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What’s in Your Box: Driftin’ Chocobos

/ Dec 10th, 2016 No Comments

Final Fantasy XV

Each week, we here at Gaming Illustrated are always playing a number of different video games. However, we may not be talking about them in reviews or editorials. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth talking about, but for any number of reasons an avenue to speak on them doesn’t come up. To remedy the issue, we’re going to ask our staff (and you, honestly) what’s in your box?

What’s in Greg’s Box

Another week of boxes and mine is full of cars!

The main car in my life is still the Regalia of Final Fantasy XV, which is almost a character of its own.

I cannot get enough of the “road trip” aesthetic FFXV features, especially when the game has its own fast-travel system should I choose to use it.

It speaks volumes that I actively refuse an in-game fast-travel because I have more fun just exploring the world and checking out the random side-quests while cruising around.

When not letting Ignis drive me around like the butler he is, I’m doing my own driving in Forza Horizon 3.

Forza Horizon 3

Forza Horizon 3 is a lot of fun.

Another great open-world title that has more than enough to do on its own, yet it still allows user-made content which gives it a technically infinite lifespan.

I love the customization featured, as it is simple yet still offers plenty of choices for car aficionado.

Plus who can say no to being able to clock over 200 M.P.H. across the Australian outback while being rewarded for trees knocked down.

“Crickey!” doesn’t do this game justice.

What’s in Kalvin’s Box

I don’t know what’s happened to me. Maybe it has been the very mild now in Portland or maybe it is something else, but I may have lost my mind. Whatever the reason, I find myself unable to put down Final Fantasy XV. It has become all consuming. Despite not being past chapter 8, I’m level 51 and wrecking stuff. While Final Fantasy XV has been my driving passion, I still have found some time to enjoy Pokemon Sun.

Constant Adjustments

I’ve spoken prior about Pokemon Sun’s setting, its story and its cool new features. In many ways, the game feels like a reboot of sort. It distills down the pure Pokemon formula, while innovating making the experience feel very fresh and new; almost like playing Pokemon Red for the first time over a decade ago. The islands and the island challenge are a new canvas for the Pokemon Company to shake things up.

One of my favorite new things is moving away from HM moves to get through the game’s blockades and environmental-esque puzzles. The worst part about HM moves is you had to have the Pokemon who knew the move with you constantly or had to teach the move to a new Pokemon anytime you wanted to use it.

Pokemon Sun

The Ride Pager is a game changer.

It wasn’t a huge deal, but it ultimately resulted in those Pokemon getting weighed down with a move that was undeleteable making it hard to pad out their move set with higher level moves down the road. Basically, you had to make dumpster Pokemon that could learn multiple HMs and keep them around when questing.

In Pokemon Sun (and Moon) HM moves are done away with thanks to the Ride Pager. This device is given to you at the outset of your journey to help you complete the island challenge. The Ride Pager allows you to call different Pokemon like Tauros or Lapras to ride around the islands.

Whether it is to surf across water masses or charge quickly through boulders, the Ride Pager is a quick, convenient and simple way to overcome obstacles in the game. You get access to more Ride Pagers as you continue your quest allowing you to get past a number of different roadblocks.

HM moves still exist in Alola, but they are basically normal moves that can be learned and unlearned at will. So if you get nostalgic for Flash or Fly you’ll still be able to use them, but have flexibility to change it down the road. Ride Pagers though are a number of smart changes made in Pokemon Sun.

Road Dawgs

Despite eschewing the main story more often than not to complete side quests and build up my levels, I have enjoyed all the scripted moments in the game so far. The shining point of the game is the dungeons, which are atmospheric, tough, and full of some sweet loot. Whether it is climbing to the top of a volcanic rock, exploring sewers, infiltrating an imperial base, or exploring a dungeon suspending underwater, there is no greater challenge in the game. While some have been optional (and where I have found the most challenge so far), the main story line dungeons are great fun.

Final Fantasy XV Preview

Combat is the other MVP in FF XV.

What has been a bit ho hum for me though is side quests. The hunt are great and provide plenty of challenge, but some of the more “fetch quest” quests have been a bit annoying. It isn’t that they are bad. They’re not, they are just not dazzling, which is where the Witcher 3 spoiled me. Whether the side quest quality is lacking a time isn’t the annoying part though. It is having to travel back to the quest giver to turn in the quest. It is a gameplay design that will always vex me from now until I die.

Xenoblade Chronicles X spoiled me. That game did one of the coolest and smartest things I’ve ever seen in an open-world game, where when you completed a side quest it was marked as finished and turned in. You got your rewards and experience in the field because the quest giver was notified almost immediately upon you completing the quest. It made completing the more fetch quest-esque quests a lot easier to swallow. Sure the reason you could do that was tied to the story, but you’re not telling me you couldn’t use Wiz’s Chocobos to turn in some frogs to Sania or use your phone to call in a successful hunt to a dinner?

Xenoblade Chronicles X

Even though it’s been a year, I miss being able to turn in quests from the field.

Having to turn in side quests isn’t enough to ruin the experience in Final Fantasy XV, however. It is a wildly fun game that looks gorgeous. I have dump a lot of hours so far and honestly writing this has been tough because I just want to be playing it right now.

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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