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What’s in Your Box: Genies & Fascists

/ Jul 15th, 2017 No Comments

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

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 Greg’s Box

Welcome back Box-a-rinos! While Banjo-Kazooie was on my plate this week, I found myself deeply craving something a little more… savage.

Thus I spent this week knee-deep in the carnage that is Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. I picked it up via the Steam Summer Sale, along with Wolfenstein: The New Order, and decided I’d play the prequel before the main course itself.

Nothing is more American than killing nazis. For a game that is simply about just that it does a great job of delivering a gripping narrative and non-stop action.

There are stealth parts, but if that ain’t your game you can stomp in guns blazing and just go to town. If collectible finding ain’t your style, then there’s always in-game permanent buff rewards for just getting down and dirty with kills.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

Killing Nazis is the menu de jure.

To top it all off, these in-game rewards are saved continuously, even upon death, so if you find an area that allows for easy farming of a specific achievement (such as how I did with stealth killing commanders) it can replayed over and over by reloading the previous checkpoint.

I farmed a number of the in-game buffs this way. Then with my new increased character proceeded to stomp my way through the game.

Don’t get me wrong, the game is still a raw challenge even with all the upgrades available, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to get them early and then get to nazi killing proper.

What’s in Your Box

My box this week has been highly portable yet able to become a home console at a moments notice. The Switch has the coolest gimmick in Nintendo’s history. It is the ease and quality of going from docked to handheld that makes this system so exciting. Right now I am more inclined to buy a game for Switch than I am for any other console if I have the choice. The only problem is there aren’t a ton of games out for it now.

This week, I have been getting into Shantae: Half-Genie Hero on the Switch.

Hips Don’t Lie

My introduction to Shantae came when I reviewed Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse on 3DS. The game was packed with charm. It’s mix of tightly technical platforming with Metroidvania-style power-ups/pathways made it hard to put down.

The boss fights were great and the game never let up the challenge. On 3DS it’s sole drawback was the weak D Pad that made some of the more difficult sections hard to get through.

Ever since then I have been eager to check out another Shantae joint. When Half-Genie Hero originally released, I almost bit the bullet on PS4/Vita, but not wanting to spend money and it not being on sale quashed that. However, when the Switch version got announced, sale or not, I picked that ish up!

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

The boss fights are tough and epic.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is every bit as charming as Pirate’s Curse except its controls are perfect and the new dance power-ups create a deeper gameplay experience. It is also absolutely gorgeous. The sprites bristle with personality and the animations are superb.

As Scuttle Town’s Half-Genie guardian, Shantae has a responsibility to keep the town safe from danger that mainly comes from her nemesis Risky Boots or various nefarious yet ultimately incompetent Barons. From the get go, Shantae’s relationship with the mayor is fractured with the mayor constantly threatening to replace her as the town’s Half-Genie Hero.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

The transformation dances turns Shantae from half-genie into a cute version of whatever animal she is transforming into.

After one perceived screw up, the mayor brings in a new half-genie, but that doesn’t stop her from keeping Scuttle Town safe. While she is unemployed she helps her uncle assemble an important project by looking for parts all around Sequin Land. In her journey for parts, she inadvertently handles many brewing dangers threatening Scuttle Town including one brought upon them by the incompetent mayor.

When traveling around Sequin Land trying to stop evil machinations, you’ll run into more than your fair share of enemies bent on killing you and tricky platforming situations. On the surface level, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is about over coming difficult platforming sections, while whipping enemies to death your hair.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

Shantae’s magic helps her do a little crowd control.

Deeper than that, Shantae needs to re-visit each area when she gains new transformation dances to unlock new powers, help people, and find more baubles. This is where the Metroidvania of it all comes into play resulting in an engaging and complex exploration of Sequin Land.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is a lot of fun, and makes a great Switch title because it is both perfect to play at home and on-the-go.

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
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