Trying to follow last weeks E3 conference was a bit of a mixed bag for me: firstly, trying to evaluate goings-on on a tiny pixellated internet stream probably doesn’t do justice to all the HD-quality games around these days. Secondly, the thunderous roar of the hype machine is wont to cloud the mind: flashy presentations using smoke and mirror tactics can make even the direst of games seem worthy of your interest.
So, after the dust from the fireworks has settled, what do we here at Games Catalyst make of what the E3 conference had to offer? Let’s start with what Microsoft had to offer:
On the first day of proceedings, Microsoft focused heavily on the Kinect add-on for Xbox 360, encouraging an audience of burger-munching Americans to get up off their arses and dance. Or at least put down the controller and wiggle on the sofa a bit. Titles included Wii Fit competitor UFC Personal Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System, Fable: The Journey, Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, Michael Phelps: Push the Limit, Forza Motorsport 4, The Sims 3: Pets and Champion Jockey.
I have to say I never thought I’d see a game where you had to pretend to be a jockey, or even a swimmer, but they’re here. Is there no limit to the Kinect’s adaptability? What’s next? Champion Curling? Super Semaphor Signalling? Building Site Manager Plus?
My particular pick of the bunch, Peter Molyneux’s eagerly awaited Fable: The Journey, raised concerns due to the on-rails nature of the trailer. Molyneux has since said that this was just due to time constraints of getting a reel ready for E3 rather than the actual nature of the game itself, so we look forward to seeing how Lionhead’s latest turns out.
Following on loosely from the events of Fable III, it seems to be based largely on riding your horse around in search of adventure, which certainly sounds familiar, but the game has a different ambience and perspective to Red Dead Redemption – though hopefully the same high quality gaming experience will result.
Fable: The Journey E3 announcement trailer from Games Catalyst on Vimeo.
Microsoft also displayed the new look Xbox Live dashboard which looks very nice, with Bing voice recognition, YouTube compatibility and all other sorts of bells and whistles.
Then we got down to the real nitty gritty, with the highly anticipated Tomb Raider, Mass Effect 3, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Gears of War 3 and even Halo 4 (the start of a brand new trilogy folks) titles all making appearances as the day’s presentations wore on.
While it may be a bit dispiriting to see predominantly sequels and reboots as the forthcoming attractions, I can’t deny that both GoW3 and Mass Effect 3 look to have taken their proven formulas and improved upon them, ME3 even featuring Kinect compatibility.
Though I’m still a little in the dark as to how this can improve the already near-perfect Mass Effect experience, it’s still nice to see new technology being bravely tackled head-on by the biggest names, and so long as it doesn’t end up an irritating gimmick then I’m all for it.
Part 2 on Sony’s line-up can be found over here