Wolfenstein: The New Order Preview: Winning a Losing Fight

Trying for Tragic

The demo ended with the train scene we’ve caught a few times in demos at this point, in which a villainous Nazi character, Frau Engel, interrogates BJ with a faux-Aryan lie detector test. Again, the character moment plays to the overall tone of Wolfenstein: The New Order as being a game in which even when you win, it feels like you’re losing.

It’s not clear yet whether that tone will hold up over the course of the whole game, or if the mountain of dead Nazi soldiers piling up behind BJ will make it too ridiculous to take seriously. For now, though, it’s a promising take on the usual shooter material (I think also that playing at high difficulties will really help to sell the intensity of the situation).

Mixing tragedy with triumph and making a variety of gameplay styles and mechanics all viable options could make Wolfenstein: The New Order a standout among shooters. It’s not necessarily reinventing the wheel, but it does seem to be taking the best parts of the wheel and making a smart, fast, slightly sad new wheel. So far, MachineGames’ vision seems like an addition to the shooter genre that it could use more of — something that tells an affecting story, while leaning on the best of the past and what works from the present.

Phil Hornshaw is deputy editor at Game Front. Read more of his work here, and follow him and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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