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What’s in Your Box: Week of 12-19

/ Dec 19th, 2015 No Comments

Star Wars: Battlefront

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 back plebs! Let’s get this out of the way first: All that’s left in Banjo-Kazooie is Freezeezy Peak, which I’m saving as a treat for Christmas. That’s right scrubs, I skipped the level entirely (except to learn its sole move of course) and 100% every other bit, including Grunty’s quiz. I know that’s the only reason you read my blurb so there it is.

Important business aside, I’ve been putting time into Star Wars: Battlefront in anticipation of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which was beyond exceptional and brought peace to a deep rift in my heart. Those who haven’t had the pleasure of Battlefront should hop on board now. A lot of deals are about at various stores, as the big fat red holiday is just around the corner.

Star Wars: Battlefront

Hop into Battlefront!.

While EA has done their usual shenanigans of having major DLC just around the corner from launch, the product is quality enough to almost warrant it. Battles are just as epic as Star Wars fans would hope and the heroes/villains are incredibly dynamic and distinct in how they play.

Having Leia Organa face down her father is just as enjoyable as Luke versus the Emperor himself. While some of the weapons and iconic characters are inherently better than others, varying skill levels even the game out significantly. No one side ever feels too powerful or on a win hot-streak and matches are not so long as to require a major time investment.

What’s in Kalvin’s Box

Christmas is literally around the corner, and it is always a busy time of the year buying presents and decorating. Despite the hectic nature of the holiday season, I’ve kept a few games in my box. I’ve kept plugging away at Fantasy Life, and finished up Life is Strange last weekend.

One thing I can’t keep away from recently though is Steamworld Heist for 3DS, which I am in the process of reviewing. It has all the cool factor of Steamworld Dig with a more in-depth story, and deliciously satisfying strategy gameplay. Leveling up your crew, grabbing swag, and figuring out the best way to pull off a job will keep you glued to your 3DS until the battery dies.

Fantasy Life has all the charm I expect from a Level-5 game, but the writing can often be unbearable. If it wasn’t for the excellent gameplay I’d have given up on it, but man is it fun to quest and kill stuff in the game. While I often have to grit my teeth through the dialogue, the story is not bad. Learning about what is actually happening with the Doomstones and Lunares is quite in intriguing, if only you didn’t have to sit through endless dialogue to get some answers.

Life is Strange was impossible for me to put down. I started it late on a Friday night and finished it Monday. My girlfriend started get distracted by it as I began episode 2, and despite finding it weird that “Max doesn’t do anything” got hooked quickly. By the end of episode 5, we were both weighing the decisions we had to make and how best to finish Max’s story. Obviously Warren gets iced out because he can’t get no play when Max has Chole. Also, we both just wanted that other reality to end immediately.

Life Is Strange Episode 3

I ship Max and Chole.

Dontnod Entertainment did a masterful job at narrative construction making each episode immensely satisfying on its own, but building to a trippy and beautiful sci-fi cum slice of life tale. Each episode has its own memorable moments either in the form of the “oh sh*t” or just sweet and touching character moments between Max and Chole. The writing did a hell of job fleshing out characters and making sure the background players had more going on with them than simply being props for Max to interact with. David in particular turned out be quite a compelling figure. Oh and that reveal is one for the ages, but real obvious if you think about it.
Life is Strange Episode 2

A no-rewind play through will make dealing with Frank even tougher.

The rewind powers can seem at times to take much of the difficult decision making out of the equation because if you don’t like an outcome then you can simply rewind. However, that is over simplifying things because even if you can rewind to see different outcomes, you don’t know how any one decision will affect the larger story or what you may be prevented from doing later. Even though I rewound a number of decisions, it became clear early no matter how many do overs you do, there are still things you cannot foresee. A cool idea is doing a no-rewind play through, where you can’t use rewind unless where absolutely necessary. It would certainly be constraining in a number of situation.
Life is Strange

Life is Strange is a lovely game.

I highly recommend going out and experiencing Life is Strange immediately. It is one of the finest adventure games in a while. If you love the idea of a Veronica Mars video game then this is as close as you’ll get. Make sure to keep your eyes out for photo ops too! Always take the shot, Max.

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

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