Personal gaming journal #5

It’s been a really long time since I did any updates on the games I enjoy playing, so I’ll just give a quick synopsis of where I’m getting my feet wet again.  That is to say, I’m going a little retro lately, digging out some of my older 360 games, and even a much older PC game.  Why?  Well, I just can’t justify all the new $60 games these days and I know if I wait around long enough, they’ll eventually drop in price to something a bit more attractive to the pocket.  There are just so many big titles I’d like to get my hands on, but I am definitely discovering that ‘Platinum Hits’ is where it’s at.

  • Was able to pick up Guitar Hero: Aerosmith for $29.99 a few weeks back.  I can’t say I’m a big fan of them, actually, there are a few songs of theirs I don’t like at all, but there are plenty of tolerable ones plus the addition of other artists like Joan Jett and RUN DMC make it palatable and fun.  I’m about 1/2 way done on ‘medium’ difficulty and so far have racked up quite a few gamer points.
  • 1 vs 100 (Xbox Live) – I like trivia, and this beta has been going on way too long lately, but the gameplay is addictive and when it finally goes Live (gold) to win real MS points, I’ll be all over it.  I suck at sports question though, and up until those are being asked, I surprised how well I’m doing against other players.
  • WOW – Taking a break…need to recharge my batteries, but I think the frozen north is calling my name again.
  • CoH/CoV – Also taking a break. 
  • Fallout 3 ‘The Pitt expansion’ – Pretty good expansion with a few neat weapons.  There were some tense moments with the Trogs as they have the ability to seemingly jump out of nowhere and you need to be much more aware of your ammo supply than before.  A nice diversion, but really looking forward to getting ‘Point Lookout’ DLC.
  • Saints Row 2 – Not playing as much as I’d like because of the ‘mature’ content and my daughter hanging around way too much.  Fun little sandbox version of GTA4 I picked up also for $29.99.  Looking forward to playing this again soon.
  • GTA4 – Same as above with the daughter.  Was getting back into it and finally making some progress on the game just to put it back on the shelf until I get some alone time.
  • Brothers In Arms Hell Highway – Played the demo and I really like it.  I may pick this up soon as it’s currently going for $24.99. 
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010 – Lovin’ it.  I may give this it’s own post soon enough, it warrants it and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the content.  I jumped right into tour/career mode and working my way up.  Wind can be very frustrating to me if it’s over 15 MPH, and some holes just seem very random, but overall it takes me a good hour to play 1 round and I have some nail biting moments and get very excited when I do a fabulous shot, and very hard on myself when I shoot a crappy one.
  • Railroad Tycoon 3 – Totally retro Win 98 game I’m really getting into as well.  Graphics are a little dated at this point, but who doesn’t love playing with trains?  Deserves it’s own post as well.

DJ Hero gameplay, first impressions from E3

Djhero-peripheral

Turntable with crossfader

X-Play correspondent (G4), Blair H, was able to get a sit down hands on look at Activision’s new rhythm game DJ Hero earlier this week at E3, and from what I saw, I’m totally jazzed.

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of the turntable controller, and now that I’ve seen an actual demo played live I’m happy to see there is an additional peripheral as well on top of the turntable….that is the cross fader.  No price has been announced and no actual release date, but Activision led viewers to believe it would be ready this fall just in time for the holiday season.  At launch DLC content will also be made available on top of tracks released with the game on disc.

In the demo I saw the graphics are somewhat similar to the cartoony look of the Guitar Hero, but with a slightly more urban slant.  I was also happy to here that some songs will also allow players to use their GH: World Tour microphones and maybe even a guitar for bass inspired riffs for multiplay action!  That’s pretty cool…even this white-boy will get a chance to rap.

Djhero1

Beta screenshot

The song they demo’d was a Gwen Stefani and Rick James mix of his classic,  ‘Give it to me baby’, and it sounded great! Game controls use both hands….one of the cross fade and sampling buttons, the other on the turn-table with three button note controllers.   The game track looked nice, and instead of GH’s ‘star power’, DJ Hero uses ‘euphoria’, and when built up, will allow for bonus points and other effects.

An onslaught of titles for the 360

Whew….

It seems a damn busy time in the realm of console games for personal consumption over the next few weeks.  With so many A & B titles being released for my 360, I have no idea on which ones to grab first.  With the average price being $60 each to, I really have to be careful in my choices.  Hopefully for our 5th wedding anniversary, my wife will also be getting me a certificate for one of the store to help out.

So let’s see, what do I have to choose from:

  • Fable II: I loved the first Fable and had a blast completing it on my original Xbox.  I like the idea of revisting the world of Albion, especially with an AI dog as my companion and the co-op online mechanic.  Reviews of this game have been highly positive and a reads like a great solo casual RPG that isn’t overly complex.
  • Far Cry 2: I never played the original, but I like the idea of the open style sand box of a 20+ square miles of Africa.  The visuals look lush, and decisions really do count in the game and affect how you progress.  I also like the idea that the game never breaks for pauses if you need to look at a map or inventory….It’s all real time.  Explosions and fire mechanics look great.  Another highly reviewed game, although there is a comment about inconsitent damage to baddies.
  • Fallout 3: I never played the originals, so I’m a bit unfamilar with the Fallout universe, but hey, it’s Bethesda.  A lot of great hype is surrounding this game and the visuals I’ve seen are also fantastic.  Promises over 100+ hours of game play with a lot of RPG elements and special effects.  Can we sat VAT and PipBoy?  Yup…I’m in for this one.
  • GH-WT: Though I am just scratching the surface of my recent Rock Band 2, I totally play these games with my friends and can spend hours on the music rhythm genre.  Much more customization and a killer song list.  I’m also jonesing for the re-tooled guitar (bigger, badder).  There will be a lot of late night weekends coming up with my house band rocking the party soon.
  • Tom Clancy’s End War:  Voice controlled RTS set in the Clancy universe. ‘Nuff said.
  • Gear of War 2:  I may put this one on the back burner for now as I still need to complete the original GoW.  I figure I’m about 50% done on that one?
  • BIA – Hell’s Highway:  I’ll get this eventually.  Maybe when the price drops or it becomes a Platinum Hit.  Got above average scores and I enjoy that kind of strategic FPS’s.
  • Dead Space: Also looks good.  I like the story line premise, even though it may not be super original.  Reminds me of the original ‘Alien’ movie.  Already out and the user community says its a nail biter.  Maybe another I’ll wait for the Platinum Hit price drop.
  • Banjo Kazooie – Nuts & Bolts: I like the cheaper price point of $40 and it looks to be a fun ‘casual’ style platformer.  I’ve never palyed any of the Banjo games before, but I really like the ‘Lego’-ish aspect of collecting parts and building my own creations to solve puzzles. 
  • Call of Duty – World at War: Another in which I suppose I should finish CoD4 before I buy this one.  Although I’m tired of WWII games, it is CoD afterall, and the idea that it’s in a different theatre now…along with flamethrowers makes this look interesting to me.
  • Wrath of the Lich King: Okay, so technically not a console game, I do love my WoW and this will be a must buy on my list.

All the games I listed here either just came out this past week, or will be out before the end of November.  That’s a lot for such a small window of time.  Thankfully there’s nothing I really see on the horizon after November that I’m really stoked about as the games above (even if I end up getting 2 or 3) should keep me busy for many months to come.  My 360 will be very busy.

I think my top runners right now are Fable II, Fallout 3 and Guitar Hero: WT.   Now I just need to prioritize and come to the realization that a few will not be purchased until sometime in 2009, and hopefully by then, many of the prices will indeed drop.

PAX 2008 gaming coverage – part 1

PAX 2008

PAX 2008

The Penny Arcade Expo was held this last week up in Washington State and helps showcase many small time and independant video game developers.  However the last few years, it has grown in scope to include major developers as well including Nintendo, Microsoft, EA, etc.  In addition to new video games be showcased, attendees can alos be seen playing both fantasy inspired table top games like Heroclix, Warhammer, and collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering.

This year attendance broke a new record with over 58,500 tickets sold and plans are underway to expand it once again, and even to hold an east coast version to be held in Botson, most likely in March of 2010.

So in no particular order, here is some information that was either revealed at PAX itself, or coincided in timing with the expo.

Gear of War 2: Confirmed this would be an XBox 360 title only, meaning no port to PC.

Fallout 3: Nearly completed.  Going through final bug clean up and beta testing.

StarCraft II: Blizzard announced a delay from late 2008 to early 2009.

XBox: It has been confirmed there will be an upcoming price reduction in Japan, making it the cheapest next gen console available in that country.  This most likely strengthens the rumors that yet another price cut is coming to North America sometime in early September, possibly as early as the 7th.

Mirror’s Edge: DLC content may only be PS3 exclusive once released.

Demigod: Developer, Gas Powered Games shown game play of their upcoming RPG/RTS currently scheduled for a Feb. 2009 release.  In the demo I saw being played, it looks very pretty and very unique with a lot of depth in its skill tree models (RPG element).  Has some steampunk elements to it as well. 

Rock Band: There are 3 PAX inspired tracks as DLC that were made available on September 2nd.  You can buy the tracks at a reduced price individually or as the PAX 2008 Collection.

Guitar Hero World Tour: Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan will be a playable character within the game as well as debut their new upcoming single ‘G.L.O.W.’ as part of an upcoming Smashing Pumpkins Track Pack as DLC for the game.

Personal Gaming Journal #3

So I’m kinda excited that my OXM subscription kicked in yesterday and I recevied my 1st issue.  It’s a pretty good deal to get the magazine along with the disc for $24.95 for the whole year as opposed to paying $9.99 an issue at the grocery store or bookstore.

I’m happy to see some offical pictures of all the new Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero World Tour, and Konami’s Rock Revolution peripherals (well Konami only showed the drums kit, and it looked a little strange).  The nice thing is that Konami stated that both RB and Gh’s guitar will be compatible with their game.  I’m getting pretty psyched that these will start launching next month, and I’ll have a whole new bey of songs to play and download.

Ion is introducing there own uber drum kit for the Rock Band series which just looks crazy mad.  By itself, it’ll be $300, metal, and ships with 4 drum pads, 2 cymbals and kick peddle.  For even another $50 you can buy yet a 3rd cymbal!

Harmonix’s new Stratocaster looks pretty sweet, and they promise it will be much more sturdy than the original, meaning overdrive sensor and strum bar, plus it’s wireless.  A fine addition to my colllection.  However, RedOctane’s new axe for World Tour may be the one to get.  Also wireless, it has an additional touch sensitive neck for hand sliding and an oversized ‘star power’ button (thank God!) so you won’t have to tilt your guitar to achieve star power.

I played RB last night for a bit and tried multiplayer online play.  I experimented with both ‘Tug of War’ and ‘Score Duel’ modes and had my as handed to me all four times, but it was fun.  I have to get out of the competitve mindset and just enjoy it playing a song with someone else.  The problem for me is that Tug of War is very unforgiving…miss one note and it’s very difficult to recover against the other player.  This resulted in a True Skill point value of ‘1’ for me, even though on medium I was pulling perfect solos and completing like 97-98% of the song.  Seems a bit harsh to ever recover and be motivated to continue playing…you find yourself praying the other guy misses one note as well just to give you a chance.

I may need to buy a new HD soon with all the songs coming down the pipeling.  My 20GB drive is already 75% full lest I remove some other games and demo’s.

On the horizon for me: Force Unleashed, Rise of the Argonauts, GH WT, RB 2, Too Human, Fracture, GoW2, Lego Batman, CoD 5, Clone Wars (Wii) and a few others.  Man, I don’t even have time now….or money.

Speaking of money….I was so planning on buying a new PC today.  A new Dell XPS system to replace my 5year +, but then my wife told me yesterday she is behind on bills.  Dammit.  Well, there that goes for now.  I was eyeing a 2.4 GHz system with 3GB memory, plenty of L2 cache, and a 20″ widescreen monitor for my WoW and CoH habits.  Looks like that’s put on hold….yet again.  ::Grumble::

Been getting back into my PSP again too…playing Metal Gear Solid Ac!D and enjoying it.  My coworker was showing me his new God of War PSP slim and gameplay and it looks pretty sweet as well.

Wii: Okay, so my store didn’t get the Wii Fit today, but I also have an alert from Amazon.com sent to my phone.  If any Fit’s become available, they send you a TXT message to whcih you simply reply ‘Buy’, and they send one to you based on your Amazon account.  Well imagine my surprise when I got my alert today (WooHoo!!) at 10:17am saying they are available.  I reply at 10:20am with my text.  At 10:22am I receive a reply back saying they are now ‘unavailble’!!!  DOH!!  WTF?  So between the time I received the alert and I responded (3 minutes!) they were already sold out again.  What….did they only get 2 in stock?

Ah well, there’s always next week.

E3: Nintendo media event – Day 2

Nintendo - Why'd we come?

Nintendo - Why'd we come?

Sigh

That so far is the only word I can muster up after watching Nintendo’s very lack luster televised media event from the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.  After watching all commercial free two hours of it, I felt very disappointed, especially after being so wow-ed by Microsoft the day before.

It seems like only 9 months ago I was scrambling every weekend to all my local Best Buy’s, Toy R Us’s, Circuit City’s, etc. to get my hands on a much sought after Wii, and now after owning it for 8 months, I kinda wonder what all the fuss was about, especially seeing that Nintendo didn’t really offer up any insight to AAA Tier games in the coming months.  Oh, sure I liked Wii Sports, played Super Paper Mario, and some cartoony war game I can’t even remember the name for the life of me right now but there have been no real franchise titles or new innovations that have really grabbed my by the short hairs and demanded I rush out and buy.  I’ll probably buy Metroid Prime once it comes down in price and No More Hero’s, but most of the games seem to be shovel-ware.  I am interested in the Wii Fit, but more so to do some home exercises and I refuse to pay black market prices right now until the supply catches up. 

So lets discuss the media event:

Before I even get to the games and products, I have to say that the speakers (all of them) were so ‘hokey’ and the scripting and jokes were lame bordering on atrocious.  When they brought out one of the Japanese presidents, he ‘engrish’ was soo bad and soo hard to understand, i almost wish they had a translator or closed captioned.  It really just seemed that the two American hosts were really faking their enthusiasm as well, and I really had a chuckle when after the media event Adam Sessler from X-Play/G4 TV posed the immediate question to American President Alex (?): “So our virtual audience is already sending in questions as to why it seems Nintendo is ignoring the hard core gamers.  How do you respond?”  Alex seemed shocked at the question was even posed after the media event, and quickly tried to say “What do you mean?  We have GTA for DS and Animal Crossing City Folk.  How can you feel left out?”   Easy….that was all you offered and we all now the GTA version for DS will be PG-13, and Animal Crossing is not ‘hard core’. But I digress. 

  • Shaun White Snowboarding: Some red headed AmericaNintendo big-wig woman came out, Cammie and started the event with some over acted personal story about snow boarding with her son which ends in a broken wrist.  Queue up Shaun White (BTW: despite being an Olympic gold medalist, he looked like he just woke up…his hair was an unfettered mop) standing on a Wii Fit board demoing the game named after him.  It looked ‘okay’ and was a great innovation and use for the Fit board, but didn’t ‘wow’ me.  Somehow this turned into Cammie getting on the board as well and demonstrating how easy it was for anyone to do it.  This is no cap on the game, it may indeed be good or better, but the whole skit was cheezy.
  • Animal Crossing City Folk: Of any of the games that may have piqued my interest, it would be this one.  If your a fan of the original installments, then this will be up your alley with some cool new features and innovations, more so for the newly announced Wii Speak….a open room microphone (read: nota headset) that will allow connected parties to speak.  Has a lot of potential and this game will surely be big with the kids and Animal Crossing fans.  It’ll be interesting to see if they incorporate this new Wii Speak microphone into other games as well, but there was no mention of it for the rest of the media event.  Sad.
  • Wii Sports Resort: The natural successor to Wii Play and Wii Sports shows some promise for casual players and social settings, although I think it won’t be out until spring 2009.  The game incorporates the use of the Wii Motion Plus hardware accessory and has some neat mini games such as Frisbee throwing (to a dog), sword fighting (think Wii Sports Boxing but with swords), and a jet-ski race (using the nun-chuck as well) that were demoed.  It did look pretty fun, and something I’ll get to play with the family seeing how we all enjoyed Wii Sports.  The bad thing here was more horrible skits by Nintendo pundits who looked ridiculous in their suits trying to act young and hip.  Gag.
  • Wii Motion Plus: Okay, not a game but an extension to the regular remote that will add extra motion capture and promises a 1:1 response to your movements.  Will be sold in a bundle with Wii Sports Resort or by itself sometime in the future.  No price was given.  It’s a nice addition to the remote, but now I wonder why it was never part of the original release or incorporated during the Wii initial launch.  It’s almost like Nintendo admits that the original remote was never completed and this is what it should have been, but they’ll never admit that.
  • Star Wars – Clone Wars: It was just a trailer and part of a video montage package, no hands on demo, but looked very similar to the upcoming animated movie in August and promises to use the remote in lightsaber battles.  Cool!  I was indeed excited to see this, but it was a tease at best and they never played it up at all and I wonder why not?  They are supposedly working on a stand alone lightsaber game, and this was not it, but with the very short trailer and great looking animation, why Nintendo didn’t spend more time on this one is baffling to me, especially seeing that this would be great to push the Motion Plus accessory, a movie tie in, and garner in all the young would be Jedi’s.
  • Call of Duty – World War: Video footage only that demonstrated some co-op mode with two players using both a remote and Wii Zap gun.  Again…why didn’t they spend at least 5 minutes on this one, I have no idea.
  • Wii Music: I’m not sure what to think about this.  Was this supposed to be the result of 2+ years in the making ever since it was hinted at during Wii E3 2006?  If so…..um…uh…you’re young kids will like it.  They spent a lot of time showing this one off, and while I will agree it is a very cool concept and looked promising 2 years ago…..it just didn’t have the 1 – 2 punch I was expecting.  I’ll most likely pass.  They did another wacky skit with suits and it just didn’t translate well.  It would have been to Nintendos favor if they brought in some young kids on stage to demonstrate.  Corporate suits who are un-coordinated, stiff, and look like they are more comfortable behind a desk just look silly in this band ensemble….and they were bad.
  • DS: Probably the most promising of anything displayed today at the conference was Nintendos obvious push of their handheld system.  They only really spoke of widening the demographics by appealing to more and more women, along with future innovations that take the handheld beyond conventional gaming.  I won’t bore you with the details as this part wasn’t about games, but shows that they are thinking outside the box on the DS, though they may think about a firmware or memory upgrade.  No plans for a price reduction or design changes anytime soon as the DS is selling like gangbusters in its current state.
  • GTA DS: Talked about new engine, new story, new characters….but nothing shown.  WTF?
  • Guitar Hero Decades DS:  Expands on GH DS and will allow 2 players to play together and share songs.  A bit confusing on the modes being offered.
  • Wii Channels/Interface: Very disappointed to see that in two hours they never mentioned or addressed any upcoming new channels or content for Wii online.  WTF?  Just because your console it the hot thing right now, Nintendo has to know that both Sony and Microsoft are doing a killing with social gaming, DLC, and other online content…and Nintendo seems to be fine without announcing anything new or innovative here.  Very disappointing.
  • No Shows: Nothing on a new Zelda game, new Mario or Metroid games, no Force Unleashed or rumored lightsaber game.  No Samba Amigo.  No ‘AAA’ list franchises mentioned.  Nothing that left anyone breathless and overly excited.  Reaction to overall media event seemed to be lukewarm at best by everything I’ve read or seem so far, and I have to agree.  So far Microsoft press conference showed why they came to E3, whereas Nintendo just seemed to say “We’re here”, and nothing else.

Again: Sigh.

E3 2008 – Microsoft press conference – Day 1

E3 2008 - Los Angeles

E3 2008 - Los Angeles

I sorta geeked out with the anticipation of rushing home from work on Monday so I could watch the G4 TV 2.5 hour live press conference (I taped it) that Microsoft was presenting for Xbox 360 owners. 

The show was a break from the regular X-Play episode as both hosts Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb were onhand to give the at home audience a sneak peak at things that will be coming to the XBox 360 owners over the next year.

So without further ado, here were some of the highlights (in no particular order):

  • Live Interface upgrade: The 360 GUI interface will be getting a complete overhaul sometime this fall.  Microsoft explained that while the current interface works well, they wanted to make it even more user friendly and accessible to all and to showcase many new features including ‘avatars’ and live interactive content.  Personally, while some of the features look pretty cool, I’m not sure I’ve been sold on it.  The thing is, it doesn’t look as if Live users will have a choice but to have this automatically installed one day when they turn on their systems this fall.  It’d be nice if they gave us a choice, but I can understand why they don’t want two interfaces to supports and are going to move forward with this.  The most blatant change is the inclusion of personal ‘avatars’, or 3D customizable animated representations of an online gamer.  Think of it as a ‘souped’ up Wii Mii.  I imagine this is a direct response to Sony’s reported upcoming interface, ‘Home’ and Nintendo’s Mii’s.  The big question I have is what do we do with our gamer pics and themes we’ve become accustomed to the last few years.  Will MS credit back Live Users for their previous theme and gamer picture purchases?  For all intents and purposes it looks like gamer pictures and themes will disappear altogether which would suck if you invested a lot of MSP’s into the last few years.  Another interesting aspect in the new emphasis on ‘parties’ and interactive game-shows.  While I personally have no need or real desire to share my pictures and other live content in a ‘party’, I do look forward to being part of a interactive game show like the demoed “1 vs. 100” they showed.  That looks pretty cool.
  • Netflix:I am pretty stoked about this feature as I already have a Netflix subscription.  This feature also debuting later this year will allow Netflix subscribers to instantly download/buffer movies on demand from the ever expanding Netflix library.  This may just push my need to get a Blu-Ray player back even further as I have no need to rush out and buy one to watch movies in HD.  I believe I will indeed be taking advantage of this quite liberally when it is available.
  • Gears of War 2: They demoed a quite lengthy run within the game and it look just awesome.  As a relatively new GoW player myself (I just recently picked it up when the price dropped to $39.99) and only done with chapter 2, the sequel just looks incredible!  Besides the improved graphics, there appears to be many more moves and weapons available and very, very creative levels with adrenaline pounding action, atmosphere, and sound design.  Yay!
  • Fable II: I completed Fable I years ago on my original Xbox and loved it, so this was already an automatic buy for me when it was announced sometime back.  They showed some co-op play and it looked pretty darn good as well.  I’m excited they included a dog as a pet for the player, and the pet AI and mannerisms look pretty neat.  The one quirky thing I’m not sure what I think about yet is ‘player orbs’ for multi-player.  supposedly, you can see your friends online within the game when they are on as they are represented by orbs.  You walk up to an orb, press a button, and ‘whammo’, your friend is now in your game.  What if you don’t have many friends who own the game?  What if you invite a friend and they screw with your unique world?  I’ll still get, but I figure I’ll be playing a lot of solo.
  • Fallout 3: Another ‘must buy’ for me.  Atmosphere and sound that Bethesda put into this game looks phenomenal.  They claim the world is an open world, much like Oblivion was and it did look pretty vast from what they showed.  The combat VAT engine looks very easy and intuitive, and the weapons showcased were awe inspiring.  Bethesda claims that when the game ships it will have 100+ hours of content with even more available as the develop DLC for it.
  • Guitar Hero III & World Tour:  Said a Metalica album will be be available for both later this year, but they really focused on World Tour.  Drum kit is wireless and will ship with around 85 new songs.  They mentioned the ability to create your own songs, but did not show examples.  There will also be some exclusive tracks from Led Zepplin and Guns ‘N Roses.
  • Lips: I don’t know what to think of this either.  This looks like a total social party game geared for young adults or kids.  They had UK pop star Duffy sing her hit Mercy.  I could have done without that.  Anyway, Lips is a karaoke game with light-up microphones (WTF?), and supposedly you can play music from your Zune or iPod, but they didn’t say if these supplied words or not.  I can’t figure out if the ‘word’ versions of songs are DLC or not.  Wish they would have talked more about this.
  • Rock Band 2:The only significant thing they said here was that all RB 1 songs are forward compatible with RB 2 as well as the instruments.  They announced 84 master tracks on CD will ship with the game as well as at least 20 free DLC songs by launch, and by the end of the year RB 2 will support a library of about 500 songs.  That’s impressive.  You can find the track listings elsewhere so I won’t repeat it here, but I am happy to see some more alternative bands like Talking Heads and Blondie to be appearing.  Exclusive tracks will include Bob Dylan and AC/DC as well, but since I don’t care for either of those, I probably won’t get those.
  • Resident Evil 5: Long way to go on this one as I think they said it will be available in March of 2009.  Showed off some co-op which looked pretty cool with head-shots and obstacle puzzle solving, but the zombies looked so slow.  While they showed a decent length demo and it was interesting, I’ll wait and see what develops because in 8 months, a lot can change….and the zombies just looked slow.
  • Square Enixannounced progress on already three announced games and showed a trailer for the next Star Ocean series.  The trailer looked absolutely beautiful and sounded great, but that’s all it was… a trailer showing in-game cut-scenes.  No actual game footage, and no description on what it was or what the story is or the goal.  It was pretty commercial that told me nothing about the game at all so that was a disappointment.  The biggest news out of Square Enix is they announced Final Fantasy XIII for the 360, a big blow to Sony where it was an exclusive franchise for them up to now.
  • Banjo Kazooie & Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise.  More kid friendly games, however, Banjo looks pretty interesting as a casual platform/puzzle solver and is worth a closer look.  VP uses the camera and cards to place rare pinatas and other effects in game like weather and items.
  • Social games & Arcade: They showed a few various games like Geometry Wars 2 and Galaga 2 as upcoming live arcade titles.  Social games eere a mixed bag of cool looking thing like the previously aforementioned 1 vs 100 and Scene It, but a real crap-fest in “You’re in the Movies”…I honestly can’t see this one making it big and even the demo they showed was clearly out of synch and looked low-tiered.  It was funny watching the MS reps really trying to sell this one and of all the game presented up to this point, this looked the most amateurish.
  • Not shown: Halo Wars, Too Human, Force Unleashed, CoD 5.

Now that Microsoft opened with some pretty big guns and some big news with Final Fantasy XIII and a system interface overhaul along with Netflix, it should be very interesting to see what both Nintendo and Sony have to offer.