The Average Gamer

E3 2011 – Microsoft Press Conference Highlights

E3_SmallLogoMicrosoft held their press event today. Sadly, we at The Average Gamer were not invited but it was quite fun streaming it through the desolate E3 Expo newsroom and watching real-time reactions of gamers on Twitter.

My personal Microsoft presser highlight: Dance Central 2 will feature side-by-side competitive multiplayer. No more of that one-after-the-other bollocks, which is never a good way to get people dancing in public. Time to for me to throw a DANCE PARTAAAAAAY! :)

In other news:

I am assured that the press conference opened with Modern Warfare 3 footage, which I missed due to problems with streaming. It was probably awesome. Read the Modern Warfare 3 preview we posted last week.

Crystal Dynamics came onstage to demonstrate Tomb Taider on the Xbox 360. We were treated to a segment from the beginning: Lara held captive and swinging from the ceiling in a rather spider’s-victim-like fashion. In finest Tomb Raider tradition, a bit of swinging back and forth from a rope allowed her to break free and plummet several dozen feet onto a rock surface from which her only injury appeared to be some sort of ongoing stomach cramp. The rest of the demo featured lots of stumbling through water, flames and mines collapsing as Lara made sex agonised groaning noises. The game does look amazing and I don’t recall a single QTE or giant yellow prompt button. There is hope…

Tomb Raider

The Sims Pets will feature Kinect voice control. Could be great fun if the pets are as adorable as Nintendogs.

Mass Effect 3 will also feature Kinect voice control and not in a good way. You read out the text shown in the dialogue wheel and Shepard will respond by saying something else entirely, as has always been the way with that blasted wheel. I’m not afraid to say that this was really fucking disappointing. Micrsoft have put a great full-body motion recognition system in living rooms and the best that a huge sci-fi franchise can think to put in is voice recognition? The Normandy’s galactic map would be a great way to make you really feel like a spaceship captain while showcasing gesture recognition in a core game. Nope. Let’s read the dialogue wheel out loud instead of using the joystick. Shameful.

Of course, for all I know there is no galactic map in Mass Effect 3. We’ll see.

Mass Effect 3

On the other hand, Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Future Soldier had an incredible implementation of gesture control in the menus. Spread your hands to “explode” a rifle into its constuent parts, move to rotate the menu and select new parts. I liked that part a lot. Not so keen on using hand gestures to fire guns. I’ll see if we can get some hands-on footage of this in action during the expo.

Fable: The Journey had me very excited for a couple of minutes when they announced gesture-based spellcasting. Throwing fireballs was a little disappointing but there was a great thunderbolt spell charged by rubbing your hands together, then spreading them to generate the charge. Would be great fun but for the fact that it’s on rails. I don’t think you can even aim. Again, I’ll check it out on the stand and see if we can film anything.

Kinect Star Wars was another disappointment on rails. Yes, you can wave your arm around light you’re holding a lightsaber and yes, it makes the awesome whoooooom, whoooooom noises but looks to be like another Joyride-style implementation that doesn’t give you a whole of control. I don’t think the lightsaber tracks your movements very well and the game doesn’t seem to require many sword tactics. After the excellent tracking and limb targetting available in PlayStation Move’s Sports Champions, this is just poor. Kinect Star Wars also had a section where you raise both hands to lift a spaceship and shift it out of the way – could have been fantastic fun, Force Unleashed-style, but it looked very much like a pre-set sequence where you do what you’re supposed to and no more. I can’t even be arsed to look for this on the floor.

Kinect Star Wars

YouTube and Bing are coming to the Xbox with voice-controlled search for both. “Xbox Bing big bouncing beauties”

Gears of War 3 footage was shown – it still looks epic and it still has kraken. I’m impressed by the “Silverback” suits in the sequence we got to see. You can’t go wrong with big metal exoskeletons.

Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary will be released worldwide on 15th November 2011. They’ve rebuilt 7 of the best multiplayer maps in HD using the current art style and completely remastered the audio.

Halo CE Anniversary

Halo 4 was announced. We’ve no real info on that except for a link to the Halo 4 section on

A few more fun-looking Kinect family titles were covered. Tim Schafer’s Double Fine productions are doing Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster. There will also be Kinect: Disneyland Adventures, a fun game-filled tour of Disneyland, and Kinect Fun Labs, where you can apparently scan yourself and the Xbox will automagically recreate you as an Xbox avatar. The demo lady’s clothes even matched her avatar’s in the demo but I’m reserving judgement until I see it for myself.


Seen in the context of this morning’s Wii U reveal from Nintendo, this Kinect line-up is nothing to get excited about. Despite attempting to draw in the core gamers with franchises like Fable, Star Wars and Mass Effect, the implementations are perfunctory and uninspired. I’m still going to check out the show floor and see how games like Hulk Hogan’s Main Event play but the future of Kinect as a core gamer’s peripheral really doesn’t look good.