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Microsoft E3 09 Hightlights

Microsoft likes to be first with everything nowadays. They didn’t decide to change the formula with this E3 conference either. They managed to put the ball in everyone else’s court after a Dwight Howard like performance. Here’s a close look at my take on their conference, and few observations on the console as a whole.

Rock Band: The Beatles: It’s all well and good, but they devoted far too much time to plastic guitar antics. I understand their willingness to expand to the casual market (and perhaps an older market considering the content) but this was something I personally wasn’t into. I was never a big Beatles fan, before my time, and even still I like the Stones way more. Wasting all those celebrities’ time that had literally just heard of the game minutes before was a waste of exposure and money, and part of the reason E3 has been so unviable financially in the past.

Tony Hawk Ride: Hey Tony. Good to see you’re alive. I had a lot of fun with your games as a kid, not anymore though. Good to see they still think your name is worth money, but the Nintendo conference is tomorrow and that way. Nice to see they finally slimmed down the Wii Fit board. Like what its supposedly marketed to do to its owners.

Modern Warfare 2: Awesome. Graphically it looks a little better, but overall it looks about the same. Not that I’m complaining, it was one of the best looking games of 2007. Infinity Ward didn’t manage to wow me this time around like with Call of Duty 4, but perhaps the Ghillie suit just can’t be topped. I was expecting a beta announcement, not the chance to blow money on new maps that the PC version is going to get free. But that James Bond esque snow bike race was definitely cool.

Final Fantasy XIII: How many times is thing gonna appear at E3 before it releases? What’s the current record holder? Zelda? Probably. I’m gonna hate this, but who wants to bet it won’t make Spring 2010? After watching some of the footage on Giant Bomb it’s gone from “Eh, another turn based RPG” to “Wow, best gameplay mechanics in a turn based RPG.” It’s really looking like the definitive JRPG. It looks like it’s incorporating those things I needed to see years ago, which pushed me away from them. Good to see it running on the 360 I guess. I won’t get into the whole battle of “which looks better?!” Story is not something I can’t take seriously since I watched those hilarious IGN dubs. When are we going to see an actual video game that’s not afraid to make fun of itself? I laughed out loud watching Sazh doing that jump. If you’d seen it you’d understand…

Shadow Complex: Looks part Bionic Commando, part Contra, and part Metal Gear. All awesome though. With Cliffy B (too bad I’m calling you that; you don’t pick your name, the internet does) promising 10 hours of gameplay and great deal of exploration, this could be the rejuvenation XBLA needs since its awesome Summer last year.

Crackdown 2: I had heard it wasn’t happening, but I wasn’t too surprised when I saw it was. And no, not because I stalk on twitter. So this is from a new studio? Not sure how it’ll turn out. Would’ve liked to see some gameplay, but clearly it wasn’t in the cards. Add a story and some more variety and I’ll be there day one. Despite a lot of people, I enjoyed the game AND the Halo 3 beta.

Left 4 Dead 2: Why? Left 4 Dead came out in November 2008. I just bought it during the Steam sale on PC. The mod community hasn’t recovered enough to get a good deal of content for the first game, and you announce a sequel for THIS year? That’s admitting your game didn’t have a lot of content to begin with, and prematurely killing off a franchise before it’s gotten a secured base. An expansion I’d be all for. But a flat out sequel is something I can’t endorse. At full retail, this will be leaving Left 4 Dead for dead. But damn if it doesn’t look awesome. Why can’t you guys release Half Life 2: Episode 3 this fast? We should be on Half Life 3 by now Valve! Maybe if you didn’t support so much…Just sayin.

Splinter Cell: Conviction: Was it just me? It didn’t sound like Michael Ironside. Not only that, but he looked more like Nathan Drake mixed with Jason Bourne from the video games than Sam Fisher. Gameplay looked like a mixture of old and new. It has me pretty interested, although the gameplay walkthrough had a bit too many set pieces to get a grasp on what it was. I know it was for presentation, but maybe they would’ve had more time if it hadn’t bee for so much Rock Band…

Forza 3: The second game took me by surprise and became my favorite racing game of the generation. So much depth, and allowed a lot of creativity for customizing your car’s look. Hopefully they allow you to do some of that customization on your PC somehow.

Halo 3 ODST: It looks pretty interesting, like a Halo GRAW type mixture. I had reservations on the idea of playing as a non-spartan. The whole thing about being the Master Chief was it made sense he kicked so much ass. Creating a lone soldier who kicks just as much leaves me iffy. That’s just the part of me who still cares about the lore. The gamer side is looking forward to this a lot. The fact that they have another game in the pipeline seems to relay the fact that this won’t be full retail. But you never know with Microsoft, which brings us to…

Halo Reach: Easily the best entry into the Halo universe for me. Basing a game off of this, I would expect more Spartans, more enemies, and a lot more on-screen action. Hopefully they base this as closely on the book as possible. But this leaves me a little confused. Gears of War and Halo have been alternating for a while. If Halo Reach is truly coming 2010, what about Gears of War 3? Or will Reach be a different kind of game altogether?

DISCLAIMER: Part 2 of our coverage was broken down in Part 1 of our E3 Podcast…the rest of it? Uhh…*runs*

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