OpenRA .................................................................... Wolfen­stein II The New Colossus ....................


PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - Daniel Wilks

ime has not been kind to Wil­liam “B.J.” Blazkow­icz. When he first started his Nazi killing spree in Wolfen­stein 3D (1992), he was lit­tle more than a gri­mace and a hand, but from small be­gin­nings he went on to fight more Nazis and Nazi zom­bies. Un­til the 2014 re­boot, Wolfen­stein: The New Or­der, Blazkow­icz was lit­tle more than a man of ac­tion, in­ca­pable of more nu­anced thought than choos­ing the next tar­get. All that has changed in the mod­ern in­car­na­tion of the char­ac­ter. Blazkow­icz has gone from be­ing an ac­tion fig­ure to be­ing a lead­ing man, and one that the devel­op­ers seem to love to tor­ture.

In The New Or­der, Blazkow­icz took a chunk of shrap­nel to the head and re­mained in a veg­e­ta­tive state for 14 years, awak­ing in 1960 to dis­cover that the Nazis had won WWII and that the only good guys left were small pock­ets of re­sis­tance. When we first meet the hero of The New Colossus, thanks to the events of The New Or­der, Blazkow­icz is not only a man out of time with cra­nial trauma, he’s also a shell of his for­mer self, a mass of failed or­gans and scar tis­sue, in­ca­pable of get­ting around un­der his own power and con­stantly hov­er­ing around death’s door.

The first level we had a chance to play dur­ing our hands on ses­sion pre­sum­ably came from the very be­gin­ning of the game. Af­ter five or so months in a coma (B.J. re­ally loves his co­mas), Blazkow­icz awakes to the sound of fight­ing. He is on the sub­ma­rine base of the re­main­ing re­sis­tance and by the din, it’s be­ing at­tacked. Un­able to stand on his own, B.J. must fight his way through the sub to find Anya, his love and mother of his child. Much like the be­gin­ning of The New Or­der, this open­ing act doesn’t give the best first im­pres­sion. Not only is B.J. slow to con­trol and con­stantly on death’s door, the fact that he is con­fined to a slow mov­ing wheel­chair means that play­ers can’t ap­proach com­bat the way they see fit, a key me­chanic of the game. The sec­ond mis­sion we had a chance to play more fully show­cased not only the me­chan­ics of Wolfen­stein II but the dark sense of hu­mour that per­vades the game as well. The mis­sion saw Blazkow­icz hav­ing to plant a nu­clear bomb in an un­der­ground Nazi base in Area 52, the even se­creter cousin to Area 51. The mis­sion be­gins with Blazkow­icz, dressed as a fire­man (so he can lug a nuke hid­den in a fire ex­tin­guisher un­no­ticed) wan­der­ing through a nearby town to meet a con­tact who can get him into the se­cret in­stal­la­tion. The scene is vin­tage Amer­i­cana twisted to fas­cist ide­ol­ogy. Newsies sell pa­pers on street cor­ners but shout out head­lines of glo­ri­ous lead­ers and cap­tured re­sis­tance fight­ers. Klans­men walk about openly dis­play­ing their white robes, all the while sound­ing like the red­neck id­iots they are. Nazi o—cers and jack­booted col­lab­o­ra­tors take the place of the friendly neigh­bour­hood po­lice, and a mil­i­tary pa­rade cel­e­brates the power of the Re­ich rather than the stereo­typ­i­cal red, white and blue. Af­ter meet­ing the

con­tact, be­ing part of a bru­tal but nec­es­sary mur­der and be­ing ha­rangued by a mad con­spir­acy the­o­rist about alien tech­nol­ogy be­ing used by the Nazis, Blazkow­icz sets out for Area 52. The first part of the mis­sion sees B.J. hav­ing to hi­jack a se­cret un­der­ground train that runs be­tween the di€er­ent “Ar­eas” dot­ted through New Mex­ico. Of course, this means he has to kill a lot of Nazis in the process. In ad­di­tion to reg­u­lar troop­ers, the Nazis also have heav­ily ar­moured, laser wield­ing stormtroop­ers and fast mov­ing, elec­tric­ity dis­charg­ing hu­manoid robots for Blazkow­icz to con­tend with, each re­quir­ing a di€er­ent ap­proach to take down.

Both brute force and stealth are e€ec­tive against the heavy stormtroop­ers – shoot them with enough bul­lets and they will fall, drop­ping one of their lim­ited use but ex­tremely pow­er­ful lasers for the player to use. B.J. can also kill stormtroop­ers in­stantly with a stealth take­down, so long as he can get be­hind them with­out be­ing spot­ted first. The robots are a to­tally di€er­ent mat­ter. They move ex­tremely fast and er­rat­i­cally, so try­ing to shoot them is folly. The eas­i­est way we found to deal with them was to ei­ther sneak up and de­stroy them be­fore they ac­ti­vated (much eas­ier said than done, of course) or run­ning right up to them and us­ing a melee at­tack to dis­able them.

Af­ter hi­jack­ing the train, Blazkow­icz must then fend o€ the Nazis on board un­til he ar­rives at Area 52, a mas­sive fa­cil­ity in which he must place the por­ta­ble nuke in­side of the bases’ nu­clear re­ac­tor so it can­not be dis­cov­ered or dis­armed be­fore det­o­na­tion.

The Area 52 fa­cil­ity re­ally showed o€ how play­ers can ap­proach ac­tion as they see fit. The ar­eas are large enough and have enough hid­den ar­eas and al­ter­nate paths that a stealth ap­proach is def­i­nitely pos­si­ble, but if you’re more into the run and gun ap­proach, the new weapons, in­clud­ing a hefty au­to­matic shot­gun leave a sat­is­fy­ingly bloody wake of de­struc­tion. At least un­til you plant the bomb. That’s when the gi­ant, mor­tar spew­ing robot comes out to have a chat.

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