The lights are on
B.J. Blazkowicz has woken up in and escaped from more Nazi prisons than anyone has a right to. Blazkowicz was detained once again during a hands-on preview from Gamescom 2013 in Cologne Germany. The gameplay shown off highlights a botched assault on a Nazi castle during WWII, then explains what happens between then and the main 1960s setting.
B.J. and his crew of allied soldiers are infiltrating the Nazi stronghold when things go awry. One moment I’m dual wielding machine guns with the game’s precise controls, the next I’m trying to escape a laboratory as its incinerator system fires up. I frantically hunt for a key to unlock the door while listening to the furnace warm up. By the time I open the door, flames are pouring from the ceiling. B.J’s injured, immobilized buddy cries out and I rush back to save him. Laboriously carrying this soldier out of the room while the flames are near full blast is a tense moment.
We stumble out of the furnace and into a cubical metal room with hatches on the ground. A mechanical super soldier bashes through the floor and squishes one of the soldiers’ skulls in its big metal hand. This hulking bullet sponge soaks up several clips before smoking and exploding. We’re not safe yet. A face appears through the small window behind a locked door. The craggy, sagging visage with the impossible wide grin belongs to Oberführer Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse. Deathshead leads the SS’s Project Division and is responsible for researching and developing monstrosities like the super soldie that attacked the crew earlier. After taunting the soldiers, Deathshead activates the room’s compacting walls. The twisted Nazi awaits the heros’ deaths with an unwavering, twisted smile. B.J. blacks out just as the walls begin to squeeze him.
The men reawaken in the incinerator room once again, facedown with their hands behind their backs. Deathshead forces B.J. to decide which of his two remaining friends should have their eyes gouged out with a scalpel. He promises to kill them both if the player doesn’t choose. I look towards the rookie, and Deathshead praises my selection. He leaves and enlists another super soldier mech to guard the room. B.J. and his one remaining friend escape their bonds and overpower the enemy with a lead pipe. The incinerators start firing up again, and I use the pipe to bash the flamethrowers’ nozzles. Gas begins to build up in the pipes, threatening to burst at any moment. The two soldiers break open a barred window and leap out towards the ocean below. The explosion sends shrapnel flying, nailing B.J. in the head and knocking him unconscious. The Nazi-killing legend is floating on a piece of wooden debris when a rescue boat passes by.
B.J. comes to in a hospital home. The player is rolled through hallways on a wheelchair during this story segment. I come to realize that B.J. was knocked into a coma from the explosion. A montage shows time pass as the years shift from the 1940s to the 1960s. Nazis routinely visit the asylum, taking the mentally impaired for Deathshead’s experiments. They won the war. One day the SS soldiers get too rough, killing several of the kind caretakers that have helped him all these years. Seeing them die before his eyes makes something click into place. B.J. erupts from his coma a killing machine and buries a knife into the nearest guard’s throat. The rest of the demo focuses on an intense firefight with the Nazis in the Asylum that housed B.J. for over a decade.
Wolfenstein: The New Order’s gunplay is simple and reliable. Riddling enemies with holes is a fun but simple affair. What draws me into Machine Games’ new title are the pulpy, ridiculous story scenarios they’ve shown off so far. B.J.’s upcoming next-gen adventure is shaping up to be a solid yet formulaic shooter with a memorable alternate history tale to tell. I can’t wait to see what happens to Blazkowicz next. Wolfenstein: The New Order arrives next year on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.
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