Monday
Apr142014

PAX East 2014: Getting trigger-happy with Wolfenstein: The New Order

he First-person shooting trend is only getting bigger; it’s funny to think just how much more advanced the design has gotten over the years too. I mean, with games like ARMA, and Battlefield, the humble days of strafe ‘n shoot is far long into yesterday that it can almost be sub-categorized into being a completely different type of game.

I only mention this because as soon as I started to play the newest entry to one of the most iconic series of the genre, Wolfenstein: The New Order, that I reveled at the decision Machine Games made, to return the game back to the simplistically dumb action roots of the original—the results are surprisingly refreshing.

As I came crashing down against a warring shoreline reminiscent to that of the iconic D-day of Normandy, I was treated to the rundown of The New Order’s setting, an alternate take on history taking place in the 60’s, where the Nazis won World War II and Blazkowicz is ready to go all Rambo and shit. The narrative and premise are just as ridiculous as it sounds and that’s the point; it works well to setup for the arcade-ass shooter that The New Order really is.

As I started blasting through down the trenches, I compulsively started to pick random caches of ammunition and guns around me, it wasn’t until after a few minutes in that I realized that I seemingly had an endless capacity to pick up whatever I wanted. Every death I dished only increased the intake of random loot to pilfer all around in the same manner Bethesda’s own Fallout or Elder Scrolls, only with much more freedom. There was seemingly to limit or encumbrance to my growing arsenal, and ammunition was almost universally compatible to any firearm I had currently equipped; including the Assault Rifle I suddenly began to dual-wield. I was no longer a figurative one-man army—I was a literal one.

The pacing in The New Order is only concerned with one thing, to keep you moving and shooting. The two factors that play into this process of action is the unique way that health is maintained. Anytime BJ Blazkowicz takes damage, you automatically regenerate up to a certain threshold , with no master limit so med kits don’t go to waste, they do the exact opposite. Applying med kits in succession after an HP count of 100 will send you into Overdrive: a state of frenzy that boosts your resistance along with the insane increase to the health pool. As a result, Overdrive if used effectively, encourages players to go out a guns blazing, a behavior nearly every modern shooter has attempted to undo, and it’s embraced in The New Order—for the better too.

The key to making the best use out of Overdrive and to ultimately get the most success out of  progressing in my mission, was the constant exchange of picking up resources and doling reams of gunfire against the outlandish numbers of Nazi soldiers, wave after wave. The AI of  the Nazi Army in particular, wasn’t very smart, but there was just so many of them that it really didn’t matter, I didn’t have any time to rest. Every time I arrived at a point of conflict, the numbers within the horde of that corridor easily peaked over twenty and more, from all side, and there I was shooting from the hip from two rifles, mowing them down, and never sitting still.

While the contextual interaction could use some work, and navigation relying heavily the often-joked about trope of the wherever  there’s a patch covered in mobs of bad guys; Wolfenstein New Order didn’t have to impress me with some sort of deep campaign or innovative tactic system. Wolfenstein: New Order just focuses on amplifying all the stupid dumb fun you can get out of an action-filled shooter, dressed in some of the prettiest violence I’ve seen in some time.

 

Arrive in shelves on May 20th, I’m glad New Order isn’t trying to blaze a new trail in the crowded market of shooters today, it’s just concerned with being enjoyable, and so far, it succeed in doing just that at PAX East.

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