Hardcore gaming fans, Microsoft has NOT forgotten about you. After watching the 2012 E3 keynote press conference on Xbox Live it looks like they listened to their customer base and delivered the goods. Games, games, and more games. Of course there was also plenty of Kinect, apps, and the introduction of Smart Glass which looks like a great innovation. More on that in a bit.

So what did I enjoy out of the press conference? Well here is my positives and unfortunate negatives of the big show today.

Halo 4: Kicking off the show was Microsoft’s premiere franchise. Good move, because I didn’t want to see Call of Duty…again. From live action to the gameplay itself Halo 4 looks like it will deliver on it’s promises especially considering the fact that this game is developed by 343 Industries and not Bungie. Master Chief is back! And so is the Battle Rifle. from the campaign footage I saw I can tell you that this game looks awesome. A new enemy joins the fight which had one moment where the chief threw a plasma grenade only to have it thrown back at him. 343 did announce before the show about multiplayer with both competitive and co-op gameplay with Spartan Ops. As of right now this game is living up to it’s tremendous hype.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist: Holy shit Ubisoft I didn’t see this one coming! Sam Fisher is back in a whole new adventure taking place on the Iran/Iraq border where his mission is to prevent the next blacklist attack. In other words it’s more kick ass stealth, interrogation, and execution tactics that I love. Busting through doors and taking out enemies you tracked beforehand in slow motion looked amazing. Kinect voice recognition also played a factor in this game as Sam can get the enemies attention as well as call in an air strike. This is something I’m going to like. Too bad I have to wait until Spring 2013.

Tomb Raider: While I’ve never been really into the Tomb Raider series, the latest gameplay demo for the rebooted origin story for Lara Croft really blew my mind. A mature style Tomb Raider with amazing visuals and combat along with a more realistic feeling. I really liked the outstanding visuals (especially the water effects), the combat, and the destructible environment as it objects would splinter and break from gun attacks. I really enjoyed the cinematic action from the waterfall and parachuting scene where Lara literally fought for her life while going through tremendous pain and suffering. A great demo from Crystal Dynamics and more than likely a buy for me.

Gears of War: Judgement: OK, so this was only a trailer, but the prequel that takes place just after Emergence Day and stars Baird and Cole Train is looking pretty good so far. Too bad I have to wait probably another year to play it. Hopefully this game debuts on the new Xbox with the new Unreal 4 Engine.

Resident Evil 6: Could it be? Another game that feels like a Hollywood blockbuster movie. Leon tore through zombies better than any USS soldier in Operation Raccoon City. No bullet sponge enemies and clunky movements made for some great action. Objects crash and explode along with the zombies that stand in your way from completing each objective. The demo was spoiler free leaving plenty to the imagination.

Xbox Smart Glass: The mere thought of having my Xbox connected with my iPad and iPhone has me excited. From television, to movies, and even my games I can coordinate everything into one smart source. I can be playing a game of Halo 4 and my iPad displays key information of locations and about what I’m doing. My iPhone can be used as a remote control to integrate to the new web browser. Even my Kinect integrates much simpler with Windows 8 for easy web browsing and voice recognition. Full integration begins this Fall.

Other things that interested me included the expansion of ESPN with all channels along with NBA Gametime and League Pass so that I can watch the Miami Heat anywhere when I’m working on the road. South Park: The Stick of Truth has me very interested considering the fact that I’m a big fan of the show. I also liked The Wreckateer which could make for a fun Angry Birds clone with Kinect this summer. Finally, I’m going to keep my eyes on Ascend: New Gods from Signal Studios, LocoCycle from Twisted Pixel, and Forza Horizon which sort of reminds me of a mix of Need for Speed and Test Drive Unlimited.

So here is my list of negatives.

Madden NFL 13: NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana was a great highlight, but the laggy voice recognition controls for calling plays at the line made things look terrible. EA Sports and Tiburon have a lot of work to do to make this feature work seamlessly. August 28 is not that far away so get busy.

Nike + Kinect Training: I’m not going to fault Nike for announcing this innovative product featuring your own personal trainer, development program, and challenging friends on Xbox Live, but I just don’t see a lot of people buying this Kinect based program. Just look back to last year with UFC Personal Trainer. Not everyone has a Kinect and more people would rather just play games or watch movies and sports. Besides most of us all have gym memberships already.

Xbox Music: With so many apps on Xbox Live including last.fm and Pandora already available Xbox Music and it’s 30 million songs to choose from will have a hard time fitting itself in. Also will this be a free service or pay per song like iTunes.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2: Since this series has fallen out of favor with me due to it’s crappy multiplayer filled with cheaters, glitches, and boosters, it would take a lot to bring me back. Activision and Treyarch are taking a big leap here with a future war, but there wasn’t enough here today to sway me back. Zombies will return, but I need more of a reason besides that to make me commit the money. Hopefully I’ll get that answer in the coming months, or else it’s another year of avoidance.

Overall, I enjoyed Microsoft’s presentation for the Xbox 360 for the rest of the year and beyond. No terrible actors, no casual kiddy games taking control of the show, no fist bumping. Microsoft went back to what made them successful since the beginning and left the majority of fans, including myself, happy. Time to get my wallet ready for another busy season.

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  1. […] E3 2012: Microsoft Press Conference Positives and Negatives […]

  2. […] Park: The Stick of Truth: Trey Parker and Matt Stone showed off the game at the Microsoft Press Conference as well as shared a few laughs with the crowd. I had my suspicions well before E3, but after seeing […]

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