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What’s in Your Box: Lolita Genies

/ Dec 24th, 2016 No Comments

Nier: Automata

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

Welcome to the Box before Christmas!

I’m not one for the holidays on the whole, but nothing gets my holiday juices pumping like a good video game right before more video games.

I spent this week conjuring up trouble in Shantae 1/2 Genie Hero. For anyone eagerly awaiting Yooka-Laylee or A Hat in Time, Shantae comes as a fresh of breath air in a holiday full of shooters.

The gameplay is challenging and embodies the classic notions of timing and dexterity that define the platforming genre.

Shantae Half Genie Hero

Shantae got that fire.

New moves are also being learned and area subsequently re-explored to find every last goodie and upgrade.

Despite being a little bit odd in terms of presentation (read: very JRPG-esque) the characters are all quick to endear themselves. This is my first foray into Shantae and hopefully will not be my last.

I won’t say too much this week, as we’ve beaten it near to death, but I cannot get enough of Final Fantasy XV. The entire game is like going on a trip with an old friend after a long time apart. The ride is beautiful, but you begin to feel sad as you know it’s nearing a close.

Luckily I also have the Season Pass so I’m not anywhere near saying goodbye just yet.

What’s in Kalvin’s Box

December has blown by. That was largely thanks to my unhealthy obsession with pretty boy road trip, but now that I’ve Platinum’d Final Fantasy XV and put it behind me (for now), I can finally focus on other games. I’ve been recovering from a bit of a cold this entire week, while I felt like garbage the entire time; I did manage to put stuff in my box. Just in time for the Holiday weekend, the Nier: Automata and Gravity Rush 2 demos came out.

Gravity Queen!

The recently released Gravity Rush 2 demo is the same one I played back at E3 this year. If you hadn’t checked out my in-depth preview then do so for more thoughts about the demo. I won’t re-tread too much since the ground has been pretty well covered.

Replaying the demo made me angry the game got pushed back to January, but the free Raven DLC makes amends for the slight. If you haven’t tried the demo then do yourself a favor and try it out now. You’ll be in love with the amazingly vibrant visuals and fun gravity fueled gameplay.

We Robots

Admittedly, I’m very unfamiliar with Nier outside of its Drakengard ties (a series I am equally unfamiliar with). It came out at a time when I wasn’t playing video games focusing on school, so I never got a chance to give it a shot. My unfamiliarity left me surprised at the positive response the trailer for Nier: Automata received at E3last year, but I can’t say the trailer didn’t pique my interest. Platinum Games handling co-development duties further put this title on my radar.

After checking out more footage, the style and speed of the gameplay had me salivating for a chance to try the game out. Thankfully Square Enix and Platinum blessed us with a demo ahead of the game’s March release date, just in time for the Holiday weekend.

Nier:Automata has a distinctive style, one that is both distinctly Japanese and yet not inaccessible even with a white haired protagonist wearing a blind fold and a Lolita dress. The writing and scenarios are super Japanese and slightly silly, but in the best way possible.

Nier: Automata

I mean, come on!

The demo allows players to try out a mission where 2B has to check out a weapons facility where a massive Goliath level weapon is supposedly being held.
The world of Nier: Automata is desolate and overrun by hostile machinery. Almost from the moment you start exploring the weapons facility, rogue machines start attacking you. Naturally you need to wipe them out. To help you slice through your enemies you have two powerful swords and a helpful probe that shoots bullets with ferocity and speed.

If you’ve played any recent PlatinumGames the combat and speed feels familiar and inviting. You have a good range of moves to perform between a light and heavy sword attacks, and different types of projectiles. Alternating between these different weapons helps you better wipe out your foes. The swordplay is super smooth and hints at a depth to be fully explored in the final version of the game.

Nier: Automata

The combat is fluid and fun.

What starts out like a normal 3rd person action game soon flips those expectations on their head. The demo for Neir: Automata played with perspective in a way I didn’t expect. It alternates between traditional 3rd person to side-scroller to a top-down angle. These shifts change the flow of the gameplay and add a lot of variety. It makes the demo this beautifully sublime mix of genres. At times it is two takes on an action game and a mesmerizing bullet hell.

While the demo gives you plenty of opportunity to get used to combat, it culminates in a massive boss battle where you finally take on the Goliath weapon you’ve been searching for. The boss battle is intriguing with different parts and styles of gameplay. Much like the rest of the demo, it does a good job of keeping you from getting too comfortable with what Nier: Automata is. It is parts one of the giant boss battle in Bayonetta, a dizzying platforming experience like Shadows of the Colossus, and a Zone of Enders mech fight.

Nier: Automata

Nier: Automata constantly flips the script leaving you wonder what exactly the game is going to be like.

It is hard to say exactly what to expect of Nier:Automata after playing the demo, but I need more. March isn’t far away, but Neir: Automata is high on my list of anticipated titles.

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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