Some E3 News, Summer of XBLA Arcade is back & What exactly is a Kinect? – Welcome to the column that will make the announcement at E3 that they write a gaming column every Wednesday known as Dare to Play the Game.
Well, I did it, finally. On Sunday, my Dwarf Priest finally reached level 80. Oddly enough, it was accomplished in Utgarde Pinnacle on the very last boss. It was a very nice feeling and it was good to have Sarah along with me to complete the task (especially since that was my first time in Utgarde Pinnacle). I went ahead and also ran my first heroic instance which was Culling of Stratholme and cleared it in quick enough time to get Sarah the Bronze Drake.
The odd part was I only played my Dwarf enough to get him to eighty. The rest of the time, I was playing my two hunters (one horde, one alliance) for what reason I’m not sure. Maybe I just had a desire to shoot some arrows and watch a pet run all over the place. It’s a living. However, now the task to take possibly my rogue and turn him into an 80 is of some desire. He was my first character and he does deserve to go that far. But I also realize that the task won’t be completed anytime soon. More later.
A Call of Duty booth babe from years past at E3. Speaking of Activision, they had a big blowout at this year’s E3. They had everything from musical acts such as Jay-Z and Soundgarden to a very scantily clad model twenty feet in the air riding on a pole. What does any of this have to do with gaming? Not a darn thing but I’m sure onlookers enjoyed the spectacle just fine.
Microsoft believes that Sony’s E3 press conference tomorrow will, among other things, introduce a pay plan for the traditionally free Playstation Network.
Buried in a 12-page E3 press document filled with questions and answers prepared by Microsoft for the media is this question and answer:
Q: Sony announced their subscription for PSN today.
What’s your comment? (Will adjust messaging onsite after Sony briefing)
A: It’s interesting watching others follow our lead. Only Xbox LIVE creates value-added experiences tailored for the TV environment. We deliver the best entertainment and allow you to share that with the people you care about, no matter where they are. Xbox LIVE is the only place to play the “Call of Duty” map packs and Game Add-ons first. It’s the only online community where you and your friends can play the biggest multiplayer games on the planet games – “Halo: Reach,” “Gears of War 3” and “Call of Duty.” And it’s the exclusive home of ESPN, with more than 3,500 live and on demand sports events. Add the magic of Kinect for Xbox 360 and it is clear that Xbox LIVE is offering entertainment experiences that can’t be found anywhere else.
Granted this could be based on the rumor we reported earlier this year. We’ll know tomorrow afternoon if Microsoft jumped the gun on their reaction to a new paid plan for their rivals online service.
As with any of the news this week since it is E3 and ever changing, there is the possibility that some of this is already confirmed or denied. Just keep that in mind with these fun things we call rumors.
I personally think that PSN will go to paid subscription, if not at E3, then maybe after the new year. In order to create a pleasing online environment that actually rivals Xbox Live, they have to create features that need to have some kind of return or money back. One of the ways to accomplish this would be a fee service. However, I don’t think its going to be everybody has to pay to play.
Most likely what we’ll see is similar to the Gold/Silver setup that Xbox Live has. Maybe they will be just clever and give it names like Pro and Amateur. However, I think that their secondary subscription model or the free one will have more to it than the Xbox Silver. The only function for the Silver was to be a placeholder for the times where your subscription ran out. Here I think that most of the features will be available in the free model except for a few special ones that 25 to 50% of the PSN community will desire.
What’s more interesting though is that Microsoft have already prepared a response and buried it in a press document. This means either the paid subscription for PSN is pretty much a given or Microsoft is just doing their best educated guess. If they are wrong, they can create a similar press briefing that says: “Sony decided to not go with the paid subscription model, but we are still providing the most bang for your buck, Buy 360 4 Life.”. I’m paraphrasing.
Microsoft’s now-traditional “Summer of Arcade” continues next month, with a jam-packed schedule seeing the release of five new Xbox Live Arcade titles, among them a brand new Castlevania game from Konami.
That game is the previously-rumoured Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, which is not only a multiplayer side-scroller, but was also designed by series veteran – and whip fetishist – Koji “Iga” Igarashi.
The other four games due for release over five weeks, beginning in July, are Hydro Thunder Hurricane, Lara Croft and The Guardian Of Light, Limbo and Monday Night Combat.
Summer of Arcade was a pretty successful promotion of games last year and in such they decided to return and give us again a run for our Microsoft Points. At the head of the pack is a brand new Castlevania game, or what might be a continuation of the series from the last few portable titles. It has confirmed that this is a 2d game with HD graphics. But the disturbing thing might be the multiplayer tag which is not something that Castlevania was meant to be. However, we’ll reserve judgment until it gets here.
Among the other titles, we get some Lara Croft, a strange black and white game called Limbo, a racing game and a third person shooter that is disguised as a sports game. We’ll see. I’m not exactly jumping for joy but I am at least curious for the Tomb Raider game. Also, take a look at this week at a number of specials of already existing XBLA games. Discounts range from 33% to 50% and include about twenty titles ranging from Bomberman Live to Castlevania Symphony of the Night to even recent titles like Vandal Hearts.
A screenshot from Hydro Thunder, the racing title. I never do well with water racing games, but this one is certainly very fetching to look at.
Kinect engineer Ron Forbes demonstrated how users will navigate Xbox Live using Microsoft’s motion-control system today, using a combination of movement and voice controls.
Ron took the stage at Microsoft’s 2010 E3 presser to show the audience how Kinect would change the way we navigate Xbox Live. The Kinect camera recognized Ron, logging him into Xbox Live, bringing him to the Kinect hub. Then he used voice commands to select Zune, and navigated menus using hand movements.
“Xbox pause” paused video playback. “Xbox play” started it again. Simply saying “music” started music playing.
One step closer to Minority Report technology.
Check out our liveblog for more from Microsoft’s E3 2010 press event.
So, one of the big things to come out of E3 was the name change of Project Natal to Kinect. It will be priced at $149 and should be out so you can go buy it or receive it for Christmas. Can’t you tell that I am the epitome of thrilled? What the heck is a Kinect anyway? Do I Kinect my foot up somebody’s behind for coming up with this name? Is it too soon to call this a failure before it ever starts? I’m so darn jaded, gawd Michael.
But let’s look at the good points of this over-priced peripheral. *Obvious joke omitted for length* Besides motion control, we do get possible fun times of voice control. The idea that I can access what I want with my voice isn’t half bad. I wonder how one is to recognize “Kedrix” or perhaps it is something where you program to recognize your dialect and tone.
The Xbox Library is about to have quite a few Kinect games added to the roster. I just hope that they value content over showing off the peripheral. I’m not hopeful and honestly I think the price will be a big deterrent until they include it with the console as a bundle. Which leads us to the other big Xbox announcement. Behold: The Xbox 360 Slim!
It’s sleeker, quieter, built in wi-fi and has an internal 250gb hard drive. Well, they had me until that internal hard drive part. But if the rest of the options are as good as they seem. When my sucker runs out of warranty, I’ll be quite content with the new design. Rumor has it according to my friend Teedub, after the E3 Microsoft conference, everybody in attendance got one of these. Lucky bastards, I mean how dare Microsoft give away such things (without sending me one).
This game combines elements of Rainbow Islands with Arkanoid and throws in some pinball according to the description. The Arkonauts are a team of space traveling animals who are on a mission to repair damaged worlds so that the inhabitants can return. One bounces them into the air with a bounce pad that can be moved from left to right. This is the way you collect DNA, bonuses and powerups.
This sounds very much like Arkanoid but depending on the gameplay, it might be worth it to pick it up. It certainly looks to be like an addictive game which could bad news for many folks. Maybe I’ll download a demo, maybe.
If you haven’t heard of Bejeweled 2 by now, I really can’t help you. The best thing you can do is go back to the rock from which you came. Anyway, here is the expected release for the WiiWare though much later than I expected. All of the modes seem to be in this port from Action Mode to Puzzle Mode to Endless which should be just renamed to I Have No Life mode. Seriously, Bejeweled 2 addiction is worse than a World of Warcraft one.
Four games to wet your whistle here. Included are Air Hockey, Bowling, Pool and Snooker. The nice thing about these games is that you can actually play them against your friends or play them against the computer (including tournament play) and get ranked based on your performance. This is something I wish they had implemented in Wii Sports Resort with bowling (instead of just going back and forth). We’ll have to see if this is worth it though.
Ever wanted to go to local yard sales and find hidden treasures without leaving your door step? Well here you go (and here is your sign). You will be able to use these rare items to decorate your dream home and possibly win a contest (translation: not a real contest). There are hundreds of items and various locales to use your careful eye and quick fingers to buy. It’s cheap seek and find fun. Really cheap, doesn’t look like a lot of fun.
Nice to see VC games back, at least for a week. In this not-so well known game (but a good one) from Natsume, you have a futuristic side scrolling game with ninjas. It’s set in the year 2029 and an evil dictator has taken over the USA. The ninjas: Hayate and Kaede are on a mission to get inside the dictator’s stronghold and kill him. There are katanas, shurikens and hand grenades (ummm, nevermind) to aid you in your quest. Probably the best 500 points you can spend this week.
Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3
Naval Assault: The Killing Tide
Toy Story 3
Dance on Broadway
Let’s Play Ballerina
Let’s Play Garden
Yard Sale Hidden Treasures: Sunnyville
Mahjong Mysteries: Ancient Egypt
100 Classic Books
Puzzle Quest 2
Toy Story 3
Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends
I Spy Universe
Let’s Play Flight Attendant
Let’s Play Garden
Western Riding Academy
Let’s Play Ballerina
Wow, that’s a long list of games. And outside of Puzzle Quest 2 (which should show up on XBLA as well), I can’t think of one other game I would actually play. Toy Story 3 is nothing new and is merely an attempt to see how much they can milk out of the Pre-Teen crowd who goes gaga over the movie. There is another Cooking Mama title and a DS title (Yard Sale) that is also available on WiiWare this week for a 1/6 of the price. Go think about that one for a while. We’ll wait until next week when we should get a much better selection of quality titles.
Still on the search for an Xbox 360 game I can start. It’s the same routine, I get home on Thursday night and what do I do for the rest of the weekend besides run errands? WoW. If I play the Xbox, its XBLA games I’ve played to death instead of shiny new ones that I have in a spinner display case (it honestly never gets old turning those around). Anyway, I might try for something different soon starting this week.
Since I did reach 80 on my priest which was the goal from the start, logic would have it that my WoW time would go down a bit until Cataclysm came out. (Then it’s a race to 85) As mentioned in the news, there is a XBLA sale this week that I do intend on purchasing a couple of games in. Currently, I’m looking at Castle Crashers and Vandal Hearts. That could change as I intend to download probably about 3-4 and pick two.
Case in point, I did well in my last XBLA purchase: Final Fight Double Impact. I certainly think I got my money’s worth there. Also, I just received Super Street Fighter IV since I have been playing some fighting games lately (it still frustrates me though I can’t get one beeping achievement in Marvel vs Capcom 2). It is a series I am very familiar with so I can certainly see myself spending a lot of time with it.
Finally, I’m hoping for a couple of things. To continue playing something with Sarah is a given. Whether it be New Super Mario, Rock Band, or a Lego game, I’m all for it. I also would like to start a new RPG and I really don’t want to wait for Fable III. There are about half a dozen titles I’m considering from Breath of Death (which I only played for 10 minutes) to Dragon Age to Mass Effect to Oblivion. We’ll see where it gets us, enjoy the week kiddoes.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)