E3 2011 – Microsoft Keynote

One of our good friends Jamie, has been so kind as to help us out here at Yatta! but doing some write ups of E3. Over the next few days he will have some videos and articles for you to enjoy. Once that’s all posted, Yatta! will then be back on it’s feet to get more done!

In his first article Jamie covers the Microsoft Keynote which happened on the opening day. Head’s up however, these are all very long so make sure your ready to read!

Over to Jamie!

Microsoft had a bad E3 last year. They focused a lot on the Kinect, and left many core gamers out in the cold. This year, they would have had to really turn it around in order to capture the attention of gamers again.

But instead of that, they opted to focus a lot on the Kinect.

Okay, let me get this out of the way: I am not a 360 man. But I AM a fan of videogames. While I do not claim allegiance to the console, I will always say when a game interests me. Alan Wake I’m annoyed that I can’t play. I enjoyed Gears 1, and really want to play Gears 2 + 3. Microsoft have the power to interest me, a self-proclaimed Sony fan-boy, but last year they just threw that away. And this year, they threw it even further.

They started off well. Showing off Modern Warfare 3, probably the biggest game of the show. While the trailer failed to capture my interest (about 3 minutes of swimming, 2 minutes of VERY FAMILIAR gunplay and then ending with a boat scene that seemed very similar to the snow mobile scene from Modern Warfare 2 made me bored, if anything), I can easily say that it’s a good way to kick off. People like Modern Warfare. It’ll grab people. It DID grab people. Except me.

But hey, Tomb Raider live play! Well, that DEFINITLY grabbed me. Lara Croft goes a very Uncharted route in her next adventure, pulling in a huge cinematic influence from the Drake family. But that’s not really a bad thing. Uncharted felt like what Tomb Raider SHOULD have become at points, so it makes sense for Tomb Raider to draw inspiration from it. It’s looks to be the best Tomb Raider game for a while, and I think people would really appreciate the change.

Unfortunately, it all goes down from here. We’re led to believe we’re getting a Mass Effect 3 demo next – which to be fair, we do. However, we don’t see any cool battles, or awesome conversations. No, what we DO see, is both the Kinect additions! The entirety of the Mass Effect portion of E3 can be summed up with this:
“On the 360 it has voice recognition”. Other than that, ME3 gave us NOTHING to work with. Which is annoying, it’s easily one of the biggest games available on the 360, but they chose to focus on the Kinect, a running theme in the conference.

Next, Microsoft Legend Peter Moore comes out to talk about EA Sports! On Kinect. He literally just says that, then leaves the stage.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier was the next piece to talk about, but again concentrating on the kinect features. We saw him disassemble a gun, and shoot some things, then they left the sage. We saw NO proper gameplay segments, and heard NOTHING of the game other than what it does ON THE KINECT.

Well, before my cynicism sets in too much, they decide to switch tone, with an epic reveal for the 360:

Youtube and Bing.

Not kidding, Youtube and Bing are coming to the 360. But no browser, no, 360 users will get the ability to use a stripped down version of Youtube, and the ability to search the x-box live marketplace. I can’t help but feel they spent WAY too much time talking about something that shouldn’t even count as a reveal. If they spent 10 seconds on this, fine, but they spent about 10 minutes talking about being able to search the marketplace. Yeah, that’s cool, but you spent hardly any time on Mass Effect 3, you’re just wasting time now.

It’s at this point, you’re probably think you are just reading a Sony fanboy cry about Microsoft. To be fair, you sort of are, but like I said before: I’m open to anything as long as it’s good. And after UFC told us we could watch UFC on the 360, and after Halo HD was announced, Microsoft grabbed me once more.

Gears of War 3. Live demo of testosterone-fueled big baddy bustin’ glory. The game looks beautiful. It looks fantastic. Everything you would want from Gears of War 3. I was happy, Microsoft could have just salvaged their conference. But I wasn’t ready for happened after that.

Kinect totally everywhere.

FABLE: THE JOURNEY – FOR KINECT

DISNEYLAND ADVENTURES – FOR KINECT

SESAME STREET – FOR KINECT

STAR WARS – FOR KINECT

RYSE – FOR KINECT

KINECT SPORTS 2 – FOR KINECT

And probably more. All of the above games looked as awkward and un-fun as any non-dancing Kinect game looks. I could spend a good while getting angry about all of them.

But Star Wars.

Let’s talk about Kinect Star Wars, shall we?

When the Wii was first unveiled, the first thing we all wanted was a Star Wars game. Be honest, you wanted it too. But we never got one. Even now, it’s looking unlikely that the Move or Wii will ever get a 1:1 Star Wars game. But what do we get? We get an on-rails game that encourages you to flail your arms about. The game just doesn’t look fun, it looks stiff, awkward, and exactly the opposite of what I think everyone wants.

I’m reminded of that story of the genie. You know, where whatever you wish for is twisted? You wish for unlimited money, and then the worlds economy goes bust and you’re considered the worlds worst person? I feel like that’s what happened. Someone wished for a motion-controlled Star Wars game, and we got Star Wars Kinect.

It’s also set in the Clone Wars. Look, Lucasarts, I know you want us to accept the Clone Wars as a part of the franchise, but we never will. Give us a Wii/Move 1:1 Star Wars game set in the original trilogy. You play as Luke and Han, fighting with Lightsaber and Blaster. Just do that, and I swear to God you will be the richest company in the world.

It’s also worth noting that they briefly announced Minecraft for 360 (With Kinect, obviously). No trailer or gameplay, but that’s something to keep an eye on. With matchmaking on the 360 however, I doubt the multiplayer will reach the same fantastic heights as the PC counterpart has. Watch this space, however. We could see something amazing for the 360 version.

After a slew of Kinect titles, I was honestly done with Microsoft. They teased me with Tomb Raider and Gears, they showed me a few seconds of Mass Effect, and then hit me in the face with nothing but Kinect. I don’t care about Kinect. Gamers generally don’t care about Kinect. Thank Christ they ended it on a high note.

Look, I don’t like Halo. But I know it’s a big game, and it’ll get the fans up on their feet. So I’m glad that Microsoft ended their conference by revealing Halo 4.

That’ll keep fans happy. That’s what they want to hear. If you’re a 360 fan, I’m sure you enjoyed the conference. But from an outsider looking in, I saw almost nothing to keep me interested. I can’t help but feel the conference was mainly just to show off more Kinect stuff, with adding a few other games to keep the gamers happy. A small trailer on Halo 4, a few seconds of Mass Effect? These could have had much more time spent on them if we saw less Fable: The Journey or Bing on 360.

No, I’m sorry. If you enjoyed the conference, good. If you are excited about what’s coming up, that’s great, I won’t take that away from you. But as someone who doesn’t own a 360, and doesn’t like Halo or Kinect, I saw very little to like.

Conference Score: 4/10


~ Jamie ~


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One response to “E3 2011 – Microsoft Keynote

  1. Bloody hell. I am someone else too thats not that bothered about kinect (I am more of a PC gamer) and I am outraged that they have put Fable with it. If its a rubbish game, some noobs will be going down. Massive eagle winged hammer stylee (via Fable 3)

    Also, its bad enough they are bringing out a THIRD MW (milk the cow while people still like milk why don’t you) but HALO 4

    GOOD GOD

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