The Microsoft Press Conference just came to a close, and we here at Destructoid were working hard during it to get you all the most updated news and images.
Now that it is over, though, we have a moment to breathe and let you know what we think.
So ... what did we think? Were we pleasantly surprised by some of the announcements? Or disappointed in what the Xbox 360 has to offer in the upcoming year? Is E3 2011 off to a good start?
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It was the Kinectrosoft Press Conference. That is what it was, and that is my contribution to the discussion.
So Kinect is getting pushed super hard this year. I'm kinda worried that most of the action games like Star Wars looked super on-rails-ey. Ghost Recon did a few cool things, but I can't imagine that it will be easier than using a controller. I will say that I would gladly buy a game where you can walk around a virtual Disney World as long as they leave out the Kinect Adventure-style minigames, but that won't be happening.
Sadly, Double Fine's Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster was probably the best Kinect game shown.
Quick, everyone have kids so we can buy the game without being judged.
I thought it was very Kinect heavy, and therefore not really for me. I think the most interesting thing to me was they they showed off Kinect Fun Labs and then said it was going live today. The Kinect technology it finally starting to show its potential with the scanning items deal.
With that said, the voice control in the games is nice, but I hope is not required. What if you are playing the game at a party or amongst lots of friends? I'd hate to have the commands drowned out by my drunken friends in the room.
I think it was a solid conference, although nothing really stood out at me as a "Holy crap, wow" moment like other conferences in past years.
The focus on Kinect was unfortunate, but understandable. I actually think one of the best things to come out of it was the Fun Labs thing, since there's a ton of really cool stuff happening with Kinect in the PC/indie scene. I'm glad MS has decided to embrace that, instead of ignoring it. I think a few years from now, there's potential for some REALLY cool stuff with Kinect once devs really get a handle on it and figure out how to harness its power -- it's really a remarkable piece of tech.
Purely gameswise, nothing I saw really excited me. Mass Effect 3 is probably the game I'm most looking forward to, but I'm getting that for PC. I know a lot of people will be really happy about Gears 3 and Halo 4, but I'm not really a big fan of either franchise.
I'd probably give it a solid B. No real embarrassments or big flops, but nothing that really left a major impression on me.
Yeah, I feel the same way, JRo. The conference moved smoothly and there was a nice list of titles and exclusives announced.
But nothing really stood out as something I HAVE to have ... well, except that amazing Sesame Street Kinect game.
Still, a confident, solid, if underwhelming, showing from Microsoft.
Excited to see what Sony has to say later this evening!
I think the most impressive part was the tech demos in the Fun Labs. That's the kind of cool shit that makes me want to use my Kinect for things other than voice commands. Of course I know I'll use it for ten seconds and then get bored, but those will be an awesome ten seconds. I'm also a little sad that a lot of the games looked like they were on rails. Did they learn nothing from the Wii? And this a fan of some of the better on-rails shooters that landed on the Wii.
Game wise I wasn't that jazzed for much but they definitely brought out all the heavy hitters. I also like Master Chief so that got me a little excited at the end.
Oh and Tomb Raider looks absolutely amazing. I had many concerns for it with the whole revamp (I loved the recent games), but damn that looks killer.
Ah, yes, I have to mention Tomb Raider. That was easily the game that got me the most excited.
Awesome, awesome, awesome!
They really pushed for Kinect support. A lot of it was pointless, like having voice control for ME3 when it's just as easy to move your stick towards the choice. The Kinect Fun Labs stuff is cool, but it seemed like nothing more than just a tech kit to show what you can do. Who's actually gonna be using it extensively? I think the biggest gaming surprise was definitely Minecraft.
It's interesting to see how Microsoft was really adamant about the Xbox entertainment experience. Their tagline, "You say it, Xbox will find it," is witty and catchy, but how effective will that be in a room full of people? Controllers aren't that cumbersome... well, this is the 360 controller we're talking about... Overall, It was a very underwhelming conference and it won't be hard for Nintendo and Sony to outdo Microsoft this year.
And in turn, Chad reminded me about Sesame Street which made me want to impregnate my fiancee so I had a child to play it with.
You are the talking waggle.
Most of the Kinect stuff was underwhelming, but I know a lot of Disney fans will appreciate the Disneyland game, and I want to have a baby, JUST so I can play Sesame Street with them.
I love the Mass Effect series, and while the voice integration is interesting, I'll probably play it without it.
I know Halo is now the game that everyone loves to hate (but secretly used to love), but I love it. Period. Halo 4 continues the story where Halo 3's cliffhanger left off, and I'm excited about that. And while I love the gameplay innovations made to the series thus far, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary looks like a fun romp down memory lane. From what I saw of the multiplayer footage, they added some of the new stuff from Reach (read: special assassinations), which doesn't bother me, but people who care are probably going to be pissed, just because it's a little different. I also appreciate that they didn't just up the texture resolutions, throw in widescreen support and call it a day. They added all kinds of environment detail, lighting, and what looks like completely new models. So I'm excited.
It was exactly as expected. Lots of Kinect stuff to push it to more sales, using the 360 as a media hub, and a few games here and there. Nothing groundbreaking, that's for sure. It's nice to see them make good on some of the promises that Kinect once made, but overall it was pretty underwhelming.
I actually quite liked it, got my core title fix -- so many 'OMG I can imagine Hollies face' tweets when Gears of War came on, a good push for Kinect which it very sorely needs, a better amalgamation and integration for dashboard based features and some things to look forward to.
Kinect is a funny creature, some people bloody hate it and in-turn will have HATED that conference, I quite like Kinect. I love Dance Central and fitness games; if I had kids I'd buy the shit out of the Disney and Seaseme Street games; the Kinect Lab was amazing and scored lots of open mouths and spontaneous applause and I loved the idea of the 'triple A titles' having a good go at using it in a more serious way -- I'm honest to God all over the Mass Effect Kinect stuff.
However, I don't care who makes it -- microstudio or Lionhead -- on rail Kinect slash games do nothing for Kinect and are poor, poor games. Do not want.
It's exactly what I expected, I'm not disappointed at all. I personally think not having a new piece of tech I.E NPG or Cafè does make it harder to have a 'wow factor' that people demand but I think they did a good job. Also whoever leaked Halo 4 was a cock, they ruined what could have been a mind blowing ending -- and I don't even like Halo games!
What little footage we saw of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary does not instill confidence in me. If it's basically a graphical redesign with a few more modern features, then it will be leaving intact the worst campaign and level design of the series. As for Halo 4, it takes more than a shiny cutscene to wow me these days.
Speaking of "wow," Tomb Raider is looking fantastic and was easily the best part of the conference. But then again, it's not even an Xbox exclusive. I don't know, the complete lack of surprises left a very bland taste in my mouth, and all the Kinect emphasis (with the exception of Sesame Street!) put me off. No, Bioware, I don't feel like talking through Mass Effect 3. At least it was better than last year's conference.
Yeah, I think the best thing I saw was Mordin with the new lighting. Gears 3 just looked like Gears, which is fine but at this point we know what to expect. Halo HD will probably sell plenty and make them a nice profit, but I'm with Bob on the Halo 4 thing. It didn't show much, it was all CG and it looked like the Halo 2 CG reveal trailer.
I'm a little surprised no ones mentioned Minecraft yet. I don't play so it was no biggy for me, but I feel like that should be huge to a lot of people. Am I wrong?
I think since Halo 4 is so far off, all they needed was that teaser. We all know what to expect as far as gameplay, but it was nice that they gave a glimpse that they still care about wrapping up the story.
Also, @DavidEllis from Bungie just tweeted "And yes, you can switch between classic & new graphics in real time in Halo: Anniversary."
I think that's pretty neat.
I'm with everyone on the "underwhelming" judgment, if only because the conference was so Kinect-focused and surprise-lacking. On the Kinect side, it's good to see that Microsoft is serious about supporting the peripheral, since there hasn't really been much to do with the damn thing since it launched last fall and sold 10 million units. But essentially everything at the briefing was a known quantity, and even the things that weren't known until just before the show -- namely, the Halo games -- weren't exactly "megaton" announcements. (Like you didn't know that 343 Industries was working on a Halo title.)
The non-Kinect games they showed, including Gears 3 and Tomb Raider, did look impressive. But I'm actually much more interested in the expansion of the Xbox 360's media capabilities -- did anyone notice that prominent "My DVR" icon in the slick new dashboard's live TV section?
In all seriousness, why expect more? Microsoft, for the past two years, have had dull press conferences, mostly trying to push Natal/Kinect. If anyone was let down, then they have very short memories. Microsoft at E3 just isn't very interesting, When it has major news, it usually does it on its own time.
I guess the Halo stuff was cool, and as a Gears fan, that was neat to see, but that's as far as this conference went. A few "kinda cool" presentations surrounded by stuff that simply cannot penetrate my brain. It's for a totally different audience and nothing I can begin to appreciate.
I'm not disappointed though, because it's exactly what I said it would be.
I was happy to see Minecraft coming to Kinect, as I hope that it helps the game go even more mainstream and become a more influential in the industry. But like Conrad said, I see absolutely no advantage to playing the game with motion controls. The mouse and keyboard are perfect for the game.
As for the show in general, was there anything that would potentially sway non-360 fans into wanting a 360? Personally, I didn't see anything. Modern Warfare 3 was noticeably bigger and more epic in scale, but that's not an exclusive. All the exclusive stuff was either a sequel or sort of dull.
Or am I missing something?