I would like to say I was pleased with what Microsoft had to offer, but I expected much more. Nothing blew me away in terms of game reveals and the biggest surprise had to be Splinter Cell: Blacklist which wasn’t even a first party game. However, they showed games with XBOX exclusivity in terms of DLC or Kinect features and a handful of first party exclusives with most being downloadable. So prepare to be informed as I show you what went down on the conference floor. If you wish to watch the trailers they will be provided (and updated as better trailers will become available throughout the day/week) and a slide show of images captured from the conference will be featured at the very bottom of the page from certain key parts of the conference.
Master Chief returns to gaming once again and being called “the reclaimer” by the character in the game who is similar to Guilty Spark 343, but just much larger. He doesn’t have a name as far as I know and doesn’t seem to be an ally or a true enemy either. There will be a new race involved in the mix and Cortana notices that they use Forerunner technology so it is possible that these new enemies are the Forerunners that created the Halo rings as featured in the previous trilogy. In the gameplay demo you see Master Chief in a forest and blast away at these robotic creatures which are advanced forms of AI. In addition to the creatures, there are also humanoid figures as well that wield weapons and can get pretty close up and personal with you. These weapons are available to be picked up as well and discharge beams that can disintegrate enemies with a blast. Not much else besides the release date was announced. It will be coming out November 6th, 2012 and will be smack dab in the middle of the big releases as well.
A shocking return of Sam Fisher was announced with Splinter Cell: Blacklist. All the same stealth and action from the previous games will be there and especially the target marking system that was done with SC: Conviction where you can mark your targets then simultaneously take them out with fluid action. Since Sam is sitting at the top now, he is able to have a multitude of resources at his disposal. The demo showed Sam calling down an airstrike to take out a group of enemies in front of him and this was achieved through Kinect’s voice commands as well. Expect this game Spring of 2013.
Not a lot of changes are being done to FIFA announced with Microsoft besides the implementation of Kinect in their game. Which looks pretty cool and very smooth. The Kinect features will allow you to substitute players, change up their formations all through the use of voice. Also they will be keeping track of your reactions to the referee. Meaning if you swear at him when you think it was a bad call… then you kind of get noticed by the game. Thankfully this isn’t available in online shooters because it would light up each time you die haha.
Madden 13 is making some tremendous improvements through Kinect. You will essentially be put into the shoes of the Quarterback and other team members as you shout out commands as you are on the line of scrimmage. They even had a Quarterback in the Hall of Fame, Joe Montana, to play the game for them live on stage. He knew exactly what kind of plays he could call out and what to do with his team and said himself that he is impressed by the features. This will however create a huge advantage for someone who knows the game inside and out or even someone who plays professionally. Another possible use for this will be for training purposes of football players or even potential football players.
Fable made a quick and short appearance with just a trailer and not much besides that it will be Kinect enabled and will feature a lot of spell casting and encounters with enemies from the original game plus more. This will be coming out Holiday season of this year.
It was teased recently that the new Gears of War: Judgement is coming out and we got the first cinematic footage detailing some story and setting the mood for the game today. Nothing was talked about, but we know that it will feature Damon Baird and his action packed adventures that will be coming out in 2013.
Forza Horizons impresses with beautiful graphics and gameplay shown as it hinted at going on dirt, track, and the streets this time around. No new features mentioned for this installment, but we do now have a release date! October 23rd, 2012 is when you’ll have your hands on this sweet racing dream.
One of the best parts of the presentation was not about a new video game, but instead some of the features on the XBOX 360 such as an improved bing search feature that will allow you to choose your movies/TV better and determine what service you would like to use to watch it. They have also included multiple new channels such as Nickelodeon, Machinima, Paramount, and U Videos which is a Spanish channel. So they are greatly expanding their audience and services. In addition to those new channels, the Sports section was improved with NBA, NHL, and enhanced 24/7 ESPN viewing with a split screen mode as well! There is also a new initiative with XBOX Music which will spread across multiple platforms such as your mobile devices, tablets, computers, and XBOX consoles.
Microsoft signed on with NIKE to bring you NIKE+ Kinect Training as the Kinect will track your workouts and share them among your friends as well as show you when you’re doing something wrong or right. You can also choose to work out with friends online and I’m sure chat about how painful the work out is getting. However, NIKE assures us that if you have a body then you are an athlete. So you’re all athletes in their eyes! Expect this Holiday of 2012, just in time for the Christmas rush for fitness items.
Another really cool feature will be the XBOX SmartGlass which is a brilliant idea to bring together all your forms of entertainment. Including your TV, mobile device, tablets, and of course the XBOX console. You can watch a movie on your tablet then pause and resume on your TV and then have detailed information about the movie/TV show on your tablet/smart phone while you watch. One way this enhances your games is using the tablet kind of like a controller (similar to the concept of the Wii U) and this is best explained by watching the demo below. Another way this is going to affect you is through XBOX’s web browser, Internet Explorer. You will be able to use a tablet/smart phone to navigate the web with the touchscreen making navigation fluid and easy. This will be begin Fall 2012.
As I mentioned in a previous article about Tomb Raider, Lara Croft certainly gets beaten up a lot in her new game. No wonder there is far less action when she is older… You will have a more action based pace in this game instead of a slower exploration with some bad guys thrown in. Honestly the biggest enemy of Lara Croft is the environment as she will get thrown about every-which-way you can imagine. My first thought when I saw how she navigated stealth and used the bow and arrow technique it reminded me of my experiences with Skyrim oddly enough. Anyways, the game looks intense and you will constantly be running into trouble as you try to escape the island and rescue your friends. Also the first bit of DLC will be available on XBOX 360 first.
This next game, Ascend: New Gods, is going to be brutal and bloody. I’m not sure if you are ascending or you are preventing those who are… but you will fight some large bad guys throughout the game. This reminded me heavily of God of War, but without the Greek style.
Just a teaser trailer for Lococycle so nothing but speculation… it might be racing or it might be action? Who really knows? I’m sure that Twisted Pixel does, but they make some good games so I won’t argue until I see it in action. The bike looks freaking sweet though!
Matter is an odd game made by the guys behind Pirates of the Carribean seeing as you play as this pinball looking thing and encounter deadly block looking things and go towards some light. Honestly… that’s all you really get out of the trailer. I’m sure it has to do with manipulation of the environment though.
Now Resident Evil has always had some intense zombie action, but this time they definitely stepped it up a notch with the action levels. You will experience some close encounters and lots of explosions. You gain some new special kill moves as well as a heavy focus on quick time events throughout the game, this does include the times of cutscenes so don’t think you can set your controller down for any moment. They don’t mention it, but it appears that if you fail your quick time events it is possible you may have to restart. Since it is time sensitive and usually dealing with something that may kill you… one can only assume if you fail you will die. Also XBOX is getting first access on DLC this time around.
Wreckateer is basically PAIN! meets Angry Birds as you slingshot a variety of ammo into objects and destroy them using the Kinect to guide your projectile. It might be fun, but maybe only for a little while as blowing up the same couple castles and such might get repetitive.
Now this was something I didn’t care for originally since I’ve never been a big fan of South Park, but in terms of being an actual good game I am thoroughly excited. The gameplay elements seem really cool and how you can customize your character and the authenticity of the South Park universe is portrayed very well. You are the new kid on the block and you’re destined to save the South Park world. You’ll be fighting a wide variety of characters from the series and I’m sure plenty of unique ones as well. The creators definitely wanted to make you feel like you are a part of an episode of South Park and I believe they have done what they set out to do. They also realized that they never actually mapped out the city, because they realized they didn’t know where to go in a 3D world to find someone’s house from another. So after 15 years of just scene jumping to a location they realized they had to make the town fit and make sense. The game looks really interesting and if you are afraid of some crude humor then you definitely shouldn’t be playing this game. If you like crude humor… then you better go pre-order your copy right now… RIGHT NOW!
I don’t believe it is too often when there is a concert on stage, and especially one from a huge name like Usher. Although Microsoft made it happen and it worked out well. It got people pumped up for Harmonix’s next installment of the Dance Central franchise with Dance Central 3. Which if you’re into dancing then this game is for you!
The final section of the show was reserved for Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 where “the future is black”. However all I see in the future of CoD: BO2 is green… because this game looks to be like a game changer. Literally they are changing things up a bit. Probably inspired by Rainbow Six: Patriots, the CoD team dove straight into a harsh future where stuff has gotten a bit crazy and there is a bunch of high tech stuff flying around shooting and blowing up things. I can’t help but think of Terminator when I hear about or watch this game. It looks like the campaign will have a legitimate story line with plenty of thought and effort put into it. While CoD is still known for multiplayer, there is room for a good single player experience. I for one am excited to play this game’s story. Prepare for some futuristic jet flying, drone controlling, and some hardcore sniping as you can shoot through objects with a charged shot now. Also the DLC will be releasing first on XBOX once again.
Well that concludes everything from Microsoft. Like I said nothing super great from them and even their major first party stuff had nothing other than trailers.