Crackdown 2

I wasn't convinced of the genius of the original "Crackdown" until I spent 3 or 4 hours playing and replaying the demo that launched a few weeks before the final game. Once I had maxed out my character and began leaping from building to building with ease, I understood the magic of the sandbox shooter. Microsoft must've realize the success of the first demo, as they've gone and released a demo for "Crackdown 2" with extra doodads thrown in for good measure. It's up on Xbox Live right now, available to Gold members.

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Kinect game prices

Microsoft still hasn't announced an official price point for Kinect, despite Amazon.com, Best Buy and Walmart all opening pre-orders up at $149.99 a pop. That hasn't stopped Amazon from going ahead and posting prices for Kinect's launch titles, however, and right now "Kinectimals," "Kinect Adventures!," "Kinect Sports" and "Kinect Joy Ride" are all priced at $59.99 there.

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Child of Eden

Tetsuya Mizuguchi is known for his unique, music-infused video games, with titles like "Lumines," "Rez" and "Space Channel 5." His latest is "Child of Eden," a visual and aural overload that proved to be quite different from anything else I saw at E3 last week.

In basic terms, "Child of Eden" is an on-rails shooter that appears to play a lot like Mizuguchi's other on-rails shooter, "Rez." You fly through a futuristic, techno-backed universe, blasting computerized beasties with lasers and bombs.

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Halo: Reach

"Halo: Reach" won't feature outer space dogfights in multiplayer battles, and it won't support Kinect controls either, Bungie has confirmed. The studio's last bow with Microsoft before devoting themselves to their mysterious Activision-published project will hold a special place its developers' history, though, even if it missed out on motion controls.

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Gears of WAr 3

We've seen a handful of modes in the first two "Gears of War" games, but I can assure you that none of them are like Beast, a new mode in "Gears of War 3." It's a remarkable blend of 3rd person action, strategy and co-op that makes it the mode I'll probably kill the most time (and Cogs) in.

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Fable 3

Peter Molyneux is the creator of the "Fable" franchise (among others) and he's infamous for his game demos. His unflappable delivery and dry wit, even when it involves poop, is able to enrapture even the most jaded games journalist. So when he said during a demo that he was revolutionizing a button on the Xbox 360 controller, I braced myself. Molyneux then pointed to the Start button. His goal is to make this button unlike any Start button before it.

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Medal of Honor

"Medal of Honor" followers who caught EA's presentation at E3 this week may have been excited to hear them talk about the upcoming beta test for the game. Unfortunately, Xbox 360 owners are going to have to wait a bit longer than those signing up on the PlayStation 3 and PC, according to an update at the game's official website.

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RROD

A study last year claimed that the Xbox 360's infamous red ring of death was occurring less frequently, but Microsoft's new Xbox 360 that was announced at E3 this week appears to be phasing out the warning feature altogether.

"Now obviously, the box has a way to communicate to you if something has happened...but yes, three red lights are not part of our sequence of telling somebody something is wrong," Microsoft Game Studios corporate VP Phil Spencer told IGN. "Obviously if you look at the success rate of the original 360s, we're very proud of both the way the company stepped up to support the customers that we had as well as the success rate we have with the box today."

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Kinect

Microsoft's E3 media event didn't include the official pricing information for Kinect when they broke it out on stage Monday, but it looks like that anonymously leaked $149 mark was accurate after all. Following $50 rumors and $200 rumors, Amazon.com, Best Buy and Walmart all appear to have settled in between with their listings.

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Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

At this point, I think it's safe to say that "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero" are two completely distinct franchises. "Rock Band," which continues to push players to create their own experience with custom characters and additional expert modes as well as a new keyboard controller, simulates the experience of being in a rock band. "Guitar Hero" is now all about rock, punk, and heavy metal -- playing finger-melting solos devised by maestros of impossible solos -- while taking pre-made characters on an epic journey through rock-dom. Oh yea, it's also a game.

Brian Bright, Project Director on "Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock" wants to make sure that people realize that. "It's important that people understand we are not a music simulator. We are a music rhythm game." He stresses that last word quite clearly, and if "Warriors of Rock" is any indication of that, I'd say he's right on the money.
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