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Looting The Lootcrate: October ‘Fear’

Looting The Lootcrate: October ‘Fear’

Another month, another Lootcrate, this time things took a much more sinister tone. Keeping in touch with the month of Halloween, Lootcrate went all grim and festive with a collection of items. This months crate felt a lot more well rounded with less items being chucked in just for the sake of it. There was a decent mix between novelty items and genuinely nifty items that could come into use in every day life.   As with most crates, this moth shipped with a shirt. The design consist of a number of cats arranged to look like a skull…it’s oddly alluring. As someone who doesn’t normally like the ‘obvious reference’ shirts that normally come in the crates, this cat skull shirt is surprisingly appealing. It’s not too obvious, the design isn’t over bearing or garish, and the fit of the shirt is spot on. It’s not a item I’d wear out and about but it’s the perfect ‘sloth around the house’ shirt, or even a shirt to throw on at the gym. Even as a dog person, I can’t deny the cat skull shirt is decent, and a highlight of this months crate     A less expected item included in this months crate is the exclusive Dead Rising 3 pen. It’s a little odd that out of all the games in the world, Dead Rising 3 is popping out a licensed item. It’s initial release was quite some time ago, and the PC port hardly set the world alight. All this aside, the item in question is a rather swish looking pen. Based off one of the weapon combos found in the game, the pen looks like a toy…which is cool, if you’re into that. Novelty pens genuinely make boring paper work a little more bearable, this is a sad fact of office jobs. Use it as a conversation starter, use it as a means to pretends to smash up the office, or just stare at it wondering if a office job is for you.   The Walking Dead, the soap drama with gore, is another popular theme within the crate…and crates in general. This month includes a chibi art style still from one of last seasons more memorable moments. It’s a item fans of the show will eat up, even more so given it contains the worlds sexist red-neck Daryl. Personally, the item is a bit so so, it’s small, it’s just a piece of card, and my patience with the Walking Dead ran out months ago, it will make a nice stocking filler for a fan though.   Another Walking Dead item is the variant ‘Loot Crate’ cover for issue 132: Happiness in the comic line. It feels a bit like a clumsy choice given there’s potential spoilers to the show (assuming most Walking Dead fans now come from the show rather than the comic). There’s not a whole lot to be said about the issue given it throws the reader right into a story line only followers of the comics will be on point with. Either way, it’s a nice nod to the original Walking Dead format.   There’s a few stick on wounds and zombie bites included in this months crate. Give them to the kids for Halloween, or try trick your boss into sending you home sick, it’s really up to you.   A code for a exclusive Thanatos Jack The Reaper Skin is also included. This code is redeemable in the fantastic MOBA Smite. It’s the perfect excuse to check out one of the most enjoyable free to play titles out there, a beautiful alternative to DOTA2 and League of Legends. The code also unlocks Thanatos, saving you some sweet sweet gems.   The last ‘big’ item is a fantastic little book called ‘How To Survive A Sharknando & Other Unnatural Disasters’. This is honestly one of the best items Lootcrate has stocked. It’s a decently lengthened book detailing a number of unnatural disasters and monsters from various modern B-Movies. Packed with detail, humours little extras, and genuinely interesting to read, this book is the best item in the crate by a mile. Given the book is on sale for £.8.39, getting it in this months crate feels like a genuine ‘worth every penny’ moment.   The October Lootcrate is pretty damn satisfying. The in-tune focus on the theme, the better range of items, it all works out nicely. There’s very few throw away items, or items that just leave you more confused than anything. Possibly the best crate they’ve put out, and hopefully a sign of things to come.   P.S   They did include a sweet called a ‘Toxic Waste’, these things are awful. For the love of all things beautiful, do not try to suck on the Toxic Waste for more than 0000.07 seconds.      ...

6 New Amiibos Set For Release In December

6 New Amiibos Set For Release In December

December will the launch of six new Amiibo figures, just time for Christmas.   The 6 characters are:   Captain Falcon Diddy Kong Liitle Mac Princess Zelda Lugi Pit 2015 will most likely see the Amiibo range expand rapidly, but who would you want to see brought to the range?    ...

Phil Fish Wants You To Hate him

Phil Fish Wants You To Hate him

Fez was decent, least I thought it was, at it’s heart it was a fun title that made me feel kinda happy. Fez was colorful, slick, enjoyable and consistent. I enjoyed the game and looked back at it as pleasant experience. After all was said and done, I decided to look into the games development and see how it was crated, this resulted in me finding one Phil Fish. A talent young man, there is no doubt, but a egoistical fella. There’s nothing wrong with ego, look throughout creative media, sports and various other purists, a lot of the best people have a ego. The problem with Phil Fish is…he seems to think the world owes him something, he seems to think I owe him something and that you owe him something. Phil Fish isn’t a person, but a person consumed by a character.   I came to this conclusion after watching ‘Indie Game: The Movie’, a lovely little number that shed light on the hardships, struggles and high points of creating a vision. While everyone featured in the film seemed genuine, real, Mr.Fish always seemed like he was ‘playing’ for the camera. As time went on, and his twitter account became more and more active, it seemed like Mr.Fish had turned heel, full heel. Why do I use a term generally used in relation to professional wrestling? It’s simple, Phil Fish is acting like a WWE wrestler, a poor man’s CM Punk. The way in which he interacts with people over social media, his trash talk of his peers, the way in which he reacts to criticism, it all screams ‘playing a character’. I’ve always wondered why he acts like this, my only real conclusion is bad press is better than no press. In running his mouth, slagging off his peers, going overboard on current events, he earns himself a lot of heat which in turn gives him a lot of press. Phil Fish could announce any game he likes at this point and the internet would be all over it, social media (within video game circles) would be buzzing. Even when he’s not working on projects he stays in the news, he’s playing the system. Ethically, his recent exploits are a little dark. Requesting civil war and insulting his fan base seem like awful moves, but given he’s turned Heel, it’s a easy way to get gain heat. Phil Fish wants you to hate him, he thrives on it, he works lives on it. While you could argue it’s a clever means to stay relevant, the whole concept cheapens the joys that Fez brought. The whimsical charms of Fez feel slightly corrupted when you take into account the attitude of it’s creator. The real shame is Fish is super talented, and truly talented people don’t come along too often. His obsession with trying to play the bad guy is his main obstacle. There’s a hope that maybe one day he’ll change his focus, he’ll stop playing the villain, but that doesn’t seem likely. Phil Fish wants you to hate him, and he loves you for doing so....

Metro Redux – Uncovered Video Showcases Improvements & Extras

Metro Redux – Uncovered Video Showcases Improvements & Extras

Metro, as a franchise, has developed a cult following. Often seen as a franchise that deserves more attention, Metro has always been praised for it’s atmosphere, story and overall presentation. Last Light was the most impressive of the two games thanks to it’s dark story that questioned the players actions and motives. This year sees a re-relase of both games, complete with various improvements and additions. New modes, improved AI, added extras to Metro 2033, all in one big package. The latest video, known as Metro Redux – Uncovered, showcases and details all the added goodies found within the Redux version. You can purchase Metro 2033 Redux and Metro: Last Light Redux  individually as a digital download for an SRP of $24.99 / €19.99 / £15.99 each. Or get both games together in the Metro Redux double pack. Metro Redux launches on 29th August 2014 in Europe and 26th August in the US for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One    ...

Looking At Loot Crate: Transformers & Major League Gaming

Looking At Loot Crate: Transformers & Major League Gaming

Loot Crate has been on the rise for sometime now, mostly thanks to how well the company has used social media. The concept is simple, a box full of bits and pieces all wrapped together with a theme. A care package with a personality, Loot Crate is expanding, growing. Last months theme was Transformers, Loot Crate were kind enough to send us a crate so we could see what all the fuss was about. The nature of Loot Crate is made pretty clear as soon as the box is opened. Instructions for the ‘perfect unboxing’. Document, share, enjoy, the three key words Loot Crate hold at the core of their values. It’s refreshing to see a company embrace the power of social media and sharing to promote and sell their product. Each crate ships with a shirt, in this case the shirt in a cross over between Transformer and Back to the Future. The nostalgia value alone is enough to melt the heart of any child of the 80′s. While the design may not suit everyone, it’s at least a pretty nifty shirt to wear around the house during lazy day offs.   The Transformers theme is continued with the addition of a Autobot sticker and a Transformers vinyl. Being a collector of vinyls, it’s a nice little model that brings attention to a line not all that well known when compared to the likes of Kid Robot and Funko. The blind boxed Vinyl can be one of eight trasnformers, 4 from the Decepticons and 4 from the Autobots. Collector or not, it’s decently made Vinyl and easily the best feature of this Loot Crate.   The last Transformers item is a curious little thing called a ‘Hex Bug’. It’s a small plastic, bug like, thing that jitters around in a sporadic manner. After a few plays around with it, the chances are it’ll either get lost or put in a draw and forgotten about. The theme changes from Transformers to MLG. These items include a sweat band, stickers and a code for one month of ‘GameBattles’ Premium as well as a code for a exclusive Loot Crate badge on the site. In all fairness, MLG has never appealed to me personally but these items will surely have a circle people who appreciate them.   The last few items include some pretty nasty sour sweets, a badge stating the date and theme of the crate, and a small booklet. The booklet includes few comic strips, info on the items in the crate and a look at the theme and the companies involved with the items in the crate. The booklet is a decent brief read that gives loot Crate, as a company, a bit of personalty.   Overall Loot Crate is a decent gift idea for someone with a relative interest in both video games and films viewed as either nostalgic or in touch with ‘geek culture’. It’s a service that feels like a god send for those who might not be great at buying gifts for people but have a idea what said people like. Given the theme of each crate, it’s hard to truly whole heartily recommend buying 3 month subscriptions, after all one month could be a theme you have no interest in.   Subscription plans and further info for Loot Crate can be found at their official site....

Blue Estate Review (PS4)

Blue Estate Review (PS4)

The light gun is nothing more than a fond memory, at least in today’s market. After enjoying a brief resurgence during the hayday of motion video games, the light gun crept back into the shadows once more. It comes with some surprise that Blue Estate, a comic-inspired on-rails shooter, has stepped forward to replicate the light gun experience using only the accelerometers in the PS4′s controller. The PS4′s motion control capabilities have hardly been pushed or even used all that much, and especially not to their limits. The concept of basing the entirety of a £16.99 video game on an untested feature creates an instant notion of caution. Things aren’t helped by past failings by other light gun games that have tried to adopt motion controls from the likes of Kinect or the Wii. Unsurprisingly the controls of Blue Estate are the primary issue, but not as big of an issue as might have been expected. The control scheme is simple, yet uses two of the most curious features of the PS4 pad: the touch screen and motion controls. Aiming, as expected, is done by using the pad to shift the crosshair around the screen. The crosshairs can be reset to the centre via a quick tap of the L1 button. R2 acts as the trigger and L2 is utilized for the cover and reload mechanics. The touch screen is used for interactive sections of the game, such as picking up health, melee, and enemies. The touch screen is also used in quick-time events that happen during certain levels, as well as various other bits and bobs that see the player interact with the environment. For the most part, the general shooting experience is solid. The PS4 pad takes a while to get used to when used in the capacity required, but after a while it feels natural, and most importantly, it works. There are a few elements that feel slightly frustrating. For example, when switching weapons the crosshair tends to fly off the screen. While the L1 button resets crosshairs, it’s frustrating to have to constantly realign the aim on a regular basis, detracting from the core experience. Behind the shooting there’s a score system keeping the action flowing. Points are earned by chaining combos together as well as pulling off special shots. Scattered across each level are short shooting galleries where the player is tasked with popping headshots. They break up the fast-paced action but feel somewhat forced at times. The points system only truly lends itself to a visual representation of how well the player did. Leaderboards are supported, but with no unlocks, only board-climbers will have an interest in racking up points. Blue Estate‘s campaign isn’t especially long, either. Clocking in at around 3-4 hours, it is enjoyable but limited. The whole deal is filled with pop culture references poking fun at various video games and shows, with the Game of Thrones reference being the most obvious. The campaign follows Tony Luciano, the son of one of LA’s most notorious crime lords. Tony is a greasy, disaster-prone slime ball who enjoys hair styling, hookers, and shooting. Tony finds himself stuck in the middle of a gang war centered around his favourite hooker, Cherry. Tony, being the gentleman he is, sets out to defend Cherry while his father drafts in help from gun-for-hire Clarence. Blue Estate requires its player not to take themselves too seriously. The plot has a huge undertone of exploitative cinema running throughout it, mixed with the snark you’d expect from a jaded pop culture expert. There’s a decent amount of environments on offer, each with their own enemy types and mini-bosses. The campaign is fun but never something that makes an impression. Not that the campaign was trying to do anything more than that, however. While the campaign is fun, it’s made even better via local two player co-op, a rare feature in modern video games. The overall Blue Estate experience is solid and well produced. The visuals aren’t exactly stunning, but they do lend themselves well to the tone and art style of the game. The action is fast, perhaps too fast for the controls, but remains enjoyable throughout. Given its length and lack of content, the price point of £16.99 seems a little high. Ultimately, Blue Estate is a decent on-rails shooter with plenty of cheap laughs. The only problem holding it back from being widely recommended is the price. Fun, funny, enjoyable, but overpriced.      ...

EA Sports UFC Review (PS4/Xbox One)

EA Sports UFC Review (PS4/Xbox One)

EA’s UFC has been one of the company’s most hyped titles, mainly due to its visuals. After months of press releases, trailers and screenshots, does the game deliver the realistic experience promised? In short, no. Not entirely, at least. At its core, MMA is arguably the purest form of competition. The sheer amounts of disciplines that factor into the sport give it such a sense of depth that not many other sports can match. This alone makes MMA a tricky sport to translate into a video game. Every fight starts on the feet, and this is possibly the strongest elements of EA UFC’s gameplay. The range in strikes gives the players more than enough options to create combos and put a bit a flare into their fight style. Each strike carries a genuine sense of impact; faces wobble, cut and bruise, and it’s noticeably realistic. This allows the striking to become an instantly rewarding mechanic that engages players, as well as spectators, straight away. There’s a sense of ease to stringing together basic combos. Knees and fists can be strung together in effective methods without requiring too much thought. There’s a number of advanced stand up techniques, mostly built upon the blocking and evasion mechanics, which require some time to learn. The basic stand up is well rounded, but that quickly becomes a problem given how simple it is compared to other key elements of the fight, such as clinching, grappling, and wrestling. Stand up only makes up part of the sport; any fighter who doesn’t learn the ground game wont last very long. This is where EA UFC runs into some major issues. The clinch is solid, with controls that are easy to learn and a viable part of the game. The same can also be said of the takedowns, which carry a sense of weight to them. The ground game, however, is an utter mess of confusion, frustration and bemusement. Transitioning from position to position, be it from the top or bottom, feels like a horrid dance of jerking analogue sticks around in hope more than expectation. Even after taking time to learn the controls, the ground game never feels accomplished and becomes something the player fears rather than utilizes.   It’s frustrating that such a key part of the sport is so undercooked and so rough around the edges. What should be a smooth experience, with plenty of depth, is instead a flurry of stick wiggles and button presses while the on-screen fighter wiggles in a strange limp motion. It’s rare the ground game feels smooth or useful. It instead feels like a hindrance that is unfairly thrown upon the player as the AI imposes its willful mount with ease. While it may seem like a small issue to those not familiar with MMA, these ground game issues are in fact a big deal given how large of a part the ground game plays in any given fight. It’s unfortunate that the effort put into the stand up is deflected by shoddy mechanics used for the ground game, mainly the transitions. There’s also an issue that pops up with how submissions are handled. Attempting a submission prompts an odd mini game in which the victim presses in a direction while the submitter tries to match his victim’s stick wiggles. The mini-game feels out of place, even more so given the pace and presentation of each fight. The mechanic simply doesn’t match what is going on, almost cheapening the experience.   The visuals of EA UFC are what have been the main focus, at least in terms of marketing. To EA’s credit, the character models are mostly stunning. The attention to detail is staggering, from the scars on Jon Jon’s face, to the readable text on Rousey’s ankle tattoo.The finer details have all been taken care of. There are one or two character models that feel a little less well crafted, mainly Chael Sonnen and Alexander Gustaffason, both of which carry a distinct video game look. The general set dressing isn’t quite up to the standards on the character models. Arenas feel oddly vacant, lacking the soul and buzz of a real UFC event. It seems odd that EA would go to so much effort to create fantastic character models only to put them into rather vapid arenas. Thankfully the soul of the fights is injected with how much damage is shown on the respective fighters. When a punch is thrown, the impact is visible. Bodies will ripple, cuts and bruises will appear, and it gives each each fight a much needed sense of life, as well as adding weight to each punch, knee, kick and takedown.   One of the main criticisms of EA UFC is the lack of content on offer. While ninety-seven fighters may sound impressive, there aren’t many modes to use them in. While past UFC titles by other developers made full use of the UFC’s purchases of the PRIDE (the premier MMA promotion pre-UFC days) and history, EA has focused mainly on the current times. Aside from the standard fight mode and online modes, there’s a career mode built around The Ultimate Fighter TV show. Players create a fighter and fight their way through the UFC in pursuit of capturing gold. In between fights, players complete various drills in order to obtain evolution points. These points can be spent on new moves or by boosting the player’s attributes. As players enter the bigger fights in their career, more sponsors and gyms will become available. The career mode has a rather curious mechanic which dictates how long the player’s career lasts. After each fight, the player will be presented with an overview of how much damage they took and what impact it has on their career. Much like real life, taking numerous heavy hits in each fight will cut short the fighter’s career. Players wishing to have a long and illustrious careers are forced to take note of how much damage they are taking. This mechanic forces players into changing their approach to fights in order to maintain their fighter’s career. It gives the mode a genuine sense of depth as it pushes the player to learn the game and formulate genuine game plans rather than relying on throwing bombs each fight.   The online multiplayer is adequate enough but lacks anything to truly write home about. There are often times when players will come into contact with players from across the pond, creating a laggy connection. The lag doesn’t make the game unplayable, but it does make it frustrating. It’s hard to string combos together when a 2-3 second delay keeps occurring. As stated, this only seems to happen with overseas connections and is not an issue that runs throughout. If there’s one hugely annoying issue with the multiplayer, it’s the inclusion of Bruce Lee as DLC. Boasting insane speed and power, Bruce Lee is possibly the best fighter in the game, and he’s locked as paid DLC or as a pre-order bonus. Having the option to play as Bruce Lee is a huge advantage over those without him. His sheer speed makes him near impossible to out-strike, creating a feeling of pay-to-win. It feels like a low blow by EA as they try to make a quick buck. EA’s first attempt at a UFC game is admirable, but flawed. While the stand up is satisfying and the visuals impressive, the ground game is a huge detractor. Given how vital the ground game is, the core gameplay is effected by the rough nature of the ground game mechanics. It’s a hugely frustrating part of the game that truly sucks the pace, fluidity and enjoyment out of each bout .A lack of feinting strikes, option to touch gloves, no leg kick KOs and everyone being able to pull of flashy (physical impossible moves for some) moves also makes for some annoyances. The lack of modes and content is also an issue, one that feels like the product of a rushed release more than anything. Given the calibre of past UFC titles, EA’s attempt may look the part, but it doesn’t feel like the complete package. While the game is enjoyable for the most part, the issues truly hinder the overall game from reaching the heights it could have reached.  ...

Rainbow Six: Siege is a Scary Concept

Rainbow Six: Siege is a Scary Concept

Choose your loadout. Pick carefully. Pick a weapon suited to the situation. Pick items that can get the job done, gear that will make things easier. Relevant equipment. Scout the area, select a route, formulate a strategy. The joys of true tactical shooters. It’s a genre that has pretty much died out on the console. Rainbow Six: Siege isn’t going to change that. From what was shown, Siege is more akin to a hybrid of Rainbow Six: Vegas with the pace of Call of Duty. Bullets are shrugged off, gunfire is thrown around willy nilly. This is not tactical gameplay in the slightest. The footage shown at this year’s E3 seemed to be trying its hardest to put up a ruse that there’s a heavy focus on strategy within Siege. As soon as the shooting started that ruse faded away with haste. There’s nothing tactical about hiding behind a shield and spraying bullets into the midst of smoke, walls and flame. While the Rainbow Six franchise slowly descended into a more action-based series, there was still a slight essence of tactics to the core gameplay. While the idea of Siege is at least slightly tactical, the gameplay seems little more than yet another gun-everything-down-via-uncontrolled-fire affair. Given the gap in the market, a true tactical shooter would be welcome with open arms. Rainbow Six is a franchise that often brings a grind and a nod from fans. Memories of Vegas and Six 2 come flooding back. These memories now long buried in the past, with no other games to go to for the same experience. The sad fact is that Siege is the closet thing to a tactical shooter on the market. The true concepts and elements of tactical gameplay continue to fade in favor of cheap thrills and big guns. Siege appears to be a sad state of the genre, but there’s still hope. There’s still plenty of time for Ubisoft to show more gameplay of Rainbox Six: Siege. Time to show that it has more depth than the initial video indicated. Heck, even if the game included realistic difficulty settings it would at least be a step in the right direction. Don’t let Rainbow Six fall further into the saturated market of straight-up shooters. If Siege is what developers consider tactical, then that’s scary.  ...

Wolfenstein: The New Order Review (PS4/ Xbox One/ PC)

Wolfenstein: The New Order Review (PS4/ Xbox One/ PC)

There aren’t many first-person shooters that can raise a smile via gunning down waves of enemies, only to stop you in your tracks and make you question some pretty heavy topics. Dual wielding machine guns while unleashing hell one bullet at a time in one moment, mulling over racism and oppression the next. Wolfenstein: The New Order is far from what was expected. Franchise protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz is back, complete with a voice and high-definition chin, and once again he’s battling the Third Reich. The New Order opens with a brief mission set during, what should be, the end of World War 2, as B.J. and his team assault a Nazi compound. Right from the start, the tones and themes of New Order are laid out: robotic Nazi Dogs; Frankenstein-like super-soldiers; and giant mechanical units dominating the field. The opening mission acts as a tutorial as well as an introduction to the game’s antagonist, General Deathead, climaxing in a choice that impacts the rest of the game. The story then picks up some years later, in a world where the Nazis have gone on to global domination. The alternative timeline is the perfect place for traditional Wolfenstein enemy designs to make an appearance. There’s a number of times in which the enemy design is genuinely impressive due to their sheer twisted creativity. Their over-the-top nature feeds into the desired tone of the game. At least for the most part. The New Order doesn’t seem to want to take itself too seriously, but at times its nature comes into conflict with the more somber moments of the game. For example, a number of times a cutscene will focus on the horrors of war, while there’s also a short scene in which the topic of racism is touched upon. While these sections are well done and give the game a sense of soul , they come off a little out of place given how over-the-top the game is.     The action is relentless and outlandish, removing any sense of realism in favor for sheer balls-to-the-wall fun. There’s a sense of unbridled power when B.J. dual-wields assault rifles and creates a tidal wave of bullets and Nazi corpses. The core enjoyment of New Order is down to how well Machine Games has nailed the gameplay. There’s a strong sense of understanding and appreciation for classic first-person shooters. Running and gunning has never felt so good, each movement furled with a tight control scheme that lends well to the fast-paced action at hand. Wolfenstein: The New Order freshens up the gameplay by including a perk system that feeds into how the player plays the game. Perks will unlock once the player has met the criteria. For example, the stealth tree requires stealth kills and keeping a low profile to progress. The other trees mostly cover making things die at the hands of various weapons. It’s a simple system that gives the player short-term goals to improve their efficiency in the way they play, and it’s welcome and well rounded addition to the franchise.   Shockingly, there’s quite a lot of freedom when it comes to how a player can approach most situations. Each level often plays host to a number of paths for the player to take. Want to go in all guns blazing? There’s a path for that. Want to take it slow, steady, and adopt a stealthy approach? Heck, there’s often two paths for that. The choices aren’t simply there for show–the stealth is genuinely well done for a game that’s mostly about shooting literally everything in front of the player. In terms of production value, The New Order ranges from fantastic to questionable. Cutscenes are beautiful, with some characters coming to life thanks to fantastic detail and smooth animation. The visuals during gameplay tend to dip in and out of being decent to rough, however. Some textures can look slightly last-gen, especially on the weapons. It’s not that the game looks bad, it’s just that it struggles to truly make the impression that the game fully belongs on the new hardware from Sony and Microsoft. The game’s audio is adequate but has little to get excited or complain about.     The New Order does a lot well, but there are a number of issues littered around throughout that stop it from truly excelling. The 18 certificate given to the game seems like the result of some awkwardly forced-in scenes. Sex scenes and some random gore moments feel out of place and forced, even more so when they are sandwiched in between some heavy ethical topics. Also, the weapons on offer feel a little tame, which is disappointing given how creative the game is elsewhere. The main issues are mostly buried in the technical side of things. Enemy AI can go a bit off the wall and unresponsive to the actions around them. Enemies can find themselves trapped on scenery, as well the player. Boss battles are also thrown into The New Order, none of which feel engaging or even challenging, allowing some sections to feel a little underwhelming. Wolfenstein: The New Order is a solid experience. The action is solid, the experience is enjoyable, and by the end of the decent-length campaign, the player feels truly well traveled thanks to a fantastic range of environments. It’s a shame, then, that The New Order struggles to keep a balance between being over-the-top and serious. Fun, conflicted, sometimes even sad, The New Order is enjoyable but not essential, but is nevertheless a return to form for a somewhat forgotten franchise.      ...

Wolfenstein: The New Order – Dipping Its Toes Into Racism

Wolfenstein: The New Order – Dipping Its Toes Into Racism

There’s a number of subjects that are often seen as too sensitive to be included in a video game. As such it’s rare that a video game will touch upon themes such as racism, imperialism, and progression at the cost of evil deeds. Video games tend to keep their noses clean away from these touchy topics. Well, mostly. Every so often a game will dabble, make the player question the role they play in the game. Who would have guessed the no-nonsense Nazi shoot-’em-up Wolfenstein: The New Order would be a game to dip its toes into controversial waters. It’s odd that Wolfenstein included a pretty strong–and valid–point when it comes to racism in the 1940s. The character known as J, an African-American, is questioned as to why he does not actively take part in the resistance against the Nazis. His reply is possibly one of the most unexpected (given the context of the franchise, and the game thus far). He points out that fighting for ‘the man’ (the US) was no more beneficial than allowing the Nazis to go unopposed. Under both regimes he was oppressed due to his race. The section in which this scene happens is short, but arguably has a ripple effect throughout the whole game. It’s odd to think that, in a video game at least, the protagonist is fighting in the name of a system that was morally, and ethically, flawed. The lines of good and evil are blurred. It’s an odd feeling, to fight against an enemy with the knowledge that the cause you are fighting for is still ultimately oppressive towards a large portion of its people. Wolfenstein is over-the-top and borderline silly in its overall look and concepts, yet the game still poses a surprising number of ethical questions. The Nazis’ actions are evil, but the resulting technology they have amassed has jumped the human race forward. It’s hinted throughout that all this destruction is at the detriment to humanity’s progression in the field of technology. On the flip side, the evil actions of the Nazis results in these progressions being the product of an evil regime that must be stopped. The New Order is all about big, loud, first-person shooting action, but underneath the surface there’s some interesting points. J’s speech is a startling reminder that no society is truly good in the sense of absolute. It’s a short dialogue that sparks some thought on the topic, as well as giving the alternative timeline a bit more depth (the fall of the world, especially the US, in the game means no human rights movements etc). Wolfenstein: The New Order isn’t just the dumb run-and-gun shooter we expected....

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