What’s In Your Box: Week of E3
Kalvin Martinez / Jun 27th, 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
E3 is finally over. It came like a whirlwind ravaging fanboys and my mental state in equal measure. After 3 years of attending the big show, I got everything down to a science except eating during the show, but time eating is time you could be getting hyped. It is a relief for it to be over finally because the exhaustion is real.
This may have been the best E3 I have attended. Part of it was not having the stress of too many appointments, but mostly because developers are putting out realized games. The new console cycle is in full swing, and devs have gotten used to the systems. Now we are seeing promising games coming out early next year.
Since my first E3, I made a resolution to play as much as I possibly can during the show. This year was no exception. I either played or saw significant gameplay for over 30 games. Some will result in long form previews, but I will at least try to go over the ones that don’t in the next few “What’s in Your Box” features. For this week I will go into Below, Cuphead, Yoshi’s Wooly World, and Death’s Gambit.
Below is one of the few games Microsoft showed off early in the Xbox One’s life that made me want the system. It’s been a while since its initial announcement, but now it is finally on the way. It seems like every time Capy has demoed the game at cons, I missed playing it. But that changed this year.
There is a stark and solemn beauty to Below. It has excellent art dealer reaction and a distinct ground design choice. The lack of a UI is a bold choice, but it works to create a sense of being in Below’s world. There is no obtrusion into your adventure in Below.
The game has some clear Dark Souls influences, but it at the core of its gameplay, it plays like a darker The Legend of Zelda. The bonfires are a nice reference, they act as restart points when you die. Below’s roguelike elements definitely help expand on the Dark Souls influences by making you new every time you die. Below definitely is high on my anticipated list.
Speaking of Dark Souls influenced games, Death’s a Gambit made an appearance at Indie Cade‘s booth. I was lucky to get some time on this game. It is a 2D side-scrolling Dark Souls-esque game with a heavy Shadow of the Colossus look. Apparently some bosses in the game will take up the whole screen.
It has a steep difficulty out the gate, naturally. As you encounter enemies, you slowly learn how to approach the combat. You can dodge to get a better position, while trying to hack at enemies with your sword or take aim with your bow. Enemies aren’t relentlessly trying to cut you down, but they do look for opportune moments to attack. Like the wraith in the demo, it waited for the perfect time to burrow below ground and then pop up to unleash some slash combos with its blade arms for massive damage. If you aren’t smart that is your end.
Death’s Gambit utilizes shrines for revive points, and phoenix feathers to heal (however, using them is a negative and can keep you from opening a chest). The protagonist can grapple onto specific points to gain access to new areas. He can also use the environment to deal damage to enemies. In the demo, this took the form of explosive barrels that when show with his bow dealt huge explosive damage. With sharp difficult, a great art style, and a promise of massive bosses, Death’s Gambit has a ton of promise.
Yoshi’s Woolly World is an adorable ****ing game. Full stop. It fills your black, dead heart with joy and fuzzy feelings. The core gameplay is still what you’d expect from a Yoshi game. Yoshi flutter jumps, eats enemies with his tonuge, and shoots eggs.
Rather than feeling contrived or rotten, the elements work here thanks to Yoshi being able to throw yarn balls to create platforming areas in his woolly world. If you don’t get get immediately happy when playing this game then you are a heartless monster like Greg. The charming art style and sound platforming gameplay will make this a fine addition to the Wii U catalog.
On the otherside of bold art direction and style is Cuphead. The game made a huge splash at E3 with good reason. It is a bonkers game, in a good way. The style and art direction are immediately mesmerizing with its 1930’s cartoon aesthetic by way of acid and mushrooms. Yet the game doesn’t come across as all style and no substance. Backing up its unique look are inspired boss fights, reflex crushing bullet hell and platforming mechanics, and a fun co-op system. Cuphead is a beast and cannot come out soon enough.
What’s in Greg’s Box
Well I managed to barely survive my first E3 thanks to my amazing co-writers. Special shout out to Kalvin for carrying me in a back-pack Yoda-style to E3, while I reminded him of “game and game not, there is no alpha.” All of that aside, E3 had way too much for any one person to do, so priorities were made. Top of my list was Star Fox Zero, which I immediately fell in love with. The improved controls were nothing short of a delight and the starcraft to mech transformation was smooth and satisfying. Star Fox Zero is going to be a major hit. It was well worth the hype of being Nintendo’s big front runner this year.
Another series I love, Ratchet & Clank, had their little station set-up for play. There were two demos to be had, a full level and boss battle. I opted for the boss battle and noted that basically every weapon worked on the boss, which was a nice touch. Ratchet & Clank may not have the fame of some other platforming staples, but their weapon system is second-to-none in terms of variety and enjoyment. The reward of maxing out a weapon can only be compared to getting the first star, for the first time, in Super Mario 64. Also the cheeky humor the series is known for is back in full force. It is at a solid Rare level in terms of sarcastic wit and zany one-liners.
Oh and one more thing, Star Wars Battlefront, f&$^ing Battlefront. It was cleaned up and as fluid as water from the sink. Excellent gameplay, mixed with easy-to-learn controls will propel this game into everyone’s console of choice come this holiday season.
tags: Below , Cuphead , Death's Gambit , e3 , E3 2015 , ratchet & clank , Star Fox Zero , Star Wars Battlefront , What's in Your Box , Yoshi's Woolly World