The Old Blood

You’ll have to pardon my absence over the last few days, I went on a mini-vacation for Independence Day to visit family and was pretty disconnected during that time. Just before we left, I finished off Wolfenstein II and was thrilled with the game. When I was nearing the end I got to talking with my lady and she was asking if there were any other Wolfenstein games out there, and aside from the original and older reboots, there was a lone game I had yet to play. Back in 2014, Wolfenstein: The New Order released and I played through that one, but when its prequel released in 2015, it was overlooked. The Old Blood is a prequel to The New Order, and thereby another game in the series that I hadn’t played and wanted to. It was still discounted via the Steam Summer Sale while we were having the conversation, so for $10 I would be able to complete my collection and potentially fill in some plot holes. I didn’t start it until we got back into town last night, but I can already tell it’s going to be enjoyable.

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What I have gathered so far, is that this game takes place in the 40’s, and at least starts in Germany. You’re still B.J., but you’re a younger version of him compared to the other games. In this timeline, you are facing the Nazi war machine head on, but the Allies are clearly losing the war. Continuing on, during the events of The New Order, the war is over and the Nazis control America. During The New Colossus, B.J. and co manage to start a revolution during the 1960’s and potentially start the downfall of the Nazi regime… we were teased with Youngblood during E3 this year, and that is supposed to take place during the 1980s and focuses on the twin daughters B.J.’s lady is carrying during The New Colossus. Perhaps then they will finally force the Germans out of America? Time will tell.

Back to The Old Blood. Thankfully because it is a prequel, playing it after the other two games hasn’t really affected the telling of the story. You’re undercover as a Nazi officer and entering into Castle Wolfenstein it seems. Much of the set design is reminiscent of the old Wolfenstein games we played decades ago, being a big sprawling castle and having a ton of Nazis inside to kill. There seems to be more puzzling portions, and you’ll gain some different abilities as compared to the other titles. One piece of equipment becomes a mainstay in your inventory – a big metal pipe. You can use it to climb walls, pry open doors, and most importantly stab people in their necks. Otherwise it’s a very similar game made by the same developers so you should feel right at home. I know I do. I’ve enjoyed the couple of chapters I’ve played through, but this does feel like a game I’ll complete faster than the others. At this time The New Order took about 10 hours, while The New Colossus took just under 9. I’m a couple hours into The Old Blood and on chapter 3 of 8 so I assume this one will clock in around 8 hours at this rate. Either way, still fun to be blasting Nazis and filling in story gaps.

I will report back once I’ve completed it, most likely by the end of the week if not sooner.

Wolf 2 Complete

Wow, that was a quick turnaround! I managed to play Wolfenstein II for a couple hours here and there throughout the week and made a final push over the weekend, finally completing the game last night. It turns out I was at the very end of the game on Sunday but had stopped to go play some MTG with my roommate, so within 30 minutes last night it was over. There are DLCs and things but I’m going to pass on those, as my girlfriend bought me a copy of The Old Blood, which is the prequel to the original game and should hopefully fill in some story gaps. I should be able to complete that one long before Youngblood comes out, but at least I’ll be able to say that I played all of Machine Games’ Wolfenstein titles on offer.

What a crazy adventure this game was. There are some spoilery screenshots ahead, so if you haven’t played this year old game, you might want to skip this post.

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From getting beheaded on national television to having your severed head put in a jar and then attached to a cybernetic body, this was surely a crazy experience. Seeing an aging hitler, and finally getting your revenge on the Frau was an amazingly fun time. I was hooked from start to finish, and though there wasn’t anything too challenging to complete, it was still not the easiest shooter I’ve played through. There are varying difficulty levels, so most players should be able to find their sweet spot. Graphically the game was amazing, if not a little gory. As a matter of fact there is a bunch of adult oriented content in this title, from sex scenes, to the aforementioned gore, to various vulgarities and slurs. But if you aren’t a snowflake, you’ll probably be able to take it for what it is. I’m not sure why this game got some negative reviews, as there wasn’t anything I took issue with, but perhaps I’m part of the crowd the game was designed for. I look forward to the next iteration that’s for sure!

The New Colossus

The Steam Summer Sale is in full swing and as usual I was tempted by some titles that have long been on my wishlist but are normally full priced. It’s hard to pass up a good deal, so I was trying to justify spending the money while having a conversation with my girlfriend. I really couldn’t justify the expenditure, but she pulled the trigger for me. I’m a lucky guy! As you could probably guess by the title and picture above, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has been on my list for a long time and it was 60% off during the sale so for $24 it came into my possession.

During my first session with the game, I was already impressed. It gets a little graphic and touches on some important social issues within the first thirty minutes, but otherwise feels much like the original. Graphically it seems to be done in the same engine because I feel like it’s similar enough to The New Order, but I also haven’t played that one in quite some time so perhaps there have been some updates that I’m unaware of. I was happy to see that it supported 21:9 aspect ratio and 2k resolution, so it looks glorious on my new (ish) monitor. I saw no issues with framerate drops or hitching/tearing. It flows seamlessly between cut scene and game engine and I have been enthralled with the storyline once again.

I’m still impressed by the way these developers managed to take a 1990’s FPS with zero story and turn it into this magnum opus, but I’m glad they have because it feels like so much more than a mindless shooter. Sure, the game is fairly linear and has its share of big fuck you weaponry and explosions, but in between we see the humanity of this world and these characters and it’s a nice change of pace from the hoorah military shooters that have dominated the marketplace for so long. Similar to titles like Bioshock, this one has a compelling story that keeps you invested after the firefights have calmed down.

When the game opens, it gives you a little snippet of what happened in the first game, and then picks up precisely where it left off. B.J. got a little fucked up at the end of the first game, and gave the order to blow shit up despite the fact that it would kill him. Thankfully his friends came to his rescue, but the extent of his injuries were pretty dire. He floats in and out of consciousness, having flashbacks of his childhood (which seemed pretty fucked up) while his friends cut out bits of his guts and whatnot. Eventually he recovers, just to find that the ship he’s on is under attack, and finding that his legs aren’t working at that juncture. Equipped with a wheelchair and a gun, he goes on the offensive.

Through the first few scenes he eventually gets captured and his friend gets beheaded. The evil leader from the first game is back and wants to make the revolutionaries pay. She fat shames her daughter, tries to force her to do the beheading and then takes matters into her own hands. Thankfully at one point while trying to kill another friend, he breaks loose and shoots some of the soldiers, and in the ensuing scuffle B.J. is able to get into the power armor that had been worn by his beheaded friend and can now use his legs again! The Frau escapes while her daughter helps the team to escape and release their U-boat from the airship’s grasp.

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At this point I took a break but intend on pushing through this title fairly quickly. My girl also ponied up for the Dark Souls Remaster and I really want to get going on that series so I’ll have more to write about in that regard soon.

Did you grab anything in the Summer Sale?

Thoughts on Quake Champions

Quake Champions first came on my radar around this time last year when it was announced at E3 2017. It was shown off a bit again this year during the Bethesda conference, but being an Early Access game in beta it’s not quite done yet. It started off with a buy-in price of $30, but more recently there was a starter pack put up on Steam for $5, which doesn’t come with all of the champions that exist in the game. As a special E3 week promotion, that starter pack was made available for free, so I took my chance to finally experience the game first hand.

Touted as being the same sort of game as Quake III Arena that many of us played back in the 90’s (and was the direct competition for Unreal Tournament) and helped spawn the Arena Shooter genre, it has a modern twist from adding Champions with special abilities (to compete with titles like Overwatch, I’m sure). This claim holds true, as the champions appear to be mostly modeled after the Quake III skins though now they each have a special ability that recharges during matches and can be used to shake things up a bit. Of course, the nature of the game is to grab the best weapons and power-ups to mow down the competition, so the special abilities don’t add too much depth. Still a nice touch though.

The starter pack grants access to Ranger and Scalebearer, while the other champions are unplayable save for whatever the current week’s free rotation is. This is fine if you want a limited pool and would rather save up favor or platinum to buy the champions, but for $20 (currently) you can instantly unlock them all. Like most free to play games on the market, there are most of the expected trappings; you can buy champions for in-game currency (favor) or buy the RMT currency (platinum) for similar use. Skins come in many flavors, from customization options for your champion and the weapons they use. It seems that you can also further customize things with a rune system that I don’t quite understand yet. I assume it’s similar to systems found in League of Legends, though the runes seem tailored to each champion individually.

When it comes down to it though, this is the fast paced Quake that we all know and love straight out of the 1990’s. There are several different game modes and I’ve felt right at home with it. I love a mindless arena shooter, but this adds just enough nuance to make it feel at home in 2018, despite being firmly steeped in nostalgia from the past. I feel like it’s worth the $20 to get all current and future champions; it’s a good deal just like it’s been for other games like Smite and Paladins.

Jumping into the action has been a blast and I truly enjoy this updated version of Quake. I wish we could get a full campaign though, because the original Quake games were epic and we’ve had this new era of DOOM titles coming out so I’d like to see what id Software might come up with, but I’ll settle for the arena shooter that Quake has become. If you have ever loved a Quake title, I’d suggest picking this up now while it’s free, but even if you miss the promotion, it’s worth dropping the asking price for. I imagine it will be out of Early Access soon enough, as it feels polished and nearly feature complete at this point, but I also believe there will be new content added for some time to come.

Becoming Prey

PSN had a flash sale this past weekend and a title I’ve had my eye on for quite some time was heavily discounted. Prey, which is a remake of an older title by the same name came out last year or maybe the year before, and it looked right up my alley. A Sci-Fi FPS with horror elements? Count me in!

The storyline follows your character who is a science experiment of sorts. Initially you think that you’re living some sort of normal life, but as the story unfolds it is revealed that you have been living inside of a lab and most of your memories of your prior life are gone. Some weird alien beings that can mimic every day items (and some that are more monstrous) start appearing and initially you’ll have a wrench to defend yourself… sounds very similar to Half-Life now that I’ve written it down.

The graphics are top notch and the game runs smoothly. The combat is a little wonky when it comes to using the wrench, but eventually you’ll get a proper gun and then things feel a little better. You’ll still want to use your wrench for the smaller enemies because they jump around so frantically that you’ll just waste ammo trying to shoot them. In survival horror fashion, you’ll need to conserve your resources because they don’t exactly grow on trees. Nor are there trees in space. Like most games these days, there is a crafting system, and you’ll need to scour each nook and cranny of the station you are on, mainly because you’ll find crafting stations and use these materials to make things like medkits and bullets.

Overall I’m enjoying the game thus far, and wanted to share that I had started it. I’ve shared some screenshots of my time with the game so far, and will report back once I’ve completed it.

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