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What’s in Your Box: Week of 9-26

/ Sep 26th, 2015 No Comments

Persona 4: Dancing All Night

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 one of those weeks. You know the kind of week. The one where you aren’t sleeping enough, and only want to take naps, but can’t because you are busy as all hell. My boxes this week have once again been switched to review mode. This week my commute was dominated by Persona 4: Dancing All Night, and at home I spent time wrapping up Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and explored the wasteland in Skyshine’s Bedlam.

The Amiibo Life Chose Me

Busy or not that didn’t stop me from being Amiibo trash again this Friday where I ended up picking up some Animal Crossing cards and the New Nintendo 3DS system for my girlfriend and a pack of the retro Amiibo for myself. Lucky for I now live minutes from both a GameStop and Fred Meyer and it is a quick walk over to try my hand at grabbing some Amiibo. Unlike any time prior, it was supremely easy to walk in and buy a set of them.

Maybe it’s because there was only one set out today and they took online/pre-orders for them, or Portland doesn’t quite care as much. Whatever the reason, I didn’t have to deal with the sweaty caravan people that spend hours driving around trying to grab all the Amiibo to complete their collections. I don’t quite understand my fascination with Nintendo’s odd shell game, but damn if they don’t release new Amiibo and I inherently want to buy some.

Just Want to Dance!

Persona 4: Dancing All Night came in pretty recently, which means I’ve only had a few days to tinker around with it. While I normally jump straight into story mode, which is a bizarre sentence to type for a rhythm game, I figured I needed to give the actual gameplay its own due. I’ve spent most of my time in Free Dance mode checking out things. There is a small selection of songs to choose from off the bat, but completing them will unlock new ones.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night

Chie got them move doe.

Part of the reason I put off story mode was to see if the issues I was concerned about at E3 were because of the game itself, the setting, or playing it on a PS TV without any sound. It was most likely the setting, but I’ll need to set it up on a PS TV to see if that is an issue. Playing it on the Vita’s screen without any sensory distractions (minus the normal distractions of the train) is great environment for the tough rhythm gameplay. Any issues or failures are due to skill or lack thereof than the game or Vita.

It’s still too early to tell, but Persona 4: Dancing All Night might be worth looking into and buying for your Vita.

It’s Hard Out Here

Skyshine’s Bedlam impressed me when I got a chance to play a bit of it back at E3 this year. The style was pronounced, the art was eye catching and captured the grunginess of the game’s post-apocalyptic setting, and the gameplay was engaging. It got a full release recently on Steam, and I’ve been playing it here and there since. The game’s roguelike approach means you’ll die often before completing the main goal of reaching Aztec City. Whether it is because you run out of fuel, food, or the tough wasteland dwellers wipe out your entire raiding parties, it’ll take some time before you get the learning curve.

Skyshine's Bedlam

Battles in Skyshine’s Bedlam are intense and fast.

Despite being a difficult game, Skyshine’s Bedlam is highly addictive thanks in part to the rougelike elements, but mostly owed to the deep tactical combat. Every fight in the wasteland can turn deadly quick. Since release, the game has been balanced to make combat a bit more forgiving, but only to prevent cheap, frustrating rushes. There is still a hearty challenge and strategy to coming out the victor over the scum of the barrens.
Skyshine's Bedlam

Before battle, make sure to pick a suitable wrecking crew.

It definitely has been good to get more time with the game, and better understand the systems in play. The full release brings the promise that Skyshine’s Bedlam showed at E3 to fruition.

Those That Do for Themselves

While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, it hasn’t dripped with the Kojima oddball non-sense that prior games have been memorable for. Sure there are little weird things like petting DD in the field; “to be continued” title cards in the middle of missions, getting a birthday celebration at Mother Base when you return from a mission with the system clock set to your birthday. However, there hasn’t been the excessively long cut-scenes with barely incoherent nuclear and military industrial complex diatribes, no one has come out as an Otaku and talked about anime for 20 minutes, and there isn’t a fat man on roller skates talking about his beautiful hands.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Okay, there are some pretty dumb things strewn about the game.

That changes once you start getting to the end of the first chapter and into the epilogue. Crazy non-sense ramps up and you get some wonderfully bizarre moments that help capture the tone that Metal Gear Solid is known for. The scene with Big Boss and Quiet in the epilogue is bananas and made me feel like I wasn’t supposed to be watching it. Yet overall the writing and story has exercised restraint to tell an elegant story that flows beautifully between gameplay and story beats.

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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