Average User Score: 8.0May 26, 2014I am a fan of first person shooters, but I am an even bigger fan of good alternate history stories. So when I heard that Wolfenstein: The New Order would be a heavily story driven alternate history game with balls-to-the-wall action, I got excited, but questioned whether or not it would actually pull it off in the end.
Wolfenstein: The New Order did in fact have an over-the-top story. But that is exactly what it was trying to achieve. It’s not just trying to show you what it would be like if the Nazis won the war; instead it tries make it fun by imagining what it would be like if they had giant robot guard dogs, Star Wars like robots, and exoskeleton suits during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. And boy does it accomplish what it set out to do. For some reason I thought that Wolfenstein was going to be funny, and instead found out that it is a very serious game, to the point that it was actually really touching during some scenes.
You play as Blazko, an American soldier who gets injured in World War II and ends up in a vegetative state for 14 years. During that time, the Nazis win the war and are now in control of the entire world, more or less. After slowly regaining his consciousness and motor skills, he gets up just in time to save the young nurse who had been taking care of him for the last decade. This is where the real game begins. The rest of the story is about Blazko finding a resistance group and fighting back against the Nazi tyrannical rule and their sci-fi weaponry.
I found myself caring far more for characters than I thought I would. I believe that Machine Games achieved this because of their storytelling techniques. It is not your typical first person shooter where the story is told in two minute cutscenes between each mission. Wolfenstein had cutscenes before, during, and after each mission and there was almost always a familiar voice on the other end of a radio during each mission as well. The story may have been a little crazy at times, but it was so fun that it was worth it.
Wolfenstein: The New Order looked absolutely fantastic on PlayStation 4 most of the time. Character models, views from a distance, and important objects like robots were beautiful on screen. That being said, Machine Games really took the easy way out with just about everything else. Textures for insignificant objects in the game were either 2D or just not up to date with what you would expect on a current generation console. It is easy to look past because, like I said, it only happens on insignificant stuff; but in the end it silly that we still have things like this.
As good as the story is, the gameplay is even better. It starts off as a typical first person shooter to get your feet wet, but slowly introduces you to the different ways to play the game, such as dual wielding heavy machine guns or using stealth abilities. If all you care about is a tightly controlled first person shooter, then you found your game. However, it can be so much more than that if you give it a chance. I loved destroying everything in my path with machine guns for one level, and then trying to go through the entire next level undetected and using only my throwing knives as weapons.
And what makes this even more fun is that you have four sets of challenges to unlock, depending on your style of play. Each set will unlock new perks that will apply to your character, such as increasing your clip capacity or the ability to throw knives. Honestly, I found this to be the most fun aspect of the game because it gave me something else to work on during each level.
But even with all of the great things Wolfenstein does, there are still a few hiccups. Glitches are a part of every game, but I haven’t had a problem with them in years it feels like. I ran into several glitches in Wolfenstein during my 15-hour playthrough. One time I got stuck on a loading screen that just never ended and another time I got stuck on a piece of wood sticking out in the middle of a map and could no longer move.
If you like first person shooters and can handle a little over-the-top storytelling, this is a game for you. When I compare the amount of fun I have had with first person shooters on PlayStation 4, Wolfenstein: The New Order stands far above the rest. Sure, it doesn’t have multiplayer, but that shouldn't hinder your experience. The textures can be an issue if you are a stickler for that kind of thing, and the glitches and checkpoints can be extremely annoying from time to time, but overall The New Order has a fun and engaging storyline with even better gameplay. Even if the lack of multiplayer is the problem for you, this is a game I encourage you not to skip. Wolfenstein: The New Order is a solid first person shooter. Find a way to play it.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.9May 9, 2014Bound by Flame could have easily been just another fantasy RPG clone that we see hit the market every few months, which is honestly what I expected it might be. But it wasn’t, instead it’s flames shined brighter than I could have ever imagined it could. Highlighted by a thrilling story and fun strategic combat, Bound by Flame should be a game everyone plays.
For a little context, The world in Bound by Flame has been forced into chaos and ruin by the Deadwalkers, an army of rotting, deformed, and downright disgusting zombie-like creatures. The Deadwalkers were summoned over 150 years ago by the Lords of Ice, who are hell-bent on conquering the world. The Lords of Ice are a circle of mysterious immortal necromancers who have been successfully leading their legions of undead in the extermination of all other known races.
By the time your quest begins, most of the sentient lifeforms have been wiped off the map and have unwillingly joined the Deadwalker army. You enter the story as Vulcan, an upstart human mercenary with a bad attitude and a whole lot of sass. Disaster strikes while protecting a group of mages and Vulcan accidentally ends up on the wrong side of a Demon summoning spell and becomes possessed.
As the fight against the Lords of Ice and their Deadwalker army wages on, Vulcan is constantly tormented by the Demon, tempting him to give up his humanity in order to gain unheard-of levels of magical powers. You are given several chances either take up the demons offer, or preserve your humanity, which can significantly change the story outcome and Vulcan’s appearance.
Spiders did a fantastic job at establishing both compelling lore and an awesome story. I found myself talking to every single character, while making sure to investigate all dialogue options so as not to miss any of this rich story. Most of the story is told through these dialogue investigations, so if you decide to skip them you will surely miss out.
One aspect that sets Bound by Flame apart from other fantasy RPGs is that it doesn’t bother overloading you with thousands of meaningless sidequests. I will admit, I was once a gamer obsessed with finishing every single sidequest in every game just to say I did it, but that is not the case anymore. I simply do not have the time or the patience to spend hundreds of hours completing fetch quests and other throwaway chores for characters you will never speak to again.
I was able to complete both the main questline and the majority of the sidequests available in just over 25 hours. Even if you take your time and dive even deeper into the story that I did, you will still only clock in about 30-35 hours. This is the perfect length for a great fantasy RPG and I commend Spiders for hitting nail on the head.
Bound by Flame looks absolutely gorgeous. Spiders built a world of incredibly diverse environments. However, when comparing Bound by Flame’s unique art style to that of other games in the genre, it doesn’t quite compare the the photorealism that many games have achieved in recent years.
The voice acting in Bound by Flame was far better than what I had expected. But sometimes you will be taken out of the experience because the lip syncing is basically nonexistent. This can be annoying if you are paying close attention to a character’s mouth, but honestly it is not that big of a deal when very few studios actually get this right.
The most common question I have seen asked about Bound by Flame has been, “What is the combat system like?” Well good news, it is fun. However it can be a little difficult and will require strategy to get through most fights. This is not a game where you can run into a large group of enemies and just hack-and-slash your way to victory with no second thought. In fact, that is the easiest way to find yourself dying quicker than the amount of time it took you to run into them.
The strategy required to defeat the many different beasts and Deadwalkers increases tenfold when you encounter a boss fight. Spiders did a great job when designing their terrifying set of bosses. Not only are each of them horrifyingly creepy looking, but they also all have completely new styles as well. If you are anything like me, you will find yourself dying several times on every boss encounter until you can finally develop a well-oiled strategy.
Bound by Flame is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise crowded genre. Spiders has achieved what many developers fail to ever do by creating a beautiful world with an incredibly deep and interesting history while also including a rock solid combat system. I was very glad that I didn’t have to be bothered by all of the silly distractions that are in most triple a RPG’s on the market today. Hopefully this is a step forward in getting rid of fetch quests just for the sake of making a game longer. Bound by Flame was everything I wanted it to be and then some.… Expand