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What’s In Your Box: Week of 5-23

/ May 23rd, 2015 No Comments

The Witcher 3

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 easy to guess what’s in my box this week. Predictably, I’ve been playing nothing but The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt since picking it up on Tuesday. Guys, I have something to say, it might be controversial, but…The Witcher 3 is a really good game, guys. It’s weird for the third game in a series I hadn’t played before managed to draw me into its world almost immediately. There is something intangibly compelling about Geralt of Rivia that hooks from the word go.

One thing becomes readily apparent once you start playing The Witcher 3, the game and world is huge. As such, it is hard to get your bearings at times. There is just so much to see and explore. In my first few hours, I spent the majority of it trailing off into side quests as they popped up while I was trying to attend to the main story missions.

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

You can go anywhere you want, which also means you can go where monsters will end your life quick.

Galloping around on Roach tending to mission concerns can often lead you to someone in need of help, bandits pillaging the weak, towns overrun with monsters, and more. Exploration in the game is dynamic allowing you to discover cool stuff as you go. That’s even before your map starts popping up specific point of interest you should investigate. It’s very easy to get distracted in The Witcher 3, but that’s one of the coolest things about it.

The Witcher 3’s gameplay is phenomenal. Fighting as a Witcher offers a lot of depth, both in terms of actual combat and customization. Geralt is an expert swordsman wielding two blades, one for monsters and one for everything else. He can also use several different signs, which are weak but practical magic in combat. Learning how best to combine both offensive and defensive magic and melee skills are exhilarating. The game punishes those whom get careless, so making sure to keep your potions well stock and your skills sharp are vital.

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt

Even if Geralt is looking for a goat or a burnt pan, there is never a dull moment.

Both main story missions and side quests have a good bit of depth to them. One of the most exciting aspects of gameplay is the way you need to use Geralt’s Witcher senses to investigate during missions. It forces you to discover new facts about a quest and often presents you with alternate way to finish a mission. As a result, you often have a number of different ways to complete a quest, which is cool because simply killing something can be a bore.

Also, how you finish a mission can have story ramifications depending on your decisions during the mission. The moral choices in the game are not black-and-white. Choices are shades of grey with more nuance than what you typically find in games with some sense of morality. This allows you to play Geralt as you envision him.

I’m going to be honest, my time with the game so far isn’t even scratching the surface. However, I’m fully on board with losing myself in this beautiful world of witches, monsters, and monstrous humans. One thing that needs to be noted is the quality of voice acting. It is off the charts good. I often find myself sad when a character doesn’t have a long monologue or Geralt can’t ask a million follow-ups. It is a masterpiece of voice acting.

What’s in Ben’s Box

The Witcher 3. Of course it is? How could it not be? And no, I’m not just trying to be a cool kid like Kalvin and mock his box. In fact, anyone who isn’t playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is missing out on one of the most intoxicating gaming experiences available right now. This is the kind of stuff that makes for “next-gen” gaming. But, as much as I want to get lost in Geralt’s journey, there’s a few more titles I’m jumping into this weekend as well…for science

After the second episode of Life is Strange, it became apparent that Dontnod Entertainment was doing something different and unique with the adventure genre. The first episode effectively established a world of stereotypical yet realistic high schoolers and created tangible drama despite the time manipulation trick. While the rough lip syncing has carried through the season so far, it hasn’t soured the emotional impact of the game. Episode Two ended with one of the most gut-wrenching moments of any game I have ever played, including The Walking Dead.

Life is Strange

Life is Strange – Episode 3: Chaos Theory.

I thirst for how the ramifications of my decisions echo throughout the narrative. It’s why I immediately went back to Episode One, I had to see how those tiny permutations might affect that last big event in the game. Death, destruction, life, heartbreak, it’s all been there so far. I can’t imagine what is left on the roller coaster at this crucial mid-point.

Sometimes I judge myself for how often I play Destiny. In a way, it’s like a drug that I hate being addicted to. But then again, I spend a painful amount of time in Bungie’s repetitive “MMO” because I play with a bunch of friends and we have a great time playing a game that doesn’t require too much brain power after the umpteenth time of doing the same activity while talking about nothing in general.

House of Wolves

The Fallen are the focus of Destiny’s House of Wolves expansion.

House of Elders has given us a new grind to put our guardians through. On the second day I reached the level cap of 34 and felt a little disappointment that it was so easy to reach. Prison of Elders is a bit repetitive but at least has legs since we must rotate it between three people in at least eight or nine regular players. The level 35 variation provided a lot of heartbreak for me and two of my friends last night in which we spent several hours getting to the final boss, killing him, having us die, and having to restart. It happened four times and we were tired from hours of playing, and a bit frustrated. Oh well, we will be back at it again. I’m also just scared of getting my butt kicked in Trials of Osiris. That kind of intense PvP can get out of hand quick.

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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