E3 2016: Day 3 analysis and recap with T3's roaving reporter Marco Zangirolami

Marco gets dressed up as Batman in VR, goes toe to toe with Tekken 7 and, saucily, crowns Porno VR winner of E3 2016!

We're here everybody! The third and final day of E3 2016. Wooooooo!

And boy, what a day it has been. There are so many things to say that, honestly, it is a real pity I've not been able to talk about everything I have seen here.

Anyway, yesterday I promised to talk about the console version of Tekken 7, right?

Ok, I have been able to play it deeply over the last three days and this is what everybody else here has so far missed.

If you have followed T3 over the last few months you may have read our coverage of the Japan Amusement Expo 2016, the most important arcade event in Japan held every February at the Makuhary Messe in Tokyo. This was where Tekken 7 was officially disclosed.

So if you read the piece you already know that the 7th installment has only been availalble in Japan (since March 2015), and the new update named 'Fated Retribution' will be only for the Japanese arcade centers. Fated Retribution sees Akuma and, presumibly, many other Street Fighter characters soon to follow into the Tekken roster.

The main difference between Tekken 7 compared the sixth installment is basically a more balanced rage attack, some quick time events while the opponent is doing a some super move or combo, and the availablity to keep doing combos while the enemy is attacking or beating (as previously you had to wait your turn if under attack).

But wait, there is more. The gameplay is more fluid (example: the titles "Ready for the next battle" between the flames) are more cinematic than the original Japanese arcade versions. Also, while in the arcade edition before entering a battle you had the traditional "Ready for the next battle" slogan, in the home edition in this 'Story mode' there is something similar to the typical 'Ryu ga Gotoku' scene (Yakuza in the west) before a fight (i.e. gradually the player is thrown into the action after having seen a long intro cut scene).

In addition, characters during the fight speak to each other. I love it but - and here comes the bad news - they do not speak much because Tekken 7 is finished ONLY after 5 matches (5 stages in total!), so the 'Story Mode' is pretty short.

Someone may wonder how we were able to discover this important particular if at the 'E3' and at the 'Jaepo' are shown only demos, well going around Akihabara we went at the Sega Gigo and spotted a Tekken 7 machine and we kept playing until the end, so you can imagine our face when we realize the game was finished in the story mode after 5 stages!

Yeah, I know it sounds pretty low, but the normal 'Story Mode', with the usual 10-13 stages before the final credit (as in the previous 'Tekken TAG 2'), has been simplified in this new chapter and we're guessing more casual players will warm to it more. For the hardcore, we will just have to get used to it.

When I questioned this issue with the Bandai-Namco staff, they told me they made the decision to shorten the single player story mode also to incentivise on-line battle.

You've also got to remember that Tekken 7 very much comes from widely the arcade environment where, especially in Japan, there are many pro players against which it is very easy to lose (try and let me know). In this environment the migthy Coin-Op operators' motto is "3 minutes per play" (to get more money), so it's really unsurprising that some of this culture has been carried over to the home console version.

Long story short though – if you like your fighting games then you should check out Tekken 7: Fated Retribution when you can.

Now let' s review all the latest news about VR headsets, which we have seen a lot of at E3 2016, in particular: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR.

It is no mystery that Oculus Rift is, at the moment, the top dog in the VR market. It has big names behind it in the industry (Facebook for one). However, it also now has some big opponents too, as Bethesda - who support the underdog HTC – have announced its Fallout 4 VR and Doom VR, which were on test at the fair.

I re-tried the Oculus and this time with the game 'Eagle flight' developed by Ubisoft (about an eagle flying around Paris). This experience was good and the quality of the VR headset is simply the best at the moment your money can buy. Being a keen retrogamer and collector, I fear that I am sitting in front of my next Forte VFX1!

But, simply put, there is big potential here.

Now onto the HTC Vive. I am pretty sure we will hear much, much more of this name in the future.

I had the chance to check out the Vive today at E3 and it seemed to me to sport a slightly inferior build compared to the Oculus (especially considering I tested the helment soon after trying out the Rift), but the potential is there too (both work at 90hz). The thing I disliked most about the Vive though was its two handheld controllers. They just reminded me too much of Kuro's 3D TV remote controller and didn't feel right.

Anyway construction apart, the games behing the HTC Vive, specifically Fallout VR and Doom VR, mean that it could soon become more of a front runner in the VR market.

Indeed, if we consult the lessons of history and Nintendo with its monocolor Gameboy in the 80s, it is easy to see that raw hardware power often doesn't sell videogame hardware, but the software instead! So the HTC Vive, backed by Valve, Bethesda and Steam, means just one thing: full compability for a wide selection of games coming in the next months, and like it or not, Oculus on this point is lacking.

I tested Fallout 4 and Doom VR and both were very impressive. However, the only big issue - still - is the price: $899 is way too much for a VR headset.

And now let's talk about Sony's critically acclaimed VR headset the PSVR.

I can tell you the queues to play PlayStation VR games at E3 have been terrible. They took almost one hour each, especially for Batman's Arkham VR demo, and the wait was frustrating. That said, I have to admit it is THE GAME for the VR system right nowm closely followed by Star Wars Battlefront: X-WING VR MISSION, which you can read more about in T3's report of Day 1.

The game itself is a revisited version in 3D of the Rocksteady's Arkham series with a specific interaction between the story and the action. An example of added VR functionality shown off was how by using the two Move controllers you could go into the bat cave and then dress yourself as the Batman. Yep, dress yourself as Batman in VR. Killer!

The second part of VR demo was how you could study a crime scene (which was the coolest thing I did today) with all the details and tricks we have loved in this Batman franchise. So, for example, you can use the VR to turn yourself while checking, moving, scanning and throwing things - like batarangs - on the scene. And, believe me, for $399 a full immersion like that, with a base game that is already so good, could be a real temption on your wallet.

About Resident Evil 7 VR honestly things got a little more fuzzy, because even if the technology is good for the task, there is some lack in the overall atmosphere as in the gameplay, with the original controllers.

I mean, it is clearly some kind of reboot with what we have already seen in the previous chapters, but this seems too similar to the first one (anybody said 'Star Wars' 7?), while the biggest issue, as for Arkham VR, is that when you get in trouble and have to fight, the action get confused.

Last but not least, the suspense is rather lacking, and in a horror game this is absolutely essential.

It also wasn't a surprise to see Shuhei Yoshida (President of Sony's Worldwide Studios) in person at this year's show, and he was showing to many developers the specs of the PlayStation VR helmet. This is probably because he knows he needs the support of all the small studios if he doesn't want to see the PSVR turn into the next Virtual Boy-style VR failure.

Anyway, that consideration apart, Sony's PSVR headset will be sold for only $399 (that's half of a HTC Vive or an Oculus), and will be available at launch with 50 games, so it is a cheap and interesting alternative to the bigger, more expensive pack leaders.

Among all the VR hype however, Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software said (or predicted, only future will tell):

"Our corporate strategy is to be where the consumer is", "to the extent that new mechanics offer more power for us to make more exciting games, great. I think there may be some opportunity there eventually, but what I see so far isn't a game changer. … It's still a zero revenue business."

If this analysis is (or will be) right then only one thing is sure, the one and only winner of E3 2016 has been... Naughty America! Yes, you read it right, Naughty America's Porno VR has probably been the most visited booth at the fair this year. Sex sells, who would of guessed!

And on that saucy note, we'll bring our on the ground reporting of E3 2016 to a close. Don't be too sad though T3 reader as we'll be back this September at the Tokyo Game Show where, hopefully, we'll finally be able to see the Nintendo NX in person. Woof!

Marco Zangirolami, over and out!

Dr Marco Zangirolami

Marco Zangirolami has been reporting on the video game industry since 1996. During his career he has been a correspondent from Japan for the most important Italian firms, head of the 'Made in Japan' section on 'ConsoleMania' (the most important Italian video game magazine of all time) and 'Automat', the leading magazine of the Italian Jamma's Arcade Association. He is a contributor to T3.com, writing about the video game industry. In his spare time Marco likes to collect and restore classic arcade machines from the 1980s and 1990s.