E3: Microsoft conference – Please Dis-Kinect me

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Okay, Microsoft. Enough is enough. We know you want us to buy the Kinect; we know you want us to buy several of them so that we may throw them on the floor and roll around on them so that we may gain their scent. But please stop cramming the Kinect down our throats. It’s nice and all, and it has its place, but that place isn’t everywhere. Regardless of this, I am going to give my honest opinions about the games I saw today at the Microsoft conference.

– Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

I’ve never been big on Call of Duty games to begin with, so this didn’t really do anything for me at all. I will, though, give it credit where I feel credit is due. The graphics were, as usual, quite stellar for live-action gameplay. However, like everyone who doesn’t care about COD:MW3, the most entertaining moment was when the controller disconnected during the live display.

– Tomb Raider

Okay, I haven’t every really delved into the Tomb Raider franchise, but this definitely makes me want to reconsider that. The gameplay demo showed at the conference started off by showing Lara Croft bound and suspended upside down (also causing me to give her the temporary nickname “Larvae Croft”). Normally, I would’ve found this to be a bit too adult for 11:30 in the morning, but then I remembered I was watching the coverage on Spike TV. The detail in the graphics was phenomenal and very reminiscent of the Uncharted series; rolling hills, tropical rainforests with lush greens… Y’know, outside. I’ll definitely be giving this a play once it comes out.

– Some EA Sports bullshit

Why are they making sports games for the Kinect? The reason so many people play sports video games is because they can’t play real sports. Moving on…

– Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

Again, I don’t care much for First Person Shooters, but this one really grabbed my attention from the get-go. Usually, when I see a trailer for an FPS, I consider it a bathroom break, but this one really knew how to get me. The whole “make your own gun” thing instantly hooked me. If I’m able to make a semi-automatic sniper rifle rocket launcher, I will preorder tonight! When Skyping with Chad during the live coverage, I’m pretty sure I compared it to an armory and a Build-a-Bear workshop making sweet, sweet love.

– Mass Effect 3

I’m going to sound like a broken record here, and it may cause you to question my gamer credibility, but this is yet another franchise I just couldn’t get into. Don’t get me wrong, the mechanics are really great and it has definitely set itself apart from other games (what with the potential for steamy, lesbian alien sex in Mass Effect 2), but it’s just something that’s never been able to hold my attention. Maybe I was playing the game wrong. However, if someone handed me a controller and I started playing, I’d happily give it the ol’ college try. That is, of course, if any games coming out for the Xbox 360 decide to use controllers anymore. Which brings me to my next griping point…

– All this Kinect crap

I’ve had enough with the Kinect, and I don’t even own one! I will, though, eventually, at the behest of my fiance and her need to play Kinectimals. But in the meantime, I am perfectly capable of using a controller to scroll through menus. I have hands, and I am able to use them. In fact, I’m using them right now to type this! What are the odds?! Sometimes, after a long day of doing whatever the hell it is I do during the day, I just want to relax and play a game without having to flail around like a jackass. In addition to that, I live on the second floor of an apartment building, and I’m fairly certain my downstairs neighbor would pay my heavy-footed ass to not play Kinect.

– Coming to Xbox Live

I don’t play games online, mainly because other people play games online and follow the win-win philosophy of “If I win, you’re a n00b who needs to L2play! But if you win, then you’re a nerd who needs to get a life!” However, some very cool things are coming to Xbox Live. First and foremost, live television! The only reason I currently even have TV is because the tenant who lived here before me refuses to pay a cancellation fee, so the idea of not having to get a cable provider is a big plus for me. I will definitely be wanting more details about this as they are made available. Almost as exciting is the incorporation of YouTube! Combine these two with the already present Netflix capabilities and you’ve got a machine that can conquer just about any form of video media.

Bing is coming to the Xbox, which I’m sure came to all of you as such a shock. Who would’ve thought that the Microsoft-engineered search engine would be implemented into the Microsoft-engineered gaming console? Sure, it’s cool that all you have to say is “Xbox Bing: House of Pain” in order to quickly jump up, jump up, and get down, but I have a sneaking suspicion that people will easily slide into a habit of saying “Xbox Bing: Google.” I know I will! Anyway, back to the games…

– Gears of War 3

For a brief moment, they had to refill the cannon that shoots the word Kinect at our faces, so they used that time to talk about Gears of War 3, yet another game I am not the least bit interested in. I’m really not trying to sound jaded or cynical with all this negativity, I’m really not, but with a parade of what I consider to be overhyped games that all seem to follow the same formula, it’s difficult to get excited over everything. And because of this, the Gears of War 3 demo did not hold my interest. Ice T was there. Whatever.

– Ryse

By this time, the Kinect launcher was reloaded and firing ad nauseum once more. In fact, they were going on and on about it so much that I can’t even decipher my notes from the conference because all I wrote was “Really? More Kinect stuff? Why can’t we just use the controllers we pay so much for?” If I can’t remember anything about a game because you’re too busy yapping about how to play it without a controller, maybe you should reevaluate your priorities. Or I should take better notes. Moving on.

– Halo 4

Just let it die. We’ve had enough of the Halo franchise. It’s a boring, repetitive, “My-First-FPS”-style shooter for frat boys and angry middle schoolers.

– Forza Motorsport 4

Forza 4, Forza 4, Forza 4! I’m not excited about it, I just like the number 4. I don’t care about driving games. At all. I already own a car. Driving is not exciting to me; it’s just a necessity that gets me to Arby’s.

– Fable: The Journey

Just like Kinect, here’s another thing I simultaneously feel like we don’t need more of, but am willing to try. I don’t want to use the Kinect to hold imaginary horse reins, as this will just make me feel like a crazy person piloting an imaginary horse. Anyone who does business with an imaginary horse is a crazy person. I am not a crazy person.

– Kinect Disneyland

A cool concept and probably the first place where the Kinect seems more appropriate than the traditional controller. You explore a virtual equivalent of Disneyland. Simple concept, simple execution. Very good.

– Kinect Star Wars

Okay, maybe it’s me being a total Star Wars geek, but hell to the yes on this game! Using the Kinect to kick ass with a light saber is something I can definitely get behind.

– Kinect Sesame Street

Poor Tim Schafer. You slaved over Psychonauts and Brutal Legend only to have them be cult hits at best and now you’re making a Sesame Street game? It was very easy to hear you slowly dying inside during your presentation. Oh well, every system needs its fair share of games for kids.

– Kinect Finger Tracking

This sounds dirty, but it’s pretty neat, albeit completely useless. It’s hard to describe, so just watch this video.

– Kinect Sports Season 2

If you own a copy of Wii Sports, then you’ve seen this game.

– Kinect Dance Central 2

Sure, it’s more of the same and we all know that gamers as a whole aren’t the most coordinated bunch, but hey, at least Microsoft knows how to put on a demo that shows the game’s fullest potential.

So there you have it. Overall, Microsoft’s press conference was so-so. I think they need to rely less on how well they think the Kinect will do and just focus on the games themselves. When you focus too much of your energy on a $130 peripheral, you exclude a group of people who can’t shell out $130 just to get the full experience of games they’re already paying $60+ to enjoy. What are your thoughts on this? Let me know and I’ll get back to you tomorrow as I cover the Nintendo press conference!

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