sore thumbs

June 30, 2011 |
By Matthew Scott Hunter


Microsoft E3 roundup


Without any flashy new hardware to debut at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo like its competitors, Nintendo and Sony, Microsoft instead showcased a number of highly anticipated games that will all feature Kinect support. So far, Kinect's software lineup has very much resembled that of the early Wii — i.e. simplistic sports simulations and collections of mediocre mini-games that will hardly be remembered as landmarks in interactive entertainment. Thus, Microsoft was quick to announce the inclusion of Kinect functionality in such upcoming games as "Tiger Woods PGA Tour" and "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier." The final chapter in the "Mass Effect" saga will allow you to choose different courses of dialogue by speaking them aloud. With Kinect "Star Wars," you can swing your lightsaber and levitate objects with the power of the Force simply by using comparable gestures in front of your television. And "Fable: The Journey" — a spinoff from Microsoft's popular RPG series — will feature first-person action/fantasy gameplay exclusively utilizing Kinect.

Microsoft also unveiled a new Xbox 360 dashboard update with more options for using Kinect. Both YouTube and the internet search engine, Bing, are being integrated into the dashboard and can be operated with a series of simple voice commands, which can also be used to access on-demand games, movies and music. Even live TV is being integrated into the setup, allowing you to watch or record content from numerous channels. However, no Microsoft press conference is complete without an appearance from Master Chief, and this year, we got two. First came the announcement of "Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary," a remake of the original Xbox first-person shooter phenomenon that started it all. With improved visuals and Xbox Live multiplayer support, the remake will be released in November. And the media briefing ended with a tantalizing glimpse of "Halo 4" — the first "Halo" in a new trilogy, the first "Halo" to not come from developer Bungie, and if Microsoft continues in its devotion to Kinect, perhaps the first "Halo" to be controller-free? CV