E3 is finally here and Microsoft is kicking off the conferences. Let’s take a look at all the announcements that they made and what this could mean for your gaming experience in late 2012 to early 2013.
Halo 4 Extended Gameplay / Trailer – Wow this game looks great, it seems to have a “close quarters” feel to it which is in start contrast to games like Halo Reach. The textures look smooth and the gameplay is fast-paced. Halo fans should be excited this looks like Bungie left the franchise in good hands.
Ubisoft and Splinter Cell Blacklist- Sam is back and he finds himself on the Iran/Iraq border ready to stop terrorism at its source. The game itself looks like it took a lesson from Assassin’s Creed, Sam can now scale walls and obsticles, all with a futuristic feel. Look for this game to be released in 2013.
ESPN on XBL – Like sports? Get ready for 24 / 7 programming options from all the major ESPN channels including live broadcasts. There were no details about having cable service so at this point it was a tech demo.
Xbox Music – This seems to resemble a cloud music service for use with Microsoft products. It seems like just another place for you to buy your music.
Nike+ Athletic Training – Using the Kinect it can analyze your movements and suggest changes for a more efficient workout. Most athletes know all about Nike+ and now you’ll be able to use it as a workout companion coming holiday 2012
Xbox Smart Glass – This is a new software suite that gives users more control over their media. You can move media from one device to another. For example, you can watch a movie on one device, stop it, and continue on a completely separate device without delay. It seemed like it worked well but it didn’t show how it works from start to finish. Again it seemed like a tech demo. They also showed off how you can use the software with games as a sub-menu. Specifically, it allowed Madden players to call plays and even alter them using an iPad. It seemed quite interesting. They also mentioned that IE is coming to Xbox so web browsing is easier. Simple talk to the Kinect or use Smart Glass and your commands are registered quickly and accurately. Finally, Microsoft announced that Xbox Live will be part of the Windows 8 suite of applications so you’ll be able to take your gamerscore and achievements onto your home PC.
Tomb Raider - The team at Crystal Dynamics have graced us with a new extended gameplay trailer showing off Lara’s bow skills as she takes out enemies from afar. From this we see that Tomb Raider has been taken to a new direction as this doesn’t resemble anything we’ve seen from Tomb Raider. They also announced that DLC will be available first on the Xbox platform.
Ascend: New Gods – This game is an Xbox 360 exclusive title developed by Signal Studios. It is a fantasy 3rd person hack-and-slash that looks like it borrows some elements of Shadows of the Colossus. The trailer shows you as a demonic entity fighting enemies that are up to 20 times larger than you. It is quite bloody and it seems to have some potential for fans of the genre. Look for this one in 2013.
Loco Cycle - The name is a weird but the trailer talks about a woman that mastered the art of combat, language and is a pinnacle of human achievement. There wasn’t much to see here since there was no gameplay, just voice over work. Look for this title to release in 2013 as well.
Matter - Yet another new IP announced at the press conference. This trailer didn’t show any gameplay but it did resemble a Portal like game. There were lots of shapes and colors but there was no indication on what this game would offer gamers. Look for this in 2013.
Resident Evil 6 - Capcom went to hang out with Microsoft and they brought a playable version of Resident Evil 6. From the look of the gameplay, the series is taking a big swing from the survival horror/action genre to almost completely action based.
Wreckateer – A Kinect based game that puts you at the helm of a ballista trying to take out castles. You will be able to use different projectiles to take down your foes but each projectile requires different gestures seen by the Kinect. It was a young adult’s game but it seemed like it could be fun for a while. Look for this title on XBL this summer
South Park: The Stick of Truth - It looks like a side scrolling beat-em-up from the trailer but it was hard to tell what was the game and what was the narration. Perhaps it was both and if that was the case, this should be the best South Park game yet. The presentation was brief but if you are a fan of South Park, this honestly seems like something you are going to want to follow. There is no release window announced, so stay tuned for more info.
Dance Central 3 - Who could forget the dancing game classic, Dance Central. Well if you are a fan of the games, a sequel is coming your way soon. During the conference, Usher came on to talk about how he contributed to the game and did a little performance of his own. Though, this doesn’t seem like it is going to change the formula. What you see is what you get.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – We’ve seen a few trailers and some screenshots but this is the first time we get to see gameplay. It looks just like a Call of Duty game with action packed into every second you control your character. Though this game really has nothing to do with the first game at all, this should still give all those COD fans another game to play. This title takes place in the future where you’ll be fighting mechanized infantry and drones. It has an unmistakable “Terminator” environment, so if that appeals to you, look for this game to come out later this year.
Overall, Microsoft had a decent E3 showing. They were disappointingly light on the IP annoucements with three ambiguous trailers and some Halo 4 information. There were no next gen console announcements, just as expected but there were some new software announcements that seem promising. How this conference will stack up will soon unfold, but if you are an Xbox fan there were a few things to keep you excited about the system for the next few months. Don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the announcements below! Stay tuned to NGN for E3 coverage.