June 15, 2010

E3 '10: Microsoft fails to Kinect.

From forced excitement to awkward Wii Sports rip-offs, Microsoft really put up a rather underwhelming E3 conference, touting a look at the future of gaming.

If you don't want to hear me rambling about it though, you can just watch the whole thing for yourself.

It all starts... with Black Ops.

(Not the E3 trailer.)

Now that Infinity Ward has been dissolved, it's up to Treyarch to maintain the series' integrity. Yes, they've had cracks at it in the past, but none of them have really been as critically acclaimed. Still, the stage set for Black Ops is not the World War II anymore, which is promisingly fresh, because now we're on Vietnam. Yes, it's the 70's in this new go-around.

Unfortunately, I suffer from a lot of nausea when playing a lot of FPS games, so even if I were actually interested in this new installment, I wouldn't be able to last 20 seconds with it.

Next, Senior Vice President Don Mattrick is reading the teleprompter badly. Seriously.

He announces an exclusivity deal for Black Ops DLC, and moves on to mention the Xbox's 10 year anniversary. He segueways a bit into Project Natal- now dubbed "Kinect"- and it's "all about showing, not telling".

He calls Hideo Kojima on to the stage and, as last year's E3 announcement for MGS Rising promised, he delivers some actual gameplay footage. Shigenobu Matsuyama, producer of the game, is called on to provide a slightly clearer English-language explanation. "Zan-Datsu" - to cut and to take- is a driving force behind the awesome-looking multiplatform game.

The only question is: are there cutscenes?

Other than that, this title looks extremely hardcore. That is so badass. Come on though, watermelon cutting simulator? Lol.

Phil Spencer, Corporate VP, comes on stage. He's a better speaker.

He goes on to name drop some high-profile titles, but then goes on about Kinect's ability to connect people. But whatever, it's Gears of War 3 time. 4 player Locust ass-kicking.

Did anybody say Left 4 Dead?

OK, OK, I confess: it looks pretty fun.

Cliffy B.: "Now that's our demo. Try out Beast mode later."

Wait, he forgot to mention about how much he'll be ranting more about bird poop on TV.

Peter Molyneux, expert British rambler and legendary game designer, is called on stage. Fable III to be covered.

Looks exciting. And the dog returns.

Next, Microsoft Game Studios presents a new game from a new partner: Crytek.

Now that God of War has come to an end, there should be something that fills the void. These Spartans in Codename: Kingdoms may just be the thing, and what better developer to handle a graphically astounding epic than Crytek?

Next is Halo: Reach, which I have zero interest in.

All I know is that there are space battles.

Next exec to be called is Marc Whitten.

Time to demo Kinect. I'm very compelled with the navigation controls because it does voice and face recognition, which is very cool.

Fast forward to about 20 minutes to see how cool the navigation interface is.

"Xbox! Pron!"

Also, Justin Bieber? Demo? Gamers? Seriously?

Now it's time for FaceTime, I mean, VideoKinect. It's great that you can chat with people who are on Windows Live Messenger instead of just Xbox to Xbox. Why does Apple's demo feel cooler for some reason?

I like how you can watch videos together. But the really forced (scripted?) conversation stifles the mood, even when the camera follows your face which is a very good touch (although I hope it also follows colored people's faces, unlike some HP computers).

Next, ESPN streaming for Xbox 360 is announced. I imagine a lot of sports fans are cheering right now, but of course, your network provider must be supported by ESPN.

The two guys from SportsCenter "commute in just seconds to E3". I don't particularly care, still it looks like a great implementation of an "ultimate sports experience".

Now it's time to demo the Kinect library, and Kudo Tsunoda is back to "deliver on last year's promises".

A family-friendly derivative of Nintendogs is announced, and it's called Kinectimals. That little girl pretending to be licked at is so... ughhhh...

Bright side: you're taking care of a tiger!

Next is, well, the uninspired Kinect Sports. Ubisoft also announced a Kinect sports compilation and... I'm kind of sick of them.

Well, if I wanted to run like a running dumbass, I would've bought that old NES Track and Field game. At least, you can play soccer. Ping pong without a controller though is gonna be tricky.

Next: Kinect Joy Ride.

"Here we go..."

Wow, worst feigned enthusiasm ever.

You know that game show Wipeout? Well, Kinect Adventures is kind of like that... I guess. But seriously, are they actually faking fun?

"Look at the water!"

I hate you people.

Sims are more convincing in faking their fun.

Ubisoft demos their Kinect game. A fitness game called Your Shape: Fitness Evolved.

Hmm, looks like an actual attempt at a decent fitness game. They actual demo this game, but I'm too lazy to look for the demo video.

Interestingly, the Kinect is actually made for these games. Dude, this is the new Wii Fit craze. This thing will sell because of Your Shape.

Next for Kinect is Harmonix's dance game Dance Central. I love Harmonix, but...

...oh. Interesting. This actually looks badass given the right presentation. Alex Rigopoulos goes on stage to announce some tracks from Lady Gaga, No Doubt, etc. and Harmonix has worked with "actual dancers so the game lets you do the real deal". Otherwise known as "not looking as stupid as it really should be".

That said, there is still a lot of opportunity to look dumb regardless.

What's great though is something that resembles a bit of drop-in-drop-out, or maybe it's just me.

Kinect will be launching worldwide on November 4, 2010 with 15 titles set for launch. Yes, there's a Sonic game.

Lol, what?

No demoes for that, but I'm interested in how it'll actually happen.

But what they do show a demo for is a freaking Star Wars game. It may or may note come with something tangible.

Hit detection looks iffy though.

Afterwards is a demo for Forza Motorsport for Kinect, and I don't really care much for that game because I really don't like the idea of a non-tangible steering wheel. Maybe for car creation though.

Will Kinect hold up to the demands of precision that a racing simulation demands?

Don Mattrick comes back on stage and from here on I'm feeling a bit indifferent.

He recaps whatever the teleprompter says, and definitely tries hard to appeal to Nintendo's blue ocean. To be honest, some games look good, but some games just look stupid.

Aside from that, he announces the completely redesigned Xbox 360 Slim. 250GB HDD, built-in Wi-Fi, Kinect-ready. $299. That's a pretty competitive price against the PS3.

It's shipping today.

And the audience is getting one.

They just got OPRAH'D!

"That was really fun," says Mattrick. Yeah, a fun bribe. An otherwise lackluster conference can only be made good with a stunt like this.

Truth be told, I'd really love to have one of those for free...


1 comment:

  1. Nice that you also noticed Sonic Free Riders for Kinect


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