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Writer: Brendan Holben
Platform(s): Multi-Platform
Release: 01/09/2015

The road to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been a funny one, hasn’t it? David Hayter out and Keifer Sutherland in, Hideo Kojima in and out and in again, a glorified tech-demo (Ground Zeroes) and a whole lot of speculation. Now, there can be little doubt that this is a Kojima production – his name is gratuitously slathered across the E3 trailer, along with his penchant for drama.

The 6 minute trailer is gritty, bloody and heavy with foreboding. Players familiar with Ground Zeroes and Peace Walker will recognise a few returning faces while series veterans will note the ties to the first Metal Gear Solid in the “Les Enfants Terribles” reference, hinting that The Phantom Pain may bring the series full circle (again). It’s still not even clear who the enemy is or what Big Boss is fighting against (but he does appear angry), but working your way through convoluted soap-opera of the series is half the fun.

While there’s a lot to glean from the trailer, it’s the gameplay features that really have me amped up. Maps are open-world (but during missions will limit you to a set boundary) and there appears to be many little details that affect the game. Soldiers can see Big Boss’s shadow (unless it’s overcast of course), you can have a buddy to help you out such as DD the trained wolf who can poop on command, and you can even play as one of your recruits. There’s Mother Base, similar to that of Peace Walker which is customised depending on how it’s managed, what materials are collected and what soldiers are recruited (kidnapped and brainwashed). We’re promised mountains of customisation, and hopefully plenty of the charm and detail we’re used to in a MGS game.

 

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Writer: Shane Smith
Platform(s): PS4 & PC
Release: TBC 2017

*Happy Dance,* I was starting to believe that I’d never see the day that Shenmue 3 would be actually be happening!

The news broke at E3 2015, and we’re finally getting the concluding instalment for the revolutionary open-world action role-playing franchise, Shenmue. This series was one of the main reasons why I brought my beloved Sega Dreamcast. With its deep gameplay and interactive Asian locales, it set the bar for many sandbox games to follow. Ryo’s tale of revenge and desire to find his father’s killer was such an emotional ride that it’s easy to lose yourself within the story.

Can you believe that fourteen years have passed since the release of Shenmue 2!? It’s so exciting to imagine, given the technological advancements in gaming, how vast and immense Shenmue 3 could be. Here’s to hoping that the variety of gameplay will be more diverse than ever before; as well as providing fans more things to do, see and explore within its unique Eastern setting. The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign demonstrated how much fandom there is for the cult-followed series; it’s a cultural ride that people want to experience again, as well as to see Ryo finally find his redemption. With a record-setting $1 million USD in 102 minutes, and raising more than a total of $3.7 million to date. It’s easy to say Shenmue 3 will go down in history as ‘one of the most requested video games to be made’ of all time.

 

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Writer: Tom Cammarano
Platform(s): Xbox Exclusive
Release: Q1 2016

At E3 this year, Microsoft sprung a surprise reveal for a new game from Keiji Inafune and the ex-Metroid Prime team called ReCore. Not much has been revealed about the game itself apart from the teaser trailer, so we’re just going to have to use our imagination until we learn more. Various questions were raised, however: Where and when is the story set? What is the story about? How did the protagonist come to be there? Where did all the robots come from, and how did the orbs come to be?

The trailer offers a few carefully selected clues about the world, the game and the story. There are friendly, and antagonistic AI represented by blue or red orbs. The orbs contain an intelligence and power source that can be used to power a mechanical frame. The world is sparsely populated and appears devoid of natural life. The protagonist appears alone. There are also possible hints about gameplay. For example, there may be the ability to remove orbs from enemies using a grappling hook. The dog-like companion of the player can cause a big explosion that can destroy nearby enemies but, in turn, destroys the companion’s body. Also, the orbs may be able to be placed into another frame and continue on. Given all this, there may be some very fresh new gameplay ideas in the game.

Aside from the gameplay, the trailer also hints at a story involving the player trying to survive alone in a hostile world with robotic companions. That sounds very interesting if you ask me! Unfortunately, the trailer is just a teaser and no more, but I do hope that the designers who put so much thought into carefully revealing certain aspects of the game will put as much thought into the actual game itself. Watching the creators speak about the project gives me a reason for optimism, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

 

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Editor: Patrick Waring
Platform(s): Multi-platform
Release: 11/11/2015

If you’ve read my stuff on here for a while, you may have noticed my raging fanboyism with regards to Fallout. Ah, Fallout, there is nought I wouldn’t do for you but die. When the Survivor 2299 turned out to be a hoax, I’m not ashamed to admit that I wept a single, bitter tear. I have scoured the wastes of DC and the Mojave, yearning for something new for so long that I’m even going back to the original games to get a fix. I waited patiently, however, because art, art requires time to perfect, and I will settle for no less than radiant, buggy perfection. Besides, if ESO is anything to go by then Jesus Christ, I absolutely want them to take as much time as they need to avoid that kind of train wreck.

Now, Fallout 4 would have won E3 by sheer virtue of its existence for me – one of its slathering, devoted, possibly addicted fans. I can confirm that if all they’d done were to toss it out onto a silent stage in a cold spotlight I still would have eaten that shit up. Such a revered series, however, requires – nay, demands far more respect, and Fallout 4 was given the kind of introduction on which other publishers should be taking notes. From the reveal, to the nearly forty minute long walkthrough of some of the games features, to the announcement of the special edition of aOH MY GOD, IT’S SO DAMN COOL! YOU CAN WEAR A PIP-BOY! AN ACTUAL PIP-BOY! AND IT WORKS WITH THE GAME SO YOU CAN ACTUALLY USE IT LIKE A PIP-BOY! Did I mention that the game is being released later this year? Such a short wait time after the announcement, and with the hype build-up, was just masterfuuulllLAAAAAHHHHH! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH! PIP-BOY! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

 

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Writer: Lliam Ahearn
Platform(s): PS4 Exclusive
Release: TBC 2016

The Uncharted trilogy pushed gaming as a whole. The series practically defined modern platforming, while lifting the bar for production quality and polish much higher than most developers can hope to reach. It was only natural to see this influence radiate through the entire industry, but frankly, I’m tired of it. Just look at Microsoft’s presser this year. Halo had Spartans running from the crumbling ground below them, Gears 4 had the same, and of course Tomb Raider couldn’t be without it. The ideas and style Uncharted popularised are far from thrilling at this point, just by sheer overuse. I don’t need to see Lara Croft leap to a ledge in slow motion again, it’s not exciting when it happens to her eight times a minute.

So out comes Uncharted 4, with a standard Drake and Sully scenario. Hiding behind counters and shooting men is fine and all, but the details here were what caught my attention. Pieces of the environment are incrementally and realistically destructible. A bullet goes through a sandbag and sand starts to pour out, slowly piling on the floor as the bag shrinks. There’s a level of detail in this game I have never seen before.

That being said, it’s still the same old stuff I’m tired of. That is, until Nate and Sully jump into a jeep. I was waiting for Drake’s reticle to pop up so he can shoot baddies while Sully drives on a specified route, but it didn’t. This part is fully controllable, non-linear, and still an exciting set-piece. There are no way-points, no map, just strong level design. Make your way downhill and avoid a pursuing vehicle. Do it how you want. This is a sophisticated and immersive evolution to the formula, all while topping the detail and polish we’ve seen from Naughty Dog in the past.

They didn’t need to do this. They could have easily released another game relying solely on the ideas Uncharted 2 and 3 put into place – everyone else is. They chose not to. Not only will this mean an incredible game in itself, but a generation of games riding it’s coattails. The runny, jumpy set-pieces I’m so tired of will finally be accepted as outdated, and developers will have a new height to strive for. Uncharted 4 will finally be a step forward.

 

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Writer: Bernadette Russell
Platform(s): PS4 & PC
Release: TBC 2016

The official tagline for No Man’s Sky is: “A science-fiction game set in an infinite procedurally generated galaxy.”

That sentence alone has like six of my favourite words of all time. What Hello Games is offering is an incredibly large-scale game that you can play however you like. Say you’re watching a sunset after a dogfight in a scary cave? Why not FLY out to it and explore? I love the thought of being the first to enjoy, destroy or discover completely untouched planets; all the while in my own personalized ships and suits. It’s not going to be a mindless, fancy Contiki either; there are also consequences for everything you do.

My favourite part of Mass Effect was the planet-hopping; regardless of what I was “supposed” to be doing. No Man’s Sky is an offer to do the same thing on a much larger scale. The unknown is a dangerous place for curious people, and I can’t wait to get lost in it. The screenshots haven’t disappointed me yet either; line up several of them and they appear to be from 10 different games that are all on my want list. While I hope certain planets have more detail than a few that I’ve already seen, I think the sheer enormity of outcomes might make up for missing leaf texture. There is also that little voice in the back of my head saying ‘well, I’m “no man” so, clearly, it’s going to be MY sky!’ Hey, if it’s good enough for Eowyn, it’s good enough for me.

 

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Editor: Nick Ballanytyne
Platform(s): PS4 Exclusive
Release: TBC 2016

Guys… Guys, just… Dreams happened at Sony’s E3 conference. They announced Final Fantasy and Shenmue, but you know what? The Last Guardian was the first thing to happen, and it was like recognising the love of your life in a crowded train station while Tchaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet plays in the background. This wasn’t just some pre-rendered teaser either, this was gameplay footage, and it was beautiful.

The first time we saw The Last Guardian was more than a few years ago, but it looks like that original look and feel has been retained through its development hell. The physicality synonymous with Team Ico’s games looks intact, and the graphics are just as awe-inspiring as they were all those years ago. What’s more, the footage shown was obviously imperfect, which gave the impression that this was captured from a human playing the game. Considering how little news gets circulated about the game, seeing it in action was like a wink from your high school crush that totally knew you were looking at them.

We were still told that we’d need to wait ANOTHER year before it MIGHT come out, but this was still the most we’ve seen of the game for longer than I can remember. It was still beautiful to look at, seemed like real gameplay and wasn’t just half-assedly mentioned at the conference. Everyone who wants to their hands on The Last Guardian will still need to wait, but at least we’ve got a new trailer to watch in the meantime.

 

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Writer: Joseph Viola
Platform(s): Multi-Platform
Release: TBC 2016

Personally, for me, the best game featured at E3 2015 was, without a doubt, Kingdom Hearts III. I’ve really enjoyed how the series has evolved since the original, in both its gameplay mechanics and art direction, to accommodate the increasing darker undertones and direction that the main narrative is headed in. Initially, Kingdom Hearts started out as a vibrant, colourful game with only very subtle hints towards a darker storyline. However, over the years, and with each new instalment, the story has grown increasingly sinister as we’ve been edging patiently towards its climactic ending.

I appreciate that even though Kingdom Hearts III looks visually stunning after its graphical overhaul, the developers are still working hard to implement new ways to make the game faster and more action packed. In particular, during the E3 demo, I noted multiple scenes showcasing how the Kingdom Key could be transformed into different weapons. It’s a nice homage to Dream Drop Distance, and representative of Sora’s transformation into a true Keyblade Master.

As a longtime fan of the series, I simply can’t wait to find out how this long-awaited “final chapter” is going to play out!

 

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Writer: Colton Onderwater
Platform(s): PS4 Exclusive
Release: TBC 2016

Horizon: Zero Dawn was a very pleasant surprise from Guerrilla Games, and a shocking departure from the gritty tone of the Killzone franchise. Already five years in the making, the game will play a lot like modern RPGs but with elements of character action games such as Monster Hunter; although, it’s the unique world that’s sold me on the game so far.

Described as a “post-post apocalyptic” setting, Horizon: Zero Dawn takes place in a creative universe with a fresh, interesting concept where modern society has been wiped out and humans have been reduced to tribes. Not only that, our technology has also evolved into living machines which now populate the world’s wildlife. Playing the game will reveal mysteries such as the origins of the machines, how they are powered, and what happened to humankind.

The various machines shown in the trailer look absolutely gorgeous; with each being unique in design. Furthermore, the combat looks like a ton of fun judging by the gameplay demonstration, which depicted an epic battle between the protagonist and a giant mechanized tyrannosaur. Like in Monster Hunter, these giant mechanised creatures have specific hit points (developers state this particular monster has around 96 different hit points) as well as various interactive elements. Essentially, this will provide players with various options and strategies which can be used to defeat these large beasts. Parts can also be collected from downed enemies and used to craft supplies and weapons.

From what I saw at E3, Horizon is definitely a game I will be keeping my eye on. I cannot wait to dive into this world!

 

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Editor: William Kirk
Platform(s): “First on PS4”
Release: TBC 2017

Like many fans, I got burned at last year’s PSX when Final Fantasy producer, Shinji Hashimoto trolled us all with the announcement that Final Fantasy VII was coming to PS4. That is to say, the 2012 PC port was coming to PS4. I’m still bitter; especially because that smug bastard knew a remake was in the works. Why did you do that, Mr. Hashimoto!?

During Sony’s press conference, my heart skipped a beat as soon I spotted the life stream behind Adam Boyes. No, I thought. Not again! What cruel joke are you pulling this time!? But as soon as the trailer began, I knew in my heart what this was; even if my brain refused to believe. It had to be a movie, a sequel, a mobile game teaser; pretty much anything but a remake because that was simply never going to happen. I heard the narrator’s words, though. They spoke to me: all fans like me. A binding covenant to those who have been patient. They had heard our calls, and yes, this is happening. There was to be no confusion either, no speculation. This is a REMAKE. Fans, you can finally rejoice!

Look, don’t get me wrong. I know the gaming community is divided on how “great” FFVII actually is, but, to me, that debate holds absolutely no relevance. You see, Final Fantasy VII was the game which ignited my unrelating passion for gaming, and what put me on the path which eventually lead to GameCloud itself. I’m not saying it’s the greatest game ever made, but, for me, it’s definitely the most important. There is an unconditional place in my heart where this game sits, and no other announcement could have ever hoped to affect me so profoundly. I appreciate this might be years away, but I can’t ignore its importance. Dreams came true at E3 2015, and the FFVII Remake was at the heart of that.

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