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What’s in Your Box: Week of 11-14

/ Nov 14th, 2015 No Comments

Rise of the Tomb Raider PS4 Release Date

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

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate dominated my box this week as I killed my way across London to face down Crawford Starrick. Feel free to check out my review of Syndicate for a more in-depth opinion. Outside of hidden blading people in the Victorian era, I prepared for Extra Life. Sadly, moving to a new place and the need to store the junk you took with you put a damper on my PS2 and Xbox streaming plans since I misplaced my streaming device and component cables. Luckily, this week two big games came out, so it gave me a hell of a plan B. This weekend I’ve been spending some time with Fallout 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

In all our previous Extra Life streams, I’ve been fortunate to have co-pilots helping me out. Going solo provided its own challenges that didn’t seem so daunting when it was a collaborative effort. Playing anything for hours straight without fiddling on your phone, going to the bathroom, or snacking drains you. I knew last year the strain of trying to game continuously over 24 hours, but this time it is different.

Fallout 4

Keep vigilant out there in the Commonwealth.

It sucks not being able to pass the controller over to a buddy to take the reins while I take a needed break from starring at the screen. Also, trying to keep a continuous stream entertaining with commentary and banter is a lot of heavy lifting without someone to bounce conversations and jokes off of. I’ll still be streaming out today over various periods, feel free to check in at my twitch today and make a donation to our Extra Life page.

Fallout 4 is one of the biggest gaming events this year. Nothing can match the excitement at the prospect of heading back into the wastelands. While fans bemoaned the long wait (let’s be real, it wasn’t that long, or only as long as other major series like Metal Gear Solid), absence clearly made the Nuka Cola all the more refreshing. I’ve only played the game for around 10 hours, and it feels like I’m only scratching the surface. The main narrative thrust seems clear; find your missing son, Shaun.

However, 200 years below ground complicates the chase. Re-adjusting to the ravished Commonwealth isn’t easy. There are plenty of other important things competing for your attention like helping rebuild flagging militias fighting to keep order in a lawless land. Or helping some weirdo drain a quary. Staying focused is nearly impossible with tons of important (and trivial) quests and tasks fighting for your attention. It’ll be interesting to see how my chef hat wearing vault dweller will find his way in this new world.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider has a good number of tombs to raid.

The reboot of Tomb Raider was one of 2013’s biggest surprises. It was easy to write off the Tomb Raider series after a number of uneven entries. Crystal Dynamics’ decision to start fresh was the best thing for the series. Despite all the odd rights management and timed exclusivity, it was hard not to be excited for Rise of the Tomb Raider and what Crystal Dynamics would do next with Lara’s story. The introduction of Trinity (an element introduced in the ho-hum tie-in novel of the series) has raised the stakes significantly for Lara in her search for the Divine Source in Kitezh. The cinematic approach to stroytelling is ratcheted up creating a smooth and fluid melding of gameplay and cut scenes.

What Rise of the Tomb Raider succeeds at is improving upon the elements of the reboot. Stealth works well and is actually much more satisfying than an open fire fight. The platforming is super smooth and responsive with less instances of jumping off in a random direction to Lara’s gruesome death. The crafting and skill trees are more robust making leveling up and upgrading more satisfying. Side quests so far are interesting and feel like a worth while diversion. The only drawback is the hunting seems like an afterthought again. Rise of the Tomb Raider is shaping up to be even better than its predecessor.

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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