By Eli Green
August 22, 2008 - 11:00
If there is anything I've learned from going to preview events like X'08, Microsoft's annual holiday season preview event for all things Xbox 360 (X for Xbox and whatever year it is), it's that I can't possibly see over 50 titles in the six hours the event runs for. I couldn't even get through the specific titles I went to check out. I'm starting to think that Microsoft needs to consider extending the event to two days, just so everyone can get around to seeing everything, not that I actually expect that will happen. I'm just throwing it out there, really.
I did manage to sit down and try out a number of the games that I've been looking forward to for quite some time, including Gears of War 2 , Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe and Rock Band 2 , and there were so many more titles there that made my
I found it a bit odd that Electronic Arts decided to go with the Drum Rocker kit to demonstrate the game instead of the official Rock Band 2 drum kit. If they went through all the trouble to improve the kit – you'll hear Paul Morassutti from EA talk about all of the new improvements to the peripherals in our video interview coming later this month – why wouldn't they have it there? One new piece of official Rock Band 2 equipment EA was showing though, was the new guitar, which features a camera and sensor so players can auto-calibrate the game to their television while playing. It's a very cool feature, and a rather ingenious one at that. I can say that I am still very excited for this game's release this fall.
Since we're already talking about music rhythm games, I may as well continue by
|A sturdy piece of work.|
After a few minutes with Gears 2 , I took some time to talk to Jerret West from Xbox about Fable II . Most of that time was spent with him running through the different features of the gameplay, so I'm going to highly suggest you check out the interview and gameplay demonstration videos once they are online. Fable II looks like it's going
I went on to Midway's area later on, to check out Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe . I know this is likely a game that a lot of comic book enthusiastic gamers have been wondering about and I will say one particular thing about it. It really does feel like a Mortal Kombat game. The difference is that they have now added in some DC Comics characters and some interesting new power moves and a close kombat mode. I was, however, a bit surprised to find that Superman's close combat move was a cheap shot knee to the groin. It didn't quite seem right. It was pretty fun, though I'm sure if I actually knew how to pull off some of the cooler moves, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. If you're into fighting games, this will definitely be something to check out. At the very least, it looks like it should be a popular rental. If you're not a fan of fighters, I don't really see this changing your preferences, unless you're into DC Comics.
|Sonya Blade tries to put the beat down on Superman.|
The Midway rep also walked me through an Ultimate X match in TNA iMPACT! , a match where two wrestlers have to climb up a cross section of ropes to grab an X, or possibly a championship belt, from the middle of the cross section. I've got to say, I'm not into wrestling or wrestling video games myself, but it did look pretty cool. If you watch TNA, then I'm guessing you're going to enjoy this. The game features a lot of motion capture,
Closer to the end of the day, I headed over to the Ubisoft area to check out Shaun White Snowboarding . I ended up speaking to one of the developers from the Naruto: The Broken Bond team, and he did a quick run through of the game's demo. I must say this. I don't watch Naruto on television, I don't read the comics, and I don't play the card game, but Wow, that game looked beautiful. It's got the perfect fusion of cel shaded graphics on the characters and various other elements, while still having regular 3D world design. It is visually stunning. One of the cooler aspects of the gameplay in The Broken Bond is the team puzzles. Players will have to learn each of their team members' strengths and weaknesses, and each of their powers to learn the best way to solve each puzzle. It's not just an adventure game, but a fighting game as well, and some of the moves players will be able to pull off are just insane. Picture copying yourself 40 times and having each copy attack one after the other, or in teams. Of course, I don't know the characters' powers, but since they had to stay true to the creators' original design, I can only assume that these are the kind of moves the characters pull off in the show as well.
I finally got to check out Shaun White Snowboarding and was thoroughly impressed with what I saw. It did appear that there were still some glitches, but it was clear that the game is coming along nicely. It is visually impressive and the move set is pretty large. The styles and number of events players will be able to challenge themselves don't appear to be the big draw for this game though. It seems online play will be stealing the show, because Ubisoft is guaranteeing up to 16 players riding down the mountain simultaneously, online, and the team is apparently shooting for even more. Ubisoft actually consulted with Shaun White for the the game's development, so they're going for the most realistic feel possible, and it looks like they are really going to pull it off.
As far as preview events go, X'08 had more than enough to offer. As I said, I didn't even get to check out some of the games I came to see, like Fallout 3 , Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 09 , Tomb Raider: Underworld, Banjo Kazooie Nuts & Bolts , Star Wars: The Force Unleashed , Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and more. With everything I've seen so far, it looks like the Xbox 360 is going to have a very happy holiday season.