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Wolfenstein: The New Colossus Review

Wolfenstein® II: The New Colossus™ is the highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed, Wolfenstein®: The New Order™ developed by the award-winning studio MachineGames.

An exhilarating adventure brought to life by the industry-leading id Tech® 6, Wolfenstein® II sends players to Nazi-controlled America on a mission to recruit the boldest resistance leaders left. Fight the Nazis in iconic American locations, equip an arsenal of badass guns, and unleash new abilities to blast your way through legions of Nazi soldiers in this definitive first-person shooter.

STORY:
America, 1961. Your assassination of Nazi General Deathshead was a short-lived victory. Despite the setback, the Nazis maintain their stranglehold on the world. You are BJ Blazkowicz, aka “Terror-Billy,” member of the Resistance, scourge of the Nazi empire, and humanity’s last hope for liberty. Only you have the guts, guns, and gumption to return stateside, kill every Nazi in sight, and spark the second American Revolution.

 

 

It’s always an interesting conflict of events when a virtual product manages to resonate with current events. This was especially true in the advertising leading up to the release of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, in which plays of presidential tag-lines were used to full effect: the desire to “Make America Nazi Free Again” by being a part of the revolution. Of course, this territory is nothing new for the Wolfenstein series, which made its mark by letting you shoot Nazis and take down Mecha-Hitler from as early as 1981 – so one could argue it’s nothing new, but holding a mirror to real life whether on purpose or just by the nature of the theme of their game series certainly helped create Wolfenstein 2 hype.

 

 

The reboot of Wolfenstein that came around in 2014 is still one of my favourite titles to revisit. It is, at its core, a hard-going tale of a soldier’s desire for revenge in a world that is falling apart. The gameplay is smooth in its combat – if not a little dull – but it had some genuinely amazing sequences and an ending that, coupled with great soundtrack choices, made me pretty emotional. We were also treated to The Old Blood as a DLC excerpt that was good, if not a little clunky with the way it transitioned from chapter to chapter.

 

This made Wolfenstein 2 a release day purchase for me. The Special Edition, no less – and regardless of any opinion I have formed on Wolfenstein 2, I can happily say I own a BJ Blazkowicz action man now. But gimmicks aside, I was most excited for the game itself. You are immediately treated to a recap of the events of the first game (sans The Old Blood, as it was a prelude) before diving into the current one. Where The New Order treated us to a jumble of flashforwards and time-skips, the second title manages to give us not only time-skips forward, but flashbacks as well. You hit the shock factor almost straight away with an introduction to BJ’s abusive Texan father and his caring Polish mother.

 

 

While not wholly unexpected of a game that centres around kicking the daylights out of Nazis, Wolfenstein 2 is not afraid of the shock factor. We are immediately set up to hate BJ’s father for the racist epithet throwing, domestic abuser that he is. We learn that BJ has obviously taken on more of his mother’s sentiments about life, but that the harsh treatment by his father is what pushed him to be resilient. It is also what sent him off to the army, ironically starting off the chain of events through the games series. It seems like a strange inclusion at the start of the game, though there are few loaded guns in this game that don’t go off eventually; your father does, eventually, get what’s coming to him, and the setup makes it worth it.

 

This is something I find Wolfenstein 2 succeeds at greater than its predecessor with only few exceptions. It is fantastic at build up, and at surprising you. There are some strong twists in the story, and unlike The New Order, the plot moves at a greater pace, allowing it to feel like more of a rollercoaster and less of a log flume. It certainly lacks in some of the huge set piece boss fights of The New Order or, to compare it to its sister title, DOOM. But the spectacle is made up for in some equally impressive visual sequences. To not say too much of spoilers: this is a game that you get to control robots; fly into space; and fall from the sky. You also get to shoot Nazis while wheelchair bound, and – as someone with limited mobility – I found that bit particularly gratifying.

 

 

It does miss the mark in some parts. We get to know the characters that BJ works with more, and they seem to have become caricatures of themselves since The New Order. This isn’t necessarily bad, either, as it fits with the changing tone of the game. You find yourself in the midst of an underground rebellion that is finding its purpose and is driven on by loss early on in the story. It has gone from being a story about one man’s revenge to BJ becoming a figurehead of revolution. You want a cast of NPCs that you remember the personalities of. There are some great new additions to the cast, too.

 

From this is one of my greatest criticisms of the game: you need to play the first one. You might say that’s not a real criticism, but you may have noticed that I am greatly comparing the two titles to one another. It’s fairly necessary, in my eyes, because to understand why Frau Engel (the main villain of Wolfenstein 2) hates BJ quite so much, you need to see what happened in The New Order. To fathom why Anya, his partner, is so important, you need to see what happened to the pair of them in the first title to fathom the bond between them both. While the recap at the start of the game is efficient enough in laying out baseline events it doesn’t help grasp the emotional side of the storyline.

 

 

One of my other gripes is connected to this, and is in the form of the “Wyatt or Fergus” dilemma. In The New Order, you have to make a very crushing decision about one of your team-mates early on in the campaign. It shapes who you have around you for the rest of the game; devices you can learn; weapons you can use and even one of the boss fights. It is a decision that shapes the narrative. In Wolfenstein 2, you have to choose again through a flashback of Deathshead – a villain is criminally missing in references in the newer game otherwise – so there can be a chronological order to things. You are given back the gun relevant to whichever team-mate you choose, and that’s more or less it. There are some minor story points relating to either Fergus or Wyatt, but it feels like a missed opportunity.

 

All in all, I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. It has faults, but they are compensated for by the flow of combat, an effective storyline and the additional content. There is more to do after the plot ends, as you begin to build your revolution on the back of your pains and your triumphs. And, being true to Wolfenstein as a series, there is a ton of stuff to collect, giving it appeal to any of you out there with a desire for completion. However, if you haven’t picked up the first title, or its DLC yet, I would put Wolfenstein 2 to one side until you get to do so.

 

 

This is a game that is best experienced when you know BJ as he has come to be now, along with his comrades at arms against the Nazi menace. It is best experienced knowing why you are fighting and what you’re fighting for. While the hype train was strong with its brilliant and topical viral advertising, Wolfenstein 2 has its story at its core. The New Order taught us about revenge; The New Colossus sings of revolution. It would be easy to get swept up on Nazi killing alone – and that is important within the game, obviously – but this is a title that needs to be known to really hit home.

 

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus gets a facist bashing 4 out of 5
~Vamp

 

 

Wolfenstein® II: The New Colossus™ is available on teh following platforms –
PC Steam – http://store.steampowered.com/app/612880/Wolfenstein_II_The_New_Colossus/
Xbox One – https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/wolfenstein-II-new-colossus#purchase
Playstation 4 – https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/games/wolfenstein-ii-the-new-colossus-ps4/
Nintendo Switch – https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/wolfenstein-ii-the-new-colossus-switch


November 21st, 2017 by isnotavampire
Posted in Gaming, General, PC, Playstation, Xbox | No Comments »

EGX 2017: Floor Review And A First Timers Look At EGX

The joy of the prevalence of video games in recent times, is that it’s easier to explain your niche to others. This made it especially easy to explain to strangers why I was dressed as a character from Overwatch on a busy Sunday train to Birmingham, as I made my way to EGX at the NEC. And, while I am a regular convention goer and equally an avid gamer I had never been to a games specific expo before.

 

 

EGX is a mainstay for the big name gaming companies, with many demonstrations and presentations on new titles; regular Twitch streams by devs; cosplay competitions and merchandise on the floor. It has big draw for casual gamers, for families, and for industry professionals – and even for those looking for advice for how to make gaming their career. With all this in mind I was definitely expecting a busy day of exploring the expo floor and hopefully getting to try out some games in the process.

 

 

The upside was there was definitely plenty to see and do from a browsing standpoint. From the moment you walked in there were people handing out fliers and codes for promotions. The indie games area, EGX Rezzed, dominated the front zone even before you started to approach any of the larger name companies. I found this quite refreshing, as a demonstration of the importance of the indie market, and offered a great mix of games to play in genres ranging from very family friendly, to viral horror potential.

 

 

There were a good number of competitive gaming areas on show. This included the ESL E-Sports Arena; The Road to EGX Overwatch tournament; and a Street Fighter V tournament that had a raucous and excited crowd. It was great to see audience participation encouraged, as these areas had huge viewing screens that allowed folks to stand back and immerse themselves in the action, and to get behind the players throwing down – sometimes, quite literally – on screen.

 

Being present Sunday meant catching the tail-end of the various exciting panels that were available to attendees, but EGX had provided streams via Twitch the entire weekend and these could be caught up on through mobile even if it wasn’t physically possible to get inside. These can also be watched back on the EGX YouTube channel and give a good insight into many of the games that were on parade as well as industry insights.

 

 

The biggest draw still came in the shape of the big names, with Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sega, Square Enix and Blizzard all having their own zones broken up over the expo. There were long waits for anyone who wanted a sneak peek at titles such as Farcry 5 or Assassin’s Creed Origins, to learn more about recent releases like Destiny 2, or even to try their hands at Youtube phenomenons like PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds.

 

There were upsides and downsides throughout my time on the expo floor. The biggest obstacle I found as a casual con-goer was that when it came to trying things out I didn’t get to see or do quite as much as I might’ve liked. Though the Indie Rezzed zone occupied most of the entrance area many games were only available on one or two screens at best.

 

 

A prevalent theme throughout the whole expo was that there didn’t seem to be many people enforcing rotation of players, either. On one occasion I came over to the Overwatch area after having been there an hour previous, and the same folks were still playing on many of the computers available. It made it much more evident to me why so many people make EGX a four day long event, in order to get as much gaming in as possible.

 

But where there was sometimes a lack of gaming there was still a lot of engagement. Representatives were generally happy to talk with con-goers. There was a cosplay stage in the centre of the convention where people could go and watch others that had turned their love of gaming into a creative outlet. There was some great merchandise available, from t-shirts to bags, figures to tech accessories.

 

Another great addition came in the form of a board gaming area, which had the Playopolis board game library working with EGX for the first time. They were providing games for visitors to sit together and play in the seating area. Some upcoming titles were demonstrating as well, including the MMORPG inspired City of Kings, were set out for folks who wanted physical gaming as well as digital gaming. There were some board gaming specialist vendors, too, making it just as easy to take the same experiences home with you.

 

 

All in all, I found my first experience of EGX a fun one, with most of the hiccups I encountered ones that could be easily rectified with a little pre-planning, or even spending a longer time at the convention over its four day length. And, with the joyous prevalence of video games in recent times, who knows – it may be even bigger and better than ever the next time it rolls around.

 

And with that…

Isnotavampire.

 

 


September 26th, 2017 by isnotavampire
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, MOBA, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Real Time Strategy, Xbox | No Comments »

Sanitarium.FM News Update | 19/06/2017

Blizzard, The Evil Within 2 and Xbox One X dev kits – your news update!

 


June 19th, 2017 by PredictedCyborg
Posted in Gaming, General, Massive Multiplayer Online, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation, Xbox | No Comments »

XCOM 2 War Of The Chosen: What’s New

After several hints on Twitter Firaxis have announced a brand new DLC for XCOM 2: War of the Chosen. Unlike Shen’s Last Gift and Alien Hunters this is a full expansion with two main overarching mechanics as well as a slew of smaller features.

 

 

The first major feature is a group that the expansion is named after: a group of aliens known as The Chosen. This is an elite force of three powerful foes: the Ranger-like Assassin, the long range sniper Hunter and the psionic Warlock. The Chosen are trying to recapture the Commander with each having their own strengths and combat doctrine and each will return again and again growing stronger just as XCOM does until you find and defeat their stronghold much like EXALT in Enemy Within.

 

 

To help deal with The Chosen as well as other new threats they have introduced three other resistance factions: the Reapers, the Skirmishers and the Templars. Working alongside these factions and helping them over the course of the campaign will eventually allow you to recruit their members as what are referred to as “Hero” classes.

 

 

Reapers specialise in stealth, sniping and sabotage. Skirmishers are stated as being alien-human hybrid defectors who are extremely quick and can perform multiple actions per turn and Warlocks are psionics who charge up their power over time to perform a big play off.

 

 

The Chosen are not the only new foes however. So far a new alien, the Spectre who has the ability to create copies of your forces, as well as two ADVENT units have been shown off. The ADVENT Purifier has so far been stated to use explosives whereas the Priest utilises psionics. In addition to this there is The Lost, zombie like mutants found in pre invasion ruined cities.

 

 

Ruins aren’t the only new environment however, also confirmed are underground tunnels and xenoformed wilderness.

 

 

In addition to the new sub factions Firaxis have put greater emphasis on customisation and replayability. One part of this is that soldiers build bonds with their teammates to gain new abilities and perks. Whether or not they keep these when not with their friends is not clear however although I would doubt it.

 

Additionally the new SITREP system will dynamically add modifiers to tactical missions which combined with the already existing dynamic mission map generation (which will most likely see new tiles being added) will allow for each operation feeling much more unique.

 

War of the Chosen is stated for release on the 29th of August on Steam, Xbox One and Playstation 4.


June 19th, 2017 by CyberGoblin
Posted in Gaming, General, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation, Xbox | No Comments »

Destiny 2 Won’t Explore The Darkness

Destiny 2’s coming up soon, and Bungie confirmed last week that the threat of Destiny ‘The Darkness’ wouldn’t end up being discussed during the sequel either. Players would love to find out what it was so this is a little disappointing, but turns out that actually they might not be the only ones who don’t know.

 

Talking to Game Informer, game director Luke Smith said “Destiny 2 is a game about Light, and what happens when it’s taken from you, and the lengths that Guardians will go to get it back. We’re exploring the relationship between the player and the Ghost in terms of Light, and Ghaul’s coveting of the Light. As such, we wanted to carve off other things that we didn’t think were important to the release, such as words like The Darkness.”

 

He did admit that players were due some closure on The Darkness, but said it wouldn’t be happening in Destiny 2. Why? “We had no idea what it was. Straight up. We had no clue.”

 

So it seems that the mysterious The Darkness is so mysterious that not even its own creators know quite what it is. They admitted there’s been some ideas thrown around such as saying it was the name for the group of aliens you fight, but decided that their IP deserved much better than just that.

 

Hopefully if there’s a Destiny 3, we’ll find out just what players have been fighting against.

 


June 18th, 2017 by PredictedCyborg
Posted in Gaming, General, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation, Xbox | No Comments »

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