Have You Played... Wolfenstein: The New Order?
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
We're all doing Macauley Culkin faces about how good DOOM turned out to be despite high suspicion to the contrary, but let's not forget that, under Bethesda's stewardship, olden id games had already been treated surprisingly well. Wolfenstein: The New Order [official site] was a sprawling, spectacular singleplayer shooter of the kind we so rarely see in these MP-focused times, and it somehow managed the impossible too: making BJ Blazkowicz a real human. A real human in an entirely absurd world.
WTNO isn't anything like as frantic as DOOM, or as reverential to its past, but it had an excellent line in solid, crunchy, even strategic combat, set in huge and imaginative levels. It's an insane journey through so many different places, going far above and beyond what I ever expected. And it stars this huge hunk of spam with these soulful eyes, who ends up on a personal crusade rather than just an anti-techno-Nazi one.
It shouldn't work. Even thinking about it now, long after I played it and liked it, I feel that it shouldn't work. Human drama + cyberdogs. Mech-suit-assisted concentration camp breakouts. A trip to the moon and back. Secrets and retro Wolf 3D levels. What a ridiculous mix of things.
But somehow, they steered that wild ship straight and true. As they did with DOOM.
You realise, of course, that this might just mean we end up with a decent new Quake game for the first time in forever?