Microsoft kicked off E3 yesterday being the first publisher and company to take the stage at the convention.
Being the first company to officially kick off the event, Microsoft had every opportunity to blow everyone away. They came swinging with a gameplay demo of 343 Industries' Halo 4. You can watch the demo here. The game looked fantastic and showed some very welcome new enemies along with the familiar gameplay that has made Halo the favorite shooter of millions. Yet it all felt too familiar, and maybe it's just me but I was hoping to see revolution, not evolution. I wanted Halo 4 to literally blow me away and it didn't do that. However, the game was still Microsoft's flagship title yesterday and it's easy to see why. 343 Industries looks to be picking up right where Bungie left off.
The conference then turned to Crystal Dynamics showing off their upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. The demo that was shown looked great but it's basically Uncharted with Lara Croft starring instead of Nathan Drake. That's not a bad thing though. Tomb Raider is one game I'm really looking forward to next year. A March 2013 release date was announced, along with some Xbox 360 exclusive DLC.
You can argue that Halo 4 and Tomb Raider were the only two titles worth seeing at Microsoft as the presentation then showed off a very lengthy demo for Treyarch's Call of Duty: Black Ops II, which can be seen here. Black Ops II looks pretty fabulous as a futuristic shooter and may well redefine the Call of Duty franchise. But really, I'm over the Call of Duty franchise as a whole so this one is not likely to make it onto my box.
Overall, Microsoft's press conference was underwhelming. There was no announcement of any new IP's, no new hardware and it's hard to get excited over a console when you don't see anything new. Forza: Horizon, Fable: The Journey, look like brilliant titles from existing IP's but I'm just disappointed that I'm not more excited about Xbox' future.
The only title during Microsoft's E3 press conference that had me saying "I want that" was South Park: The Stick of Truth which looks amazing. Oh yea, did I mention that it's an RPG too?
I realize that Microsoft is at the end of Xbox 360's life cycle and they likely didn't want to announce anything too prematurely but the company could have taken the Nintendo approach and given gamers and faithful followers a glimpse at the future. Instead we got Microsoft's answer to the Wii U with what they're calling "Smart Glass". It's a way to control and stream content to and from your Xbox 360 using your mobile devices in the form of smart phones and tablets alike. It's a cool concept and will likely make for easy and accessible content on your mobile devices... but we’re looking for a peek at their next console.
Perhaps the all time low moment for Microsoft in the past several years (and that includes the Cirque du Soleil mess last year) was Usher's impromptu concert for Dance Central 3 which literally served zero purpose and was just filler for a good 10 minutes. It was that kind of day for Microsoft.
While everyone was busy being disappointed with Microsoft, Electronic Arts was giving a decent show with presentations for Dead Space 3 (seen here), Battlefield 3 Premium, Madden NFL 13, FIFA 13, and NBA Live 13. However, it was Need for Speed: Most Wanted that really got people talking. Watch the game's first trailer here. Apart from Most Wanted, EA’s lineup lacked oomph but even they did better than Microsoft.