Gaming thoughts... 6/7/11 ... Microsoft E3

So, this has been a slightly different E3 for me. First, work conflicted quite a bit with what I usually watch and listen to in the back ground. Actually had to go to meetings and stuff. Also, with me blogging and posting about games now - something I've never done in the past, I've been trying to take notes of my impressions so I can at least attempt to be coherent later instead of just drolling and going "GAaaaaaaaaaaaames" in much the same tone of voice I imagine zombies say "Braaaaaaaaaaains"

First, from my notes:

- Modern Warfare 3 looked slick. The devastated cityscape was impressive

- Tomb Raider looked very cool, though I was curious how much of what was done was really controlled and how much of the game is going to rely on quicktime events. What's the actual combat going to be like since gunplay's always been a bit of a question mark for the series. That said? Supremely excited by this one.

Two quality lead-ins, but... they're going to be on the PS3 later too.

- EA sports tying in with the Kinect does feel more organic than using a Move wand

- Mass Effect 3 - all kinds of awesome. Using a Kinect? Not sure that's such a big deal to me. The idea is interesting, especially for people who really dig the roleplay elements, but that almost makes the fact you are saying one thing and Shepard says another even more jarring.

- The ghost recon trailer looked okay and the customization interesting but wouldn't get me to buy the game. Like the games all above - PS3 as well? Oh my...

- The Kinect voice activation demo was first discussed when the Kinect went by Natal. This feels like to the game really, even if the tech itself is impressive. Not much personal appeal to me. Youtube? Also feels like an 'about time'. Bing? Meh

- Gears 3 - Loved the first game, enjoyed the 2nd, and I will play this one I'm sure.

- Ryse - It seems like decent use of the Kinect tech, but it also feels a bit generic and didn't really pique my interest.

- The Halo theme song started and I definitely perked up while watching the Anniversary Trailer. I have no problem with this. I loved the redo of God of War collection and am looking forward to Ico. This should be fun too.

- I can appreciate Foza's technical excellence but just cannot get into the series. What they showed here did nothing to change that for me personally, though my wife might ooooh and aaaah at the pretty cars.

- My son and I both really liked Fable 2. We were both disappointed with Fable 3. The series tends to promise a bit more than it can deliver, and while Fable the Journey was visually interesting and the idea of casting spells with your hands (again, using the Kinect) is interesting, I don't know if it's enough to make a solid, fully-fleshed gaming experience and while I'm curious, I'm also prepared to be disappointed.

- I haven't played Minecraft, but my son absolutely loves it. He'll find this to be a big announcement.

- Not sure about the Disneyland game. Maybe my youngest would be interested, but I have my doubts.

- I'm not hating on the Star Wars Kinect nearly as much as most people are. The idea makes sense - try to really immerse the player in a Star Wars world. Force Powers? Lightsaber. Acrobatic jumps? Looks like they are all accounted for on this game. But, is it deep enough? Will it bore quickly? The Star Wars skin earns the game some extra mileage for me, but will it be enough?

- Sesame Street Once Upon a Monster was cute - and it seemed to use the Kinect tech as well as anything else presented, but isn't really a factor for me personally.

- Kinect Fun Labs felt like an extended advertisement. Like a spin-off of the stuff they were telling us Kinect would be able to do over the last two E3's. We get it, the tech is cool. It doesn't help if the developers can't leverage it into good games.

- Kinect Sports Season 2 feels like an extended tech demo with interactive graphics and a cheesy presentation.

- Dance Central - I've heard it's good, but really not my thing.

- Ending on Halo 4 teaser was a great choice though, and left me with a good final impression.

That said, this felt like a pretty weak E3. They had the Halo's, Gears, Forza and... that was really it I think for non-Kinect, all-Xbox-exclusive content. They spent way too much time on the Kinect, and focusing on non-gaming content to boot. There were very few surprises to be had, which was also disappointing. Given that Microsoft was the only one of the big three to not have any new hardware to show off doesn't help matters either.
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