Features PAX East 2014 Previews

PAX East 2014: Hands on with Wolfenstein: The New Order – Zukünftige Spiel des Jahres

Written by Austin Griffith

It’s 7 at night and the cold, windy streets of Downtown south Boston are unusually empty. While I’d been used to seeing blue behemoth-clad lanyards dangling around everyone’s neck, this area was different… it was more, normal. Not a single gamer was in site as LevelSave editor Matt Curione and I strolled in to Boston’s Royale Nightclub for Neumond Recording’s Pop Muzik Showcase. Something is weird about this place, though; as we enter the room our ears fill with familiar tunes that we can’t quite place our fingers on. It’s classic 60’s music, but everything is in German!

Let it not be said that Bethesda doesn’t know how to throw a party, as their Pop Muzik Showcase was a night heard all around the world, transporting its attendees to 1960’s Nazi controlled America as we see it in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Let’s take a step back first, to the day before. Early Friday afternoon, just in the wee hours of PAX East, as I sit down in Bethesda’s press room on the expo floor and start up the extended two hour Wolfenstein: The New Order demo.

While I’m going to try and avoid telling you too many specifics  of the story (where I began was the very beginning of the game) I will tell you that the opening starts you in a fighter pilot during a 1950’s assault on Nazi Germany’s stronghold – a castle holding General Deathshead, Wolfensteins version of Hitler. The moments opening in the game were some of the most beautiful pieces of gaming I’ve ever seen. The open ocean sprawled out endlessly before me, looking amazingly true to life. The sky was beautifully done, as were the other models in the game. Cutscenes were some of the most attractive pieces of hawtness that have ever graced my eyes. Simply put: this game is beautiful.

Yet, a beautiful game is nothing if its gameplay is flawed, is it? Fortunately, as I stormed a Nazi controlled castle, I had the chance to work with some of the best controls I’ve ever used. Gameplay felt crisp and accurate, and you can certainly tell Bethesda has taken a nod from everyone’s favorite stealth game, as you’ll make great use of the leaning, throwing knives, and stealth kills in order to quickly and quietly take out Nazi generals before they can raise the alarm and run to safety.

Gunplay is also well inspired, providing a great feeling of authenticity and power while still giving you accuracy. Guns are varied enough to make you think tactically about choosing a sub-machine gun or fully automatic weapon, and ammo is scarce enough where going full Rambo and duel-wielding two of the same gun will quickly drop your ammo count down to zero.

What surprised me the most about Wolfenstein was its ability to completely draw me in and feel for a character within a short period of time. By the time I neared the end of my two hour demo, I already felt extremely extremely connected to these soldiers, so much so that when I was choiced with making a decision between killing one of my own men I had a hard time deciding which soldier to let go of. I felt like I knew these men personally and I was able to empathize with them more then I have been with any other game. I felt for this man, and for everything he had been through, and for once in a game there was an enemy that was easy to hate, because really, who doesn’t hate Nazi’s?

The story, which I was able to play the first two hours of, is powerful and properly thought out, with each action making sense realistically. As my 1950’s fighter jet crashed to the ground and I watched my soldiers count slowly drop lower and lower I was refreshed to finally be in a world that felt real, and one that felt completely grounded. I was no super soldier – my squad was no elite group – we were all men. Just men. Fighting against an evil force that we were not prepared to take down.

In short, Wolfenstein: The New Order quickly became my most anticipated games of the year, and was the absolute best thing I had a chance to experience at PAX East this year. Do not hesitate to preorder this. You will not regret it.

About the author

Austin Griffith

Austin Griffith owns LevelSave.com


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