Posts Tagged ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’

President Trump showed a weird frag montage in his video game violence meeting

US President Donald Trump yesterday held a private meeting to discuss the issue of violence in video games, having suggested after February’s murders at a school in Parkland, Florida that it “is really shaping young people’s thoughts.” This would clearly amount to nothing productive, given mostly industry representatives and conservative pressure groups were attending, but it is a surprise that Trump showed attendees a short video montage of video game deaths. The White House have released this publicly, so we can all see a sloppy montage of deaths from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Fallout 4, and more. Somehow it isn’t a surprise that some clips are clearly ripped from YouTubers – watermarks and all. Read the rest of this entry »

Wolfenstein 2’s DLC so far is characterful but perfunctory

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Note – this piece presumes familiarity with Wolfenstein 2’s entire plot, and as such contains some spoilers, though no specific character fates are discussed.

Out this week is part two of ‘The Freedom Chronicles’, a triptych of story-led DLC for last year’s pretty decent singleplayer shooter Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, giving us a pretty clear sense of what’s on offer from the season pass. (You can buy the episodes separately, but it ends up being 30% more expensive if you end up getting all of ’em that way). To whit, is it worth forking out for? In short: ehhhhhhhh.
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How Wolfenstein: The New Colossus takes the white dudebro hero apart

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a shooter that often feels at odds with its own protagonist, the worn-out vanilla action hero who is somehow the heart of a neurodiverse, multi-ethnic cast of socialist firebrands, civil rights campaigners, pacifists, lapsed jazz maestros and rabid UFO chasers. At first glance, it has a lot to say in spite of BJ Blazkowicz rather than through him, its levels and intermissions thick with references to feminist activism and race rights movements that risk being swallowed up in the bloodshed. Many of the allusions are very timely, for all the retro silliness of Wolfenstein’s Nazis – it’s hard not to draw a line between in-game propaganda about the “cancerous” press and Donald Trump’s frequent denunciations of the US media, for example.

MachineGames has downplayed these parallels in conversation, but Bethesda’s marketing teams have latched onto them rather opportunistically, going so far as to parody Trump’s infamous #MakeAmericaGreatAgain slogan on social media and subtweet his defence of rightwing marchers following the murder of Heather Heyer. Ultimately, however, The New Colossus offers no straightforward rejection of the bigotry Trump and his followers have tacitly and not-so-tacitly endorsed. Rather, the game’s achievement is to show how BJ’s story of white heroism risks echoing that chauvinism, and how it and toxic social archetypes at large may become instruments of resistance. With spoilers right up to the final moments, let’s look at how all that holds together.

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I love Wolfenstein 2’s wonky, unforgiving stealth

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It’s taking me a long, long time to play through Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. The reason for that is because I’m playing it as a stealth game – a claim about a Wolfenstein game that would have sounded absurd a couple of years ago, but is now taken for granted as a result of 2014’s The New Order offering a limited sneaky-stabby path. Both of the latter-day Wolfs are designed primarily to be played as spray’n’play mass murder sims, and they’ve got a ton of wonderful toys with which to achieve that, but, for my part, I’ve been there, done that far too many times, and so the idea of treating W2TNC’s missions as a quieter, tenser, almost puzzle-like affair is far more appealing.

Thing is, Wolf 2’s stealth is all kinds of messed up. There are entirely legitimate reasons to despise it. Me, though? I can’t resist it.

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Wot I Think: Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

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Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus does not pull its punches. Early in the game a returning villain asks, “is this what a hero looks like?” She’s mocking and threatening a wounded, degraded and broken woman. She’s about to execute that woman.

Wolfenstein’s answer is a defiant “yes”. Its heroes don’t look like any one thing because they are many and they are diverse. They are survivors and fighters and thinkers, black, white, American Jewish, British, German, male, female, disabled, disfigured and powerful. They’re also flawed – sometimes too angry, sometimes too selfish, sometimes too afraid to face up to reality – but they are the kind of people you’d want in your corner if the world went wrong.

They’re also the game’s greatest asset and its most potent weapons.

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Cool coats, comedy copulation and cyber-cats – Wolfenstein: The New Colossus wants to do everything

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In the surprisingly, refreshingly excellent 2014 shooter reboot-o-sequel Wolfenstein: The New Order, it was the eyes that captivated me. The sad, aged eyes of BJ Blazkowicz, a war-weary he-man forced to take up arms yet again – tirelessly heroic, sure, but those windows to his haunted soul revealed his longing for an end to all this suffering. I could not look away from those eyes, even as he battled Mecha-Nazis and Moon-Nazis and Soul-Transplanted Ultra-Nazis and whatever else this unrepentantly preposterous game threw at him.

In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus [official site], a sequel which continues the alt-history, steampunk Nazi occupation of America tale, it’s BJ’s sports jacket that I can’t stop staring at.

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Steam summer sale: our giant recommendations list

The Steam summer sale is in full blaze. For a while it even blazed so hot that the servers went on fire and all the price stickers peeled off the games. Either that or the store just got swamped with cheapskates looking for the best bargains. Cheapskates like you! Well, don’t worry. We’ve rounded up some recommendations – both general tips and some newly added staff choices.

Here are the things you should consider owning in your endless consumeristic lust for a happiness which always seems beyond reach. You’re welcome.

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The compassion & cruelty of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

The early stages of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus [official site] show the same blood, guts and heart that were key to the first game’s success. Described by Bethesda’s Pete Hines as “fucking bananas”, it’s a game of extremes, but it’s the care that it shows for its characters and setting that stand out as unique in the field of alt-history Nazi war-shooters. Alongside the silliness, the gore and the pulp fiction roots, there’s a core concern for humanity and its loss.

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Call of Duty is unlikely to get WWII “right”

“Those who do not learn from from history, are doomed to make another World War II videogame.” A famous saying, and one we all know well. So when Activision hosted a live presentation for the reveal trailer of their latest shooter, Call of Duty: WWII [official site], I watched and felt nothing but a tired wave of low-burning resentment for everyone involved. During this presentation the word “visceral” was said a total of eight times and our own news editor Alice silently got up from her desk, walked solemnly out of her house, and never returned. If anyone has seen Alice, please call us. Read the rest of this entry »

The 50 Best FPS On PC

So often the bleeding edge of games tech, yet so often fundamentally the same underneath: there’s a reason we can’t get enough of pretend shooting pretend people in their pretend faces. It is a pure test of skill and reflex, a game about movement at least as much as it is about violence, and done right it is absolutely delightful. And hey, sometimes you get a decent gimmick or story thrown into the mix.

These are our favourite 50 first-person shooters on PC, from 1993-2017. Your favourite is at number 51.

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Bethesda Outline Anti-Consumer Review Policy

Bethesda, developers of Elder Scrolls and Fallout and publishers of Dishonored, Doom, Wolfenstein and more, say that their policy now is to send out “media review copies” one day before their games come out. That’s what they did with DOOM earlier this year and that’s what they intend to do with the approaching releases of both Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2.

We think this is a bad thing for you and for everyone other than Bethesda.

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Blade Of Agony Is An Incredible ‘WolfenDoom’ Mod

Do you remember a time when Wolfenstein hero B.J. Blazkowicz was a grinning, bum-chinned sprite with shiny blue twinklers rather than a morose sad-eyed man in a broken world? I’ve enjoyed several versions of Wolfenstein over the years, and perhaps none more so than The New Order, but I’m still fond of the first 3d title in the series. And I fucking love Doom. What a pleasure it is, then, to find Blade of Agony [official site], a GZDoom-based mod/sequel following the continuing adventures of Blazkowicz. It looks spectacular.

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Um, There’s A New, Official Quake 1 Episode Out

Depending on to what extent you accept ‘Bethesda’ as official, of course. This isn’t id’s work, and it’s definitely not Quake-era id’s work, but it is the work of neo-id’s stablemates Machine Games – they of the improbably good Wolfenstein: The New Order. (And who, according to its credits, pitched in to some extent with this year’s even more improbably good DOOM). They’ve just unexpectedly release a new Quake episode in honour of the dear old man’n’monster-shooter’s 20th birthday. It’s pretty good, too.
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Bethesda Teased A New Wolfenstein Game During E3

Bethesda’s E3 2016 showcase brought with it news of Quake Champions, new Prey, Dishonored 2 and a few other things. What wasn’t there was any word on what Wolfenstein developers Machine Games were doing – or at least, no explicit news. There was one hint at what might be next for BJ Blazkowicz: “The New Colossus.”

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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.
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Perusing The Main Menu At The In-Game Cafe

Hey, good to see ya, how ya doin’? Take a seat anyplace you like – we got window seats, we got booths, we got stools over here at the counter. I’d keep shy of the table just at the back there – it’s reserved, on a strictly unofficial basis, and the guy who plants hisself there most days ain’t exactly particular about whose keister he puts his boot into, if you catch my drift.

Now, what’ll it be?

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ASA Rulings: Robot Dogs, Sugar Puffs And Time Team

Yes, a GIANT ROBOT DOG.

The Advertising Standards Agency publishes rulings every Wednesday on everything from psychic hotlines to videogames. I’m incredibly fond of their rulings. I think it’s mostly because of the language the companies use to defend themselves, breaking videogame concepts down and presenting them in what’s intended to be a neutral manner.

The upheld complaints are generally less entertaining for obvious reasons – the concerns have been, in some sense, valid. But the *not upheld* complaints often have an air of the ridiculous about them. Through the formal structure of the rulings you get a sense of raised eyebrows or rolled eyes, of overblown sincerity. I’ve also learned some unexpected things, like how many sugar puffs are in a portion…

Here are some of my favourites from the last few years:

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The Beginner’s Guide: A Journey Through Genres

One day I’ll write a Desert Island Discs about the games I’d keep with me until the end of days, given a choice of ten. It’ll no doubt be a Desert Island Digital Downloads given the absence of physical media in my life. I live with the ghosts of entertainment.

Rather than compiling the list of games I’d take to the Vault with me though, today I’m aiming to put together a collection, one from each genre, that I’d use to introduce those genres to a PC gaming newcomer, or a lapsed gamer. A friend inspired this particular bundle of joy, someone who grew up with an Amiga but developed other interests and hasn’t touched a game for more than a few minutes at a time, either console or PC, for over fifteen years. A recent illness has left him unable to engage in his usual outdoor hobbies and games have filled the gap.

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No Carmack, No Problem? DOOM Multiplayer In Action

“Those murders are alright,” claimed Alice, and she spends half her time worrying that there are murderous clowns living in her basement, so I guess she’d know. Perhaps this bodes well for Bethesda’s Doom [official site], the game we’re not allowed to call Doom 4, whose multiplayer closed alpha kicks off tomorrow, and some advance footage of which can be seen below. And she’s right – I don’t know that I’d say it looks especially Doomy, but those murders are alright.
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Fail Forward: Wolfenstein: The New Order

Fail Forward is a series of videos all about the bits of games which don’t quite work and why. In this episode, Marsh Davies discusses Wolfenstein: The New Order [official site], its robot dogs and limpid eyes.

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