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GDC: Xbox round-up inside

How good is Microsoft's line-up looking?

Sony might have stolen some of the GDC thunder yesterday, but Microsoft still has a pretty damn impressive line-up on display at it's San Francisco base-camp.

All of the big Q1 Xbox 360 and XBLA titles are in attendance in MS's plush hotel home, accompanied by senior development staff such as Bioware co-founders (and co-doctors) Dr. Raymond Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk, Peter Molyneux and legendary Final Fantasy and Blue Dragon creator Hironobu Sakaguchi.

The presence of the gaming luminaries bolstered Microsoft's main announcements earlier this week, that the size limit of Xbox Live Arcade titles is being increased to 150MB, and a increased 512MB memory unit will arrive in the shops shortly.

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On the Xbox 360 front Microsoft is showcasing cross-platform shooter Shadowrun (read our impressions here), the ever-stunning Mass Effect, the English version of Sakaguchi's Blue Dragon, Forza Motorsport 2 and Molyneux's mysterious Fable sequel. Oh, and there's some PC game called "Halo 2" as well.

Xbox Live Arcade also has a surprisingly large presence here, considering that Microsoft usually likes to keep its download titles under wraps until the week they appear on the Xbox Live servers. So far we've managed to get our hands on Rare's revamped Jetpac Refueled (hands-on here), Bizarre 'Geometry Wars' Creations' excellent Boom Boom Rocket along with Pinball FX and others.

As for what impressed us, Bioware's stupidly-gorgeous RPG Mass Effect easily came out on top. We were able to sit down and watch the first hour of the game and for 60 minutes at least it delivers with stunning cut-scenes, loud laser shoot-outs and some of those "complex moral choices" that we were promised but admittedly, didn't expect. "Jack Bauer in space" indeed.

Fable 2's "unexpected" secret also grabbed our attention; It's going to be a controversial one, but we reckon the trick up Molyneux's sleeve is ultimately going to win over a lot of love-starved gamers, and we're eager to get our hands-on and see just how well it works. Look for more on that later.

Perhaps rather fittingly, we wrap-up this little round-up to go and chat with Microsoft big bosses Chris Satchell and Shane Kim, to see what they're going to be up to in the next few months and indeed - what they think of Sony's new toys. Keep your eyes on CVG to see exactly what the MS two have to say, later tonight.

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