Microsoft held its annual Play Day at the Vulkanhalle in Cologne, Germany earlier today. The event kicked off with a look into the publisher’s line-up of games that will be showcased at this year’s gamescom event.
Media from around the world gathered at different collection points throughout the city for a short bus ride to the venue. Even though we didn’t quite crack the nod this year for the Xbox 360 VIP Shuttle Service, we still managed to chat to Chris Taylor from Gas Powered Games while we were queuing outside. Taylor was handing out unique Civ cards for the newly released Age of Empires Online, so let us know if you’d like one and we’ll see what we can do!
Once we registered we received an awesome Gears of War-like USB dogtag, before entering the green light district of Xbox 360. As predicted most of Microsoft’s blockbuster titles were on show, with Gears of War 3, Forza 4 and Halo: Anniversary taking center stage. Kinect also had a large presence with Kinect Star Wars, Dance Central 2 and Kinect Sports: Season 2 proving to be popular stands.
We were happy to see The Gunstringer, the latest title from Twisted Pixel, was also on show along with two titles that the young ‘uns enjoyed, Kinectimals: Now with Bears! and Kinect Disneyland Adventures. PC gamers were able to tuck into Age of Empires Online while fans of the Xbox LIVE Arcade service could enjoy Orcs Must Die and Crimson Alliance.
Everybody clearly enjoyed the multiplayer of Gears of War 3 because the stand was always busy. Even R2-D2 couldn’t help but to wander over there every now and again to check out Marcus in action. Forza 4 had an impressive set-up, not only was there a blue BMW M5 on display in front of the area, but you could also try the game out on an awesome racing simulator.
Meanwhile just next door many people were enjoying some lightsaber and podracing action with Kinect Star Wars – although R2-D2 clearly stole the show and was probably the most photographed thing at the Play Day. And that’s saying a lot since Swiss tennis player Martina Hingis was there to show us how to play a good game of tennis in Kinect Sports: Season 2.
Dance Central 2 was once again fun to test your dance moves out, but this time round it was twice as fun thanks to the new multiplayer options. We chatted to Chris Taylor again (what a friendly chap!) at the Age of Empires Online area, who insisted on giving us more Civ cards and raved about our business card.
Next up was Halo: Anniversary, which was present in multiplayer form only with two maps available to play. We were pleased to discover that the developers at 343 Industries have combined the refined multiplayer of Halo: Reach (with Armour Abilities and levelling systems) to complement Halo: Combat Evolved’s classic singleplayer gameplay.
The Gunstringer was a pleasant, but not completely unexpected, surprise at the Play Day. El33tonline have always been big fans of Twisted Pixel, right from The Maw through to Splosion Man, Comic Jumper and more recently Ms. Splosion Man. The catchy tunes from their games (Badonkadonk, Everybody Loves Doughnuts and Captain Smiley’s Boom ringtone tune) have often formed the soundtrack to our lives so we were super excited to get our first hands-on time with the undead Marionette from the Gunstringer.
Thanks to Microsoft for another awesome event – we’re looking forward to spending some more time with these titles during the course of this week so make sure you stay tuned for further in-depth looks at these games, including a number of developer interviews!
Before you go, however, please feel free to browse over a few more pictures from the Play Day below: