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What’s In Your Box: Week of 2/7

/ Feb 7th, 2015 No Comments

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

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

Since last we spoke, I have been playing a few games. However, it doesn’t matter what game anyone is playing right now because none of them are Persona 5. Atlus dropped a nuke on my soul with that new trailer. It looks phenomenal. Given my recent Persona kick with Persona Q and Persona 3 FES/Portable, the evolution of the series is immediate apparent. It is crazy there hasn’t been a proper game since the PlayStation 2.

The long break in the series since Persona 4 has probably been the best for the series. Based on the footage in the trailer, it has given the Persona team a long time to hone and refine what a Persona game should be. While the wait for Persona 5 and Final Fantasy XV is going to be torture, JRPGs haven’t been nearly as exciting in years.

Did you hear Netflix is making a series based on The Legend of Zelda? And it’ll be live-action? The concept going into it is to make an all-ages version of Game of Thrones, which makes zero sense. George R.R. Martin’s books and The Legend of Zelda have no similarities besides both being medieval fantasy. What is Netflix going to do make a political intrigue based around Hyrule? What we all love about The Legend of Zelda is the high level skull and dagger of it, not the clever action-adventure aspects of the game.

Will they deal with the Gerudos infiltrating the inner circle of Hyrule’s political structure, the Gorons trying to gain independence, or the Zoras threatening Hyrule’s water supply? Will Tingle capture our hearts and minds like Peter Dinkelage’s portrayal of Tyrion Lannister? Unlike HBO, it is doubtful Netflix will pour the money into making the series right.

Ranting aside, this week I’ve been playing a bit of catch up with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and CounterSpy. The record will show my new undying support for the Wii U. Nintendo has turned the system around tremendously. One of the final releases for the system in 2014 was Captain Toad.

While it has been sitting on my shelf for a while, I hadn’t gotten around to it until now. It is every bit as charming as when I checked it out at a preview event. The game’s biggest strength is the clever use of perspective and camera. Level design is based around futzing with the camera. So when you move the camera around the game, you can often find new secrets or paths. It is a lot of fun to mess around with.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Rotating the camera in levels is a must.

The levels are fun with a good degree of difficulty to them. Collecting all the diamonds in a level is a good challenge, and adds a natural replayability to most levels. The game looks great too; Nintendo has cracked the balance between art direction and the system’s limitations to create sharp looking and pretty games. As a cheaper title, you can blaze through the content rather quickly, but for the price and quality, it is definitely worth playing.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

This dude is kind of a jerk.

CounterSpy came out back in the summah as part of the PS Store PLAY line-up. Sadly, Rogue Legacy came out at the same time, and everything else took a back seat. It is a shame I didn’t get around to this game sooner because it is fantastic. The game’s aesthetic and presentation is wonderful. From the heavily stylized graphics to the music to the writing, the game oozes Cold War, spy game charm.


The changes in perspective are always a dynamic treat.

Much like Mark of the Ninja, CounterSpy uses its side-scrolling presentation effectively making the stealth approach in the game accessible. Due to its side-scrolling look, the game can create some dramatic and visually compelling angles through cover. Fire fights with enemy soldiers become extra tense thanks to the shifts in perspective when you move from different types of cover.

The game also introduces online integrated elements in a smart way. When you start taking on missions, you get notified of a rival spy’s score. You wrack up a score by taking out enemies stealthily or with a headshot, taking out cameras and other manners. If you beat the score of your rival, you can recover intel from their corpse in the next mission. Recovering the intel nets you a nice bit of cash to purchase, formulas, ammo, or new weapons.


Gimme all your secrets.

It is a passive functionality, but it integrates well into the game’s gameplay and is really cool. My first time going through missions, the first rival I encountered was Gaming Illustrated’s own, Chance Asue. After trouncing his score, I got to recover intel from his body in the next mission and help further my own super spy cause. The personal touch of beating your friend’s score was a good way to introduce the mechanic.

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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