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Monday, June 4, 2012

E3 Microsoft Conference Post Wrap-Up (BO2, Tomb Raider, Madden + Kinect, SmartGlass, Splinter Cell, & more..)


For those of us who have been gaming since the days of Atari, when arcades willingly accepted an endless amount of quarters, E3 has become ritualistic.  You probably sacrifice your job, that good job with the benefits and the dual monitors, just so you can watch the E3 conferences.  Not one gamer wants to be the last pitiful peasant to find out about all the new stuff "Coming <insert possibility year/season>".  It's definitely a love hate relationship.  Some times you get Kinect and COD: Modern Warfare.  Other times you get Wii U.  This year is no different.  It's such a phenom, this gamer life.  Microsoft took the stage to unveil everything we thought they would and other stuff we didn't know they could. 

OK, now that all the introductory sh*t is out of the way, let's get right down to the nitty gritty of things.  Microsoft's conference was very exciting, minus the Usher performance.  Everything from the violently captivating Splinter Cell Demo, to the jaw dropping gritty Gears of War: Judgement, to the hilariously action packed South Park: The Stick of Truth, left the whole arena cheering.

First up, was Halo 4 then Splinter Cell: Blacklist.  Holy shennanigans!   Did the creators of Metal Gear lay up with the Creators of Assassins Creed and then put the bastard child up for an open adoption, making Ubisoft the new parents?  Remember all that clumsily awkward stealth movement?  Remember the mundane cover systems? look, all that sh*t you remembered that you didn't enjoy is gone.  Sam is a bad ass.  I don't know who pissed him off, but they done f*cked up real bad this time.

During the game play, we got to see Sam F. sliding over hoods like the a 007 Duke of Hazard.  We witnessed him call over a guard and then toss him over the ledge like the dummy from The Good Son.  He was able to tase a puddle of water that two guards we standing in, knocking them out cold -- hope they didn't bite off their tongues.  The movement was fluid, the stealth kills allowed for taking out multiple enemies in a few simple steps, and the design detail was beautiful.  Sam also shot a man, and then said the man shot himself, or maybe the man did shoot himself.  Who cares?  This game is getting pre-ordered, today!  OH!  I almost forgot to mention the inclusion of bullet time in some special combat situations and for breaching objectives, similar to Call of Duty, Ghost Recon, etc... Look for a release in Spring 2013.

One of the most impressive showcases was the integration of Kinect Voice Capabilities into the Madden Franchise.  Not too sure if the game play has been revamped much since 2012, but the ability to completely voice control Coaching and team Management during a game is definitely a nice touch-up.  You can do anything with the voice control except tell a player to run, run faster, juke, dive, slide, lateral, etc.  Other than those things, remember this isn't Heavy Rain you have to actually play the damn game people, calling plays making offensive and defensive adjustments, calling audibles, making substitutions, etc, all can be done hands free.  Haven't purchased a Madden game on your Xbox in years?  This may be your return to the field.  The game is set for an August 28th release date. 

Speaking of integrating games with Kinect, let's talk about Fable: The Journey.  There's really not much that needs to be said.  It's the same old Fable that we all love, but now you can use Kinect to cast your magic spells and engage enemies in battle.  Go ahead and donate your couch to a fellow PS3 owner.  Kinect is definitely trying to have the most fit gamers in the industry.  This probably means you'll be seeing more people out in public practicing their spell casting.....awkkkwarrrdddddd.

Teasers are God's gift of the devil's pie, especially to gamers.  What the f*ck does that even mean?  It means, we all look forward to any piece of information we can get about a huge blockbuster franchise, but once we get that "taste" we want a whole plate, seconds, thirds, and then leftovers.  That's basically what Microsoft did with the new Gears of War 4: Judgement trailer. 

Now, not much information has been disclosed about this game -- hell, people are still trying to get over Dom's death --but, the rumor mills have no idea what a whisper is these days and it's being said that this game is a prequel to the series.  Don't quote this blogger on that.  Does anybody know who the Blonde-haired lead was in the teaser trailer?

Forza Motorsports was another anticipated addition to the franchise.  The game graphically looks amazing.  You can even see the people in the cars are wearing their seat belts.  Click it or ticket, it's the law baby.  Just watching cars swerve and veer around the course bypassing unsuspecting casual drivers and winners quickly turned losers in a fraction of a second, had a lot of viewers gripping their keyboards at 10 and 2.  Definitely a dope racer to look forward too.

Maybe we should take a second, step away from gaming, and talk about how "Xbox Is Your New Home Of Sports".  This won't be long.  Xbox is getting NBA, NHL, AND ESPN in HD with split screen capabilities to watch multiple games at the same time; also, it comes with Kinect capabilities and you can pick winners and losers.  Get it?  Got it? Good.  That's all need be said bout dat.

Along with the sports comes Xbox Music and Xbox SmartGlass.  Again, we're going to move right through these services and get back to the games.  Xbox music is basically iTunes/Spotify/Rhapsody/GrooveShark/Pandora/Zune, you get the point.  If this service wants to be a winner, with windows phones and windows tablets being somewhat losers, it's going to have to spread to other platforms and maybe OS systems, like Android.  If this doesn't happen, Spotify has nothing to worry about.  Not much detail was given about this service, not even prices.  Hopefully, it will be free with live subscriptions, of course if you have an Android or Iphone, this wouldn't help you OnTheGO.

There is also this new game called Nike + Kinect.  Basically, you're going to get fit like the Pros do and Nike's going to help you.  You can track your progress and challenge friends online.  Pretty simple.

Demo Using SmartGlass To Design Madden Plays
SmartGlass is Xbox's new immersing service that syncs all your devices when using movie, tv, music apps, and even games.  Yes, you can play games on your tablet using SmartGlass.  You'd have to see it to believe and then care about it to be interested enough to find out the details.  Anything with a touch screen can be used to control your Xbox.  On top of this, Xbox is bring Internet Explorer browsing along with new Bing language recognition packs to the systems.  Laptops?  We don't need no stinking please, yes you do need that laptop.  Don't even play yourself like that think all you need is an xbox for all your Internet needs.  That's just foolish.

OK, we're done with the "Look at all our new services, all the beautiful services" portion of this re-cap. 

Get excited people because Tomb Raider has been completely revamped.  It looks like Uncharted.  It plays like Uncharted.  It's basically the pretty version of Uncharted.  It's Uncharted with boobs.  Uncharted.  Uncharted.  Uncharted.  Sorry about that, must have been a glitch in the matrix.  The game looks bad ass great.  Lara gets her Katniss on with some slick bow and arrow kills.  Yes, she brought her archery to a gun fight.  The climbing mechanics appear to be seamlessly executed.  There were a few shotgun deaths that would have made Colombiana look like Alice in Wonder-the-f*ck-off-over-there-somewhere-Land.  Even the third-person, over the shoulder view looks nice.

"All these big titles that people have obviously been anticipating, what about some people haven't?"

Anybody with these frivolous complaints must have been waiting for the Ascend: New Gods demo, or maybe Alex Ruiz's demo of Wreckateer, or probably Matt and Trey's Game play Trailer for South Park: The Stick of Truth.  Fine, fine, let's talk about those.  Impatience is a gamer's virtue.

Let's go with Ascend: New Gods.  Okay, so you know that game on Playstation called God Of War, maybe you've heard of it?  Well, maybe you also know about an older game that people thought was pretty decent called Shadows of the Colossus?  If you know those two games, then take the character design from this terrible game called Bloodgorge, add it to the previous two games mentioned, and you've got Ascend: New Gods.  Big Bosses.  Big Weapons.  Big Adventure.  Big Anticipation for this game.

Wreckateer is a very simple, destroy the castle, Kinect-For-Kids game.  Nothing really great, but it looks like some sweet and mindless fun.  You get to catapult boulders through the air by doing squats and granny bowling.  Kinect Luh Tha Kids Yall.

The South Park Trailer was easily the funniest of all the trailers that included game play.  With lines like "Jews can't be saviors, remember?" how could you not add this game to your Fall Xmas List. 

There are hilarious movie still clips, hack slash adventure combat, south park-ish ninjas, Jesus with an AK-47, Professor Chaos, and Cartman even has a Flame Fart attack.  If that doesn't excite you, then you're just a Puppy who's lost it's way.

Sigh.  So there's always one moment that makes everyone go, "Yea, it's about time to wrap this up guys".  That moment was when Dance Central 3 decided that demoing the game just wasn't enough.  They need to go above and beyond.  They need to USHER!  Yes!  Usher took to the stage with a group of professional dancers, to convince a room full of geeks, nerds, gamers, and mostly GUYS to buy into the Dance Central crave.  Who doesn't want to learn a few moves from Mr. Raymond?  He did have Chilly at one point?   Then again, so did Mayweather and the only place he's dancing is in the ring.  Either way, bad call on Microsoft's part.  You guys have to learn to just say, "HELL NO!". 

Timeout!  Usher almost made the world's greatest E3 Conference re-capper forget about Resident Evil 6.  Who here isn't a fan of the stop and shoot franchise.  Stop complaining guys, it's make the game more of a challenge to not be able to run and shoot.  You can't miss what you never had, unless you own Metal Gear Solid, or Call of Duty, or ....yea, so anyway.  Not really sure about the details of the story, but the game play was phenomenal.  They managed to make the main character more of a zombie slashing hit man than before.  The Amazing Spider-man may not have a weakness for small knives, but that because he's never met a Zombie killing machine that's all about Small Knife jabbing you in the Adam's Apple.  The cover system looks like it's been tweaked a bit and the CQC system, something you should really avoid in a Zombie encounter, came off like gruesome finesse.  The cut scenes really impacted the crowd and the storyline seemed very engaging.  This could be a strong year for the RE franchise.  If the game actually drops this year.  Not sure about that part. 

Sigh.  They really had Usher dancing at a damn gaming convention.  WTF!

Of course, you have to save the BO for last.  Smell me.  Black Ops 2, renamed African American Ops 2 by fellow podcaster Rodimusprime over at is going for 10 Million first day this year.  That's definitely not an exaggeration.  Everyone who was not impressed with Modern Warfare 3 was done with the COD franchise.  Then the teaser dropped.  Then one trailer.  Then another trailer.  Now we got a whole game play video showing us that clearly the focus for this game was Single Player Campaign.  Players are going to have the ability to not only drive vehicles --you know, the occasional jeep and tank or air bomber-- , but you will now be flying jets, driving mechs, and much more.  The destruction and devastation you witness during the game play demo was unimaginably stunning.  Buildings falling all around you.  Helicopters being shot out of the sky, cycling into an explosion of dirt, fire, and ashy metals.  It's basically a game celebrating what man does best, destroy sh*t. 

While the demo didn't show any of the flashback game play, what is did show is the Wars of Tomorrow.  There was a gun with a farsight/x-ray scope similar to Perfect Dark and the technology used in Ghost Recon that allows players to see through objects and snipe enemies.  At first, it looked like your character was rocking some new age Nintendo Power Glove with an 4" screen.  Instead, it's not really stated what the device does, but what ever it does, it makes you look more awesomer using that wristy-thing-uh-muh-jangy to do it.  Operating the jets was the most exhilarating part of the demo.  Not only will you be chasing down enemies in the skies and on the ground, but there was a boost system and other weaponry.  This game looks like a much needed upgrade. 

Not much more to really talk about.  The EA Conference is starting a few minutes.  More Madden is definitely on the way.  We might even get a glimpse of the rebirth of a missed basketball franchise.  Should 2K be shook up?

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