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E3 - Hands On Impressions - Microsoft

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the ghoulie-kicking-fun dept.

XBox (Games) 31

Slashdot Games is continuing its look at the major booths here at the E3 Expo. The last of the major hardware manufacturers to give us a hands-on look at their software is Microsoft, after earlier articles on Nintendo and Sony. Read on for info about all the new Rare titles, Brute Force, Halo 2, and more..- Kameo, the Rare-developed game that was shown in significantly different form on the Nintendo booth a couple of years back, looked just amazing. The graphics were lush, colorful, and beatiful, possibly the best of any Xbox game so far, including Halo. The third-person action was fun and somewhat innovative, as you could switch swiftly between multiple characters with different powers to solve puzzles and wipe out enemies. The characters included a plant beast, some kind of rock monster, and even Kameo (a fairy lookalike) herself. So, not only does the Xbox lack quality examples of this type of game, Rare seem to have come up with the goods yet again.

- Brute Force, the Digital Anvil-developed third-person team shooter which has been in development for what seems like an age, was looking promising, with a really fun co-op mode, simple but direct controls, and good sniper-zoom effects. It seemed just slightly plain compared to the very best-looking titles like Halo or Kameo, though, and it's a shame it's not supporting Xbox Live, but it's still a game you can look forward to.

- Voodoo Vince, a quirky new Microsoft-published platformer, looked good, with perky graphics and some really nice fire effects. But overall, it wasn't really a spectacular stand-out, although there were some neat ideas about the main character hurting himself in order to damage enemies - he's a voodoo doll, folks.

- Conker:Live And Uncut is Rare's team-based shooter, and it focuses on multiplayer modes to create an intense but cartoony deathmatch title. As you run around the sharp-looking arenas, picking up everything from knives to rocket-launchers, the third-person view seems to work pretty well for fast and fun combat, and Xbox Live support should wrap up the whole deal. Now, if we could only stop thinking about Fur Fighters when we see it..

- Project Gotham Racing 2 is still using the rather innovative 'kudos' system first pioneered by Bizarre Creations in Metropolis Street Racer. It also sports the noticably real-life tracks, with many fenced-off areas and 90-degree turns, something that will either delight or bother you, depending. The graphics are certainly a notch above the first title, but Gran Turismo 4 seems to have a grittier, more exciting feel overall.

- Grabbed By The Ghoulies was the third Rare title on display, and was an somewhat bizarre, almost flat-shaded, semi-cartoony platformer. Kameo seemed to us to look nicer, but this title certainly had some unique stylings, and even some noticably twisted semi-gore. Look what a few years being forced to make insanely cute games like Diddy Kong Racing will do to a bunch of developers?

- it seems Halo 2 is viewable as a real-time demo, though sadly not playable by the public, in a special booth area that's been drawing gigantic queues. The demo has the same layout as that shown at the Microsoft press conference, and it reliably blows everyone away, with amazing attention to detail, double-gun action, spectacular graphics, super-realistic voice interaction, the ability to jump on the Ghost ships and kick the pilot out.. basically, genius. This is definitely one of the games of the show, and may become the Xbox's second killer app, after its predecessor was most definitely the first.

There were a whole bunch of other third-party games on Microsoft's booth, but we'll get to them on Thursday and Friday. In the meantime, be sure to check IGN.com, Gamespot, Gamers.com, Gamerfeed, or all the other usual suspects. Our hands-on impressions will continue on Thursday.

cancel ×

31 comments

Well... (0, Flamebait)

LeoDV (653216) | more than 11 years ago | (#5962479)

imo Halo sucked, so Halo 2 won't get much of this guy's attention. I'm very much looking forward to the Rare games though.

The Nintendo and MS offerings seem similar in that they're only playing it safe and cashing in on their successful franchises, while we only see bold, innovative games coming from Sony.

It's something I've grown accustomed to.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5962592)

I guess the only important question is, should you be modded Flamebait or Troll?

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

PeeweeJD (623974) | more than 11 years ago | (#5962683)

The Nintendo and MS offerings seem similar in that they're only playing it safe and cashing in on their successful franchises, while we only see bold, innovative games coming from Sony.

I completely disagree with that statement (at least as it applies to Xbox). The big games for PS2 are Metal gear solid 3, jak and daxter 2, ratchet and clank 2, the 98th version of resident evil, final fantasy 11.... should I go on?

MS is bringing brute force, a new sports lineup (XSN sports) and a bunch of sequels that never were released on xbox (half life, doom, counter strike)... granted, there is not a ton of innovation, but Sony is doing a lot more sequels whoring than anyone else...

Re:Well... (1)

LeoDV (653216) | more than 11 years ago | (#5968710)

My post wasn't flamebait, I was just saying I didn't like Halo and was expecting the Rare games.

And as far as the PS2 offering is concerned, of course Sony releases a ton of sequels, but SCE are the only ones who give a chance to new game designers to make a game like Ico. I don't see either Nintendo nor MS doing that.

Oh and for the record, I don't own a PS2.

Re:Well... (1)

PeeweeJD (623974) | more than 11 years ago | (#5971308)

I'm not trying to keep this going, but.... Are you talking about the Ico that came out a couple years ago, or the sequel they are pushing now?

Speaking of innovation from last year... Did you ever hear of a game called blinx (yeah, I know it sucks). Blinx uses the HD in xbox to record what you are doing... if you need help beating a boss, you can record yourself doing some attacks, rewind and play it back and attack somewhere else alongside the recorded "you"...

Sorry if I sound a little fanboyish..

Re:Well... (2, Funny)

Uruloki (560300) | more than 11 years ago | (#5963186)

Oh yes, I agree, the Xbox the dullest, least innovative lineup of all hte major consoles so far. I think Doom3 and Fable pretty much sum up how sucky the games will be.

Re:Well... (1)

nathanh (1214) | more than 11 years ago | (#5963669)

Oh yes, I agree, the Xbox the dullest, least innovative lineup of all hte major consoles so far. I think Doom3 and Fable pretty much sum up how sucky the games will be.

Your sarcasm will probably be missed by 90% of the Americans reading /. :-)

Doom3 is possibly the game that will convince me to buy an Xbox. I refuse to return to the PC upgrade mill: it is far too expensive considering how few games I play. But with Splinter Cell and Doom3 the Xbox is looking very tempting. It's a shame that the original Xbox lineup was so poor - and that's not flamebait! 5 fucking snowboarding games! - because the hardware is fantastic. I would have loved to have seen FFX on the Xbox.

Still holding back though. I think the Xbox is going to tank within the next 6 months and they'll be dumping them for $100. Fingers crossed. I want to add an Xbox to my Dreamcast in the "dead as a dodo" console collection :-D

I must say, this has been the best decade for gamers. The hardware is cheap and powerful. The games are cinematic and diverse. And the budgets are comparing with movies! It is really a great time to "be alive" in the gaming community. It's so much better than the 80s! It wasn't any fun when it was SNES vs... nothing. The "big 3" console wars have really made the market come alive. I hope it doesn't end soon. I'm enjoying things far too much.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5964088)

while i admire your insight nathanh i feel that your comment about the xbox tanking is completely wrong. there is no way that microsoft will allow this to happen and besides, with games like doom 3, counterstrike, fable, perfect dark zero, project gotham 2, half life 2, ninja gaiden, Knights of the old rebublic, the very successful (and very enjoyable)xbox live network, not to mention HALO 2, the xbox future has never been brighter. in fact i think that this year and next will be the years of the xbox. the ps2 and the gamecube are great dont get me wrong, but the xbox will reign supreme.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

nathanh (1214) | more than 11 years ago | (#5964473)

while i admire your insight nathanh i feel that your comment about the xbox tanking is completely wrong. there is no way that microsoft will allow this to happen and besides, with games like doom 3, counterstrike, fable, perfect dark zero, project gotham 2, half life 2, ninja gaiden, Knights of the old rebublic

As James Bond said, never say never. Dreamcast had Grandia2, Shenmue, Powerstone, MSR, Dead or Alive, Crazy Taxi, and... look what happened to it. Good games don't make a console survive. And to be honest, the Xbox games lineup reads like a list of PC games. The non-exclusive nature of the lineup is a huge strike against it. Would you play HL2 on Xbox or PC? I know I'd play that on PC. Counterstrike? Same deal. It's a PC game because of the strong mod community.

Xbox live network is a point in Xbox's favour. Especially with the very decent pricing. But it doesn't influence me because I'm not in the USA. HALO2 promises to be more of the same damn boring game as HALO1. Neither of those points are trump cards for Xbox.

The battle is far from won. If we were going purely on technical specs the Xbox has the market all sewn up. However Microsoft didn't do their homework on signing up games developers. They've missed the boat on EA, for crying out loud! If that doesn't say "you've fucked up" then nothing does. Xbox isn't a clear winner. But if they keep pulling in the Doom 3s and the Splinter Cells then they stand a good chance of winning the war.

Until the next round of consoles, anyway :-)

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5965411)

"Missed the boat on EA". Do some homework. EA won't hook up with Live because EA has already invested 100's of millions in infrastructure for their own, competeing online game network. EA's vision is people across all consoles paying subscription fees to publishers to play their cache of games, while MS's vision is people paying the console/network owner subscription fees to play any game for that can get onto the network. I like MS's plan better much, much better.

Re:Well... (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 11 years ago | (#5965818)

I don't get console multi-player fpses. There's just something about being able to see what the other guy is doing that ruins it.

Where the hell are you? Oh bottom right of screen, right, okay, gotcha.

No mouse makes it harder to aim quickly and accurately (second stick is not as good as a mouse), and auto-aim features suck.

UT you could walk up behind someone, shove a sniper rifle through their back, and hear them scream "WTF" from across the room at a LAN game as a signal for you to pull the trigger.

Multiplayer, pay for multiplayer? So you'll have to pay for counterstrike and half-life, games you probably can already play for free. Yea, I'm going to buy Counterstrike for the X-Box... sheesh.

Re:Well... (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 11 years ago | (#5964485)

I disagree that the X-Box will tank (it already has overseas, especially in Japan). MS expected it to lose a great deal of money and it has.

The system I hope starts dying this year is the PS2, it already looks dated, especially next to the graphically superior Gamecube and X-Box (which are on par with each other, in slightly different ways). Most of the really good titles for both are in the pipe for this year and next year. The fact that a lot of dev houses keep making PS2 ports of games for both other consoles is really holding the graphical quality back.

Re:Well... (1)

Baikala (564096) | more than 11 years ago | (#5965354)

Oh, please! Even Nintendo admits its gamecube is a little behind in the grraphics department compared to the other consoles.

Every body knows the x-box has the best overall graphic capabilities, the PS2 port of Splinter Cell shows the real difference between sony's and microsoft's consoles, but PS2vsGAMECUBE? c'mon! For several ligth-intensive or particle-efects games the cube needs FMV's to replace the cut scenes that the X-box or the PS2 can hadle ingame.
In wich way the cube is graphicaly superior to the PS2 or comparable to the x-box?

Re:Well... (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | more than 11 years ago | (#5965738)

Well it's ATI (Gamecube) versus Nvidia (X-Box). They do different things better. Compare a Radeon to a Ge-Force of the same generation to get some idea on what each is good at and bad at.

IIRC the Gamecube does something like texturing or bump-mapping better than the X-box, but the X-box handles lighting and particle affects better (which is why a lot of games look slightly washed out for the GC). Both of them are better overall then the aging PS2, but for most of the games that hit the X-Box the differences will be most noticable (IE: FPSes) due to their relying on dynamic lighting and particle effects.

Here's an example:

Splinter Cell
PS2 screenshot [splintercell.com]
Game cube screenshot [splintercell.com]
X-Box Screenshot [splintercell.com]

Now, what do we see in these screenshots?

The X-Box obviously has better anti-aliasing (best shown here), it's smoothest, but the X-Box and GC are even on the texture quality (native X-Box game), legacy effects are visible in the PS2 screenshot (look at the edge of objects) but not in either of the other consoles. Textures are less crisp in the PS2 screen.

There are better examples, and I'd love to find links to various sites/etc for you, but I don't have the time.

Re:Well... (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5966180)

In wich way the cube is graphicaly superior to the PS2 or comparable to the x-box?

Umm, Metroid Prime, Star Fox Adventures, RE0/1, and Rogue Squadron (for a start) vs. all of the low-resolution horribly aliased games on the PS2, or vs. Halo or DOA for the XBox.

If you don't even believe your own goddamn eyes, you must believe *anything* that commercials and advertising material tells you.

That, or you're about 14-18 years old and just hate Nintendo 'cuz you think it makes you cool or something. (Hint: it doesn't.)

--Jeremy

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5970641)

Faggot "--Jeremy" is the fucking Nintendo fanboy from hell. It makes me sick. He should remove the Gaycube from up his ass and fuck off back to Mario Land.

Check his comments history, barf and then mod the bitch into oblivion.

Re:Well... (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5976078)

Not that you'll ever read this reply, but:

I've been playing video games since the Atari 2600, across pretty much every platform. I've seen games evolve from Combat to Metroid Prime, Metal Gear Solid, and Halo. I've played enough games to know what I like without being told by multi billion dollar ad campaigns.

The reason I'm a Nintendo supporter is because Miyamoto helps make some damn fine games, that then get bashed by morons such as yourself that think you're too cool to play them. So that part of the population doesn't ever get to see what *good* games are like, and just take whatever gets shoveled your way with the biggest marketing budget.

I've seen video games go from basically indie upstarts 25 years ago to the same thing we have in Hollywood and MTV right now: the only games/movies/music that people are exposed to are the ones that can make the most money for the copyright cartels, and MOST of it isn't any good. Yet people keep buying it because they don't know any better.

I'm not saying that there aren't any good games on the PS2 or XBox. There are plenty. There are just too many people missing out on the real genius of Miyamoto's creations, and *that's* why I try to get the word out about these great games.

If you're happy missing out on great stuff, fine. But don't bitch at me for pointing out what you're missing, or for complaining about the rampant commercialism that's taking over the video game industry.

BTW: my girlfriend likes Zelda but thinks that Splinter Cell is stupid -- she complains loudly when I play it and she's around. Think about that if you're worried about how video games make you look to the opposite sex.

--Jeremy

Right, I forgot..... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5962576)

Yeah I remember how lame it was to be able to play in a cooperative mode in Halo with my friend, oh yeah and when got pissed at him how I could frag him while in co-op how much that sucked, and then how I was killing aliens instead of humans reminding me to know my enemy, yeah Halo sure sucked... err wait a minute no it didn't.

Re:Right, I forgot..... (-1, Troll)

nathanh (1214) | more than 11 years ago | (#5962706)

It did suck. Yes, the graphics were very good. Yes, the features were plentiful. Unfortunately the game was PLAIN BORING. The problem is that XBox fanboys assume that criticism of Halo is either jealousy or anti-Microsoft sentiment. No, sorry, it was SIMPLY A BORING GAME.

Don't get me wrong. It's not a *bad* game. It's up there with other second-rate first-person shooters like Max Payne and Red Faction. It's simply not as great as the Halo fanboys would have us believe. It definitely isn't as good as Doom, or Unreal, or Duke3D. Those were all *great* first person shooters. Halo is a "play it and trade it" game. It's simply not a keeper.

The Halo fanboys remind me of the Marathon fanboys back a few years ago. They were just as deluded.

Re:Right, I forgot..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5965343)

"play it and trade it"!?

I'm guessing you don't have any friends to play co-op or slayer or ctf or race with. This game is the most fun you can have in multiplayer. I'll agree that the later campaign levels got boring, but "Assault on the Control Room" (huge, mostly outdoor snow level) is nothing short of brilliant fun. I've had the game since launch (a friend convinced me to get it, I wasn't interested) and still play it at least once a week. Needles to say, I still have a Halo 2 boner after watching the video tuesday.

PGR vs. GT (4, Informative)

nicky_d (92174) | more than 11 years ago | (#5962581)

Project Gotham is the game to go for if you find Gran Turismo a little dull. GT is wonderful if you're into 'realistic' racing, tweaking, and the pure challenge of maintaining a racing line and trimming split seconds off lap times. PGR is more immediate fun, concentrating on score-based gameplay via powerslides and stunts. Both have a place, and if you're a driving game fan you could happily bounce from one to the other in the name of 'variety'. I'll have to get PGR2 to see how they've recreated Florence... but I'd step over both to get at Halo 2 - which will also feature fine drivin'!

Re:PGR vs. GT (1)

PeeweeJD (623974) | more than 11 years ago | (#5962705)

I don't own a PS2, so I can't play Gran Turismo, but I have Meytropolitan Street Racing for dreamcast as well as project gotham racing for xbox... I can tell you that if you are going to enjoy PGR2, you better like SHARP turns... all of the tracks are in a city setting (like as in downtown) and loaded with very sharp turns.. the kudos system is really cool...

if you like gran turismo type racing better, sega gt may be more up your alley with more open/high-speed tracks... sega gt is also going to suport xbox live this year...

Re:PGR vs. GT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5964621)

I'm a big race sim guy on the PC, so I don't play aracade racers too often--I'll tell you though, PGR is a revolutionary racing experience--I haven't been down the GTA3 road, so I can't comment on it, but I have never found a racing game on a console as deep as PGR--I've got over 24 hours in on my game and I haven't come close to unlocking everything yet...170,000 kudos and counting :)

The handling feels right, the game looks great with great sensation of speed, it's fun to drive and just "feels" right.

PGR vs. GT. The winner is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5965076)

Midnight Club 2.

You really have no excuse, its out on XBox, PS2 and PC and has internet play on all three...

yo! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5962611)

FIRST POST!!!! wooo

Microsoft can DIE and BURN IN HELL

they are also, gay!

You left out some stuff (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 11 years ago | (#5964493)

namely Mythica and the Titans expansion for Age of Mythology [jivemagazine.com]

As with all online RPGs, Mythica's dev and support will determine whether or not it's a good game, though right now it looks pretty good and has a lot of potential, simply with the fact that they're covering untrodden ground.

The Titans expansion is going to change the balance of the game dramatically. Right now the new race, Atlanteans, are grossly over-powered but should present an interesting challenge in online play.

Re:You left out some stuff (1)

CrisDias (556611) | more than 11 years ago | (#5966455)

What about Fable? I hear there is a new trailer around, but only for registered members of IGN and Gamespot. A BitTorrent link would be much appreciated. ;-)

That's it??? (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 11 years ago | (#5968610)

Four shooters, 2 platformers and a racing game...hm...yeah, that'll get folks excited about XBox.

Throw in the $20 price drop, and the whole thing just shouts "*L*A*M*E*"

Microsoft expects Xbox to live through another holiday season. Assuming it does, I think we'll see Microsoft drop this thing in February/March of 2004.

Re:That's it??? (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 11 years ago | (#5969226)

You do realize the article only covered Microsoft's direct titles for the XBox, right? For instance, Konami announced DDR (with XBox Live! support, even!) and Silent Scope for the XBox, but you don't see it here because these are only Microsoft titles. Also, this was only focusing on games. The author didn't cover any of the XBox Live enhancements. So, 7 games (at least one guaranteed to be a major blockbuster and system seller), $20 price drop, and major new enhancements to XBox Live really isn't that bad at all.

Re:That's it??? (1)

jxa00++ (322387) | more than 11 years ago | (#5969639)

I rather think Nintendo's reliance on their GC/GBA system link feature in lieu of a serious online strategy was the major disappointment of the big 3. Doom III and Halo II will keep the xbox in business and xbox live will sell itself, (it is that good) and Sony is so far ahead of either MS or Nintendo that it doesn't need a killer app. (Though It has GT and GTA anyway!) With Sony announcing its GBA handheld competitor, this segment is only going to get better for us -- the gamers!

xbox and console FPS's (2, Interesting)

jxa00++ (322387) | more than 11 years ago | (#5969609)

With the prevalence of people seeming to favour buying an Xbox for Doom III instead of upgrading their entire system going on in the Doom III thread on the front page, Xbox is making itself a serious alternative for FPS fans. (Note the Doom III trailer was taken from the Xbox version.)

For FPS fans the following games make an xbox an attractive proposition:

Halo I & II
RTCW
Thief III
Doom III
Counterstrike
Red Faction I & II
Deus Ex (rpg elements aside)
Medal of Honour
HalfLife II

The above also could make one think the xbox is competing against the pc gaming dollar as well as the typical ongoing console vs console war...
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