My Trip to X08

As I read the post on Xbox 360 Fanboy about how X08 was coming to Toronto again, I simply thought about how I did not get in last year. I remember emailing Jade last year, yet I was not invited. I did not think I wanted to waste my time again in emailing her. I was reading the post a day after it had come out, I figured that since the news had been out for a day probably thousands of people had emailed her. I figured I would never get in so why waste my time emailing. I don’t know what compelled me to eventually email her but I ended up taking five minutes out of my day and I sent Jade an email.

I decided not to think about it again after that, I was 99.9% sure I would not get an invite and I was not going to fret about it. Much to my amazement, I checked my email yesterday and saw I had received an invitation to X08 from Jade. I could not believe it! I read the email about fifteen times until it finally sunk in. I was going to X08!!

I arrived downtown at 4:00pm, a full hour before the even had started, I didn’t care though. I was so excited that I was going. When I got downtown I met up with a few other community members and at about 4:30 we made our way over to the Circa Nightclub which is where the event was being held. The line was fairly long already so we took our place in the back. As we were walking to the back of the line I saw Knuckles Dawson from Achievement Hunter and formerly from X3F at the front of the line along with the Greenskull (Dan Hammill) who is the person that created the website ‘Ready Up Live’

It was about 5:10 when we finally got inside. We were told to line up in one of two lines, it was alphabetical according to gamertag. The A-K line was so much shorter than the L-Z. After waiting a couple minutes though, I signed in and got my goody bag. The goody bag was a black bag that said XBOX Live and inside was a poster for Wanted, the new Spiderman game, a Fallout 3 sticker, a Sonic Unleashed ad, three t-shirts, one for Battlestations Pacific, one for Monster Lab and one random yellow t-shirt which I still haven’t figured out what it was for. Finally rounding out the goody bag was a free code to download Fable 2 Pub Games and limited edition(only 150 in the world) mini – poster of Gears of War, it’s a picture of Marcus with his lancer, drawn by the cartoonist Sinnix, who does the 360 Prophecy cartoon on the XBOX website.

After I was signed in I was ready to go. I walked into the main room and was overwhelmed. I had never seen so many TV’s, XBOX 360’s and video games in my life. I couldn’t decide where to go first. So many thoughts raced through my head. My main goal was to see Gears of War 2 and that was where I headed to first. My plan was not that simple though. Little did I know I wouldn’t reach Gears of War 2 until two hours later.

The first game I passed by was the new Silent Hill game from Konami. It was one of the few games that didn’t have anyone currently playing it so I thought why not give it a shot.

Silent Hill Impressions: Although I only spent a few minutes with the game I was impressed. The atmosphere and spookiness of the game rivals F.E.A.R in my opinion. It is one freaky game. The cut scenes I saw looked great and the game controlled well. I only played it for a couple of minutes though because early on I got stuck on a puzzle and I did not want to waste my time trying to figure out how to solve it. There were also no developers at the Silent Hill booth so I had no one to ask.

I continued on my way to Gears 2. I got sidetracked again though when I heard the all to familiar tune of Lenny Kravitz’s ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’. Sure enough I had wandered into the Guitar Hero: World Tour station. I saw the band gearing up and saw that the mic was still empty. I asked them if they needed a singer and they told me to join. The rep told me that singer got to choose the song. We chose the song ‘Livin on A Prayer’ by Bon Jovi. Surprisingly I was not to embarrassed singing as I thought I would be, but let’s just say my singing skills leave something to be desired. Next I moved onto drums and played ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson. I wasn’t sure who chose it but it was terrible on the drums, very boring.

Guitar Hero: World Tour Impressions: At first glance it did not look that different from Rock Band, although as I started to play it I saw the changes. At first I didn’t realize it was Guitar Hero: World Tour. I had said to one of my band mates how much better the drums felt than last year but an Activision rep told me I was actually playing Guiat Hero and not Rock Band. I was quite embarassed. Anyways, the mic is very similar to Rock Band, I found it a bit harder actually and I was only playing on Medium. In Rock Band I beat the vocal tour on hard. The song ‘Livin on a Prayer’ was great fun to play but unfortunately one of our members caused us to fail right near the end. You know who you are.

As for the drums, aside from the fact ‘Beat It’ may be one of the worst songs for drums, the drums felt great. The two elevated pads really made a difference and did not take any getting used to. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to get used to them because it is a different set up from Rock Band, but due to the easy nature of the song ‘Beat It’ I had it figured out in no time. The drums felt much more sturdy, these drums will not break. It feels as if they are made of pure steel. The kick pedal also feels a lot more secure. I do not see many malfunctions in this equipment. Unfortunately I did not have time to try the guitar although I got a good look at it and it looks awesome. One last thing though is that there was lag on the guitar that people were complaining about. the rep had to calibrate the lag to about 20 to get it even with the TV. I hope it’s not that bad in the full game.



After leaving the Guitar Hero World Tour booth I made my way over to Call of Duty 5, Knuckles Dawson was currently playing co-op with some other guy so I waited patiently and after a few minutes I got a chance to play it. I was playing in co-op with another guy.

Call of Duty 5 Impressions: Call of Duty 5 is more or less Call of Duty 2. It feels almost identical and looks almost identical. Personally I will still take Call of Duty 4 any day but Call of Duty 5 was still a lot of fun. I was doing a mission in co-op although the co-op did not feel right. I was getting split up from my partner alot and there was no communication between us. The game did not feel like it was built for co-op unlike other games (Army of Two). Although co-op does make the game easier because when one person dies, the other person sees a marker pop up on thier screen notifying them that thier partner is downed. If they follow the marker they can easily reach thier partner and revive them. If they fail to do so and get killed themselves then you will have to start at the last checkpoint. There is a limit on how long you have to be revived though. The rep from Activision would not tell us the exact amount of time though.

The controls are the same as the other Call of Duty’s and since I had not played Call of Duty in a long time I accidentally hit RB to reload and ended up throwing a grenade that killed me and my partner. Embarrassing mistake number 2 of the day. Anyways another thing about the game that felt off was the difficulty, I was getting killed an awful lot. The rep told me it was on normal difficulty but it was a bit harder because we were in co-op. Nevertheless I continued playing through the levels. The game had that Call of duty feel where it feels very real and intense. Very intense. At one point the rep told me to pick up a double barrel shotgun. As I picked it up he told me it was his favourite weapon and I had to try it out. From that point on he kept going on and on about the shotgun. Everytime I encountered an enemy he told me to use it. I must admit, the shotgun is great, the effect and animation when you get up close to someone and blow a hole in them with the shotgun is awesome, yet the rep was a bit too excited about it. I wanted to use my machine gun but he kept telling me to switch to shotgun. The rep told us how they would be having real actors do voices in the game like Kiefer Sutherland and he told us a bit more about the different campaigns.

The level I played looked good, I got lost a couple of times but an arrow appeared on screen to point me in the right direction. Eventually I got outside of the building I started in and the fight got more intense. There were tanks and alot more enemies. The game looks amazing. All the effects are awesome to, especially the explosions from grenades. The demo ended shortly thereafter and my time with Call Of Duty 5 was done. Overall, if you liked number 2 and 3 you should like this. It’s a Call of Duty game at heart, it’s intense, and feels more real than most war games, and the addition of online co-op is always welcome. After the demo I spoke to the rep for a few more minutes than continued on. One more thing to note is that the rep told me that most likely there will be no online achievements.

After playing CoD 5 I introduced myself to Knuckles Dawson and we talked for a bit. We talked about his old co-workers Dustin and Richard from X3F and about a few other things. I told him about my upcoming podcast and we discussed the possibility of him doing an interview for it. After a bit I got a picture with him and then continued on. My quest for Gears 2 was not going as planned. I kept getting sidetracked. There were to many games. As I continued walking I saw EA’s corner which was packed. From what I could see they had Rock Band 2, Tiger Woods 09, FIFA 09, NBA 09, NHL 09 etc. I unfortunatley did not get to see or play any of them. Other Activision games like Spiderman: Web of Shadows was also close by but I did not have time for everything.

I then came across Fallout 3’s booth. It was not a hands on booth meaning I could not play it. I had to watch a dev play it. There were many people crowded around.

Fallout 3 impressions: I only watched for a couple of minutes but what I saw looked great. The dev was showing off the VATS system which I had seen many videos of so I did not stay for long. I must admit though the game looks way better in person than on video. The combat looked very fluid even with the VATS system. I talked to the developer for a bit and he explained that most people think the VATS system would be cheap and people would spam it to beat the game. He explained though that you did have to wait for it to recharge so you could not keep using it. He also explained there was some type of points system depending on how well your doing, so you can not always aim for the head. We then talked about the skills and ranking system and explained you can only upgrade skills 20 times. So it is impossible to get up to 99 in every skill so you must choose carefully. He showed me all the skills and then showed me some of the different weapons. He then showed me a bit more of the level which was in some underground bunker it looked like. The bad guys looked pretty creepy also. I had seen enough to know that this game looked awesome. I watched for a couple more minutes, asked some more questions about length, number of endings etc, and then I continued on. The game was great though. It looked awesome and the VATS system looks like it is going to be a great innovation. I am still worried though it may make the game to easy.

The next game I came across was Wanted. I had recently seen the movie and when I saw they had the game there I was intrigued. I had only wanted to see how it looked yet I got a lot more than I bargained for. The rep playing it saw me watching and told me to come over and he would give me a walk through. Unfortunately this was not a hands- on game so I could not play I could only watch him play. The rep was very nice and talked to me for about 20 minutes while I watched him play. I asked him a lot of questions and he answered them all. He was a very nice guy.

Wanted Impressions: Wanted is based on the movie of the same name. The developer explained to me it picks up about one hour after the first movie ended. The level he was playing was an airplane level, he told me it was about the fifth level. When I asked what the objective was he told me “it’s to get the fuck off the plane more or less”. He explained that he couldn’t go into story that much but he assured me that the game would mention and allude to events that happened in the movie and it would feature in some way most of the characters from the first movie(flashback levels maybe??). He also told me when I asked about if the actors from the movie were doing the voices, he said he couldn’t comment on it but they would be announcing some things about it soon. I asked him also about co-op and online play to which he told me there would be none. I asked him then where would the replay value be and he told me that the game will be about 6-8 hours and he feels that his perfect because there are so many games coming out and that no one has time for a 40 hour game. I continued on though and told him then what makes this a buy over a rent. He told me there will be some replay value. There will be a mode supposedly where you can only play through using curved bullets and you can play as different characters.

Anyways as for the demo he showed me, it started off on an airplane, it was apparent that the airplane was going down and Wesley had to get off. As he made his way down the aisle he took cover behind a seat. I was happy to see they implemented a cover system. By pressing A or X you could switch to different positions of cover much like in Gears of War. He showed me how Wesley(the game’s main character) could also duel wield guns. Another feature he showed me was that when you get up close to a bad guy an icon appears prompting you to press B for a knife kill. When you do so the game switches to a slow motion camera and shows Wesley executing a brutal knife kill on the enemy. This reminded me alot of certain areas of Bourne Conspiracy. All the knife kill animations I saw were brutal and awesome. The blood effects were great. The same goes for shooting. Occasionally the game would go into slow motion as I watched a bullet go right through a guy’s head. As Wesley made his way through the plane the developer showed me a feature they called curving bullets. Much like in the movie, Wesley can also curve his bullets in the game. One of the bad guys was in cover so the developer simply showed me that he could press RB(or maybe it was RT, i forget) and that would highlight the bad guy and make a red line coming from him to you. Then with the rightstick you could aim the bullet along the line as you shot it. As the developer did so he was effectively able to take out the bad guys who was behind cover. One thing I noticed though was that while curving the bullet it took a couple seconds and while doing it, other guys were shooting at him. I asked the guy do you still get hit while in bullet curve mode, he told me yes, and I asked him why he hadn’t died. He showed me he was playing on God Mode. Figures. I asked him is this not going to be a problem in the game and he told me there is about an hour learning curve to learn how to curve bullets properly and effectively but after you get the hang you can do it on the fly and in no time.

He also demonstrated how you can use the environment. He shot a fire extinguisher off the wall and sent it flying into one of the bad guys. He also shot open a door on the plane and the bad guy standing beside it got sucked out. Once Wesley had cleared the plane, he got ready to make his exit which is where the demo ended. The game looked great and surprised me, I didn’t expect it to look so good. The gameplay seems tight, especially with the cover system and knife kills. The only concern I had was curving bullets and if it’s going to get you killed to often in the real game. Anyways after discussing with the developer about possible sequels to the Wanted movie and if the game could have a sequel I thanked him for his time and continued on. I had spent more time there then I wanted to(no pun intended). I only wanted to see a couple minutes but the developer was very nice so I decided to stay for the whole walk through.

Here is a video from the demo I saw, it’s not my video but it is from X08 and is a short clip of the demo

I was still in the Warner Bros. section so beside me was Project Origin but not being to much of a F.E.A.R fan I decided to skip it. It was playable though and I could have played it. I then found myself in Ubisoft’s section. They had a lot of games there, including the new Lara Croft Tomb Raider, End War, the new Naruto game, Shaun White Snowboarding, and Far Cry 2. Far Cry 2 had a big crowd around it. I watched for a few minutes but there were so many people asking questions and it was crowded so I decided I would come back later(which I did not have time to). From what I saw though the game’s graphics are amazing and the map editor is insanely deep and detailed. Like I said I only watched for a bit, I saw him finishing up a single player level and then saw a bit of the map editor. I wanted to come back but I didn’t have time.

While in the Ubisoft section I came across Shaun White Snowboarding. A developer was playing it and I just stole a quick glance, but the developer saw me, there was no escaping now. He called me over and while I was not that interested in the game, once again the guy was very nice, very friendly, so I decided to stay for the 20 minute demo. At least it was hands on so I got to play.

Shaun White Snowboarding impressions: From the very get go the developer made it clear that this game was built to be accessible. He was right, the snowboard is controlled with the two analog sticks, you hold down LT then release it to do jumps and you hold A to grab. Those are the basics, from there you can build hundreds of tricks that get very complex. I started off the demo on a mountain. Personally I found it boring, but I do not like snowboarding or skateboarding games in general. The developer explained how even if I was a begginner I could still pull off tricks. I went off a bunch of jumps and I was pulling off tricks, but not knowing much about snowboarding tricks I could not really appreciate it. I asked him if the learning curve was hard, I remembered in some of the Tony Hawk’s you had to know tons of insane combos to finish the game. He told me this was not the case here. He said you could get through the game with just normal simple moves. He pointed out how on the maps were challenges you could compete in and there was also a single player campaign called Shaun’s story.

He told me about the respect system and the more mountains you ride/tricks you do the more respect you get. We then talked about the co-op mode which is seamlessly integrated. It is much like Burnout Paradise where you press up on the D-pad and you can invite friends right from there. You don’t have to leave your game. Once invited they will just appear in your game, and same goes for if you want to join games. He told me that all the stuff they accomplish in your co-op game will go back with them to thier game. I was pretty awful at the game so the developer was trying to give me tips to pull of good moves but he was talking pretty fast and using snowboarding terms so I couldn’t follow, I was also a bit bored. Overall the game seems awesome to people who are into these games. The developer told me you can even take off your board at any time and walk around the mountain. You can also set waypoints on a map which helps. In the end though I don’t like these types of games and I was a bit bored. The guy walking me through it though was very nice and friendly so I stayed for about 20 minutes. Afterwards I thanked him and told him good luck on his game.

Next I saw the Lego Batman booth. I wasn’t particularly interested in it and I did not want another 20 minute session. In the end I decided to walk over just to give it a look. I asked if I could try it out. I only intended on staying for about 10 minutes but I got sucked into another 20 minute session. I had told the guy I have never played a Lego game before and after seeing The Dark Knight I was interested in anything Batman, and so my demo began.

Lego Batman impressions: This was hands on so I got to play it. I did co-op with the developer. It plays exactly like Lego Indy(which I didn’t play the full game but I did play the demo enough to know they play the same) the developer there told me he actually was part of a small team that actually worked on the game(most of the people there are just reps from the company) this guy was actually one of the developers. We finished up playing a villain level that he was in the middle of. I was Joker and he was Harley Quinn I think. after that we started a new level as Batman and Robin. It felt like any other Lego game which was not necessarily a bad thing. I was Robin and he was Batman. We went through the level bashing up bad guys and destroying objects. One new thing he showed me was the changeable suits feature. Each character had a couple suits that did different things. You would need different suits for different puzzles. Once suit made Robin able to walk on walls while the other allowed him to control remote control cars that we needed for a puzzle. I also go to try out a new vehicle. I got to fly a helicopter. One puzzle required me to fly it while Batman hung on with a grapple hook and we were able to make it to the other building. We talked a bit about the different characters and how there is a separate villains campaign.

In the end though a Lego game is a Lego game. He was telling me how they wanted to make it as accessible as possible because kids play it but at the same time make it appealing to adults. I did get stuck on a few puzzles but on screen hints showed up and he helped me also. I questioned him alot about the lack of online co-op and he tried to show me that local co-op is great because not many games implement it anymore. I told him I thought every game should have online co-op in this day and age and after a long discussion he agreed that the game should have had both and they would look into it for future DLC maybe. He told me that fans feedback was very important to them and they valued it. I asked him about some achievements but like most of the other developers he couldn’t say much. The end of the level featured a boss fight against Catwoman which was dull and uninspired. The dev told me though that the level we were doing was like a tutorial level so the boss fights got much more creative and exciting. After the demo ended I talked to the dev a bit more, I told him about my upcoming podcast and he said he’d be sure to listen. I then thanked him and continued on.

I was still close to the Ubisoft section so I went over to see EndWar. Once again I was treated to a 20 minute demo when I only wanted a 5 minute one. EndWar was hands on but the rep told me it might be to complicated so I told him he could play and I could watch.

EndWar impressions: I am not much of an RTS fan so EndWar does not really appeal to me, but I figured I’d take a look anyways. The rep was in the middle of a battle. He was showing off the voice controls alot. They looked like they worked pretty well also. He explained that they had a 98% success rate with them. The game looked pretty but it looked confusing as hell. The rep was explaining what was going on, but I’m not an RTS guy and it looked very complex. Also I was standing next to the Far Cry 2 booth so I kept looking over at it. The voice controls are cool but I don’t like RTS games so I don’t think this is a buy for me. While playing, an achievement popped up and he let me look at it, along with a few other achievements he had earned. I took a look but I don’t really remember what any of them are for since I was not paying to much attention. Once again this was another game where I was kind of bored with the demo but the guy once again was real nice, real friendly so I stayed for the demo. At the end I talked to him about some of the online modes and then I thanked him and continued.

My journey to Gears 2 had been sidetracked one to many times I decided. I wanted to get there but there were to many distractions. I contemplated going to see the new Tomb Raider. It looked very good but I did not want to be sucked into another 20 minute demo for a game I was not to interested in. I think it was hands on, I couldn’t tell but still I decided to continue on. The Far Cry 2 booth was still packed so I kept on my way to Gears 2. I walked by the Disney Interactive section along with the Midway section. I saw Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Once again a game I was curious about but not interested enough in to sit through a 20 minute demo. Although it was hands on so I would be playing, not watching but I continued not to go. I needed to get to Gears 2.

I was almost there, I could smell the lancer in the air but yet another distraction came up. Little did I know though I had to pass through all the other Microsoft first party titles to get to Gears 2. I decided to make a pit stop. They had Lips, You’re In the Movies, Scene It 2, Banjo:Nuts and Bolts, Fable 2, Too Human, the new dashboard experience and they also had some arcade games like Duke Nukem 3D, Lode Runner and Castle Crashers. Gears 2 was not far from here so I decided to stay. I played a bit of Duke Nukem 3D but since it is in the same style of Marathon and Doom it gave me motion sickness. I then watched the guy beside me playing some Castle Crashers but I decided not to play it since it is coming out next week and I would play it then. As for Lode Runner I had no interest in that so I continued on. I sat in on a demonstration of the new dashboard experience which was quite lame. It was just a slideshow on the TV of the new dashboard. It was very uninformative and everything I saw/heard, I knew already. When I got up from the demonstration the guy who had been sitting beside me whispered that he learned more from the internet than from that. I chuckled and agreed. I saw Fable 2 had a line up so as did Banjo so I decided to come back. Scene It 2, You’re In the Movies, Lips and the new Viva Pinata were all open but I wasn’t particularly interested in any of them so I decided to leave that area.

Finally I had made it, as I descended the steps to the Gears 2 area I was mega excited. I saw Knuckles Dawson who had just been playing Gears 2. I chatted with him again for a few minutes and asked him how Gears 2 was and then I continued on. When I got to the area I saw the set up. It was awesome, couches and TV’s everywhere. COUCHES!! I could finally sit, all the other games I had to stand. I waited in line and when I was let into the area I sat down on the couch and grabbed one of the controllers. It wasn’t until a few moments later that I looked at the couch in front of me that I saw the man, the legend, Cliffy B!! Yep Cliff B, the creator of Gears was there, playing with us. I looked at his screen and saw he was in the same game as me. I was so excited!! He was literally just a few feet infront of me on the couch infront of me.

Gears of War 2 impressions: What can be said about Gears 2 that has not been said before? We only got to play online, there was no single player demos. But I got to play in a couple online(well I guess it was system link) matches with 8 people I think there was. There were more than 8 people in the area playing but I think there were a few different games goin on. As I said before Cliff was in my game. I got to play the new mode called Wingman. Honestly I did not know what the objective was, no one explained it. The lobby/party system has been totally redone though and is way more user friendly and intuitive than before. It’s great compared to the last Gear’s lobby system. Once the game started, seeing that I did not know the objective I just tried to kill whoever wasn’t on my team. I hadn’t played Gears 1 for a while but after a few rounds I got the hang again and I started racking up kills. In Wingman there are no respawns so I had to wait a few minutes sometimes for the next game after I died. This kind of annoyed me but oh well. The video below was not taken by me but was from X08 and is exactly what I played.

The first map we played was called Avalanche which despite what you think had nothing to do with snow. The other map we played was Gridlock, from the first game. It looked almost identical except it was a bit more polished. I did not get to use any new weapons. I only got to use lancer, boomshot and shotgun. The guy beside me though was using the flamethrower though and it looked awesome. The shotgun has been tuned up and is much better now. I felt right at home using it. I got a chance to try out some of the new exexcutions when I downed people. Some of the new executions are awesome!! I also had chances to try and crawl away once I was downed. This doesn’t work that well considering once your downed most likely the guy who downed you will finish you off. I tried to crawl away a few times but no teammate ever revived me and I got killed. Crawling away is a very slow process and while I recommend doing it, most likely you won’t succeed. I also got a few chances to use a meat shield. When I downed someone I would press A and pick them up and use them as a human shield. While holding a downed locust as a human shield I walked up to someone who little did I know had a boom shot. He shot and my meatshield exploded. Oh shit I thought, and before I knew it he shot me to with the boom shot. It’s good to know that the meatshield’s don’t last forever or that long or else they would be cheap. You can still shoot while holding your downed opponent as a meatshield in front of you but from what I could tell you could only use your pistol. I also got into a couple chainsaw duels.

In our last round the game went into sudden death OT and it was me vs. Cliffy B, 1 vs. 1. In the end though he killed me but I can now say I played 1 vs. 1 Gears of War 2 with Cliffy B. After our time was up I waited in line again to play. When I got in again it was more of the same but still very very fun!! The guy beside me somehow got out of our system link game and got into horde, while I was dead and waiting to respawn I was watching him. It looks fun but tough. The locust come from everywhere, there’s wretches and everything. There were also a bunch of locusts that I had never seen before. As the levels went on it looked like it was getting pretty tough. While the guy beside me was paying Horde one of the reps came and told him to get out of it and that he wasn’t supposed to have been able to play it since it was still buggy. Anyways after my second session of Gears ended I went up to Cliffy B, talked to him, told him how awesome his game was and got a picture. As I exited the Gears 2 area, I bumped into Jade from XBOX Canada, I thanked her for her invite and told her I was having a great time. Overall Gears 2 was great fun and I can see myself putting tons of time into the online!!

While exiting the Gears 2 station I bumped into one of the xbox.com forum members that I knew. I decided to take a break and go get a drink with him. After a little break we went to the Microsoft first party title’s area. The first game I played was Banjo. I was expecting alot but was disappointed in the end.

Banjo: Nuts and Bolts impressions: This was hands on so I actually got to play. I didn’t spend much time though since I didn’t really like it. I entered the world and instantly felt odd walking, the character of Banjo felt very awkward to walk with for some reason. The rep instantly pointed me toward a vehicle. I jumped in a discovered the vehicle was pimped out with springs and all so I could jump and get a lot of air. As I was driving around the very colourful and vibrant world I was experimenting with a few vehicles. Some of them were pretty neat. After a while I got bored though and I asked what else I could do. She directed me to a challenge. Spread throughout the world are tons of little challenges that are like little mini-games that you could compete in. The one I did required you to take giant soccer balls and score them in a giant net using a vehicle. At first I tried to use a forklift type vehicle and push them into the net, but the soccer balls kept flying around everywhere and the car was hard to steer. So eventually I got a car that looked like a giant cage. The rep told me I didn’t have to drive the cars. I could place the car over the balls or place the balls in the car. I got out of the car and lifted it up and placed it over the balls. Since the car was like a cage the balls were all caged in, I was able to complete the goal no problem. Afterwards I tested out some more vehicles like the helicopter(which flew terribly, you use the right stick to go up and left stick to go down). Overall though I got bored quickly, I felt as if the challenge I did was dull and uninspired and I did not feel like doing another one. I had high expectations for the game and I still hope it will be good but the time I spent was not good. The vehicles are neat at first but the appeal wears off quickly. And if all the challenges are as dull and dumb as the one I did then I will not be buying this game.

After Banjo I had about 20 minutes left in the night. I saw Fable 2 was open, but so was Far Cry 2. I chose Fable to though because it was hands on and I could actually play.

Fable 2 impressions: First off let me say for some reason there was no rep, I dunno why. But I was a bit confused so I had to figure things out to the best of my ability. I had chosen to play as an adult with a mixture of all skills. You could have chosen to play as a child, or as an adult who specialized in combat or magic etc. I’m not sure if this just for this demo or not but anyways I chose an adult with a mixture and a balance of all skills. Playing on the station right beside me was DJdatz from 360sync and he had chosen to play as a kid. I watched his game for a bit before starting mine. I watched the opening cut scenes. There were quite a few before the game actually started and DJdatz looked like he was getting bored. When his game started I saw him as a little kid walking around the town. I watched up until he found his first quest. I hadn’t realized you could play the game as a kid so that was cool. Eventually I started my game though. The first thing I noticed was the dog. It is really quite cool. Your dog is awesome, I played fetch with him for a bit and I noticed that he will also point out when treasure is close by. He will also follow along your side and protect you from enemies. He’s a great companion.

Since there was no rep around I didn’t know what I was doing. I was kind of just wandering around. Every so often I would find a treasure chest with an item thanks to my dog. The game didn’t look as good as other games but it’s an RPG and a massive game so it is understandable. Also while walking since I was not on any specific quests or missions every so often bad guys would pop up from the ground. I tried out the sword and my shotgun. I also tried out the magic(from what I could tell I had five types, Chaos, Vortex, Inferno, Blades and Time Stop). For example when I used Vortex it would sweep up all my enemies in a tornado, or Blades would shoot little blades at them. Like I said before I didn’t really know what I was doing but as I went along I started getting the hang of it. As the enemies died there would be these little gems on the ground that they had dropped. I couldn’t figure out how to pick them up and didn’t even know if you were supposed to. I kept wandering around, just roaming and fighting random enemies. Eventually the clock struck 8pm though and all the lights went on to signal that the event was over. I stayed on for a few more minutes and then continued on. Overall I wish someone had been there to tell me what to do in Fable 2, but I did enjoy the time I spent with it. The combat felt great and the world looks massive and it is just waiting to be explored. I got a really good vibe from the game and I can’t wait for it. The only thing was, most of the bad guys took quite a while to kill. I don’t know if it is because they were tough bad guys or because I was using the wrong spells or sword combos. Like I said before I really wish that a developer had been there telling me what to do.

After Fable 2 I made my way out. They started unplugging all the 360’s and cleaning up. They were rushing us out of there. Eventually I made it outside and like that X08 had ended. Overall it was an amazing event. I’d like to thank Jade, and everyone else who made the event possible. I’d also like to thank the reps/devs from Shaun White, EndWar, Lego Batman and Wanted because they were all really cool guys and very nice and very friendly. I had an amazing time, met some great people and played some awesome games. I wish it were a bit longer because there were a few more games I wanted to see/play but I still had a great time. I only hope that I will be as lucky next year and get to go.

My highlight: playing Gears 2 with Cliffy B and meeting him

Best game: Gears 2

Worst game: Shaun White Snowboarding

Biggest Surprise: Wanted

Biggest disappointment: Banjo

Games I played:

GH:World Tour

CoD 5

Fable 2

Banjo

Duke Nukem

Shaun White Snowboarding

Lego Batman

Silent Hill

Gears 2

Games that I either saw/watched a demo or walkthrough/or just games that were at the event that I noticed

End War, Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, Force Unleashed, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe , Castle Crashers, Wanted, Lode Runner, Lips, Your in the movies, Scene It 2, NBA 2K9, NHL 2K9, Rock Band 2, NHL 09, Tiger 09, NBA 09. Spiderman Web of Shadows, Lara Croft Tomb Raider:Underworld, Project Origin, Too Human, the new Naruto game or maybe it was Dragon Ball Z(couldn’t tell), Portal: Still Alive, Fracture, Golden Axe: Beast Rider, Sonic Unleashed, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise.

Note: I am writing this the day after so I am going solely on memory, I did not take any notes. If I forgot anything, or got anything wrong, I am sorry.

Lastly here is a quick video recap of the event that a local news station did.

Also here is a link to the Offical XBOX video that they did at the event, this come to you courtesy of my friend Tehflakes over at his blog.

PSS: Although about 90% of the photos are taken by me I did take a couple from my friend Rajio who wrote his review over at http://www.ohmpage.ca/2008/08/22/x08-toronto/

Don’t forget to listen to our podcast, you can download it on the site or subscribe on iTunes. Leave us a review also it helps tremendously

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30 Responses

  1. Awesome recap!

  2. Hey that’s me!! I’m in the first GH shot.. the guy with the guitar strapped on, but not holding it. Lest you all think it was -I- that bombed out of the song, that was taken before we started playing. In fairness to the teammate the crashed out (not naming any names here) the tv was fairly out of sync and it was hard to hear the game.

    Great review Matt. Really in depth. Thanks for posting it. It was nice to meet you.

  3. I cant imagine how dull it must have been to play beat it on drums lol. Must have been brutal!

  4. DarthAlbert III: Ye man it was nice meeting you to. Thanks for the nice comments.

    Rajio: It was nice meeting you to man, and yes Beat It was extremely dull. who picked that song? was it you DarthAlbert lol

  5. I know who bombed out the song and i wasn’t even watching when you guys were jamming out. I think everyone at X08 knows who it was …. I won’t name any names though. They know who they are.

  6. In depth re cap on the event, nicely done.

  7. Great review, Matt! I’m really excited about a lot of games you mentioned and got to play *envious*! I doubt I’ll ever get the opportunity to go so reading your blog is the next best thing!!! Your work is top notch, Matt! Keep it up!

  8. Thanks Mac, appreciate it

  9. Awsome review!

    – Man that must of been fun.

    How do they pick you anyway? Something you done for microsoft?

  10. Honestly I don’t know how or why they picked me. I sent an email to Jade, who is the community manager for XBOX Canada, asking for an invitation just like I’m sure thousands of other people did. Luckily she sent me an invite LOL

  11. As if.. lol

    —-

    I pre-ordered GHWT, do you think its worth buying all the instruments?

  12. Well Matt this article was a great recap. You should definately consider journalism in your future. This to put simply is a technical masterpiece of the videogaming journalistic field.

  13. TO TPC II P1MP3R: what do you mean as if? LOL
    and yes it is worth buying all instruments, the drums are awesome, mic is same, and I didn’t get to play guitar but I saw it in action and it looks and feels awesome!!

    To Evan Zinser: Thanks, but, a “technical masterpiece”?? I think that is a bit exaggerated LOL

  14. Nice recap, hopefully I will be able to join you next year

  15. ye man that’d be awesome

  16. Nice! Gears 2 is going to be amazing, and there are so many great games coming this fall, I don’t know how I’m going to play them all.

  17. awesome review. good job

  18. LOL! I didn’t play Beat It, so you can’t blame me for song choice. When we played together it was Livin’ On a Prayer, which I believe you chose. I ran away after that to explore further.

  19. ye we did play Livin On A Prayer together but someone failed out. was it you? cuz i know it wasn’t me LOL

    and ye I did choose Livin on A Prayer but only cuz all you guys were pressuring me to choose it LOL

    I wanted to do Are You Gonna Go My Way but you guys had just done that one

  20. Nice writeup of your experiences and the general “feel” you got form X08. Sounds like you had a blast!

  21. The event was a blast, good to hear some other opinions on it.

  22. Sounds like fanboy heaven. I’m completely jealous!

  23. Nice recap. Sounds pretty cool. I wish they did stuff like that near me.

  24. Hey Matt… very nice!!! Wish I coulda been there!!! Very nicely done job on the recap bro. BTW, you sure look different tha I imagined (don’t know why), anywho, it;s nice to finally be able to put a face to the voice I hear!!! I’m anxiously awaiting Gears 2, perhaps I can snag u as my co-op partner?!?!?!? Anyway mang, great job on the article and recap. 2 thumbs WAAAAAYYYYY up :)!!!!!!!

  25. Nice One! I Wish there was events on this Scale were In England lol!

  26. Hey Hey Hey remember me? Great recap- I was intrested in Fable and Gears 2. Thanks for the info! =)

  27. Great Recap =) I was intrested in the Fable 2 and Gears 2 and now im satisfied.

  28. nice reviews

  29. Thanks for the linkage Matt!

  30. anytime Scott

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