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What’s in Your Box: Week of 4-30

/ Apr 30th, 2016 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

The end of April gave me plenty of time to play some video games. There have been plenty of Alphas and Betas happening before May even begins. As such, a lot of my time this week has been spent checking out some unfinished, but promising looks at upcoming games. My box has mainly been packed with the Nioh Alpha Demo, and the Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst Closed Beta.

Surf Ninja

Team Ninja lost a step when Itagaki left (although given Devil’s Third, so did Itagaki), but Nioh has looked promising. When news came that Koei Tecmo would release a timed Alpha demo of the game, my curiosity was piqued. Would it be as plagued by annoying (and unnecessarily) severe difficulty like Ninja Gaiden 3 or would it be a return to form in action game excellence for Team Ninja? More importantly I was interested to see how it would play.

As an Alpha demo it is obvious an early look at the game. It is also unfinished, so my issues with it may very well be remedied by the final retail release. Before I go into what rubbed me the wrong way, I will say that Nioh definitely shows Team Ninja still has it. There are plenty of cool aspects to Nioh like fast-paced, fluid combat and a unique system of stances to alter how you approach combat. It is also a pretty looking game even in Alpha. Most importantly, seeing Team Ninja take their specific brand of action game and apply to the Souls model of action games is exciting.


Nioh Alpha Demo

The Nioh Alpha Demo shows a lot of promise and is definitely worth checking out.

However, there are some issues with Nioh. While not as frustratingly difficult as Ninja Gaiden 3, Nioh still has some obvious balancing issues with enemies killing you in one hit at the outset. That changes a bit once you level up and find better gear, but making the game hella grindy off the bat is not a good look. The AI at times seems really dumb and other times will wreck you immediately. There is plenty of balancing issues with the game right now. If fixed and tweaked these will amount to a real cool Souls type game with Ninjas.

Despite some flaws (which should be addressed and fixed by launch – this is Alpha, of course), all PS4 owners should check out the Nioh Alpha Demo, if only for the fact that it is free.

Beta Vertigo

Right around the time EA announced Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst’s delay to June 7, they ran a Closed Beta of the game. Obviously since they ran the Beta only a month prior to the original delayed release of May 24, we all knew the game wouldn’t come out on May 24. The June delay will allow DICE to refine the social aspects of the game, which is fine, but that also could have come out in a patch.

Honesty up front, I never played the original’s Mirror’s Edge. It came out at a time when I wasn’t playing much of any games. Instead focusing on school and a heavy workload (yes, there was a time when I was a filthy casual). Yet it always intrigued me. Despite having bought it on PC and having it on PS3, I never found the time for it. However, when EA announced Mirror’s Edge origin story, Catalyst a few years back I knew it was my time.

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst Beta

It’ll be cool to see where Faith’s story began.

The Closed Beta gave me a good taste of what is to come in the full release. Faith’s free running abilities and the traversal system in the game are wildly fun and fluid. Learning the tricks to the game’s hand-to-hand combat was exciting. The story looks like it’ll be engrossing and the open-world aspect is super cool. If the Closed Beta has done anything it has made me amped to check out the full release and finally give Mirror’s Edge a chance.

What’s in Greg’s Box

Another Weekend, another peer inside boxes!

This week I’ve been pretty invested in Tomba! As I relived the game (as well as its sequel Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return) in preparation for my latest Greg’s Cheers to Gaming. The controls are a bit more sluggish then I remember them being in yesteryear, but overall it’s a quick hurdle to overcome. The gameplay is just as fluid and enjoyable as it was when I was a boy playing it. Most of the challenge of the game is figuring out where to go and what to do next, so I can’t call it a particularly hard game after so many playthroughs. The love is still there, as it is in all timeless games. Tomba! has its own unique brand of humor and a beautiful and unique art-style.

Dark Souls III

Dark Souls 3 will once again punish you.

Dark Souls 3 has also taken some time in my box and boy is it brutal. Nothing says “Please punish me father” quite like playing a Dark Souls video game and this one didn’t disappoint. The mechanics are perfect and smooth, literally leaving no excuse for dying other than your own failings. The class and magic system is top notch and will offer a number of ways to enjoy the game, while simultaneously hating it. Anyone looking to give it a shot should pick it up now, especially with the free copy of Dark Souls included in Xbox One Day One Editions.

I have beaten Paper Mario again, soon I start Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. It is a slow grind to death they say, but I have Paper Mario along the way.

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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