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Microsoft Press Conference Impressions


Yesterday’s Microsoft press conference was, for the lack of a better word, underwhelming. No matter how cool a presentation can be, whether it be a brand new trailer, a narrated walkthrough, or an all out demo, nothing excites a gamer more than something new. Some great big announcement that gets people thinking about next year and beyond, not the just the upcoming holiday season.

For this reason, the conference yesterday, with Peter Moore being the MC, was simply some “meh” with a dash of “blah”. Of course, this can be attributed to the fact that the company was adamant in this year’s philosophy of not showing anything that would go beyond this year with the exception on one game. With this in mind, there was no way the audience would see any cool new game this year. All was as expected, but disappointing nonetheless.

Obviously the main event would be Halo 3 and Microsoft did deliver enough to keep it hyped up with a little montage in the beginning, a live action trailer and a traditional trailer closing the show that was specifically made to make us drool. There was even a five-piece band of Halo fans featuring a violin and the scrawniest drummer you will ever see.

In terms of in-depth showing, Ubisoft came to play, showing off their games Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Assassin’s Creed looks good, but not great. A few gameplay aspects like the chase sequence looking fantastic, however it still needs a lot of work from what was seen. Call of Duty 4 looked much more polished even though it was only announced a few months ago. The demo took us to some Eastern European area and ran through some of the action. Stealth and camouflage seemed to be the general theme of things.

The highly anticipated Rock Band was shown off with Peter Moore displaying his gaming chops (i.e. none) on the guitar. It looks great, but will shall see just how great when it comes out later this year. Also shown was Madden 08 with Reggie Bush playing Jeff Bell (MS Corporate VP). Bush, played with the Saints (obviously) and ran a running play (obviously) for himself (obviously) which went for a touchdown.

Some trailers featured included Project Gotham 4 which have some pretty sweet graphics and Mass Effect featuring a voice-over by none other than Keith David. Mass Effect in particular looks to be brilliant and is one title you should be getting this fall along with Halo 3. There was also the obligatory GTA: IV update and trailer which, while already released, still served as a reminder that many gamers will be broke by the end if this year. Moore also announced that there will be two downloadable episodes available for GTA: IV early next year, an exclusive to the Xbox 360.

Many other games were also shown and touted through video montage or through a mention by the speaker. Again, none of these were new announcements, but to remind people of some, Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon (which is now available for download as a demo on Marketplace), BioShock, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Beautiful Katamari and many others will all be available by the end of the year. The other montages included ones for the new XBLA games and Microsoft’s new deal with Disney to distribute a handful of HD movies. Neat, however not exactly what people want to see.

The two premieres at the conference were Scene It and the announcement of, drum roll please… An olive green Xbox 360! Seriously, the part of the presentation started of with Moore comparing Halo to Star Wars and while everyone was thinking and praying for KOTOR 3, he goes and pulls out a Halo 3 edition 360 and controller. Also on display was the Windows Live feature and a demo by Ciffy B. for Gears of War for the PC with a brand new level.

The most interesting trailer I saved until the end of this wrap-up is for Resident Evil 5, the only game to be released next year that was shown in the conference. I’m not too big on survival horror, but the whole North African zombie vibe got my attention. Not only was it creepy cool, but the entire trailer will be released very soon meaning there is more to an already awesome trailer.

All in all, the conference was simply disappointing, seeming more like a presentation for present and future shareholders, rather than an event for showcasing sexy new games. It wasn’t bad, like say, last year’s train wreck Sony conference, however there was nothing at all new, which again, is the result of the refusal to show anything beyond the end of this year. This decision obviously makes it an easier act to follow for Nintendo and Sony, but at the same time, could make next years presentation all new, which is promising. What’s also promising is the fact that even without all the flashy presentations, the Holiday line-up for the 360 is amazing and by no means underwhelming.


Article By: Alan

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