BACKLOG: Wolfenstein



Wolfenstein!

What can be said for a franchise so integral, so ingrained in video game history.

Well, it’s bloody good fun for a start.

The first game in a mountain of games I had yet to play. With the follow-up to a New Order out later this year it seemed I finally had a deadline and with that a mission to get started. “B.J.” Blazkowicz would be proud.

Just a heads up, this isn’t a review. It’s more of an opinion piece, my experience with the New Order so far… minus spoilers of course. (I know it’s been out for a while now but I’m guessing there’s still a lot of people out there who have yet to play it!)

Straight off the bat Wolfenstein does a very good job of connecting the player to the main character William Joseph “B.J.” Blazkowicz and the world around him, it nails the controls and everything feels natural after the first five minutes of gameplay. Ideally, they need to feel almost like an extension of ourselves. The New Order succeeds on this for the most part, action is fast and fluid, sometimes requiring you to transition from running and gunning to sliding under low hanging cover in a pinch and I felt I was never once let down or frustrated by this.

Now this isn’t to say there aren’t issues with the system, I felt bad for abusing the ‘lean’ mechanic as often as I did. Effectively I could lean around doorways or corners without the guards noticing. On the other hand, this kept me from having to crept around too much and let me get right into the action.

I’m a sucker for games with a great atmosphere and The New Order excels at this, whether it’s making your way across a debris filled battle field, sneaking through a Nazi occupied castle or just relaxing in between missions in the resistances make shift safe house. The music and the visuals complement each other well with set pieces and levels being well thought out, guiding the player just enough while making sure there’s plenty of hidden passages or side routes to explore. Propping up these environments are the characters, a well-rounded, well written cast. They are a likeable bunch right down the villains and this is largely down to the imperfections within their personality. No one is invincible, which is a hard sell when your game features giant cyborg Nazi war machines, futuristic weapons and… well you’ll find out.

The New Order is a complete package. It’s been a long time since a game has caught me so off guard like this. I bought into this title well after the hype train had left the station, been decommissioned and sold for parts. Maybe I needed the “B.J.” Blazkowiczin my life right now, all I can say is I’m glad I finally played it and if you do, you will be too.


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