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LONG BLOG

The Man in the High Castle: Wolfenstein The New Order Review

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Flak cannons open fire upon the incoming allied air invasion of Germany. The joint US/UK operation is a last gasp effort to kill the mad German General Strasse, whose twisted inventions have already caused World War II to stretch into 1946. Impossibly fast jets scream out from Strasse's headquarters, a massive spire looming over the German coastline, wreaking havoc upon the invasion forces. Fierce resistance from cybernetically enhanced stormtroopers and massive Nazi war engines crush the few, meager troops that managed to make it ashore. It's amongst this carnage that Captain B.J. Blazkowicz's surprisingly entertaining tale of resistance starts, but it won't be until 14 years later when it finally ends.

MachineGames takes the standard Wolfenstein formula of "enter room, kill Nazi" and expands on it while still keeping the feel of the franchise intact. Taking place in a nightmarish 1960, during which the Third Reich rules the planet with a iron fist, The New Order gives the normally two-dimensional Captain Blazkowicz a far more human side. Trapped in his own body as he recovers from injuries sustained in the intro, he watches a world rapidly trampled over by jackboots from his room in a Polish hospital.


Doomed to fail


My biggest complaint comes from The New Order's signature gun, the Laserkraftwerk. The Laserkraftwerk is an upgradable weapon with all manner of modules that can be added to increase its power, and if that is all it was it would be fine. The problem comes from its secondary function, a laser cutter meant to carve holes into aluminum boxes and chicken wire. Used to open passages or bust open metal crates, the Laserkraftwerk's cutter is cumbersome to use at best and outright frustrating at worst. There were several instances where the hole I cut was not big enough to progress through and trying to trim away any excess bits I missed was nigh impossible as the physics of the gun won't allow for small corrections. There was more than one instance where I had to restart from the previous checkpoint, which are thankfully plentiful, in order to try to cut again. What could have been something that made the game stand apart from most other shooters instead turned into a burden forced upon the player.

Much like Blazkowicz himself, the game feels stuck between two different ages. While MachineGames attempt to merge both the classic with the modern works for the most part, they bring some of the bad of each along with a lot of the good. Blasting Nazis always feels satisfying and fleshing out B.J. beyond a floating gun adds gravitas to what otherwise would have been another unremarkable frag fest. It's a shame that a few mechanical problems hamstring what was an enjoyable 12 hour game, but not so much that I can't overlook them.

Capitalistpig (Steven Brown) reads The Grasshopper Lies Heavy every night before bed. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to hear him ranting about more or less anything in general.
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About Capitalistpigone of us since 5:48 PM on 02.11.2013

Reach exceeds grasp. Not that I lack skill, I just have small arms.

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