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It’s time for a post-game smoke, where I give a few thoughts on a game as soon as possible after playing it. The credits are currently rolling on Wolfenstein: The New Order. I have no idea why it took me so long to find play this amazing game. I probably assumed it was just another run and gun shooter, but I’m here to tell you that it is much, much more.

Transcript(ish)

It’s time for a post-game smoke, where I give a few thoughts on a game as soon as possible after playing it. As is the nature of this type of video, it’s short, quickly thrown together, and certainly rides emotional high or low of whatever game I just finished. I trade in-depth analysis for visceral reaction. Both are important, but I only offer one here. If you are new to the channel, I offer plenty of longer, more thought-out videos, so please stay and poke around  a bit.

Some people have asked if these Post-Game Smoke reviews really are my thoughts spilled out immediately after finishing a game. Well, aside from inviting all of you over to my house to witness the act, all I can really do in terms of confirmation is show you this video…But honestly, with Wolfenstein: The New Order, I would have loved to have someone sitting next to me so I could verify that the brilliance I was experience was in fact real. Games like Wolfenstein: The New Order make me question the fairness of the world, and not in the way you’d think. A 2014 reboot of a 1992 MS-DOS game about killing Nazis obviously harkens back to the travesty of the holocaust, which I think we can all agree, wasn’t fair. No, I question fairness in this case because with all the effort I pour into knowing about video games, someone, somewhere, let me down. I should have known about this game much, much, much earlier.

I consider myself one who stays connected to the video game world. I read video game news blogs, I watch a lot of video game commentary on dozens of YouTube channels. I have, and discuss in public, opinions about E3, meaning I do watch every moment of E3, even beyond what most would consider healthy. So when a game like Wolfenstein: The New Order avoids me for this long, I question the reliability of my conscious integration lifestyle. What corners of the internet have I failed to explore? And this isn’t about the algorithms failing me. I can understand that. I look up so much disparate stuff online that any sane algorithm would understandably be confused. I’d be assigned the re-marketing demographic of, at worst, “Serial Killer,” and at best “Guy who probably collects bread bag twist ties.” Now, I don’t collect bread bag twist ties, but you have to agree that if you were to frame a bunch of them it would look really great. Things in excess presented in a frame just look cool. Beer labels. Cigar rings, Cigarette packaging, matchbooks, kool-aid packets. Okay, maybe I have some problems. But never having experienced Wolfenstein: The New Order is no longer one of those problems.

So, about the game, it’s incredible. The game does so much more than it probably needed to. Fans would have been fine with a simple updated run and gun shooter in the same way fans were incredibly welcoming of the 2016 DOOM reboot. Tap into what fans of a franchise like about that franchise then update with the modern gamer in mind. Wolfenstein could have done that. But it didn’t. Instead, it had to make me feel things.

Wolfenstein: The New Order humanizes a franchise that has been historically a laughable exploit. It’s as though MachineGames specifically set out on an improbable mission. Why? Perhaps as a mimetic exercise to better craft the similarly improbable mission of our hero B.J. Blazkowicz. I mean, I’ve got no other way to rationalize the success, so I’ll go with the weird motivation-cum-inspiration centrifuge concept.

And Blazkowicz’s mission is indeed improbable. At every turn he’s getting beaten, gunned down, tortured, cut, and all around pummeled to such a degree that lacking the context of such an amazing story and superb presentation, our hero’s ability to get back up and keep fighting would be laughable. But here, the damage legitimately builds the character. Blazkowicz begins the game as a fairly typical action hero, but the game forces him–and by proxy, the player–to make some moral choices that, while they don’t have major gameplay consequences, they do have emotionally resonant consequences that we’re reminded of time and time again. After every near-death leap of faith or seemingly impossible rescue, someone is waiting in the wings to beat down our hero for doing something wrong or not doing enough. This is perhaps best exemplified near the end of the game when during a final elevator escape scene, after Blazkowicz just got stabbed, a party member named Set tells Blazkowicz to help him climb a ledge. Not asks. Tells. There’s no rest for Blazkowicz.

And there’s no rest for the player. You’ll stay up way too late playing this game. The transitions between each of the 16 chapters are so smooth and their cliffhangers so gripping you’ll flow from one chapter to the next without a thought to the clock.

Tell me in the comment if you’ve played Wolfenstein: The New Order. What did you think of it? Are you looking forward to Wolfenstein: The New Colossus in October 2017?

Please like, subscribe, and click the Bell icon to make sure you don’t miss future videos. I’m trying to get the average views per video up to 100 by the end of the year. Sharing this video with your gaming friends helps a lot toward that goal.

Thank you for watching.

Mentioned

Watch the Cartridge Club presents E3 2017 Recaps

Research/Sources/Credits

Wolfenstein page on the official Bethesda website

Music Credits

8bit Dungeon Boss Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com), Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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