Xbox highlights at E3 - Cowboys, Jedi knights and horse sweat: what’s not to like?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

David Phelan reports on highlights for the Xbox from LA’s E3 conference.

The orcs, babes and jawas are milling around Los Angeles again. It can only mean that the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is in town. The annual videogames conference is jammed with eager gamers queuing to play previews of new titles while provocatively dressed actors seek to grab your attention.

Meanwhile, games makers had plenty to announce, with some of the most innovative titles coming from Microsoft. The most recent update to its Xbox 360 is the Kinect which launched last November: a depth-sensing 3D camera and microphone which tracks movement as you stand in front of it. Instead of mashing buttons on a controller, you wave, jump, run and nod at the screen and the game responds to your every move. It’s an amazingly intuitive system that makes gaming immersive and involving.

This year, Kinect games are everywhere. Standouts include “Kinect Star Wars”, where you can fulfil your dream to be a Jedi Knight and swing a light sabre, complete with the buzzing swoosh familiar from the films. Channeling the force to lift objects, deflect bullets and more is hugely enjoyable – expect it to be a big hit later this year.

Elsewhere, Kinect titles showed great imagination, with “Gunstringer”, a cartoony western-set title with unusual interface – you act as the puppeteer working a cowboy puppet. It comes from Twisted Pixel Games, whose “ ‘Splosion Man” remains one of the most fun Xbox games of recent years.

The super-realistic driving game, “Forza Motorsport” has reached its fourth episode and looks finer than ever. It has an improved lighting system which makes it more naturalistic and convincing. And you can use a controller or the Kinect mechanism to steer with your hands held on an imaginary steering wheel.

Perhaps the best Kinect implementation – and one of the real standout games of the show – is “Fable The Journey” from Brit super-creator Peter Molyneux. For much of the game you interact with a horse pulling your cart, using your hands on imaginary reins to guide him, swishing a virtual crop to speed him on. Because the Kinect has a microphone, you can speak to the game: clicking your tongue encourages him, “Whoa” slows him down. Molyneux told us that he was devising the game so the horse would only respond to one person’s voice.

He also said that a crucial element was that the sorcery part of the game should be “magic your way”. So you can cast spells against enemies with a carefully placed flick of the wrist as you recline on the sofa, but if you really want to get into the game, jumping to your feet to engage in magical combat gives you a gentle increase in effectiveness.

Molyneux is known for free-ranging games with extraordinary attention to detail. “We have horse sweat technology so if you whip the horse he’ll start to perspire. I wanted to have more details of the horse’s biology, with other material released from the horse’s bottom, but there was a push back from the other developers in my team, so we dropped that.” Since the most frequent view of the horse is from behind, maybe that’s for the best.

Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
food + drinkFrom Mediterranean Tomato Tart to Raw Caramel Peanut Pie
Boys to men: there’s nothing wrong with traditional ‘manly’ things, until masculinity is used to exclude people
indybest13 best grooming essentials
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch attends the London premiere of his new film The Imitation Game
people He's not as smart as his characters
Life and Style
healthMovember isn't about a moustache trend, it saves lives
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - SThree Group - Bristol

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: SThree Group has been...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

    £18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

    Senior Automation Tester – Permanent – West Sussex – Circa £40k

    £35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

    Day In a Page

    Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

    Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

    Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities