Xbox Showcase 2011

Xbox Showcase 2011

A look at the latest stuff on Xbox 360

On Wednesday, Microsoft invited New Zealand gaming media to attend the Xbox Showcase for an opportunity to go hands-on with some of their upcoming and recently released content.

When they extended the offer to some of our community members, I couldn't resist the opportunity to go along and see both what Microsoft had on offer and what some of our readers would think of attending an industry event like this!

The games on display were Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Kinect Star Wars, Forza 4, Fruit Ninja Kinect, The Gunstringer, Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary, and Gears of War 3.

Halo was the one I gravitated to first, as despite having played it several times before, this was my first opportunity to go hands-on with the singleplayer side of the game. It's an interesting experience to be sure, as it's arguably identical to the game I first played ten years ago - albeit with the previously discussed graphical finery.

Flicking between "old" and "new" graphical treatments was interesting too, as one was clearly easier on the eye while the other was simply clearer; with the shiny stuff turned off, you can see what's going on much more readily - so which version you prefer will likely come down to whether you want to like what you see or see what you like. If you get what I mean...

Despite having been unimpressed with Kinect Star Wars at E3 and Gamescom, I found myself warming to it when seeing it for the third time in Auckland this week. I'm not really sure why - perhaps it was going in with low expectations, or perhaps it has been tweaked a bit but, as you can see in the photos below, it's actually quite a bit more responsive and enjoyable than I had previously thought it to be.

That's not to say it's going to be a hardcore gamer's transcendent revelation or anything, because it's not. But it's not setting out to be that and, if it continues to improve at the rate it seems to have, it should easily fulfill its goal of bringing a Star Wars-like experience to the Kinect-owning masses.

If you're interested in what we think of the other games on show, be sure to check out their respective reviews and previews (linked up above) - otherwise, check out some pictures of the event:

The event location, as seen in a moodily-lit outdoors

Inside, the cool dome area where the gaming was going down was reminiscent of the "hatch" area from Lost

The endearing expansion for Kinectimals, featuring bears, was on display

Kinect Star Wars is surprisingly fun if you step back a bit from being a critic and just let yourself enjoy it

The Halo Anniversary area, where you could play a singleplayer level from the game

Xenojay playing Kinect Sports Season 2 - darts is a lot of fun

Xenojay, again, playing Halo

Chucking balls at bears in Kinectimals

Waltman takes Forza 4 out for a spin, in the three-screen, three-Xbox (!) setup

Waltman concentrates like a boss on the track

This is why you shouldn't mess with Xenojay. He really looks like he might know how to use that...

There was a bunch of ways to play Forza, including the controller-less Kinect-steering method

Xenojay wins a Gears 3 deathmatch round without dying once - he seems quite happy about it, don't ya think?

Just some of the other media in attendance

It was a successful afternoon's gaming, with enough people jostling about to generate buzz but never so many as to necessitate queuing for any real length of time - which is a difficult balance to achieve. Aside from having no interest in poor old Disneyland (it's sure to appeal to someone, just... not us), we got around pretty much everything - with Kinect Sports Season 2 generating the most smack talk, interestingly enough (Gears 3 was a close second).

So a big thanks to Microsoft for putting on an excellent event and for giving our readers a chance to play some up and coming titles ahead of their retail release, and thanks to Waltman and Xenojay for coming along!


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Comments Comments (3)

Posted by Xenojay
On Saturday 15 Oct 2011 11:42 AM
This was a good day...
Posted by Waltman
On Sunday 16 Oct 2011 11:32 PM
Agreed, awesome night. Thanks NZGamer.
Posted by knoxtryb
On Monday 17 Oct 2011 6:53 AM
congratulations all who went :-)