E3: Microsofts press conference

Below is my personal opinion of Microsoft’s E3 conference held on 6th June 2011.

In general I was disappointed. They showed only very few really interesting games. The rest was unnecessary, uninteresting or plain crap. This year they really had no big buzz. The presentation felt lacklustre. A few words on each game they showed below.

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: Looks good. But the coverage around this game pre-E3 was already so high it didn’t spark any new interest. The only thing you could notice is that the game looks even more heavily scripted then the instalments before.
  • Tomb Raider: Give the game presented at E3 another game and we’re set. This is so far off from actual Tomb Raider for me. Visuals looks good but the voice acting is very bad and she cries and whines like those “helpless” woman in movies of the 80s.
  • Mass Effect 3: This game doesn’t need Kinect. I’m pretty sure Microsoft did heavily lobby EA to support Kinect to strengthen the Kinect brand and platform. The options to use Kinect voice commands sound interesting but not necessary. I’ll have to try myself is giving commands to your team mates in battle is as useful as it sounds.
  • Ghost Recon Future Soldier: The trailer looks very good and got a great artistic touch to it. Using Kinect to modify your weapon looks to me like a gimmick and using it actually for shooting (as demonstrated using the in-game shooting range) looks awful and will tire your body especially your arms extremely fast.
  • Dashboard voice control, Xbox Live & bing: For the most part it felt like I watched this last year already. Controlling your dashboard by voice, selecting the kind of content you want to use right now. Using voice recognition to use the bing search for content, video and games sounds very interesting and easy access. However, so far all voice recognition software had very simple limits so I wonder how this will work, how good and reliable it will be. It becomes more complicated I believe considering all the accents you can find in the USA and Europe.
  • UFC Live: A nice way of bringing more TV and Sports content to Xbox but I think the actual audience is quite limited here.
  • Gears of War 3: Looks exactly like expected: Great. Action is the usual havoc and mayhem. I’m pretty sure the game will rock. Ice-T messing up his lines at the end botched the presentation a bit.
  • Ryse: Kinect for hardcore players maybe? Can I get a censored version for Europe and a ruined one for Germany? Also why no details on the game?
  • Halo Anniversary: Great, another remastered game. I can only see die-hard Halo fans buy it. Why would anyone else buy the old first part of a game? Why would I want to play the same game again anyway?
  • Forza Motorsport 4: How about some actual in-game game play footage? Calling it in-game footage and then only showing a prepared video is not really a big stunt. Looks to me like the common car porn game.
  • Fable Journey: Now they start to milk the Fable franchise that stood for quality RPG story telling and freedom of choice. I don’t mind on-rails games but this one looks like an “enforced” casual game. Did Molyneux really say “a hundred times more involved”? With this? It looks funny thou casting magic that way but it’s nothing you’d play for long period of times neither can it spark a deep interest in your character or the world. Give it a very cheap price tag and admit its a cheap casual game based on a big brand name to milk and we are “go”.
  • Kinect Disneyland: I’m actually surprised how lovely the game looks. I think this is the best family and children friendly Kinect game yet. It’s not for us adults I think neither for any hardcore crowd but for family’s with children this looks to be a great choice.
  • Star Wars Kinect: The idea of the game was interesting. The execution looks awful. The graphics alone are acceptable. They do the job and its fine so far. But the controls look slow, noticeable lag and cheap. Again on-rails isn’t bad but for me this game fails to deliver. The best thing: I think they know it because the cut from the presentation to the next game was instant, harsh and they jumped to the extreme opposite. They probably wanted to avoid that the audience gets time to “Buh!” it out.
  • Sesame Street: Once upon a Monster: A game for very young children to play together with their parents. A lovely idea and it looks cute too. Game play is easy and children can easily jump into it. The cookie monster looks a bit oversized thou. The right age a nice game i think so parents can make proper use of today’s entertainment technology with their child.
  • Fun Labs: It looks fun indeed. If used right this could become an interesting hub for experiments and new ideas.
  • Kinect Sports: Season Two: No surprises here. American football demo was embarrassing thou. Do these people seriously expect people to play like this at home? Could it be any farther away from realistic expectations?
  • Dance Central 2: The first instalment is as far as I understood the best selling Kinect game and this sequel is following its predecessor with improvements, new modes but also sticking to what it made successful in the first place. One of the most interesting Kinect games of this show so far.
  • Halo 4: What a cheap teaser. Useless and unnecessary just so they could dish out another big name because most of the other stuff was crap. After Halo 3’s horrible disappointing ending I’m done with this franchise and won’t ever buy anything with the name on it unless they really raise the bar on story telling. The worst: They call it the dawn for a new trilogy. I really hope they improve from the first trilogy because I mostly liked the action part but story telling was far too weak.

 

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