After two years of travesty, it looks like Microsoft has cleaned up its act. Yes, there was the usual cavalcade of Kinect titles, and much of it played out like advertisements for Nike and ESPN, but… OK, so maybe it wasn’t very good, but there were a few things of note.


First off, Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Yes, boys and girls, Sam Fisher is back. This time around, he’s doing not-so-covert ops in the Middle East, on the Iran-Iraq border. Like in Conviction, Fisher is very nimble, traversing battlefields with relative ease, and climbing walls Assassin’s Creed-style as he takes out hostiles with Max Payne-esque bullet time dashes. Blacklist looks like an update of Conviction's action, albeit with less emphasis on stealth.


The Tomb Raider reboot will put Lara through hell.

Crystal Dynamics also showed off an impressive Tomb Raider demo, in which Lara fought her way through a mercenary camp and wound up careening down a river—and then over a cliff. It was intense, as if it’d been taking cues from Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series—a funny twist, considering Uncharted was partially inspired by Tomb Raider. While the set pieces were impressive, let's hope it doesn't rely too heavily on them.


Seeing Trey Parker and Matt Stone was an unexpected surprise. They, of course, made a few quips about the upcoming South Park: The Stick of Truth, a role-playing game developed by Obsidian Entertainment. The Stick of Truth lets players become the Fifth Ranger to the main cast and—what else?—save South Park. Unlike previous South Park titles, The Stick of Truth is written entirely by Parker and Stone, who've been rather vocal in their criticisms of other games in the franchise.



Alongside the expected Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Resident Evil 6 and Gears of War: Judgment details, Microsoft also talked up some of its new partnerships—Nickelodeon, Paramount and Machinima will all bring new content to Xbox LIVE.



Microsoft also showed a trio of Xbox 360 exclusive premieres. First up was Ascend: New Gods, from Signal Studios. The trailer showed a human riding atop an armored giant as it engaged other giants in brutal combat. Second was Twisted Pixel's Loco Cycle, which features an advanced motorcycle called Iris. Finally, there was Matter, a Kinect title directed by Gore Verbinski. Matter looked much like Tron: Legacy and featured a spherical robot traversing polygonal landscapes while fleeing cube-shaped drones. All three of these titles hit in 2013.


Microsoft's SmartGlass tech will supplement its established media platforms.


The major announcement came in the form of Xbox SmartGlass. SmartGlass works with the televisions, smartphones and tablets you already own, turning them into an extension of your Xbox 360 and granting you access to extra content in games, films and television series.


With SmartGlass, you can watch a movie on your tablet and transfer it instantly to your 360, continuing from exactly where you left off; you can watch a TV show and view bonus content in real time, like seeing where characters are on an interactive map during certain scenes; or you can track stats in Halo and draw plays in Madden. These are just a few of the possibilities, and while it won’t have as many practical gaming applications as the Wii U Gamepad, Xbox SmartGlass has a ton of potential for other forms of entertainment.


Microsoft still didn’t dazzle this year—you’d be hard pressed to find anybody who loved the conference as a whole, as opposed to just one or two segments—but it managed to put on a decent show. Moments of fun amid a sea of corporate tie-ins and sequels may not be ideal, but it topped its previous two years.


Aaron Kinney
NoobFeed | Twitter | Facebook

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  • i didnt catch all of it...but what i caught had me drooling :D

    Posted Jun 05, 2012

  • IMO, Microsoft's conference was terrible. The only decent parts were the Halo 4 demonstration and when Matt and Trey came out and made fun of them. I'd add Resident Evil 6 to that list, but there were WAY too many quick-time events, even for Resident Evil.

    Not like they had much competition. Sony's conference was barely better than Microsoft's (and I say it's only because of The Last of Us, especially considering large portions of their conference was just showing more boring parts of games Ubisoft already demonstrated), and we're better off pretending EA's conference never happened.

    Not counting Nintendo's pre-E3 stream on Sunday (which was far more impressive than anything I've seen from E3 up until this point), Ubisoft's conference has been the only decent thing to come out of this E3 so far. Which is absurd, because Ubisoft usually does awful during E3.

    I have high hopes for Nintendo's conference today. And the stream they're showing tomorrow, because apparently they have too much stuff to show off in one day. Hell, all they really have to do is show off Pikmin 3, and they've officially beaten the others.

    Posted Jun 05, 2012

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