Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wolfenstein: The New Order (Multiple, 2014)

Now that's a title screen. This is one of my favorite games from last year, and tells a brilliant story of an alternate timeline where the Nazis won World War 2. Today was the release of The Old Blood, a DLC prequel to this game, so I figured it'd be a good time to take a quick look at the main game.

This post is mainly about the newspaper clippings peppered throughout the game that fill in the backstory, as the majority of the game takes place in an alternate post-war 1960. BJ Blaskowicz was in a coma for most of the new 1946-1960, so the missing decade and a half of alternate events is something he's learning about along with you.

Since this is a Bethesda game, you gain perks/abilities by using your existing powers a certain amount of times. It's fun to look into how to get new perks and then focus on learning them.

At the end of the day, this is a first-person shooter, so it can't get TOO deep. The amount of effort that the developers put into it really shows, however, and the story is one of the best I've seen in a while. They really did their research, to the point where this alternate 1960 is actually very believable as something that could have happened after just minor alterations to history.

Here's General Deathshead, the villain of the game. He's a completely unredeemable monster, and plays the Red Skull role of developing tech for the Nazis that was a few years ahead of its time, thus turning the tide in the war.

Again, it's a pretty believable storyline, given that Germany might have been the most powerful country in the world already circa 1939 or so. The pre-war United States was ranked at like #15 power-wise. This obviously changed in the years that followed as the U.S. mobilized and moved up to top three status, if not #1. Germany also split the atom way before the U.S. did, but was unable to weaponize it in time to use it. Regardless, had they not wildly overextended by challenging too many foes at once, the Nazis could have conceivably won the war.

Final boss isn't Mecha-Hitler like in the old PC games, but close enough: Deathshead in a mech suit.

 It's a good fight, and as it goes on the area becomes increasingly engulfed in flames. Seeing this guy stomping towards me through the haze of smoke and fire is an image I'm not forgetting any time soon.

The main reason I'm doing this post is to show off some of the many, many newspaper clippings that give you the backstory of alternate 1946-1960, as I mentioned before. Here's Canada's last dispatch.

A lot of this is from the Nazi perspective, with chilling terminology. The people they're bombing are always portrayed as happy to be liberated.

The biggest threat faced by the Nazis in the 50's is a continuous threat from terrorists, aka resistance striking back against the Reich on various fronts.

Man, this writing is so good. It hits home on many levels.

The most disturbing thing about this game is probably the Panzerhunden, which are basically dog-terminators. The early 1946 versions are hybrid dog/machine, while the later 1960 versions are almost completely mechanical and controlled by installed dog brains.

Deathshead is trying to do similar things with people as of 1960, creating "Supersoldaten" (Super Soldiers) with metal skeletons and a human brain/spine. If CPUs were too complicated as a control device, it makes sense that they'd go for a living interface (quite literally). The Nazis ingame utilize drugs to keep the Supersoldaten from thinking for themselves once mechanized. Same goes for the Panzerhund, which attack on command but otherwise stay docile.

This game is dark. It's hard to handle.

It's interesting how whenever the Nazis kill anyone and it gets reported, they make sure to let everyone know that the person they killed was either a murderer or a rapist. Most of the time, the people in question were fighting on your side and were nothing of the sort.

It's Front Mission: Gun Hazard all over again. Those unattractive guys must have done it! They're not good-looking!

It's scary how many of these reports have that "last dispatch" feeling to them as various countries put up their final resistance against the Nazis.

The darkest thing about the game is that as of 1960, the Nazis have essentially pacified the world and "cleared it of evil". There's almost no resistance left, and things are rosy. Their next objective is to colonize space, and with their laser-focus on technological advancement, it seems entirely doable.

The prequel that launched today is all well and good, but given how much effort went into this game, I'm really hoping it gets a sequel where we find out what happens next in this alternate reality.

1 comment:

  1. This is great work, perfect for making people interested in studying history.