E3: Microsoft Press Conference Recap

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If you’re reading this and you haven’t watched Microsoft’s Press Conference for E3 2012 it’s all over the net, you should check it out, not a bad time waster.  There were a lot of announcements, games, upgrades, and wait for it… a performance by Usher!  OMG!  Overall, I’d say it was pretty successful, no major mishaps to report and some pretty sweet looking stuff, but nothing earth shattering either.

Let’s start off with the games.  The conference opened with a familiar face, Master Chief.  Halo 4 looks to be shaping up nicely.  Play mechanics seem identical to the previous games, new enemies, new story line.  I like Halo, but I would really like to see more of a departure, pretty much all of the games that were shown look like something we’ve all played before.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m going to need a good reason to keep coming back.

Splinter Cell Blacklist was next up.  I like the looks of this one, the gameplay looks fast and fluid.  The Kinect can be used for voice commands in some pretty cool ways.  Scaling walls and cliffs are done with the greatest of ease, making Sam Fisher look like he would fit right into Assassin’s Creed.  As usual, the story and voice acting look top notch, if you’re a fan of the series, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

The Tomb Raider reboot/prequel isn’t looking too bad either.  It’s a bit more violent and grittier than before.  It looks a whole lot like a Splinter Cell game, but of course focusing more on action than stealth.  There is a cover system and interactive objects.  Hopefully we will see some good puzzles and platforming as well, this Tomb Raider looks to be more action oriented than ever before.

There was a teaser for Gears of War Judgment.  The trailer featured Baird, but no other recognizable Cogs, the Locusts are back again apparently.

Resident Evil 6 is coming along, it looks like Leon is more than capable of kicking some zombie ass, but I fear Capcom will mess this one up somehow, terrible partner AI or something.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

South Park: The Stick of Truth, looks just like the show.  Another cool thing about it is that you play the new kid in town and have to help the guys save South Park.  Create a character should be fun.

Call of Duty Black Ops II is looking better than I would have expected.  I get really tired of playing the same damn game over and over again.  Putting this one in the near future could be just the thing needed to breathe new life into the series.  Don’t want to let Tom Clancy’s guys have all the fun, do you Activision?


Next, lets talk about upgrades to Xbox Live.  There were quite a few announcements, really only one or two of them are note worthy.  More channels, more apps, blah, blah, blah.  ESPN will have 24 hour programming and NBA and NHL games will be broadcast live.  Microsoft is also launching a new music platform called Xbox Music which will be cross-platform: Xbox, PC, smart phone, and tablet.  I’m guessing that this will be replacing the Zune Marketplace, no official word yet.


The most interesting new application/software has to have been Xbox Smart Glass.  This will allow you to use Android, Apple, and Windows devices like smart phones and tablets to interact with games.  “Decives work together to immerse you into the entertainment.”  One example was using a tablet to alter and call plays in Madden.  Another was shown for Halo 4, locating a new objective would bring up data not found in game on your secondary device(tablet, phone).  It doesn’t interrupt gameplay, it just gives you more detailed information.  Almost like special features on a movie, pretty cool.


Usher put on a stage performance promoting Dance Central 3...


And the show ended with the Black Ops II demo.  All in all pretty good.  No real show stoppers, but some interesting ideas and some solid looking titles.  I’m anxious to get on the floor and start testing some of these games out!  Stay tuned, more about E3 2012 will be coming your way!


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Zach Starr has been a video games journalist for nearly 5 years. He is also a contributor for Nfamous Gamers. Follow him for exciting E3 2012 announcements.  You can follow him on Twitter!