What’s in Your Box: Week of 3/28
Kalvin Martinez / Mar 28th, 2015 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 Kalvin’s Box
It’s been a while, but you know the game don’t wait… And we don’t stop playing video games ever. March is coming to an end and it has been a solid month for video games. Outside of some review games, my time has been dominated by Final Fantasy Type-0 HD with some side trips into Bloodborne.
I’ve only given Bloodborne a bit of play, but it comes out the gate hard. It definitely has the feel of the Souls game in terms of mechanics and controls, but the whole vibe is different. Like stated before it came out, the game is much faster paced. You aren’t spending all your time blocking hoping for an opening. Rather you’ll spend a lot more time dodging, striking and trying to stun enemies for heavy damage.
The atmosphere and art direction is excellent with its Gothic overtones. While I always had a trepidation when moving through the Souls game, Bloodborne gives you a huge sense of dread and a lump in your throat when navigating its dark corners. Death is always waiting for you, and trying to retrieve your “blood echoes” is easier said than done, so every move must be carefully measure. Bloodborne has some rough edges, but they can be forgiven because the gameplay is rock solid.
Most people picked up Final Fantasy Type-0 HD for the Final Fantasy XV demo, without a huge intention of playing the main game. Make no mistake, I played the **** out of the XV demo before giving Type-0 HD a spin, check out full thoughts here, but it was more out of it being less of a time investment than lack of interest. While Final Fantasy XV is the beacon of hope for where JRPGs are going, Type-0 HD is a good look of what it took to get there.
Hajime Tabata was responsible for one of my favorite Final Fantasy related game in a long time with Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. That was a crown jewel of the PlayStation Portable. Type-0 HD builds on those bones, obviously, as it began its life as a PSP game. Moving from the utterly gorgeous visuals of XV to Type-0 HD is a bit jarring because it is easy to tell it is an HD port.
It doesn’t look bad by any means, but there are obvious signs of it being a PSP game. Like Final Fantasy X HD Remaster, plenty of work went into making the main character models pop and look great (more impressive considering your main party is 14 deep), but every other NPC character’s face looks flat and a bit muddy. There are obvious reasons the game showed up on current-gen consoles, but there is little reason the game couldn’t be out on Vita or PS3.
Even though the game isn’t going to dazzle you with insane visuals, everything about the game’s structure and the gameplay will draw you into it. Type-0 HD sets the tone right away with its opening cut scene by being dark and gritty giving you the horrors of war right away. It is a game firmly about dealing with the messiness of war through a Final Fantasy lens. You meet your squad of 14, Class Zero, quickly and get a good sense of their personalities. What the game does extremely well is develop these characters over time, use these traits to create a good team dynamic, and heighten these idiosyncrasies to further engender you to these characters.
The Crisis Core action-RPG foundation is apparent upon entering the tutorial. In battle, you get a team of three and can switch between any active member at will. Each character has a main attack, a defensive spell/dodge, and two extra slots (either two skills at once or a spell and a skill). You are dodging and attack in active time. There are no breaks; you will not get the leisure of turn-based combat or active-time battle. You slip up and you die.
Even if you can switch out between additional team members during battle if one falls, every death adversely affects your battle ranking. Plus, if you aren’t mindful enough, you will get in a bad way on a mission and fail it. So, managing your team members is important. Class Zero takes on missions to help further the war goals of Rubrum. In between each mission, you get a certain amount of time to explore the academy.
When you can explore you have a number of things to do: take on tasks, talk to characters in special events, buy gear or items, breed Chocobos, or explore the Rubrum controlled territories and level up. Be mindful though because most of these actions will eat up the time you have before mission, and if you run out, you’ll have to head into your mission whether you finished up everything you wanted to or not. Exploring the academy gives the whole game a very Persona-y feel, and the game is all the better for it.
There is a lot to love about Type-0 HD, and believe me, I love it. It is the best Final Fantasy game in years, which is sad considering it officially came out in 2011. Frankly, it is a shame that it took Square Enix this long to bring this game over to America. However, the wait might have been worth it.
What’s in Greg’s Box
Payday 2, Payday 2, Payday 2. With all this new DLC out, including Hoxton’s Revenge, I am playing the s$#% out of Payday 2. It really is still one of the best games out there as far as cooperative robbery goes. Even with Grand Theft Auto V and their heists (which I’m also playing quite a bit of), nothing quite compares to the love that Overkill has delivered to their fans with movie tie-ins, game tie-ins and just general free DLC. While some of their packs are not quite as great as others, Steam has been frequently giving out insane discounts on all associated DLC packs.
I’ve been enjoying a bit of The Book of Unwritten Tales still, making sure to take my time and explore all of the cleverly crafted worlds and ensure I hear every silly little tidbit the game has to offer. While Telltale still reigns supreme as the go-to point-and-click gaming company, King Art and Nordic Games will hopefully be continuing to make great games similar to the Book of Unwritten tales. Even just a third to round it out as a trilogy would be more than welcome. Solid references to just about every single instance of mainstream fantasy I can think up really want me to give both games a standing ovation.
While not taking up nearly as much as my time as the above mentions, still worth note is Nobody Said It Was Easy, by the small one-man team Cup of Joe Games. It is an entirely free mobile game, which I also did a review on, that deserves every bit of phrase it receives. Nobody Said It Was Easy lives up to its name by being ridiculously hard as well as more exciting than being dropped into a shark tank. Also it’s just flat-out exceptionally well done. It makes for an amazing time-killer while on break at work or if just waiting around in the doctor’s office.
What’s in Ben’s Box
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going to be playing Bloodborne. What’s in my box? Bloodborne. What has been in my box for about two weeks? Yup, you’ve guessed it. After convincing several people in my Destiny fireteam to get the devilishly hard game, I’ve been serving as a mini-guide through their blood-drenched trek through Yharnam. Visceral attacks are so much better with friends.
As fun as it can be, I’ve sunk about eighty plus hours into Bloodborne and it can loosen a few nerves and put you on edge. To change it up a bit and have a less stressful pace, I’m going to experience life as a time traveling teenage girl in Life is Strange: Episode 2. The first episode showed a lot of promise with story, setting, and characters despite some technical flaws. My hope for Episode 2 is that my choices made with Max will start to show ripples and that I will be hooked enough to go back and replay the first chapter making new choices.
Axiom Verge, a game I’ve been excited to play for quite some time, has been in my hands for a few days now. Metroidvania fans will definitely be entranced by the game’s approach to exploration and item collection. With 8-bit graphics and an intriguing art style, I’m still left a little baffled that only one guy, Tom Happ, is responsible for virtually everything to be found in the game. It’s deep and entertaining and I can’t wait to play more.
tags: bloodborne , Final Fantasy Type-0 HD , Life is Strange , Nobody Said It Was Easy , opinion , payday 2 , The Book of Unwritten Tales , What's in Your Box