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What’s in Your Box: Week of 10-31

/ Oct 31st, 2015 No Comments

Assassin's Creed Syndicate

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 Kalvin’s Box

Yeah, I know it’s Halloween, but I’m not a big horror game fan outside of a select few titles. Instead of indulging in themed games and in-game costumery, I decided to treat my box. I finally started to check out Project X Zone, for better or worse. Other than that I’ve been working on reviews for The Talos Principle and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

Fan Friction

Project X Zone is a conundrum. On one hand the combat is amazing. The clever mix of strategy with weird active time fight-esque moves is surprisingly deep, but easy to pick up. On the other hand, the writing is utter garbage. It is difficult to sit through some of the long, drawn out torturous dialogue sequences. The game tries its hardest to explain why all these characters are drawn together, but it comes off as trying too hard.

Project X Zone 2

Hopefully the writing is better in Project X Zone.

Sadly, the writing is basically sub-par fan-fiction. The game is certainly worth checking out for the combat, but you’ll do a lot of furious dialogue skipping. Hopefully, the writing is better in the sequel.

Being Human’s Hard

The Talos Principle intrigued me when it released on PC a while back, but I never had the time to try it out. Luckily, I have the opportunity to check it out now with the Deluxe Edition release on PS4. The Talos Principle is not a game you can just pick and play, it is some heady stuff. Not only will the puzzles test your ability to problem solve, the story raises some deep philosophical questions.

The Talos Principle

The Talos Principle has some beauty scenery.

What makes the puzzles clever yet not totally daunting is how the game acclimates you to the puzzle solving mechanics slowly. You learn over time how each mechanic functions and how those functions can be manipulated to help get you the precious Tetris sigils. As you’ve gained all the juice out of one element, the game introduces a new mechanic and the cycle starts over except now you need to learn how the mechanics work together. Eventually, you are forced to think about how five different mechanics can work together to open the pathway to another sigil. Due to clever puzzle design, there is always a deeply rewarding satisfaction to solving one.

Road to Gehenna

It is important to remember you are human even if you don’t know what that means.

While the puzzles ask a lot of the player, the narrative asks even more. As you go around solving puzzles at the behest of the booming voice of Elohim, issues of free will, personhood, and morality constantly arise. Not only do you need to think actively about these philosophical ideas, there is a larger contextual story you have to construct from computer files and voice recording fragments. Despite demanding a good deal from the player, both the heavy gameplay and story are greatly edifying to see to their conclusion.

1868’s the Number, Another Assassination

Assassin’s Creed as a series is full of some terrific highs and some terrifying lows. While the series earned back trust with Black Flag, it dashed all of the good will with the half-baked Unity. The prospect of playing a new Assassin’s Creed this year was a dubious endeavor if anything. That said, I started up Assassin’s Creed Syndicate this week, and I am pleasantly surprised by it. In a similar fashion to how Black Flag used its proximity to Assassin’s Creed III, Syndicate stands out because of its ho-hum predecessor.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate starts out of the gate with a good deal going for it. It has a good setting in 1868 London, ditched multiplayer and a companion app completely, and has two charming protagonists in the Frye twins. The controls of both Jacob and Evie feel good with some refreshing gameplay ideas with two different play styles for each twin. Syndicate opens strong with two fun missions highlighting how Jacob and Evie’s methods differ from each other. Jacob is a bruiser, while Evie favors a stealth approach. Despite different approaches, both of the opening missions end in chaos and some fairly well handled cinematic action moments.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s carriages are a great way to get around London.

It is still too early to tell, but Syndicate may actually be the current-gen Assassin’s Creed we deserve. If only Ubisoft would ditch some of the antiquated and awful mission staples from the series then we’d have a real game. It’s also sad that the handling of the horse drawn carriage in the game is better than the cars in Watch Dog’s Chicago.

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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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