X07 Canada

The EyeCraveDVD.com crew were invited to attend X07 Canada this year at The Maro in Toronto. Although this was not EyecraveDVD’s first visit to the X convention, it was my first time, and I brought along a new member of the EyeCraveDVD .com family. We were staggered right off the bat as we arrived to see a Ferrari, a Porsche, and some other fine racing cars at the entrance.Upon entering we came face to face with more TVs and Xbox 360s in one room than I could have ever imagined. First game in sight… you’ll have to read on to find out more. As we are now only a few weeks away from launching our Xbox 360 section this was an important time for EyeCraveDVD.com to meet developers and publisher. Our first stop was Guitar Hero III. As a fan of the first version on the 360 I was intrigued to see what new stuff they added this time around. Rather than tell you myself, I’ll let one of the game’s developers explain the new version in this video we shot.

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Fighting our way through the crazy hustle and bustle, trying to arrange to speak with developers and reps was our priority, so game play was put on hold till the afternoon. Next we moved on to a Microsoft title called Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom – a hack ‘em and slash ‘em action/rpg coming later this year. The graphics leave a little to be desired, but it does look like a fun ride, as you can see for yourself in this video.
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With so many high profile games coming out over the next few months, it was difficult to decide what to check out next. Vern and I decided to stroll over to Rock Band – the game I was hoping to check out the most. While it is still in the beta stages, the game was a blast to play. The nice thing about it is that more than two people can play. The game plays four and Vern and I were able to play together. Joining was a fella from XboxFanboy.com and Jeff Bell who has some really long title along the lines of Corporate VP of blah blah blah for Microsoft. We rocked out to some Rush and nearly scored perfect across the board.Here’s some footage of the game play and of Vern rocking out on lefty style (until he discovered the lefty flip doesn’t actually work unless you exit the song and reload it).
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Then the fine PR folks from Microsoft (High Road) approached me to interview the one and only David Flook. Who is David Flook you might ask? Well he’s this guy right down here standing next to Mark Relph from Microsoft Canada.
He was the world-wide winner of the inaugural XNA Game Developer Contest held by Microsoft. He also happens to be a Canadian. Check out our short interview here.Vern and I then stopped by Accessories Guy and the 360 version of the popular DVD game Scene it. You can check out our video of the accessories and the pic of the controllers for Scene it. While searching for Jonathan and his brother Ryan we stumbled upon LucasArts and the upcoming Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. I played it for a bit and found that some things are slightly different, as well as there being new additions to the game (as this is essentially the first two games slapped together).
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It was a tough decision as to what Vern and I should check out next, but we somehow determined to check out a little title know as Gears of War on PC. There is obviously no need for us to review the game, but know this… GOW looks amazing on the PC and handles much better. Those of you aiming with a controller, now you can use your mouse and keyboard to kill the baddies. Ryan from Games for Windows wouldn’t/couldn’t tell us where the new chapters were inserted for the game, but he ‘suspects’ it’s after the mansion. They had just received the latest build the night before X07 so he wasn’t certain, as he didn’t have time to play it. Here’s a nice shot Vern snapped of the game, as well as some video of the game play featuring yours truly kicking some butt. Check it out.While I was taking in Gears on the PC, another of the fine folks from High Road stopped by and made arrangements for us to check out Mass Effect and Assassins Creed in the basement… by appointment only.Once we wrapped there we somehow ended up at the Timeshift demo, which was coming out the next day on Xbox Live. Our man Damien from THQ gave us a little demo and talked about the game. Check it out below. While the demo doesn’t play very long it could be a very very interesting game.As we were getting our demo… “Oooooooohhhhhhh”. The sound made by the entire crowd when every piece of electronics turned off. There goes the power. We thought the breaker just tripped, but it turns out that a power line burned out just around the corner. While we waited for over an hour I learned that the press time would be extended till 8pm once the generator arrived onsite. Unfortunately, I had a dinner meeting and that ended my day at X07 until I returned to pick up the rest of the crew to drive them to their respective homes.As Wayne Campbell used to say – “Game ON!”
For more photos of the event click herePlease read on for Jonathan’s account of the event and in the near future when Vern’s not all hocked up on pain meds, due to an operation, we’ll have his account here as well.

Another X’0 down, another fantastic time was had by all. Even when we crashed the hydro lines, Microsoft made up for it by taking us on screaming rides in hot exotic cars. It’s hard to beat that.Here are some of the scorching games I played for hours on end and my impressions.Smackdown VS RAW 2008Excellent refinements on graphic, grapple hold and entrances, it seems a lot of the bugs from the previous release have been ironed out and the game plays better than ever. Most hardcore fans will like to know that the create-a-wrestler feature is more robust than ever, with tones of different looks, accessories and clothing to choose from. Perhaps the most requested feature of the game is dropping your own music tracks into it.After all, it blows creating a legend and then having to use some generic music for his entrance. Well, hopefully this time there will be a fix – unofficially, while browsing through the menu system for the creation scheme there is a new option for music called User Playlist. This could finally be the game that everyone has been waiting for.NHL 2K8 and NHL 08If you’re Canadian, the selection of hockey games is just as important as any Madden game so I was excited to try out the two premiere hockey franchises on the 360. When it comes to 2K8 though, in a word I was totally, utterly and completely – disappointed. The graphics were weak, the gameplay and controls felt slow and old and the AI was easily beaten.The 2K series of games has actually been on par with EA’s NHL series, but I think a champion will be crowned this year. NHL 2008 had incredibly lush, smooth and detailed graphics, the dual analog stick controls were like butter, the presentation was far more interesting and the AI was an incredible improvement from last year. If you have to get a hockey game, I think this year 2008 takes the crown.Half-Life 2 – Ep 2After a delay that’s lasted over a year, EA was showing off the 360 version of HL2 E2. Essentially, if you’ve played the Half-Life 2 series of games you know what to expect. The graphics on the 360 pretty much identically mimic the PC. The control using the 360 controller was a little weird since I’m used to playing it with a keyboard and mouse, but it didn’t take long to get the hang of it. Although, personally I’ll be sticking with the PC version, if Half-Life 3 eventually happens on the 360 I may make the switch.Simpsons GameThis is probably the most surprising game of the show. Gameplay wise it seems to be a standard platform genre game, with a lot of mini-activities and games, but what makes this game stand out is the graphics. Cell shading is not the correct term for it. Watching the game is like literally watching hand drawn animation move. It’s hard to explain properly without doing a visual demonstration, but the actual 2D hand drawn look of the show has been about 90% achieved. Instead of drawing 3D models and cell shading them, the animation is done in 2D in real-time molding itself over the wireframes of the characters. The result is very impressive and will likely be the standard for 2D adapted properties in the future.COD 4In my opinion, this is the game of the show. Call of Duty 4 was stunning with its trailers featuring realistic environments and graphics, but the demo played on the floor took it to a new level. Everything is completely realistic. You shoot an enemy in the knees; he hobbles away but keeps fighting, in the chest and his body armor could knock him down, but save him. Hit him in the foot and he falls over, etc… Likewise when you’re character is hit in certain areas, get hit in the leg or foot and you’ll hobble through the rest of the mission. The shoulder and you’ll have a hard time using that arm for long periods. It’s all very cool. If you’re in a firefight then watch where you take cover, if its shallow enough like a box or abandoned car, the bullets will fly right though them and the shrapnel created will hit you along with the bullet, or the cars gas tank will blow. I gotta say though, nothing is more satisfying then taking a large caliber machine gun and following an enemy with gunspray as he runs in between concrete walls, only to find him laying dead on the floor when you actually get to him. The game is so realistic its mind boggling. The graphics are truly next gen and the online play promises to be equally intense. It was actually so good that employees of other game studios took a break from demoing their products to secretly play it. I definitely want a copy when it drops into stores.Halo 3Here’s what everyone is waiting for. To me, Halo 3 is just more of the same excellent gameplay that’s available in the previous sequels, with sharper graphics and a few new twists like the fabled “man cannon”. The line to get into play in online combat was long and tedious, but the two games we go to play made up for it. Shooting someone out of the air as they get shot out of the cannon is pretty cool. Equally cool is shooting them from above before you hit the ground. When this game drops, it’s gonna be BIG. But you already knew that.Gears of War PCThe biggest hit of last year has made it to PC remarkably well. The graphics are even SHARPER then on a full blown HDTV. The gameplay in the beta build I played was remarkably smooth , with only hiccups occurring during map changes. Although the 360 controller was available, I used the keyboard and mouse combo which translated over surprisingly well. I didn’t miss a beat as the on screen prompts tell you which button does what. The game was running on what MS called a “midrange system”, but admitted it was an 8800 card and I think with a 3 gig processor which doesn’t sound too midrange to me. Anyhow, if you have the horsepower and love the game getting it on PC is a sound investment.

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