If you’ve been under a rock for the past few hours then you may have missed the fact that Microsoft have given their massive, E3 opening Keynote and here is all the juicy information that you could possibly want from the future of the Xbox and Kinect in our E3 2012 Microsoft Keynote Round Up!
Tomb Raider is one of the most famous series to ever grace a games console and this new origin story looks set to fill in a few gaps about how Lara got so badass but is the game moving away from the puzzling explorer roots of the franchise whether or not this will be a good thing remains to be seen.
The gameplay footage that we witnessed at the unveil showed a dishevelled Miss Croft moving through the desert island terrain and encountering a few bad guys, perhaps it was just the one section of the game but the whole thing looks set to be more of an action packed romp than intelligent puzzler. The weaponry ranges from basic bow and flaming arrows to pistols and shot guns with a handful of environmental hazards to boot.
Quick time button presses are also making a return and Xbox 360 gamers can expect to see the first piece of DLC for the game before other platforms. Sorry PS3 gamers.
Xbox New features
While the widely rumoured new console didn’t get an announcement, once again the Xbox feature list is being updated to give you the feel of a new console in the same old package you have sat under the TV. First up is the new countries and languages which support the Kinect’s voice search feature, Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland are the twelve new additions to the list.
Nike have also announced another step for them into technology, with the success of add ons to smartphones such as the Nike+ range the latest addition to Nikes fitness arsenal is the FuelBand. This allows you to track all your daily excertion in the form of Nike Fuel points and now the company is adding support for the new device to the Xbox. This will allow you to track your excercise and fitness levels and will on a weekly basis review how you’ve been doing and give you tips on how to imporve your fitness.
The biggest string added to the Xbox bow comes in the form of SmartGlass a feature which will be avaliable later in the year. The aim of SmartGlass is to get all of your devices synced together through the Xbox for example, if you’re watching a movie on the way home when you get there you can continue to play the video you were watching on your Windows Phone or Tablet through your TV via the Xbox. While a movie plays on your Xbox, the smaller devices will be used to give you information on what you are watching right in the palm of your hand. No more guessing what obscure movie you last saw that actress in.
Finally is what we have all been waiting for courtesy of a browser for the Xbox. Internet Explorer will support Kinect voice and gesture control and will give you the whole web straight from your console and it promises to be more impressive than any other console browser and will be coming to your console this fall.
Bing search through kinect, 12 new languages, Nike fuel band interration, smart glass gives cross device video etc, ie for xbox
The Xbox exclusive racing series is set to make a welcome return but with a bit of a twist. Instead of limiting the series to the worlds greatest race tracks, Forza Horizon will unleash you on the unsuspecting wide world ready to street race into the stunning horizon
I call it stunning because that’s what this game looks like, the sun reflecting off wet tarmac or hot metal car bodies is incredible, while racing games looked as though they couldn’t improve on the realism, Forza laughed a these thoughts and just made everything look incredible. Where Need For Speed ran with the street racing thing and killed it out with game after game Forza: Horizon looks set to ressurect this once great sub genre when it releases on October 23rd.
Halo 4 kicked off the huge Microsoft event with some brand new, incredible gameplay footage. We got to see the covenant in an almost new form, the visual changes to the grunts are especially beautiful and it seems as though 343 have managed to make everything look a lot more organic and fluid from movement to tense creatures readying for a fight.
The Forerunner also finally made an appearance with a variety of new enemies and weapons that will leave you salivating for more. While there was some larger enemies which have the appearance of an ancient Elite, it seems to be the smaller enemies who will present more of a challenge. Some are minute almost the size of the minuscule Flood spores, they take a few hits to down and can provide some devastating attacks. The orange and grey menace of Forerunner also took to the sky showing us that they are multi talented but don’t look to be as irritating as the “bugger” flying enemies from previous games.
Story clues revealed with UNSC Infinity crashing into the Forerunner planet and being attacked by the hostile ancients with the last message before Master Chief is overpowered showing that the creatures were making their way to the bridge. Updates came from a small window on the HUD which also showed Cortana in her new form with shorter bangs. This wasn’t all we saw of our blue A.I friend as the Rampant Cortana makes a brief appearance toward the end screaming that we will never leave this planet.
Dancing games look as though they are getting ready to join in with the annual Christmas rush. Usher popped on stage to show off the latest incarnation of Dance Central but there wasn’t a whole lot of stuff to make anyone but die hard fans rush out with $60 on release day. Could Dance Central be heading the way of Guitar Hero and Rockband? Do we really need an annual installment?
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Blacklist sees Sam Fisher on the ground in the Iraq/Iran border once more saving the world from a terrorist organisation which has the world held secretly at large. As the title would suggest, Blacklist bases itself around terrorist organisations having a Blacklist of countries which are intended targets. The threat is made that unless US and NATO troops are pulled out of several countries then the terrorists will respond by attacking countries on the Blacklist.
Visually, Splinter Cell has had an overhaul, with the desert and indoor scenes all looking incredible ahead of the games release and as we would expect Kinect will play a part. Voice controls will allow you to distract targets by throwing your voice in game and hopefully more in the future. On top of what will be a great and wide reaching campaign there will also be the return of PvP modes and some coop so you can sleuth around saving the world with your friends.
It’s almost that time of year again when sports games get there redesign and release ahead of the next season and the two biggest are easily Madden and Fifa. Each game is set to get a new overhaul courtesy of Kinect rather than just the usual team updates and visuals.
Madden will see controls possible almost toatally through the device allowing for an almost complete, controllerless experience. You can tell your players to change direction in the middle of runs, hike the ball and call out to other polayers, giving you the power to instruct your team mates in real time.
Fifa will have less of a Kinect focus with many already hailing last years release as a radical and welcome redesign, the Kinect voice commands will allow you to direct players off the ball but if you have a foul mouth, you may want to avoid giving the referee too much abuse as if they hear drop an ill timed F-bomb then he will come over for a quiet word.
Fable: The Journey
The next entry in the Fable series is set to be a full Kinect based romp and almost like a cartoony brother to Skyrim in appearance. To me Fable: The Journey looks great. Rather than RPG this latest offering seems to be a rail based shooter but less serious and more fun, bringing the old genre into the new world courtesy of pretty visuals and innovative controls.
The player will use the Kinect to cast different types of spells at waves of enemies with different gestures producing different spel;ls which will undoubtedly vary as to which enemies will be damaged.
South Park: Stick Of Truth
One game where I won’t rant about how amazing it looks is South Park but that doesn’t mean it is going to be a bad game. Rather than the arcade style and tower defence games that we have come to know from the series, the plan for stick of truth was to make it look like an episode of South Park. The game with have a some what RPG feel whilst keeping well within the humorous realm that the show is famous for.
The game is also set to mark the first time in which the show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have had to map out the town of South Park so expect some in depth laughs and adventure when Stick of Truth finally sees the light of day.
Once we got passed the hilarious logo and the over the top special edition, Resident Evil 6 is finally shown off for what it is, a new, dark, horror outing into Racoon City and it looks good. Thankfully it seems as if the series is returning to its survival focused roots, seeming to ignore Resident Evil 5 and favouring instead what was my favourite game, Resident Evil 4.
Leon will have to make his way through the city and the action is in no way lacking, decapitation in a dark stair case never looked so damn good before the demonstration culminated in our hero surronded by more zombies than we have ever seen in one place ever.
Black Ops 2
While it is easily the biggest franchise in the world and most anticipated game of the year, Black Ops 2 following the Usher Dance Central ‘Zzz-fest’ meant for a pretty dull ending considering all the greatness that had come before it. But alas, many of us will dabble in “Call of Duty: Future Warfare” and it will without a doubt be the biggest selling game ever like its brothers before it, but it still just looks like Call of Duty to me.