E3 2012 — Microsoft Press Conference Recap with Instant Reactions to Halo 4, Gears of War: Judgement, Xbox Smartglass and Much More!

Well folks, E3 2012 is officially upon us! Are you one of those people unfortunate enough have a job and/or responsibilities that might keep you from watching video game press conferences in the middle of the workday? Don’t worry! I’ll be recapping the “Big 3” console makers’ press conferences right here on GammaSquad.

In addition to relaying the facts, I’ll be blasting you with my instant, off-the-cuff, totally knee-jerky reactions to all the reveals. Will I make some statements I live to regret? Oh, most definitely, but I think it’ll be more fun this way.

Hit the jump for all the fun from Microsoft’s E3 press conference…

videos via IGN, full-length press conference video via Gamespot

Got a free 100-minutes and want to watch the entire Microsoft presser for yourself? Here it is…

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…don’t got the time, or can’t do without my insightful thoughts on Microsoft’s showing? Then read on.

 

– Press conference is late in starting. Something Phil Collins-esque is playing. Or maybe it’s actually Phil Collins — I’m not overly familiar with his catalogue.

– The set is marginally less tacky than usual. Sorry Microsoft, guess you’re not setting the record this year.

 

Halo 4

– Okay, we kick off with Halo 4 footage. There’s a cheesy live-action Halo cinematic that I desperately hope actually makes it into the game. The actual in-game stuff sees Master Chief making his way through a jungly environment, shooting robots, until there are just too many robots to shoot! Cliffhanger!

Instant Reaction – Surprisingly slow paced, traditional looking shooter, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Kept reminding me of Metroid Prime or Turok the Dinosaur Hunter, which also isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Cortana’s boobs seem to get more uh, prominent with each new game.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

– Somebody brings an injured guy into some camp. Everyone’s speaking in a foreign tongue and looks terrorist-ey. The prompts for Quick Time Events are written in Arabic. That’s actually pretty funny.

Instant Reaction – So edgy!

– The guy who brought in the injured guy whips off his face covering. He’s actually a white guy and kills everybody!

Instant Reaction – Thank goodness!

– It’s Sam Fisher! He kills, like, 10 guys in five seconds.

Instant Reaction – These are quite the lame terrorists.

– Kinect will let you distract people by shouting things.

Instant Reaction – Because wrestling with voice recognition software is really what you want to be doing when playing a tense action game.

– Call in air strikes with Kinect and climb up walls and cliffs.

Instant Reaction – Ubisoft is really getting their money out of those Assassin’s Creed climbing mechanics, aren’t they?

– Sam finds the head terrorist, holds a gun to his head, but the terrorist pulls the trigger! Those terrorists!

Instant Reaction – Sam says the guy “shot himself”, but does it really count as the terrorist shooting himself when you already have a gun to his face? Come on Sam. Also, nice drippy blood effects.

EA Sports Stuff

Madden and FIFA will support Kinect, and by “support Kinect” I mean it’ll only support voice recognition for play calling and whatnot.

– Joe Montana comes out to call some Madden plays.

Instant Reaction – I have literally no idea whether the things he’s yelling are actually happening on screen. Either way, this is incredibly uninteresting.

Thanks for wearing your best floppy denim shirt to the show Joe.

 

Fable: The Journey

– Live action shots of some guy shooting fireballs out of his hands Dragon Ball Z style. Oh, okay, this is for that Fable Kinect game. Hmmm.

Instant Reaction – Nintendo wants it’s circa-2006 Wii promo back. All this is missing is a couch for the fireball-shooting guy to dive behind.

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– Sweaty douchebag (and Head of Microsoft Studios apparently) comes out to remind everyone that Microsoft owns some companies that make games!

 

Gears of War: Judgement

– Bunch of brief flashes of burly men doing stuff. Baird is handcuffed and does some smirking. Or maybe that’s just Marcus Fenix without his do-rag. I dunno, Baird’s the burly soul-patched guy with the blonde hair, right?

Instant Reaction – Nice highlights dude.

Forza Horizon

– We see some cars driving on roads.

Instant Reaction – Literally nothing happened in this trailer to distinguish this game from any other racing game made ever.

Things to Watch and Listen to on Your Xbox

– Out comes Yusuf Mehdi, Head of Marketing and Strategy — his current strategy seems to involve looking like he’s about to vomit from stage fright.

– You can now control Bing with your voice! Even if you’re Mexican!

Instant Reaction – Microsoft — bringing technologies nobody cares about together! “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” sounds 100% more awesome in Spanish.

– Nickelodeon, Paramount, Machinima and Univision stuff steaming on the Xbox.

Instant Reaction – Finally, a way to catch up on my telenovelas.

– You love the NBA and NHL? It’s coming to Xbox!

Instant Reaction – Eh, love’s a strong word, but that’s cool I guess.

– Also, ESPN! Four different ESPN channels! Something, something, blah blah blah…

Instant Reaction – Ooookay, okay, enough with the sports.

– Here’s a trailer of various bearded young men enjoying sports!

Instant Reaction – Stop it! Just f–cking stop it right now!

– Xbox is launching Xbox Music. 30 million tracks available for Xbox 360, Windows 8 Tablets and Phones. The most generic possible “we’re launching a music service” video follows. Glowsticks! Ravers! Breakdancing! No smooth jams available apparently — only music suitable for gyrating in an over packed warehouse.

Instant Reaction – Tellingly Microsoft showed zero features that will set this apart or above iTunes in any way, shape or form.

Say one more word about sports and I will murder you.

 

Nike Fit

– Some guy from Nike that looks like Matthew McConaughey comes out. Nike’s making a Wii Fit clone. Talk about athletes, and sports and oh my God, who the hell cares.

Instant Reaction – SHUT…THE…F–K…UP ABOUT…F–KING SPORTS. I…I think Microsoft has made me hate all sports now. NBA Playoffs? Not watching anymore. Don’t care. I’m just going to leave my TV off for two weeks during the Olympics. This is what you’ve done to me Microsoft.

 

Xbox SmartGlass

– Your Xbox 360, and Windows, Apple and Android phones and tablets can now interact. Send movies from your tablet to your TV. Bonus material and information from your TV show or game can show up on your phone or tablet. Examples given are an interactive map that would accompany episodes of Game of Thrones or being able to check out Halo maps on your tablet as you play.

Instant Reaction – This is actually pretty neat — although maybe it just seems cool after the hour of brain meltingly boring “the Xbox now streams hockey!” crap.

– Can use your phone or tablet as a controller for your Xbox or TV. The Xbox dashboard has been redesigned yet again to accommodate touch controls.

Instant Reaction – Yeah, this seems like a smart little stopgap to combat the WiiU. Not bad Microsoft. I’m feeling something I haven’t felt since the beginning minutes of this press conference. Could this be…goodwill towards Microsoft?

– INTERNET EXPLORER ON XBOX 360!!!

Instant Reaction – Whelp, goodbye goodwill. I hope Sony combats this announcement by unveiling Netscape on the PS3.

Way to go guys — you found the one scene where she’s not topless.

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Tomb Raider

Lara’s shooting dudes with arrows. Her boobs seem to have expanded since the earlier trailers — they’re more traditionally Croft-esque now. Lara’s crashing some sort of mountain hideout and showing off her amazing 20-foot leaping ability.

Instant Reaction – Very Uncharted-ey. Crystal Dynamics have actually left some color in this game instead of just going for next-gen browns and greys. Best looking game of the press conference so far.

– Whoa, a shotgun has come out and she just straight up stabbed a dude right in his neck.

Instant Reaction – I dunno, I kind of preferred when Lara only brutally murdered endangered and/or extinct animals.

– Oh shit, Lara just fell over a waterfall…and, she’s fine?

Instant Reaction – Huh.

– Now she’s smashing into literally every rock and piece of debris in the river. She’s bouncing around like a ping-pong ball in a dryer and ragdolling like every bone in her body is broken.

Instant Reaction – Um, okay, you can stop hitting the pretty lady now.

– Oh s–t, she somehow got hold of a parachute! She’s smashing into every tree, moaning in pain each time. She’s covered in blood and dirt. More moaning.

Instant Reaction – I…uh…[checks over my shoulder to make sure nobody’s sees me watching this].

– Torture Porn Raider, coming this year! DLC available first on the Xbox!

Instant Reaction – Really? We’re still bragging about early DLC? In 2012?

Ascend: New Gods

– Guys in elaborate armor stab each other. Guys fight a giant God-like enemy. Visuals have that Ico oversaturated eye-scorching look.

Instant Reaction – Microsoft is making God of War without the personality.

LocoCycle

– A sexy voice talks about somebody or something called Iris. We see lots of sexy curves. Turns out it’s a futuristic motorcycle.

Instant Reaction – So…we’re supposed to want to f–k the motorcycle?

Matter

Gore Verbinski (director of the Pirates of the Carribean movies) is somehow involved. Looks like Super Monkey Ball featuring Wheatley from Portal.

Instant Reaction – Looks interesting. I’m sure nobody will play it.

Resident Evil 6

– Time for a lengthy RE6 demo. Leon, his hair looking extra lustrous, is shooting zombies with some lady. The zombies run, and are extra vocal, growling and yelling constantly. Leon stabs a zombie in the throat.

Instant Reaction – Sorry, Lara Croft already stabbed someone in the throat — somebody non-undead no less. You’re no longer going to impress anybody with that specific bit of violence.

– Leon makes his way through a street crowded with cars and zombies. A plane crashes into the street and suddenly everything’s engulfed in a giant fireball. Leon has to run away as cars fly in every which direction. Quicktime helicopter flying. Leon is terrible at flying a helicopter crashing into every surface it’s possible to crash into.

Instant Reaction – Well, all of Capcom’s talk about going back to a more horror-based feel for RE6 certainly wasn’t in evidence here. Also, the game looked disappointingly rough graphically. I have a feeling this one may end up not making it’s 2012 deadline — at least I’m kinda hoping not.

Wrecketeer

Hey look, somebody presenting a game that isn’t some douchebag guy! It’s not a guy at all! It’s a cute girl with a sleeve tattoo! Uh, the game is some sort of Angry Birds thing where you try to knock down a castle. You can flap your arms and control the trajectory of your projectiles via Kinect. Holy crap, this girl actually looks like she’s having fun with the game instead of just standing their stalk-still and trying not to screw up like all the other guys who have played games onstage so far.

Instant Reaction – Tattoo girl should have hosted the entire press conference.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Trailer is feels like the show, but gives no indication of how the game will play. Matt and Trey come onstage — “How many time have you been watching an episode of South Park and thought ‘I’d like to be able to watch this on my television while hooked into my mobile device, which is being controlled by my tablet device, which is hooked into my oven, all while sitting in the refrigerator.'”

Instant Reaction – I’m not always a huge South Park fan, but that line from Trey Parker gave me the strength to endure the rest of this 13-hour long press conference.

Here’s Usher to Dance for Y’all! Uh, also Just Dance 3

– Just Dance 3 is happening. Now Usher is dancing, and dancing…and dancing. He’s not demo-ing the game or anything, this is just a performance by Usher that we’re supposed to be enjoying I guess.

Instant Reaction – Are we supposed to be impressed that you got Usher for your show Microsoft? You have hundreds of billions of dollars. You could have got Obama on to do a tap dance routine or had Katy Perry juggling naked if you wanted to. Try harder.

No, I am not posting a video of Usher dancing.

 

– Don Mattrick, Microsoft President of Interactive Entertainment shows up and proclaims that the Xbox 360 is ushering in a new Golden Age of Entertainment. The audience laughs.

Instant Reaction – Good work audience.

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

– Microsoft’s press-conference ends with CoD. You’re in a jeep with the president. The drones are attacking! Some guy has been shot! You crash! Shooting, shooting, sniping, multiple blackouts, flying a jet…God, are they planning to show us the whole game? This demo has been going on forever.

Instant Reaction – One way or another most of the “big” games shown at the Microsoft press conference were trying to emulate CoD’s “rollercoaster” style of game design, and I have to say, CoD still seems to do it best. Compare the Black Ops footage to the ridiculous Tomb Raider torture porn footage and it’s really night and day in terms of doing it right. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really care about CoD, but it does what it does well.

Overall Thoughts

Is it…finally over? Man, that thing did not need to be 90-minutes. Pretty underwhelming showing from Microsoft, but realistically between Kinect, Smartglass and a strong line-up of 3rd party games, the 360 is well set-up for 2012. Microsoft’s press conference was good for business even if it frequently had me reaching for a pillow.

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