Another year, another bunch of announcements at E3. Another bunch of announcements, another claim that this coming year will be the best yet for Xbox. Why is this?
Well, first up for anyone that has been living under a rock, or on the island from Lost, we get to see Project Natal officially named as Kinect. Motion controlled gaming will be available from November this year, but no price has yet to be announced.
Along with a whole bunch of games that have already been announced for the peripheral (Microsoft claim 15 at launch), there was also the shock announcement of the new Xbox360. Well, it would have been a shock had the news not already been leaked. Still, it is smaller than the original, quieter, packs a 250Gb HDD and built in wifi. It is also black and looks slightly less like a breeze block. Awesome sauce.
Impressively, the new Xbox360 is being shipped to retailers as we speak and should be available by the end of the week.
A big deal was made about ESPN offering access to live sporting events through Xbox Live. I am not sure that will be something available in the UK. Mind you, seeing as I am not that interested in sports, the most entertaining thing about this announcement were the presenters. They were kinda funny.
But, how do the games shape up this year? What do we have to look forward to on our spanky new Xbox360s?
Millions of fans worldwide are eagerly awaiting the release of â€œHalo: Reach,â€ the blockbuster prequel to the best-selling Xbox franchise of all time. The action follows the story of Noble Team, a squad of heroic Spartan soldiers and their final stand on planet Reach, humanityâ€™s last line of defense between the terrifying Covenant and Earth. The most ambitious â€œHaloâ€ game yet, â€œHalo: Reachâ€ launches worldwide on Sept. 14 and in Japan on Sept. 15, and promises to be the biggest game of 2010.
â€œGears of War 3â€ concludes the epic trilogy starring Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad. In the finale, the last human city has fallen, leaving the survivors scattered and without refuge. Exposed on all sides, Delta Squad finds itself in a ruthless battle between two horrific enemies. â€œGears of War 3â€ continues to break ground with new multiplayer experiences on Xbox LIVE for veteran players and rookies alike, adding four-player cooperative campaign and the new Beast mode.â€œGears of War 3â€ launches in North America and Asia on April 5, 2011, in Japan on April 7, and in Europe and the rest of the world on April 8.
Launching worldwide beginning Oct. 26, â€œFable IIIâ€ delivers an unparalleled action and adventure experience as players journey from revolutionary to ruler and beyond. With your trusted canine companion, you will embark on an epic heroâ€™s quest against injustice, forge alliances, crush your enemies and take control of your kingdom. But with great power comes great responsibility. Will you honor promises made in your rise to power, or sacrifice allegiance for personal gain? Choose wisely, as the decisions you make will forever impact your ever-evolving world.
â€œMetal Gear Solid: Risingâ€ is the highly anticipated debut of Hideo Kojimaâ€™s critically acclaimed â€œMetal Gear Solidâ€ franchise on Xbox 360. â€œMetal Gear Solid: Risingâ€ will star Raiden, one of the most popular characters in the â€œMetal Gear Solidâ€ universe, in a new, lightning bolt action-adventure on Xbox 360.
Call of Duty: Black Ops
On Nov. 9, 2010, Treyarch will make its return to the â€œCall of Dutyâ€ franchise with the release of â€œCall of Duty: Black Opsâ€ on Xbox 360, the seventh entry in the best-selling first-person action franchise. â€œCall of Duty: Black Opsâ€ continues the gripping experience and unprecedented level of action with players taking on multiple covert international conflicts in an epic single-player campaign, as well as co-op and multiplayer modes on Xbox LIVE, which boasts the largest â€œCall of Dutyâ€ community in the world. All â€œCall of Dutyâ€ Add-on content will be released first on Xbox 360 through 2012, starting with content associated with the Nov. 9 for â€œCall of Duty: Black Ops.â€
Before â€œDead Rising 2â€ launches in August and September, â€œDead Rising 2: CASE ZEROâ€ will release as an exclusive prologue only available through Xbox LIVE, providing unique features that bridge the story between the 2006 action-adventure hit and its sequel. Get the complete â€œDead Rising 2â€ experience only on Xbox 360.
â€œCrackdown 2,â€ the sequel to the sleeper hit of 2007, is the ultimate open-world experience featuring over-the-top action, a massive living world, stylish graphics, and unmatched cooperative and multiplayer online capabilities. An explosive tour de force that invites players to explore, experiment and navigate through objectives with complete freedom to do what they want, when they want. â€œCrackdown 2â€ releases in the Americas on July 6; Asia, Australia and New Zealand on July 8; and Europe on July 9. The public Xbox LIVE demo will be available globally starting June 21.
Dracula takes a bite out of Xbox LIVE Arcade with â€œCastlevania: Harmony of Despair.â€ This fast-paced 2-D side scroller takes vampire hunters on a chase to bring Dracula, the Lord of Darkness, to his eternal slumber. Designed by the producer of the legendary â€œCastlevaniaâ€ series, Koji Igarashi, â€œCastlevania: Harmony of Despairâ€ allows friends to play together via online co-op story mode or duke it out to see who the best vampire hunter is in Survival Mode.
Hydro Thunder Hurricane
â€œHydro Thunder Hurricaneâ€ is the all-new, full-featured sequel to the legendary arcade racer. Featuring rocket-powered speedboats blasting across amazing dynamic water, gorgeous visuals and interactive environments packed with shortcuts and surprises, this is the adrenaline-drenched sequel fans have been waiting for. Dive into intense multiplayer races with up to eight players on Xbox LIVE, up to four players locally, or even mix local and online games.
â€œTomb Raiderâ€ heroine Lara Croft makes her headlining debut in this co-op, multiplayer action and adventure game. â€œLara Croft and the Guardian of the Lightâ€ combines the hallmarks of the classic â€œTomb Raiderâ€ franchise including exploration, discovery and puzzle solving with fun and fast-paced combat to create a game that is a great balance of cooperation and competition. Choose your own solutions and explore various paths through the dense jungles of Central America as you solve puzzles to win the game.
Uncertain of his sisterâ€™s fate, a boy enters â€œLimbo.â€ This summer, experience his journey â€” through a world media are calling hauntingly beautiful and philosophically provocative â€” in this Independent Games Festival award-winning title.
â€œMonday Night Combatâ€ takes you into the most popular lethal sport of the future. This third person shooter blends intense combat, finishing moves and game show-like challenges to give you an action experience unlike any other. Rather than fighting for honor or duty, â€œMonday Night Combatâ€ lets you fight for the real American dream â€” cash, fame and endorsements.
All things considered, there is a lot there to be pleased about. I was disappointed that there were no real shocks or moments of “wow” this year, but that is not to say that it is a bad line up, just nothing really that we did not already know. Let’s see what Nintendo and Sony have to offer.