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‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’ hands on preview

- April 11th, 2014

Wolfenstein: The New Order is resurgence of a genre done right.

In the first official hands on demo that premièred at PAX East on Friday, players take control of solider B.J. Blazkowicz who has been tasked with taking down one of the most violent, genetically -and mechanically- enhanced divisions of the Nazi party.

What strikes you first when you sit down to play it for the first time, a pair of headphones secured tightly on your head, is the radiant graphics.

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Wolfenstein: The New Order feels like a next-gen first person shooter that can finally be accessed on both Xbox and Playstation platforms.

The game starts with the player embedded in a fighter jet, blazing through the sky in an epic dog fight.

Like most games, the ranking officer commands Blazkowicz to complete a series of semi-menial tasks in order to keep the plane afloat.

Tedious at points, it’s all worth it for the stunning ten minute dog fight sequence. Between the crisp audio, generous graphics, and decent control scheme, it’s a great intro to the game.

Once landed, however, the game turns into a traditional Wolfenstein game, except for one important element: a lack of shocking, horrifying images.

I’ve only played a couple of Wolfenstein titles, but one of the biggest elements to each game that I vividly remember was the sense of absolute terror hiding around every corner.

It made sense, when the context of each game’s plot was taken into consideration. Nazi games should be scary, and less glorified.

Instead, Wolfenstein: The New Order feels more like DICE’s Battlefield with action elements woven in throughout the demo.

Granted, this was just a demo, and in no way does that account for what the entire game will feel like, but it was one of the biggest concerns I found myself thinking about after I finished playing.

Chances are, there will be horror intricately placed throughout the game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t.

As much as MachineGames, the developer behind the newest Wolfenstein instalment, is going to want to appease the biggest Wolfenstein fans, they’re also tasked with the incredibly difficult job of creating their own game within the franchise.

In fact, Wolfenstein: The New Order is the first title of the nine game franchise that wasn’t developed by Id Software, instead handing the reigns off to MachineGames.

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MachineGames may not be as well known as their Wolfenstein predecessor, but they’re in no way an amateur development team.

Magnus Högdahl, one of the founders of the company, was a founding member of Starbreeze Studios, the development team behind The Darkness, Syndicate, and Pay Day 2.

It’s fair to say Högdahl isn’t a stranger to creating action games, then.

That’s precisely what Wolfenstein: The New Order comes off as. A fiery mix of Battlefield, Syndicate, and just a hint of previous Wolfenstein titles.

It’s a little more colourful than previous instalments, and a little more eyebrow raising, but that’s what made it fun to play.

It feels like an entirely new world moulded into a familiar universe.

Wolfenstein: The New Order will be available on Playstation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and One, and on PC May 20.

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