Well ladies and gentlemen, despite Nintendo throwing up a Direct video last night focusing on the Wii U and its updates, it really was today that E3 properly kicked off, and in a bolt of green lightning, Microsoft turn up to get it all started.
First things first, a live action Halo 4 trailer is kicking it all off, very deep, epic and atmospheric and well, INCREDIBLE. There’s the Chief in all his elegant green glory, with his trusty Cortana by his side. The visuals are looking terrific, and here we’re getting a video of the full campaign. In what is very typical for each new Halo update, the human weapons themselves have an a little upgrade. With what looks like a new Battle Rifle, the Chief sets off through a jungle like level, with Cortana now popping up on the left hand corner of the screen when she has something to say to the almighty Spartan 113. Don’t fear, the Covenant have officially been revealed to return and they look as colourful and as angry as ever. However though, there is a new enemy, definitely not Covenant. What we witness is tall beast like looking enemies kitted out in neon orange and they seemed pretty damn ruthless. A small section saw Chief get jumped on y one and their faces were revealed which seemed to be nothing but skulls on fire. Their weapons are pretty funky too and can be manipulated in midair, which is pretty sweet. One section showcased the heat visor, where Chief couldn’t see an enemy yet sensed one close, he then stuck on his heat visor and low and behold, these orange bastards were everywhere. Did I say orange bastards? Sorry, I meant Forerunner bastards. The whole video itself was visually stunning, for sure the best looking Halo we’ve yet seen. The trailer ended with almighty scream from Cortana: ‘I WILL NOT LET YOU LEAVE THIS PLANET’
This makes everybody in the room squeal with joy. Halo 4 looks completely insane, give it to me right now.
Xbox head, the Don appears on stage and let’s us all know that it’s all about Xbox 360. He’s not wrong. Not a single mention of Xbox 720 or the rumoured entertainment only device. This was all about the next year with your 360.
Splinter Cell is back back back! Sam Fisher returns in a warzone kicking the shit out of some evil terrorist types. Titled Splinter Cell: Blacklist, it’s great to see Fisher back. What we saw was the man with three green eyes on the Iraq border where he must interrogate the leader in hopes of stopping the next Blacklist attack. Always one step ahead of his enemies seeking out his next target, when you master Sam’s abilities, you can move through levels quickly and fluidly. Graphically the game looks impressive, certainly the best looking Splinter Cell so far, chanelling Ghost Recon. The executions look pretty cool, however the biggest draw was the Kinect voice recognition. Previewing the technique on stage, the developers just said ‘hey you’ and the guard Fisher was hiding from turned around. Fisher then jumped out and stabbed him. Schweet! Breaching with the classic Splinter Cell style, looking terrific. Touted as ”the most ambitious Splinter Cell yet”, ‘Splinter Cell: Blacklist’ is coming out Spring next year.
EA Sports are here now, discussing ‘Better with Kinect’ with Madden and FIFA. This was a big deal when it was announced that FIFA word work with Kinect for ’13′, so it’s interesting to see it’s only been scaled back to voice control. Still, it’s pretty neat. You can control your tactics with your voice instead of jumping to pause menu and shout orders to your teammates with your voice. Probably the coolest announcement though was that if you shout at the TV at a referee’s decision, the commentators in the game will respond and throw your emotional response into their commentary. It made me smile immensely to see something like this included, a really nice touch. Your anger can be recognised by the commentators. Brilliant. For Madden, Joe Montana came to the stage to shout voice commands at the players, responses again recognised by the commentators. Madden drops on August 28th.
A few small trailers were thrown up after this. Firstly, Fable: The Journey popped up. On the plus side, it looks alright, on the rails with super levels Kinectness involved. Disappointingly, the visuals are poor and there seemed to be little to no response from the crowd. Nobody clapped it..awkward…
Gears of War: Judgment turned up next, looking supernaurally Gears of Warsy. Very little was shown bar our typical GoW enemies and protagonists with no story discussed. Not alot to discuss there really. Coming 2013. Check out the trailer to see what you think:
Forza: Horizon is here! Looking naturally beautiful and exciting. Nice to see there are plenty of trailers to get excited about here. Horizon looks fluid, action packed, with a little more of an arcade feel than ”Forza 4”. I’m down with that. Trailer below:
Er, that seems to be the end of games. We’re now onto the dashboard, and you can now search by genre for content through Bing. Erm, yay? More positively, Kinect is finally moving towards different languages. Nickelodeon and Paramount join in the Xbox app fun, along with Machinima. Univision coming for Spanish territories.
Some big news if you’re an Xbox owner living in the land of Uncle Sam. NBA is coming to Xbox Live. Promising NBA Gametime, 2400 live games, all the highlights from your favourite teams, it’s sure to be a big hit with fans. Speaking of sports, NHL is also coming to Xbox Live with over 40 games per week, replays and highlights. Later this year, 24 hours a day 7 days a week ESPN goes full on Xbox Live. Sports Centre, Sports Nation, NFL, MLB, NBA in HD. Why can’t something like this happen for the Premier League here in Blighty?
Remember Zune? Microsoft seem to be hoping you don’t with the announcement of Xbox Music on Xbox, PC, Tablets and Phones. YOUR WAY, ALL THE MUSIC YOU LIVE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT IT, SHARE WITH DRAKE FOOLZ. Yeah, not much to discuss here. Pretty much Microsoft’s Spotify for a premium price, we’d imagine.
Oh dear, here comes the fitness. Kinect is about to get raped, I can feel it. What we saw here was the biggest announcement to date regarding FITNESS regimes for the Xbox 360. President of Digita Sport Stefan Olander. Talking about performance innovation and how they have the best facilities to achieve their potenti..blah blah blahhh..
Nike+ Kinect Training. Gives you access to assessment, training and feedback they give to real athletes. The most personalised digital training experience in the world. Your trainer is there to kick your ass and will remind you on your phone while you’re out and about that you’re due for a work out. Xbox Live will find people to work out with! Aw, ain’t that sweet. To be fair, it looks pretty intense. If you’re into this sort of thing you’ll probably get plenty of out this. Coming Christmas 2012, just at the time you need to lose those pounds eh?
Next up the tablet, phone conversation with the head of Xbox Live. A breakthrough in entertainment, Xbox Smart Glass transforms the devices you own into second screens for your Xbox games, presumably Microsofts way of keeping up with Sony and Nintendo, although to be fair this just needs an app, rather than a whole new device. So then, with Xbox Smart Glass movies are more immersive, music is more engaging and gaming are more interactive. Switch movies from tablet/smartphone/PC to TV while you’re watching watching it, so you can watch the film on your TV while your smartphone is by your side offering you information about what you’re watching. Zeebox for the Xbox, see what I did there? Smart Glass keeps up with everything you’re doing it at once, so if you’re watching Game of Thrones on your TV, your smartphone or tablet will tell you you’re watching Game of Thrones, incase you didn’t know, like. I’m being cynical, but it’s funky technology. The best part of it though, was what followed..
Microsoft presented a Madden video about how you can sort out the tactics of your team on your tablet then implement them into the gameplay on your TV. Following that there was a brief ‘Halo 4′ video about Halo Waypoint integration on your tablet. You can discover Waypoint data as you play through the campaign and it will appear on your screen that you’ve found something. From here, it will also appear on your tablet or smartphone screen. You’ll be able to find out more information about certain aspects of the game on your tablet without interrupting your gameplay experience, such as being able to see the schematics of local vehicles or ships. With the Waypoint app on your smartphone or tablet you can also receive beacons where you’ll see a friend that wants to play multiplayer or co-op. By simply pressing the beacon on your touchscreen you can join the game. ‘Halo 4′ will then save your progress and connect you to the match instantly. Pretty darn coolio. Check it out below:
One announcement which us as Xbox gamers had completely forgotten about was the possibility of Internet Explorer on Xbox 360. Well, Microsoft only bloody went and revealed it! Of course, we’d all prefer Google Chrome, but for obvious reasons that can’t happen. To be fair, it looks pretty neat, and has the typical Microsoft shine all over it. As the announcement said, the web is just a voice command or simple swipe away. They’re checking out Prometheus from their official website and showed a scene which spoiled a huge section of the movie to the audience which doesn’t have the film out in their country yet. Ugh, not that it matters, that film sucked. Anyway….
You’l be able too scroll through web based content on your TV with your tablet or phone via Smart Glass. I like that. Xbox Smart Glass works with all the devices you already own.
TOMB RAIDER is up. Full gameplay, looking very nice, with plenty of action including bow and arrow sequences, trailing through rushing rivers and stabbing poor folk square in the chest. Much more of an adult direction and video showed plenty of Lara falling from great heights. Visually looking great, particularly a terrific looking parachute section where you control her through trees. With plenty of survival action and dynamic combat, it’s looking like Xbox is finally getting an ‘Uncharted’ rival, just with breasts. The ‘Tomb Raider’ section was finished with an announcement that Xbox 360 owners will get first dibs on the DLC after release. Trailer below:
Signal Studios present ‘Ascend: New Gods’. It has to be said, looks very ‘Skyrim’ with a bit more OTT violence. The blood is just literally pouring everywhere, graphically looking very impressive with plenty going on on screen at once. Dropping in 2013.
Iris appears. Looking a little bit bloody brilliant. Lococycle had a brief trailer with nice close ups of a Tron like motorcycle with a narrator telling us lots of wonderful things about what we’re witnessing…
Now Gore Verbinski’s game appears. A sphere is floating through the futuristic sky with what appears to an eye in the centre, looks Portal esque, called ‘Matter’ coming in 2013.
Resident Evil 6!! Leon Kennedy, zombies, nice graphics and funky lighting effects. Typical third person behind the shoulder view. Looking very dark and gloomy, basically like Resident Evil I suppose. Pistols, shotguns, cover jumps, grenades. Full city scope, brief QTE sections when Leon is attacked. From here an huge ass plane came hurtling towards Leon and setting fire to everything behind him. The almighty ‘run from fire’ drama is kicking off right here, right now. Leon escapes and grabs onto a helicopter which was above him before a zombie grabs his leg, another QTE kicks it off. Visuals are looking great, zombie attack in the helicopter! Nice, Resi 6.
Now Wreckateer, a fun looking wrecking game with a dodgy Scottish accent using Kinect. You control cannons and their balls with your waving arms. Looking gonna be a great family game I’m sure. Flying Shot, put your hands up and you’re flying your ammunition, pretty nice. Kids’ll dig it. Shit just explodes, you know! She had a nice tattoo. Angry Birds in 3D, kids.
The South Park RPG ‘The Stick of Truth’ is up now. Looks brilliant fun, with graphics which instantly match the show, allowing you to create your own character. Featuring all the locations and characters from the show, along with the terrific modern 3D visuals from the modern episodes. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are bloody here! Trey Parker taking the pure piss out of whole conference already. Talking about the RPG, how they wanted it to look like an episode of South Park and were very serious about it. They played a demo of the game and were very impressed. They started to write different things like going from Stan’s house to Kyle’s house, and how they had no idea where it was, saying they’ve mapped the game out for the very first time. You play the new kid in town, wanting to be the 5th of the 4 main characters. Nice, they disappeared as quick as they turned up to go and work on it.
Dancing, here we go! Dance Central 3 has turned up, looking like the first two Dance Centrals. Usher turns up on screen to discuss the games, now he’s on stage singing. Yup, Usher. On stage, at E3 infront of games industry developers, writers and professionals. I imagine many are currently considering suicide, especially after getting treated to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, those poor people. I’m not sure why this is happening, but there doesn’t seem to be a way that I can stop it, which it heartbreaking. I’m writing this as I watch the show, and there doesn’t seem to be any end of this song. He’s actually doing the whole thing, I imagine it was part of the deal. ”Yeah, I’ll turn up if I get to perform my new single which is in the shops now”. Ugh.
Ah, it’s over. Right, Don is back. I guess we’re gonna get something big now, right? One would certainly hope so. Well, of course. Here it is – Call of Duty: Blacks Ops II. DLC exclusive to Xbox 360 for a timed period. Gameplay is shown of what looks like a President mobility vehicle, with big ass soldiers and what not and what looks like Alex Mason’s son. Great visuals of a destroyed Los Angeles, and of course, sow motion people flying into windows. Considering what’s going on, it all looks very pretty. You’re playing as a soldier called Agent Jones, climbing aboard a vehicle to control turrets which are locking onto the drones above which we’ve heard so much about. It does look like typical CoD, all style, little substance. However, of course this is a very small look at just one level, so let’s not just it too harshly, eh? It looks like you have to look after the President while making your way through L.A. You have a scope which can see through walls and get enemies while, along with head sensors. Essentially you’re at the top just taking out bad guys while Mason is with the President (who is a lady)..”IN THE INTEREST OF TIME…” pops up for some reason, we then move quickly onto another section of this level, what looks like a shopping mall full of drones which are chasing you and human enemies hiding behind trees. The video continues with a full building coming crashing down in front of you. And the usual ‘oh, SHIT, ARE YOU OK?’, ‘Of course I’m OK, I’m the protagonist in CoD’. It moves onto taking pilot of a battship of some kind, getting you off the floor and into the air where you can control missiles and cannons, the protection of the President is again evident as you trail through the city, with the three vehicles you need to protect lit up in green right infront of you. There’s a shitload going on, it looks ballistic and exhausting, even more extreme than any CoD I’ve ever seen before. Full air warfare, looking brilliant. From here, the video ends and so does the conference. Phew!
What did you think then? Were surprised with what you saw? Anything that really grabbed your interest or were you bored to tears with bloody Usher and Nike+? Let us know in the comments below.
UPDATE: Want to watch the whole thing? Check it out here: