Another great party game Microsoft had in store was Lips. We didn't even know about this one before the press conference, but it was a great surprise for Karaoke fans.
iNis Corporation developer and creative director Keiichi Yano demoed the game for us, and this is what we learned:
The game will come bundled with two slick-looking microphones (black and white) full of tiny but awesome LED lights that glow as you sing along. The mics have motion-sensing capabilities, which will turn them into tambourines and many other instruments when the player's not singing. Up to six players will be able to participate, as the game is also compatible with the Xbox 360 controller. They only had three songs in the demo (Mercy by Duffy, Young Folks by Peter Bjorn & John, and Bust-A-Move by Young MC). However, the game will include around 40 localized songs of many styles and future downloadables. It seems like a great package to amp up your parties!
After the lunch break we got a chance to play around with Halo Wars and Fable II. Halo Wars is a real-time strategy (RTS) title that incorporates the look and feel of the Halo universe. As such, the game has been built from the ground up specifically for dynamic and intuitive play on the Xbox 360. The folks at Ensemble Studios are heading this project. Project leads, Chris Rippy and Dave Pottinger, gave us a quick tutorial and then we were broken up into pairs to take on The Covenant. One thing we noticed right away was that the Warthogs (glorified ATVs) kicked up dirt and slid around corners like the real thing. The controls are both simplistic and satisfying. Ensemble has mapped no more than eight items to any one menu, which makes selecting building and unit upgrades and issuing build orders a breeze. There are several units to choose from including Spartans (Master Chief), Flamethrowers (infantry maulers), marines, and a vast array of vehicles. This game should be a great option for fans of both C&C and Halo.
Finally, we got a guided tour and even extensive hands on time with Fable II. Lionhead's epic RPG sequel is finished and it looks to have improved upon all the best bits of the original. Peter Molyneux himself gave us an extensive look at the opening chapters. You could see the pride on his face and the glee in his voice as he explained the ins and outs of the title. Fable II is a story-rich RPG. The voice acting is amazing and the story arcs are deep and engaging. They have built in a mechanic so that you can simply skip through the conversations and NPC interactions, but those who do that probably should find another game. Fable II was made for those who want to take their time, flesh out several great stories, and venture forth through an enchanting world.
Combat in Fable II is quite simple really (at least from a controls standpoint). To be honest, it kind of feels like a button-mash, but it is also smooth and intuitive. We didn't get to do much with the dog other than scold, pet, and play ball with him, but Mr. Molyneux promises that he will play an integral part in our adventures. Finally, people should not worry if they haven't played the original. There are many nods to Fable, but anyone can pick up Fable II and still maximize their experience.
Maria Montoro & Jonathan Marx
CCC Site Director & Editor / News Director