Mat Langford’s Gaming World – Microsoft E3 Rundown

Today, at E3, Microsoft took the stage at about 12:30pm EST (9:30am PST).

They opened with a gameplay demo of HALO 4. It looks great, the gameplay looks similar to that of Halo 3 and ODST. There seems to be a new type of enemy shown as well, an orb-type foe that seems to be able to fly at the speed of light, interesting stuff. There was also some kind of fiery skull monster, looking scary and great. About 5-7 minutes of demo there, and it was pretty impressive.

HALO 4
HALO 4

Then, we got nearly 10 minutes of gameplay from Splinter Cell: Blacklist. The game looks FANTASTIC! The kill system of tagging enemies is back, and implemented in a great way here. Watching the demo-er take Sam through a desert-style level and silently killing people, while using the targeting mode to kill multiple enemies at a time made the whole experience seem very well executed. This game should be a whole lot of fun.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist looks awesome!
Splinter Cell: Blacklist looks awesome!

EA Sports then took the stage to talk about some of their new offerings. A lot of their presentation centered on the ability to use Kinect to play their games. FIFA 13 was the first to appear and they demonstrated using voice commands to substitute players, change strategies on the fly, or tell players on the field what to do (kick, pass to you, etc.) Seems like an ok integration, but we’ll have to see whether this works, or becomes a hassle through the Kinect’s historically wonky voice command feature.Joe Montana came out to talk about Madden 13. Awkwardly. Madden is going to use Kinect voice commands to play the game in a more interesting way. On the field of a real-life football game, the QB is constantly talking to his teammates, giving them instructions and calling audibles. Kinect will give the player the ability to hike the ball, call audibles, hurry op offense and plays on the fly by yelling those commands at the TV. Montana thinks it’s “pretty sweet.” Scores a touchdown, crowd applauds.

Fable – The Journey was the next promo, it looks good, but it’s still Kinect. The controls may not be as great as advertised. Graphics look great. Same game we’ve been hearing about for a while now, no big surprises here.

The new Gears of War Judgement was next. The game looks awesome, but all we got was a short teaser trailer. Pretty appealing none the less. Can’t wait for this one.

Gears of War Judgement
Gears of War Judgement

Forza got a teaser trailer as well, with some great looking graphics. Though it looks AMAZING, it all looked pre-rendered and there’s nothing to say what’s gameplay footage or not. We’ll have to wait to see some gameplay footage to determine that.

The focus then shifted to internet browsing as Microsoft unveiled it’s new Bing search capability – finding movies by genre, title…ability to choose which platform you want to watch on (Hulu, Netflix, etc.) Multi-language support, the demo for that was in Spanish. The also revealed some new content providers, including Machinima and Nickelodeon. Sports fans rejoiced as well as the Xbox will now feature NBA gametime, with 2400 live games per year, and NHL Gamecenter (40 games/week, home/away audio broadcasts, etc) You can also upgrade to catch ESPN 24/7 LIVE, including(ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3 and ESPN U)

ESPN's new functionality.
ESPN’s new functionality.

The also talked about the new Xbox Music – where users can enjoy and discover new music, and share with friends. It is also going to be available on phones and tablets as well.

Nike then took the stage to talk about their new fitness app, Kinect Training. They’re calling it the future of fitness. It allows users to have their own personal trainer and coach, as well as find and compete with fitness freaks all around the world.

NIKE
NIKE

A cool new feature was Xbox SmartGlass. It connects all of your devices into a network, and allows interaction between them all. One example was interactive television. While watching Game of Thrones on your TV, you can connect to a map that shows you where things are happening in the show WHILE they’re happening! You can also use your tablet to select plays or make substitutions in Madden 13, and then use it as a touch controller to control the screen. In Halo 4, you can receive  information on the fly. Unlock a new waypoint and find info on it on your tablet in real-time, or use it to communicate with friends while playing. You can also use it as a remote control for Xbox 360. A browser using Kinect and SmartGlass with IE is coming to Xbox this year. You can also use voice commands to find websites, search and use the internet.

Up next? Tomb Raider! We got nearly 5 minutes of gameplay, and it looks incredible. We got to see some combat and action, including third-person combat shooting using a bow and arrow, as well as some awesome cut scenes that showed off how gorgeous this game is going to look. Microsoft also announced that the initial pieces of DLC will be available on the Xbox first.

Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider

Ascend New Gods looks pretty epic, and its boss battles look awesome!

LocoCycle got a teaser trailer, not too revealing though. Centered on a Tron-esque looking motorcycle.

Matter was next up, and looks like a Portal type game. Not much info, other than the fact that it’s available for the Kinect only.

Resident Evil 6 was the next game to hit the stage, and we got some gameplay footage. The game looks great, and we were shown both shooting and melee combat and some impressive graphics. There were hints of some time-based attacks, which look cool. The presentation seems dark overall, but that’s typical of the series. Looking forward to this one as well.

Wreckateer, an Xbox Live exclusive was next, and we got a quick look at it’s gameplay. You use gestures to wreck castles and such with catapults and slingshots. Seems fun, but familiar.

South Park: The Stick of Truth
South Park: The Stick of Truth

Trey Park and Matt Stone came out to talk about their new game, South Park: The Stick of Truth. Not much info on gameplay, as the two basically hammed it up for about 2 minutes on stage. But we did decipher that it will be an RPG, and that it will take place in South Park with you playing as the ‘new kid in town’ looking to become the 5th member of the already established SP group of Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman.

Then it was time for Dance Central 3. Usher performed to promote the fact that he has 2 new songs in the game. He danced for WAY too long. People online speculated that perhaps Justin Beiber would come out next. Nope. The game looks like it’s previous iterations, but with new songs.

Usher danced for too long. WAY too long.
Usher danced for too long. WAY too long.

And of course, the BIG closer – and no-brainer – Call of Duty Black Ops 2 was shown off. We got a fair bit of gameplay that obviously looked incredible.We were shown some cut scenes as well as some basic gameplay including sniping and escort aspects. At one point a building falls onto our main group of people, which looks awesome. Our hero gets into a plane at the end and takes off, haven’t seen much plane flying in CoD before, so that’s a pretty cool addition.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

All in all, the hour-and-a-half presentation of  Microsoft was – as I had speculated in my previous post – fairly Kinect heavy, with emphasis on the bigger games such as CoD, Re:6, Tomb Raider and such. Typical stuff from Microsoft, with nothing too surprising.

The Sony press conference is later today so look for that soon!

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