one! Although I don’t have any consoles to support it my cousin does who is going to get it once it comes out. Meaning I get to play when I go over!! WOOT! I love how bad ass it is that I don’t know any major negatives to the game. When you said multiplayer do you mean co-op campaign or online multiplayer? I really like the co-op campaign as it’s different to the original campaign but online multiplayer might be a bit weird. I can imagine it’ll turn out something like Left for Dead multiplayer where you can be either human or zombie.

    Minecraft: Oh my god, are you fricken serious? xD I’ve played Minecraft before and let me tell you it’s a total waste of time. It’s addicting as hell that you’ll end up wasting so much time on it. Either way I don’t really care about this since I don’t play it anymore, got bored.

    Star Wars: I actually think putting Star Wars on Kinect is going to be great for the Star Wars fans. Being little kids back in the days waving your arms around while acting like a jedi 😛 Though if you’re seen doing that outside everyone would think you’r an idiot so make sure you close your blinds people. You don’t want your neighbours to think you’re being an idiot now do you? 😛

    I’m looking forward to the Sony conference more than the rest I must say since I’m a Play Station type of guy ;D

    • Jrow says:

      I meant the online, competitive MP. Though they’re bringing traditional Deathmatch to Gears, I never liked any of the other modes that involved me dying super quickly and having to watch the others play.

  5. Eri says:

    The only two games that made me GAWK yesterday were Tomb Raider and Arkham City *_* FAAAAABULOUS!

  6. Dan-go says:

    sony? anything? no? cool.

    • Dan-go says:

      are you guys going to review it?!

      • Hato-kun says:

        Yes. I’m covering the Sony conference, I just needed a quick nap. Been up for 40 hours, lol.

  7. Yvoon says:

    i wanna plaaaay….ToT

    sigh, sucks to be me when you dont have any gaming equipment..

  8. Overcooled says:

    Not gonna lie, Microsoft’s conference was pretty lacking. As per usual, it’s just full of shooters and advertising Kinect so hard I’m surprised people aren’t choking from having it shoved so far down their throats. Weird arm flailing aside, I WAS impressed by the voice recognition technique. Mass Effect has always been a game that interested me, and now I really think I’ve been convinced enough to buy it XD Tomb Raider looks good as well, but I don’t think I’ll end up getting it. I’ll probably just get Uncharted, which is essentially the same thing but with less suggestive moaning. <_< Also, lulz at the actors trying to pretend they're having fun. Especially the kids. "DAD, NO, DO IT LIKE THIS."

    • Jrow says:

      Microsoft didn’t really have surprises and things that outsiders like you or any non-Xbot would’ve wanted, and their main surprise (Halo 4) was leaked out before the conference.

      I do think Kinect has all but trumped Move by this point. If you saw the NBA 2K12 demo, you know how bad those controls look. “It’s simple and intuitive!” as the computer gets wide open for a shot and Kobe runs out of bounds. Move’s good and will be better utilized in FPS games like Resistance and Bioshock Infinite; there’s just more potential to be tapped with Kinect.

  9. MikADo says:

    Halo 4 made my blood boil 😀 and Kinect is showing awesome potential too!! so worked up over it :3 and tomb raider really sounds like some porn XD

  10. […] when I was all like, “see you on June 6th”? Well, I technically still did see you all on June 6th (US EST Time)! Unfortunately though, this post has been a long time in […]

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