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'Wolfenstein; The New Order'

This thread has been linked to the game 'Wolfenstein: The New Order'.
Wed 28/05/14 at 23:00:
Staff Moderator
"Meh..."
Posts: 1,462
Wolfenstein.

It's been through several iterations, with one pretty poor incident marring an otherwise sterling series, but the fact remains that it was the precursor for an entire gaming genre. Wolfenstein 3D was the first of its kind, a revelation, an inspiration and a revolution.

And that's an awful lot to live up to.

Add to this that the last Wolfenstein outing was average at best, and Machine Games had their work cut out if they were going to make "Wolfenstein; The New Order" a success. Of course, there will always be die-hard fans of the series (like me!) who would take a punt regardless, and the offer of a Doom 4 Beta key wouldn't hurt, but ultimately, the game would need to stand on it's own two feet.

So, how well did they do?

First thing you'll notice is the game occupies over 40Gb of your hard drive; that's bigger than "Rome Total War", over twice the size of "Bioshock Infinite", larger than all of the previous Wolfenstein games put together. Buy it on disc, and you'll still need a sizeable download from Steam. If that doesn't put you off, you might be in for a treat.

Game options are varied. Despite the rumours, this game seems to be quite configurable, so most reasonably spec'ed pcs should be able to cope with it. If you are lucky enough to be able to switch all of the pretties on however, you'll see exactly why the game needs 40Gb. It's jaw dropping, literally; from the lighting and shadows, to the reflections and the astonishing attention to detail, this is gaming art. It's a truly stunning realisation of a familiar world in an unfamiliar setting, disturbing on a very subtle level. London landmarks festooned in Nazi insignia are an uncomfortable sight.

Gameplay is equally impressive, combining the best elements of old school FPS, the fluid shooting, "run and gun" and stealth missions, with exciting new elements like destructible environments. It's the first game I've played where you can pick up a heavy machine gun and blast chunks out of a concrete post until your target is left cowering behind a twisted piece of rusty rebar. To see him scramble for cover elsewhere following this also proves the depth and integrity of the AI. Again, ignore footage of dumb AI shown on various sites, that only applies on the easiest setting for the game. Switch it up, and you've a challenge on your hands.

Okay, so destructible environments and good AI are not unusual these days, but there's something quite special about them in Wolfenstein. An example of this comes quite soon in the game, when you pick up a laser cutter, essential for progress as you need to cut your way through fences and metal barriers to access new areas. Consider this; how many games can you recall where you can cut a Homer Simpson shaped hole in a fence just for kicks? Or a small hole to shoot through, a bigger one to crawl through? The polygon count on these flat panels must be ludicrous. Likewise the concrete which splinters and cracks and crumbles with each and every bullet. The effort put into these little details is bordering on obsession.

The most unusual thing with Wolfenstein however has got to be the storyline. First person shooters generally suffer horribly from shallow, disjointed and flimsy plots, else they lack pace and punch when the story takes top billing. Given that the plot runs like a top flight war epic, with solid narrative, complex characters and intelligent twists, its surprising that the game still rattles along at a fine pace. Again, the plot reeks of obsessive attention to detail, it's a convoluted rework of real history. Jimi Hendrix as a doped, guitar-loving member of the resistance, "House of the Rising Sun" rendered by accordion-wielding Germans, Blazkowicz dreaming of a "perfect world" that looks a lot like reality, the 60's re-imagined and retold in newspaper clippings and diaries, all with a crust of Nazism to hold it together, you play through an imagined world where our reality is fantasy, and their reality is a nightmare.

So, out of 10...

Graphics: 9.5/10
Actually quite exceptional. Shadows, lighting, character design, textures, all pretty darned good, but where the game excels is the facial animation; at times the characters bleed emotion, you can see the fear in their eyes, the distrust in the crease of a brow, the anger in the set of a jaw, it's outstanding.

This game only loses half a point, because one or two (very minor) things niggled me and struck me as lazy. Given the overall quality of the game's visuals, it's irritating to see pens, pencils, scissors and such "drawn" onto a desk.
My only niggle; petty...

Sound: 10/10
Again, very, very well put together. This is a perfect balance of atmospheric music and sound effects, the voice acting is flawless and guns, bullets, bombs and explosions have a satisfying "thump" to them. There's also some rather nice but subtle work been done that causes voices to become muffled and indistinct when there's a wall or door intervening, or for the sound of heavy jackboots to bounce and echo along a corridor.
Clever stuff that's likely to be missed...

Gameplay: 10/10
Solid, traditional FPS gameplay. Not a great deal more to be said really. There's nothing really new here, the shooting sections are tight, well balanced sequences, the weapons have a satisfying weight and recoil to them, and sights are realistically accurate (so, not always!). The stealth options are numerous and varied, from silenced pistols to knives either thrown or used close quarters, and the enemy are on the whole suitably intelligent enough to work a flanking routine in an attempt to take you down.
It all works effortlessly, which is more than can be said for many other games these days...

Story: 10/10
I might be biased, but what's not to like? Blazkowicz is back, bigger, badder and better than before, and this time he has some thoughts of his own. He, like all of the other characters in this game, is beautifully scripted and crafted. The story is big, bold and ridiculous, just right for a first person shooter of any distinction, but, oddly, manages to pull off a softer, more subtle undertone that brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye... well, almost...

Okay, I admit it. I am a wolfenstein fanboy, it's undeniable, but I'd defy anyone to play this game without grinning like a loon. Machine Games have respected the roots of the franchise, and they have not strayed from the tried and tested path, but nonetheless they have created a game that feels fresh and exciting. More to the point, they have remembered the most important thing for a good FPS; controlling the game should be unobtrusive, easily learnt and slick.

Simply put, they have not even tried to teach an old Wolf new tricks, they just made him work harder for his favourite bone.
Sun 17/08/14 at 11:21:
Staff Moderator
"Meh..."
Posts: 1,462
pete_21 wrote:
Finally completed it! Initially struggled on the final boss until I took him out by hurling my controller through the TV screen in a fit of blind rage! Blood pressure has now returned to returned to semi-normal levels and all in all I thought it was a pretty good game :)

Yup, Deathshead is a bit of a mare the first couple of times. Although, I actually found the London Monitor a bit harder than him (getting right under it is a proper "suicide run" if you don't time it right...).
Sat 16/08/14 at 21:01:
Regular
"I like turtles"
Posts: 5,368
Finally completed it! Initially struggled on the final boss until I took him out by hurling my controller through the TV screen in a fit of blind rage! Blood pressure has now returned to returned to semi-normal levels and all in all I thought it was a pretty good game :)
Thu 24/07/14 at 19:55:
DL
Regular
"Feather edged ..."
Posts: 8,336
chasfh wrote:
Scared my missus to death!

Similar experience when Quake II was released ... except it was my mate ... he experienced 'brown pant' syndrome! Still smirk about it now :)
Thu 24/07/14 at 17:00:
Staff Moderator
"Meh..."
Posts: 1,462
DL wrote:
chasfh wrote:
(Loved the Fear games, but I thought the first was the best by a long margin.)

The first will always be the best as it charted new areas in game 'story'. Fear 3 was enjoyable as were the multiplayer maps.


Bought the first one as a "Director's cut" when it first came out. It included a short film (shot with real actors, I might add!) showing Alma being interrogated in the institute...

Scared my missus to death!
Thu 24/07/14 at 13:47:
DL
Regular
"Feather edged ..."
Posts: 8,336
chasfh wrote:
(Loved the Fear games, but I thought the first was the best by a long margin.)

The first will always be the best as it charted new areas in game 'story'. Fear 3 was enjoyable as were the multiplayer maps.
Thu 24/07/14 at 12:42:
Staff Moderator
"Meh..."
Posts: 1,462
DL wrote:
chasfh wrote:
For those wondering about replayability;

I am currently on my fourth run through, and all in all, I've unlocked/ discovered....

58% of the game!!

Probably going to take a few more tries, I guess...


Has each 'run-through' been more exciting than the previous one then?

So, all in all after 4 attempts, you've only unlocked less than 15% each time!

So at 17, at the moment, not a bad shout then ;)

(TBH ... Fear2 is proving itself, finally! Funny what you forget :))


It certainly gets better. After a couple of plays you get more comfortable with the whole control system, and become far more inventive with your gameplay. I can remember in RTCW, I never did find all of the Nazi gold...

There's some devilishly hard perks to unlock too, so it takes some thought.

(Loved the Fear games, but I thought the first was the best by a long margin.)
Thu 24/07/14 at 09:39:
Regular
"I like turtles"
Posts: 5,368
I'm about half way through it DL, haven't got time to finish it at the moment but it is good fun. I would definitely recommend picking it up at that price.
Wed 23/07/14 at 22:51:
DL
Regular
"Feather edged ..."
Posts: 8,336
chasfh wrote:
For those wondering about replayability;

I am currently on my fourth run through, and all in all, I've unlocked/ discovered....

58% of the game!!

Probably going to take a few more tries, I guess...


Has each 'run-through' been more exciting than the previous one then?

So, all in all after 4 attempts, you've only unlocked less than 15% each time!

So at 17, at the moment, not a bad shout then ;)

(TBH ... Fear2 is proving itself, finally! Funny what you forget :))
Wed 23/07/14 at 19:09:
Staff Moderator
"Meh..."
Posts: 1,462
For those wondering about replayability;

I am currently on my fourth run through, and all in all, I've unlocked/ discovered....

58% of the game!!

Probably going to take a few more tries, I guess...
Thu 10/07/14 at 15:52:
Staff Moderator
"Meh..."
Posts: 1,462
pete_21 wrote:
I'm a bit stuck at the moment with those COD Black Ops style hovering drone thingys. I've used up all the ammo in my big assed manly shooters and have to revert to this girly pistol which doesn't even seem to knock the damn things off course. Will see if I can get time to try again tonight. I do have a plan though, it involves hiding and crying until they either clear off or fall out of the sky, reckon that should work...

Good game though, I'm enjoying it.


Yup, the drones need a couple of square hits with a machine gun before they fall to the ground. Tried the girly pistol and crying, didn't work....

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