E3 2016 Day 2 – Batman Arkham VR, Gran Truism Sport, Abzu, Bound

The second day of E3 began with another visit to the Sony PlayStation booth where I had an appointment to preview the Batman: Arkham VR experience for PlayStation VR. This was one of the few VR demos that did not have a video output showing on the screens outside of the demo areas, so anyone that had went in to try it went in blind.

The demo offered two different parts, and I only got to experience the beginning tutorial, which starts you off as Bruce Wayne in your manor. Your faithful butler Alfred hands you a key which allows you to transform a piano into an elevator leading you down into the Batcave. As you’re descending down you can see a faithful recreation of the area, down to props like the giant penny. When you finally arrive downstairs, you proceed to gear up and pick up grapple gun, a scanner, and some Batarangs. The VR experience has you attach all these to your utility belt, which strangely floats in mid-air down by your waist. To top it off, you pick up Batman’s cowl and motion to place it over your head, and you are then presented with a mirror which will show you as being fully decked out in Batman gear. It’s an interesting tease at how the moody Batman atmosphere might translate into a VR experience, but I would expect some more movement and exploration as this demo in particular was very static.

Next up up was an appointment to try out Gran Turismo Sport, the latest entry in the long standing racing series. The Sony booth had some floor space dedicated to housing a dozen racing “pods” that were full throughout the show. Sport is especially interesting as it has been built up from the ground up, and is not just an upgrade to the previous games in the series. While it’s not as massive as those previous titles, for instance there will be about 140 cars and 19 tracks, the game seems very polished so far despite not being done quite yet. The Tokyo Expressway track that was featured in the demo looked terrific as the supercars were flying through the metropolis, and the car models look better than ever. With plans for interesting online tournaments and Polyphony’s pedigree with the series, racing fans can be sure that this will be one title to look out for.

Having been a fan of the game Journey, I had to try out Abzu, which Journey’s art director and composer both had worked on. Another exploratory adventure game, Abzu takes place in an ocean and simulates diving underwater and exploring unknown territories. Peaceful and calm, the excitement in Abzu is all about seeing what’s next to find and explore. Your movement is slow paced, and your exploration is aided with the help of large sea creatures and drones that will help carry you through the environment. With gorgeous visuals and a relaxing soundtrack, Abzu seems like a wonderful change of pace from the violent action titles that are featured so heavily at E3.

The day was capped off by taking a look at Bound, a title somewhat in the same vein of Abzu, PlayStation 4-exclusive Bound by Polish developer Plastic Studios. Another exploratory adventure game, you take control of a ballet dancer who explores a vibrant and geometric environment, where you need to scale up a tower to pursue an evil monster who’s wreaking havoc on the world. With a beautiful art style, this seems like yet another unique title for the PlayStation 4 lineup.

About author

International Concert Photojournalist at Live in Limbo. His work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Alternative Press and many more.