E3 2011: Thoughts on the Microsoft’s Press Conference

In: Articles by Dave "Holy Goalie" Gardner

6 Jun 2011

The Microsoft/Xbox 360 press conference kicked things off at E3 first thing Monday morning — at least as far as the major consoles and developers went.

Here are some random thoughts from Holy Goalie on what went down.

The new Call of Duty game took center stage and showed off some footage of Modern Warfare 3. And as you would expect, it looks like it’s going be another hit. I’m a little surprised the first major game shown at the presser was not a Kinect-based game, however games like this will make you forget all about Kinect.

The brand-new Lara Croft and Tomb Raider grabbed the big screen with a decent sized demo. It showed the venerable Ms. Croft finding her way off a ship that crashed into a large rock wall or something like that. The entire video showed her lighting torches and jumping. She finally exited the ship, and it looks like from there the game begins. It looks good — fans of Tomb Raider should like it even though the boobs are scaled down several sizes.

Then one of my favorite series, Ghost Recon, revealed some new footage as well as some Kinect interaction, unfortunately, with Ghost Recon Future Soldier. I still don’t believe first-person shooters will work with the Kinect, and when they showed the soldier going invisible, as far as I’m concerned. Ghost Recon has jumped the shark. All old-school Ghost Recon players have seen the end of what used to be a great series. It is now more sci-fi than tactical shooter, and it has Kinect integrated now, to boot. Sigh.

Mass Effect 3. Yup, it’s Mass Effect. It could be really good if they get rid of some of the boring filler that I felt gummed up Mass Effect 2.

YouTube, hooray. This was on my list for last year and finally it makes its way to the Xbox 360. They didn’t show any videos, but I hope that they are indeed in high-def, or at least better than the YouTube channel on the Nintendo Wii.

Bing. So you put in Internet search engine into Xbox 360, but still no web browser. With Bing, you can use your Kinect to speak and search your Xbox for games or content, but it’s only going to find things on your Xbox. Your games, movies, music searched at the touch of a button. I guess if you have a lot of stuff like that on your Xbox it will help, but again I say: Really? No web browser?

UFC comes to Xbox 360 and is going to be interactive, much like the ESPN Channel. While watching a fight, you can select the winner and even choose how he will win — by decision, knockout, or the like. It’s going to be interesting to see how many free events versus pay-per-view events they will have on this channel.

Gears of War 3. I don’t know why I’m not a big Gears fan. I had both Gears 1 and 2, and didn’t come close to finishing either, even though they had co-op play for the campaign. If you are a Gears fan, this is great for you. I think you’re going to love the third edition.

If you like to take a trip back to ancient Rome then Ryse may be for you. The video had me snagged… until it showed the guy hacking and slashing and even headbutting and kicking in front of the Kinect. I just don’t see many people having enough room to be kicking and headbutting without hitting their TV. This may come back to bite me but I don’t see this game going anywhere.

There were some sort of new Halo game. An anniversary special something. But you know me in Halo, and most of it went right over my head because I just didn’t care. Looks like it was just remastered and rehashed and put in a shiny new box. Snore.

Forza 4 was visually stunning, and if you are a racing fan this will be right up your alley. More cars, more races, and more DLC should make this the best racing game to come out this fall.

Fable: The Journey arrives in 2012. I still haven’t finished Fable 1, 2, or 3. In fact I’m not even close, and I don’t even own 3. Maybe it’s because Fable comes out at the same time as many other good games, or maybe I just don’t have the time to play a monster game like this. And of course they’ve intertwined Kinect into this game, too. It looks like I won’t be finishing this game either.

One of the more popular independent games, Minecraft, is coming exclusively to Xbox 360, and this one too will be Kinect enabled.

Want to go to Disneyland? You soon will be able to take a virtual vacation to Disneyland on your Xbox with Disneyland Adventures. Using your Kinect you can visit a virtual Disneyland and enjoy some of the rides. I’m not a big Disneyland guy, and you know how I feel about the Kinect, but I got a tell you I love going to actual destinations from the comfort of my own home. I think the kids will love this game and this is where Kinect should put their efforts, not in Fable or Ghost Recon. I wonder if you could play this game without needing a Kinect because, then, I may actually buy it.

Star Wars: Knights of the Kinect I’m calling it, and it has you using the Kinect to swing your lightsabre and to move things around using the Force. What caught my eye were the space battles. If you could play in an epic space battle and the Kinect played nicely, this may be the one game to push me over the edge and by a Kinect.


Getting back to the kids was a new Sesame Street game featuring the Kinect called Once upon a Monster. This game looked like it was stolen directly from the Wii. And again, this is where the Kinect can really shine — with the games for the kids. Cookie Monster and Elmo were the featured characters in the video, but let me be clear: No adult is going to play this game by himself. This is 100 percent for the little ones.

Also announced, Kinect Funlabs. You can now scan items and even yourself and your clothes into the Kinect to create things to play with or a really realistic avatar of yourself. You can even take pictures and draw things on the pictures and then share these with your friends. It looks like it would be fun for all of five minutes, and like Edie said, how long would it take before we saw our first swear word on a t-shirt gets scanned in? And also what about copyright? If I wear a shirt or a jersey with a sports team logo, will that get scanned in?

A second edition of Kinect Sports was shown off. They had quick demos of football and golf, and again it had a Nintendo Wii feel to it. If you want real football or real golf, stick with Madden and Tiger Woods. From what I saw it looked like you would throw a touchdown on every pass and hit the green with every golf swing.

Dance Central 2. Not my type of game. Looks like Dance Central 1. If you liked the first, you probably will like the second. It looks like it had some new dance moves, but I couldn’t really tell as you’re asking the wrong guy. Next.

Live TV is coming to Xbox 360. It was unclear which or how many shows and programs will be available, but they better hope the quality is better than their ESPN Channel. For me, the quality of cable TV and satellite TV is far better than anything streaming on the Xbox 360 right now. The only way I would watch anything live on Xbox if it wasn’t available to watch on my cable TV. And there’s no sense using up your Internet bandwidth to watch a degraded quality just because it’s on your Xbox.

And of course it wouldn’t be E3 without mentioning a new Halo game. Yes, Halo 4 was teased in what was called a “new trilogy.” I just hope they don’t over hype it like they did with Reach.

So recapping the Microsoft/Xbox 360 press conference, just about everything is going to be using the Kinect in one way or another. If you like the Kinect, this was a big day for you. If not, then, like me, you may find yourself straying from your Xbox to play games on your PC or a retro system. Continuing on, every sequel looks to improve off of its predecessor and they keep adding content to the Xbox 360, but they also keep dancing around adding a web browser.

All in all, nothing earth-shattering here, but it will be interesting to see how the Kinect fares in year two.

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1 Response to E3 2011: Thoughts on the Microsoft’s Press Conference



June 8th, 2011 at 6:18 am

I don’t get the big push for a web browser on the xbox. Of the people I know that have a ps3 and/or a wii, not one uses the browser. I simply cannot see myself ever using a browser on a console simply because the entire experience would be….unwieldy.

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