Monday, June 06, 2011


I just finished watching Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference. I wasn't impressed.

How unimpressed was I? Well, during the first third of the conference--which focused on creatively-barren sequels like Forza Motorsport 4, Gears of War 3, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, a Halo: Combat Evolved remake and Modern Warfare 3--my face looked like this:

Don't get me wrong, none of the above-mentioned games looked bad. In fact, all of them looked quite good graphically. That said, their gameplay didn't appeal to me in any way. Of course, I've never been an FPS fan or a fan of racing games that aren't called F-Zero or Mario Kart, so I guess that shouldn't be considered a surprise.

The first third of Microsoft's conference wasn't a complete wash, though; Mass Effect 3 looked nice enough (although the voice controls via Kinect seemed a bit pointless), as did the next entry in the Tomb Raider series.

What did I think of the last two-thirds of the conference--which, aside from the oh-so-shocking (or not) last-second reveal of Halo 4, focused on Kinect titles? This photo does a pretty good job of summing up my thoughts:

Admittedly, Dance Central 2 looked cool. Also, the Wii Sports rip-off Kinect Sports: Season Two looked acceptable. (Laggy, but acceptable.) Other than those two titles, though, the Kinect portion of the conference was filled with yeesh-inducing announcements--like Lionhead's carriage-driving simulator, Fable: The Journey, and the laggy (there's that word again), on-rails Kinect Star Wars.

Will Sony's presser, which takes place later today at 5 pm Pacific, or Nintendo's, which starts tomorrow at 9 am Pacific, be less yeesh-worthy? I sure hope so.


Mark Ayala said...

I was thinking the Kinect Sports was laggy too, but it seems they are playing to pre-recorded footage. No way that girl scored a close birdie in front of the entire audience.

I was laughing most of the time anyways. I'm not a fan of FPS or racing games either (maybe it's the insane testosterone driven boy fantasies that turn me off from them), but the Sesame Street game looks like a cute idea. Still, when I was five, I wasn't concerned with playing games where I explore and learn. I was more concerned with playing Dragon Quest IV and Blaster Master.

But yeah, the most uncomfortable thing is the bad actors they hire and the people speaking on stage. Not a single one can deliver a line believably or confidently. Seems all like a cornball schtick.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Mark!

I guess the laggy-ness of Kinect Sports 2 could be due to using pre-recorded footage, but even if that's the case I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the game is, in fact, laggy. Every Kinect title I've seen thus far seems laggy. Ugh.

As for the bad acting -- yeah, that was painful. I don't think that's limited to Microsoft, though -- anytime any of the publishers use actors in such situations it's painful.

I'm actually surprised they went that route, though, as it wasn't needed. Why not just have real adults/kids play the games?

RetroKingSimon said...

Pah, modern games! ;) I haven't gotten around to playing the first Halo yet. Probably should though...

Marcus said...

I'm gonna second the pre-recorded footage thing as well. When the girl first started golf the golf club swung before she did!

I wasn't much of a fan of the conference either. I'm especially annoyed about Dance Central 2 because the stuff they updated was stuff they COULD have done in the first game. For example, two player dancing was already in Dance Masters so it's not as if the technology had to be discovered. Of course, that is the nature of sequels sometimes, isn't it?

Even if all the Kinect actors were really strange I loved when the kids were like "fist buuump". :P

Marcus said...

Also, I don't know if it was just me (it probably was) but the new Tomb Raider game really disturbed me. Like, there are of course lots of games where characters get bloodied and beat up. However, it seems they took it to a really carefully constructed extreme. I guess that's the point, but then with it being Lara emoting about it all as opposed to some huge grizzly character who just laughs at pain was, well, different...

Bryan Ochalla said...

What's the most modern system you own, Simon?

As for Halo -- I've never played it either. I know a lot of people love it, but it's just not my kind of game :\

Bryan Ochalla said...

Marcus: If the folks at MS did use pre-recorded footage for the games, they probably had a reason for it. Still, it's disappointing. IMO, if you can't show someone playing it live, just show a gameplay video. Using actors and pre-recorded video just seems dumb to me.

As for your Dance Central 2 complaints -- I can see that. Like you said, though, it's kind of the nature of the sequel beast, isn't it? Also, it's something all developers/publishers do, so I can't really single out MS for it.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, and RE: your comments about Tomb Raider -- yeah, it was kind of weird how they seem to have handled "young Lara." Maybe they want to imply that she was more of a "real person" when she was younger -- before she got hardened and tough?

Unknown said...

Bryan, have you checked out my most recent blog post? I talked about the new "young Lara" and how I find it a little odd that they're so focused on showcasing the fact that she's "real" by showing her mutilated and beat-up all the time. Interested to hear what you think (I haven't seen the new trailer yet)

BTW, this entry is the only thing I need to read about the Microsoft press conference, haha

Sean said...

LOL, I'm with Simon.

Good review though, it is interesting to read the reactions of someone actually at these things. For some reason I always find that negative reviews make for much more interesting reading than positive ones!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Anne: I'm going to go read your blog post now! It sounds very interesting :)

As for your comment about this post -- thank you!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Sean: I'm not actually at E3 :( Sorry if I made it seem that way. I'm just watching these press conferences live on my computer.

As for my negative-ish review of the MS presser -- I should forewarn people that I generally find these kinds of things painful. Watching some suit who probably wouldn't know a video game from his elbow talk about the latest, greatest release is pretty much without exception awkward. Still, I watch them because I want to see what's coming out!