E3 2012: Microsoft Press Conference

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So after missing the live showing of Microsoft’s conference due to school, I ended up watching it afterwards, but I made sure to be as blind as possible, and due to the cluster of conferences on the first day, I was unable to watch EA’s or most of Ubisoft’s, even though Ubisoft’s was better than either, despite some insufferable hosts.

The conference began with a showing of Halo 4, which has been criticized for its very existence because “We finished the fight!”  It is a bizarre outburst that I never can understand, just because you finished a fight doesn’t mean that there will never be another conflict in the Halo universe.  From what I saw, there is definitely going to be a massive promotion budget due to the movie sets they created for commercials to advertise it.  It looks pretty, but getting all the sets and costumes must have cost a bundle.  In terms of actual gameplay though, the game looks very generic.  A jungle environment where you fire lasers at aliens, and steal their guns, riveting.  The game looks competent, but beyond being a shooter with some colorful weapons, I cannot see this title amounting to much.

The actual conference part began with some bozo who had been to all but 1 E3 talking about how great the Xbox 360 is as a multimedia device, but apparently not knowing what a computer is.  After leaving, we saw a game where an undercover man is some Middle Eastern country murders 4 people and then goes off for more.  This is no other than Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist.  Now, I never played any games based on this author’s works, but this suffers from a problem of wanting to be a stealth game and action game at the same time.  The main character, Sam Fisher, is a cybernetic being who can flow through combat zones, kill with one shot, crawl up walls, and find the perfect placement without ever looking around.  Now, I realize that a lot of this is for demo purposes, but it makes the game look like it does all the work itself, which isn’t fun, it is just something you can watch on Youtube rather than spending $60.  You need to make there some element of challenge visible in your game, or some open endedness.  The game itself looks nice, but the character seems as likable as a drunken bear, and I have a feeling that it will get incredibly racist with all the Middle Easterners getting murdered.

After they talked about Sports and how they work with the Kinect, they brought up Fable: The Journey.  Now, I enjoyed Fable II back in 2009, but it was when I was new to non-Nintendo games, so it seemed great to me.  However, after the lackluster Fable III, and, from what I’ve heard, crappy Fable Heroes, the franchise has seemed to lose all credibility.  But as itself, Fable: The Journey, looks to be a bland Kinect game, sorry, that’s a wee bit redundant, where you toss magic spells around at cartoon versions of Fable monsters.  And calling this a “Bold new direction” is laughable at best, the game looks mediocre at best.  But what I love is how after the trailer, the host said how this is the best year of Xbox 360, which is as truthful as the sky being made of custard.

And after an incredibly brief teaser for the Painkiller and Bulletstorm developer’s new Gears of War title, which I find to be a waste of their talent.  Seriously, Painkiller looks amazing from what I’ve seen, and there is a remake coming up, so I guess it is not all that bad, yet that was not even worth mentioning, was it Microsoft?  The bland performance continued with another Forza game, which I still refuse to think of as a franchise, because I never hear about it ever, maybe I just phase out any talk about racing games, but I know more about all 3 of the May 2010 racers that got in the financial toilet, than I do about this entire franchise.  But the entire genre is as appealing as watching giant Skittles being shot out of a catapult, which is basically what I got, but with more Dubstep, which I am indifferent towards.

This was followed by dry talk about how the Kinect was getting applications for sports, which I though it already had.  A deal with Nike for some kind of long winded fitness game that tests your overall fitness level by science, I think.  Music applications for a game console, even though everyone but me has a portable MP3 player, and do not use a game console for music.  But this may be for their whole Windows Phone and tablet lines, which nobody buys, ever.  Speaking of which, they plan on using all 3 of the devices together to create a more complicated interface.  And while I can understand how resuming something on your TV that you had on your portable device, why the hell are you using a game console?  This was followed by the reveal of having internet explorer on the Xbox, and while I understand having it there, why would you ever want to use it if you need a smartphone to use it to begin with.  the whole appeal of smartphones is their internet connection, so why should you need one for your console?  They tried to justify it by saying that controllers suck at it, but nobody cares, limiting this to ones with peripherals is just making it even less appealing than being Internet Explorer.

But after what felt like an hour, we finally got back to something good, Tomb Raider!  This is easily among the best looking reboots that I have ever seen.  Now I could complain about how the creators said how this is a more mature game, and they want to show us an action sequence, but it was too awesome for me to care.  From the smooth implementation of stealth, the bow and arrow that seems to ooze satisfaction with every downed foe, and environmental interactions, it already seems like a very well made game.  However, by including Fire Arrows, not doing a crap addition of Quick Time Events, and adding a lot of little cutscenes to link together chunks of gameplay, this game is up on my most anticipated list for 2013.

Then they brought in Accend: New Gods, an awful looking God of War clone by a team that previously made RTS titles for the XBLA.  Really, if you did not even finish the walk cycle, do not show your game at E3.  Lococycle, a game from one of my favorite developers, Twisted PIxel, was shown, but it looks both bland due to its flat sci-fi style, and the lack of any gameplay, at all.  Matter is a game by a film director who made a series of films about Pirates, and is now creating a mix of Tron, Portal 2, and Marble Madness, that is also for the Kinect.  But instead of being a tribute, it seems like the creator is just phoning it in, since this director was apparently willing to work for a can of beans.  

We then saw Resident Evil 6, and I have to say, it does not look like Resident Evil, at all.  From knife quick-kills, to the Quick Time Events, to the Dead Rising levels of zombies, to the co-op focus.  None of it seems like the previous iterations, and the logo looks like a giraffe, but it still looks pretty good.  The combat is smooth and seems to utilize cover well, namely just being for normal walls, not chest high ones.  Zombies will always be fun to kill, and now you can shove their face into a car.  This game seems like it will be a rocking dodge rolling action title, but is as close to survival horror as it is to subtlety.

After an embarrassing display of what amounts to Angry Birds for Kinect, down to the slingshot, castle destroying, explosives, and green foes.  It is called Wreckateer, and will be out in about 3 months, because that’s how you announce a game.  We then got a dose of the South Park: The Stick of Truth. Now, I love both the Paper Mario series, and South Park, so when I heard that a competent developer was making a game combining these two things, I was a happy clam.  Okay, they are just taking the base of Paper Mario’s combat, but that is still enough to get me hyped  The trailer does not show off much, but the fact that the show’s creators came on and dissed Microsoft for being shit at this conference, I was even more pumped up for the title.  Although the logo is rather random, since South Park never had a unique logo.

Then they showed Dance Central 3, because there needs to be one a year nowadays.  There was something about a famous person, but I do not care about people who exist outside of what I declare as reality.  Also, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.  Now, I never liked the series that much, but this one has robots in it, and a more single player focus, or at least I think, so it is 5 times more appealing to me.  The title looks fun, but I am extremely self-conscientious, so I will probably ignore it so I do not get an unwanted identity assigned unto me. 

Overall, this conference was shit.  I mean, was this really all they could come up with, less appealing Kinect crap, and games nobody wants, or have seen before?  I mean, Tomb Raider, South Park, and… the shooters that are a dime a dozen at this point?  Look good, but we have seen parts of those games before, I cannot believe that they thought they could just phone in their biggest conference of the year.  Also, weren’t they supposed to show something having to do with Epic Games’ Fortnite?  So if they did not try, why should I even attempt to edit my thoughts on it?

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