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What’s in Your Box: Trying Not to Get Cooked

/ Jul 29th, 2017 No Comments

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

Boxi it is time for us to discuss the week in review; What have I been playing?

The answer will probably not surprise you: Splatoon 2.

There’s a lot of good to be said about this sequel. At the top of that list is the new weapons. A variety of new equipment adds for another level to online competitive multiplayer as older strategies just won’t cut it.

Splatoon 2

Turf War gets hectic with everyone “hopefully” trying to ink up the most turf before time’s over.

I’ve had a lot of fun playing this by myself as well as with Kalvin. While the friend matchmaking system isn’t perfect it was fairly easy to get into a match together. The downside is we often found ourselves on opposite teams, but it did seem to switch us fairly regularly, giving us a chance to team up as well as be pitted against one another.

When not in Splatoon 2 I’ve been getting hot and heavy in Doom’s multiplayer, which is fast visceral and intense. Rocket launchers rule the roost as players dodge every which way in a frantic flurry of projectiles and bullets.


DOOM’s multiplayer requires some intense concentration and reflexes.

The random power-ups add another layer of chaos to the mess, with players getting power weapons as well as the opportunity to transform into a demon and (pun intended) unleash hell.

Maybe I’m just in an ultra competitive mood lately, but it’s been a great week of white-knuckle gaming and fast-paced action, whether cartoonish or not.

What’s Kalvin’s Box

Before we get into my for reals, for play play box, I have been spending a good amount of time reviewing Sundered on PS4. While my review is forthcoming, I do want to encourage you to pick it up if you’re into an intense, addictive, and most importantly gorgeous rouguelite meets Metroidvania game.

Much like Greg, my box has been dominated by Splatoon 2, but I also managed to get some time in with Pyre, the true bae.

Can I Get a Pee Break, Mr. Grizz?

There is a lot to unpack in Splatoon 2, but more importantly a whole lot to love. I spoke briefly about it last week and I’ll speak a little bit more about it this week, but again it is only getting at a much larger picture in snapshots like a mosaic.

While I love Splatoon 2 to death, I hate how Salmon Run is handled. The limited time frame is really annoying. It should be available always. Anytime I want to increase my pay grade and job title, I should. However, if it is going to be a special event, don’t make it available 11pm-11am. Some of us work, dudes. That is a time meant for stoners, the unemployed and children!

Time limits aside, Salmon Run is a great horde mode. There dynamic rounds and team dynamics make for a complex balance of wanting to shine and needing to survive. If you want back on that boat, you better get Grizz his eggs. If you’re not communicating and working with your team then you won’t meet your quotas and you’ll live on that island. See your kids next Thanksgiving!

The random nature of each round’s weapons loadout means you have to get good with multiple weapon types. Some aren’t always suited for a majority of the boss salamids like the roller and paint brush, but they do have the benefit of being able to do good crowd control and ink some turf.

Splatoon 2

Oh man, Mr. Grizz ain’t gonna be happy ’bout this. I ain’t seeing my kids til next Guy Fawkes Day!

Salmon Run’s randomize loadouts each round means you do have to work with your team super well because if you’re weak with one weapon, you can totally be useful by partnering with a teammate like when I used a heavy splat gun poorly, but could help my team by easily reviving them with a heavy spray. There is a lot to learn when tackling this mode, but it is chaotic fun with a team of close friends.

Every attempt at Salmon Run is a crap shoot. Even good teams can get overwhelmed by a first round covered in fog, or a last round of all Grillers. Sometimes it just isn’t in the cards for you, and sadly Mr. Grizz doesn’t care. You’ll lose your day’s pay and your position. Hope you like being an apprentice forever doing all Griller rounds in the fog until you get Grizz them eggs!

Greg spoke about the Nintendo Switch Online app in detail earlier this week. In short it is a disaster for Turf War chat. It is super convoluted and impractical. The one area where it works pretty damn well is in Salmon Run. While you still can only chat in a private room with an invite, you can play games with a partial team and random teammates.

So it is the closest we get to the App being worthwhile except it can only be used for like 2 hours a week.

For the Love of the Game (and Freedom)

I’ve only played Pyre for a short jaunt completing the first two Rites, but man do I love this ****ing game. Part of the reasons I didn’t want to review it was I’m a sucker for what Supergiant Games does. I felt after falling head over heels for Bastion and Transistor it seemed that whether or not Pyre was really dope or not, I’d think it is the dopest shit ever.

The best way to test your feelings about something is to pay for it. If I pre-ordered Pyre, paid some hard earned scratch for it, and still loved it then you know it’s real. So I did.
Turns out, Pyre is really GD dope.

The writing is excellent with a lot of fun character and world building within moments of the game’s opening that only get better the further you get into it. Musically Darren Korb is one of the best in the biz. The soundtrack fits the atmosphere and mood extremely well. And the art style is hard to deny, it is absolutely stunning and vibrant with the rich darker hues.


I haven’t spent much time in Pyre, but it has already captivated me with its colorful cast of characters.

Then there is the mystical futbol.. Having played it at PAX West last year, this was the only thing I was skeptical about, but it turns out there was nothing to fear. The gameplay is simple to grasp, but I feel I only have scratched the surface of what I can or should be doing.

There is much more to Pyre than mystical futbol. There is making decisions on where your caravan is going, how to interact with your party members and how those interactions affect not only your relationships but their performance in the Rites, and customizing your characters.

Pyre is everything I expected from Supergiant Games’ third outing, and a lot of stuff I didn’t. For $19.99 you can’t go wrong.

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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