On my second of three days on the E3 show floor I managed to get my hands on a wide variety of games, including The Last Guardian, Elite: Dangerous, PES 2016 and Ratchet & Clank.

The day began with a small indie game called The Solus Project at the Xbox booth.

This single player survival game has you stranded on an uninhabited alien planet trying to find a way back home. The focus of the game was on exploring and surviving. I was told the game is set on multiple islands, each of which were open for you to enjoy with the game providing about a 10 hour experience.

While the demo I played was short, I enjoyed what was there, particularly the open nature of the game and the focus on finding bits and pieces around the island. The game launches on Xbox One and PC Q1 2016 and if you are into survival and exploration games, it is something you should definitely keep an eye on.

The Solus Project

Following on from my short walk around the Xbox Booth, I had an appointment with the crew over at Frontier Developments about their upcoming Xbox One launch of Elite: Dangerous. I never got around the playing this space adventure game however from their short demonstration of the game that they gave, I came away mightily impressed.

The game features a 1:1 scale galaxy which is meant to replicate our own Milky Way featuring 400 billion star systems for you to explore.  The best words to sum up the game is choice and freedom. Whether you focus on trading, discovering or combat is completely up to you.

A new touted feature of the game, Player v. Player, was a major focus of the demonstration.

This new aspect of the game feature two modes, team deathmatch and capture the flag. Featured in the multiplayer is fully destructible environments, a new ship, weapons to unlock and leaderboards. When talking about where the game could go in the future, the ability to walk around on planets seemed to be popular amongst the developers. The game is available now as a part of the Xbox Game Preview program with a free one hour trial on offer.

Elite Dangerous

My most exciting appointment of the day was a behind closed doors presentation of The Last Guardian with Creative Director Fumito Ueda.

While almost half the footage in the presentation was featured in Sony’s conference, it was good to be able to get some insight into the game from the extra bit of commentary provided. If you missed the conference, this gorgeous puzzle based game focusing on the relationship between a young boy whom you control and a giant dog like animal called Trico.

Trico was said to be inspired by a mix of household pets and like household pets, is a bit wild and unpredictable at times. To progress you must utilise the strength of each character.

One thing I instantly noticed and later mentioned by Ueda was the very linear nature of the game. The game is set for a targeted release in 2016 exclusively for PS4 although from the language used it seemed that the release window could shift.

The Last Guardian

Up next was an appointment with Loot Interactive who were keen to showcase three upcoming games, Whispering Willows, Back to Bed and Velocibox.

My time was spent with the first of the three, Whispering Willow, which was a very unique 2D horror/adventure puzzle game due for release on PS4 soon. The primary game mechanic is the ability to project the main protagonist spirit into realm of ghosts. This is used to complete puzzles and talk to other ghosts.

While I normally love puzzle games, most the puzzles seemed to revolve more around pulling levers and less about actual thinking. Despite this, the combination of a cool atmosphere, nice art style and unique take on the horror genre left me somewhat impressed with what I played.

Whispering Willows

Being somewhat critical of the PES franchise in the last few years, I was curious to see what improvements Konami are making in this year’s entry PES 2016.

During their presentation, they ran through a whole host of improvements including advanced collision, intelligent AI, camera angle improvements, new animations, visual upgrade and new commentary. I couldn’t help but feel that most of these improvements sounded a little bit generic. With that in mind I decided I’ll give it a go for myself and see how it goes.

In terms of gameplay, the game felt very smooth and the AI seemed to work pretty well.

There were many parts of the game, including the Career Mode, Competition and Teams available and commentary I wasn’t able to try out. For the most part though, the game seemed reasonably promising although the inability to play in the A-League would be a big problem in my books. The game launches on this generation and last generation on September 15th / 17th, 2015.

PES 2016

My last appointment for the day was for Forza Motorsports 6.

From the presentation given, it seems that a lot of improvements and changes are present.  Weather, a long overdue feature, is now an addition to the series. It seems that no expenses were spared in getting it done right as well, which is promising.

Each raindrop is physically simulated and a lot of effort was put into puddles, effect of water on materials and aquaplaning.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any hands on time with the game so I don’t know how these things translate to the actual gameplay.

Forza 6

Another interesting addition in this entry is a new career mode called Stories of Motorsports which features about 70 hours of gameplay. This mode is broken into five volumes which is further divided up into different series.

For each series you are able to choose the car division you would like to race in. Micro transactions, one of the most major criticisms of the last Forza Motorsports game, will also be absent at launch. The game launches on September 15th / 18th, 2015.

Gears of War

Following this, I was finally able to get some hands on time with the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.

During the presentation the previous day, the developers were very much pushing the fact that this isn’t a simple rerelease, the game has been modernised and built from the ground up.

My brief time on the multiplayer very much reflected what they were saying. The game very much feels like a modern Gears of War game and without being told so, there is no way I would have guessed it was the original Gears of War. The game launches in August 2015 on Xbox One with a PC version also announced.

Ratchet and Clank PS4

On a somewhat related note, my final game for the day was the upcoming Ratchet & Clank for PS4.

The game is a re-imagining of the first entry in the series featuring new gameplay elements and weapons not previously featured in the game. Having had a very late introduction into the Ratchet & Clank causing me to have missed the original game, I was unable to make a proper comparison and see how similar or different it really was. From what I played though, the game feels fresh and modern and I’m very excited for the release on PS4 on June 30th 2016.

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