E3 07: Microsoft throws gauntlet at press conference

Moore expects more Games for Windows

Peter Moore seemed psyched to pump up plans for more LIVE enabled titles down the road. With Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 now incorporated into Games for Windows support for developers, and large publishers like Sega, Eidos, and THQ stepping up to make more Games for Windows titles, Microsoft’s vision of a homogenous gaming interface – that connects PC and 360 players – seems to be coming closer to fruition.

But we don’t think gamers on a budget need to break the bank to upgrade to Vista quite yet. Sure, Crysis will look hotter with DirectX 10, but despite Moore’s boasting that over 10 million users have stepped up to Vista, the big PC titles mentioned at Microsoft’s press conference like Hellgate: London, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, and World in Conflict will still play on XP.

Dear God, it's yet another clip reel

But enough professing that PC is still a viable platform - what we really need is a clip reel! We're not going to level you with the blow by blow on this one, but notable bits were Hellgate: London, Gears of War, BioShock, Crysis, Universe at War: Earth Assautl, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, a Company of Heroes expansion and, perhaps inexplicably, Viva Pinata.

Above: This year's E3 is slimmer and trimmer.Journalists expecting extravagant swagreceived a bottle of water and a butt cushion instead

Call of Duty 4: Modern Horror?

The trailers for Mass Effect, Lost Odyssey and Halo 3 were major crowd pleasers, but the real show stopper for us was Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat. The trailer - composed entirely of actual gameplay - promised realism to the point of terror. One scene actually included people being lined up along a wall and shot, execution style. Missiles lighting up the sky further highlighted that the war is no longer safely in the past, but uncomfortably in the present.

Gameplay itself is also more intense. The level shown took place in a Ukrainian setting very reminiscent of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. When the demo began, the player appeared alone, but sudden movement in the tall, dried grass revealed his camouflaged mentor. The two crept quietly through the brush, hid in shadows and assassinated guards from a distance. The experience looked quite different from the usual cacophony of flying bullets and bodies. In fact, when an entire enemy army marched by, the player could not possibly fight them all. The most he could do was lie perfectly still on the ground and pray he didn't get stepped on. Scary.