I was expecting quite a bit from Microsoft's conference. I'm not really a fanboy of the Xbox consoles, but I do prefer them at the moment. They suit my needs for gaming, as well as satisfy my desire for gamerscore. I'm addicted, but it's healthier then drugs or alcohol. The conference, however, was terrible. While not as bad as their previous ones, but it was up there among the worst.
Here is a summary of the conference.
The conference started out with a bang. 343 showed off new footage of Halo 4 which was impressive. The graphics were top notch, as were the sound effects. The environments and new enemies were also very interesting. What striked me most, however, was the amount that Master Chief and Cortana were talking. Usually you just hear a few words or grunts from him. I had doubts about Halo 4, but the footage shown had me sold. November can't come fast enough.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Being a fan of the series ever since the first game, I was super excited for it's reveal. It opened up with someone carrying a body into a tent. You couldn't really tell until the mark feature from Splinter Cell Conviction was shown to mark the targets. The deaths were sweet, introducing a more fluid motion to the executions. Kinect functionality was also shown with the demo, but that's not what stuck out. What stuck out was the voice. It was younger, as well as rather odd. It might have been the demo, but the voice wasn't that good. However, there is plenty of time for the game to release so that might change. Reboot!
Madden now has Kinect integration. That's about it.
Fable: The Journey also showed a trailer, but it was nothing exciting. It's a good thing this series is dead after this game.
Gears of War: Judgement:
New Gears of War! This game is set 15 years before the original, with Baird and Cole being the center of attention. Note the Xbox 360 logo at the end wasn't shown?
New Forza game. It looks more beautiful then ever. Does it still have the power to take on Need for Speed or Gran Turismo?
New Xbox Dashboard update:
A big focus on the Dashboard and Kinect were shown. Kinect can now recognize multiple languages as well as search genres. Nickelodeon, Paramount Movies, Machinima, Univision were also added to the list of subscription based content. Xbox Music was also introduced, which allows you to listen to Zune on everything basically.
New fitness game for the Kinect. Footage wasn't that exciting.
This was probably the biggest feature of this presentation. Smart Glass allows you to control your Xbox with any device, such as Ipad or any mobile phone. It can integrate into everything, such as controlling Madden or adding detailed maps to the likes of Skyrim. It was pretty impressive, but nothing new. The Vita can already do stuff like it.
INTERNET EXPLORER FOR THE XBOX!
The demo of the latest Tomb Raider game was incredible. While it can be compared to Uncharted, it seems to set itself apart. It's gorgeous and very mature. She is no longer a busty girl that shoots people. The footage showed that she will get hurt, having to pull metal that she lands on out of her body. The animations needed a lot of work, but it's a very good start. Spring 2013!
From the games that were shown, all new exclusives were Arcade based. I was extremely disappointed in this. Sony, after what was shown today, will continue to be king in console exclusives.
Makers of Fallout: New Vegas made a South Park RPG. Enough said.
New Dance Central game. Usher showed it off. Yay...
Black Ops 2:
The presentation closed with footage from Black Ops 2. As expected, it was full of explosions and death. A few features stood out. The ability to control the drones were a nice touch, allowing the gameplay to become more thought out and not so run and gun. The graphics were the same as previous Call of Duty games, but it all has a brown tint now. The gunplay and sound effects were still top notch, though. The demo ended with a on the rails airplane fight. The demo ended after that.
The entire demo was pretty boring. It's true that it's different when watching someone else play, but it didn't have the same effect when watching the gameplay from Halo or Tomb Raider. Those were incredible to watch. The game demo itself must have been poorly put together, as it was lagging almost the entire time it was being presented. The game is set to release in November.
For the most part, the conference was pretty much a fail. Smart Glass and Kinect features were nice, but that was the biggest focus during the presentation. The exclusives were Arcade based, which wasn't really a surprise. Everything was media based (Xbox Music, Kinect features, Browser, etc). In terms of games, all Microsoft seems to care about now is Forza, Gears, and Halo.
It's worth noting that nothing of the new Xbox was announced. Sad face...