Published on December 23rd, 2014 | by Dan1
GOTY Staff Picks – Nipnops
This was a weird year of games for me. I knew exactly what games I was looking forward to: Dark Souls II and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. I haven’t really had a year where I knew exactly what I wanted from near enough January onward. That being said, a game I wasn’t looking forward to (and expected to be terrible) somehow ended up as my 2014 Game of the year.
Wolfenstein: The New Order was a dark horse to even get a look here at KBMOD. After lackluster impressions at various game shows alongside the exclusion of multiplayer, we were left extremely jaded. To top that off, a new studio, Machine Games, was tasked with taking a franchise in decline since the early 2000s and revitalizing it. No small task in a gaming world that has seemingly moved on from 90’s shooter franchises.
During my first playthrough of this revamped Wolfenstein, all of my expectations were blown out of the water. After being thrust into the future following a long coma, the once pixelated face of B.J. Blaskowicz takes the lead role as a beautifully rendered and fully fleshed out character for the first time. The silent, macho and lone-wolf personality of the past is significantly reduced; instead replaced by a rather selfless hero who fights for the safety of his friends and this brand new world.
And what a world Machine Games has created for B.J. to take on…
The most impressive thing about this game is making this alternate timeline feel real. The unique rendition of a 1960’s Nazi steampunk aesthetic is front and center throughout the 12 or so hours of gameplay. Every detail is accounted for; including covers of 60’s hits recreated for this Nazi regime. The tech is also spot on – Nazi mechs and soldiers creak and crackle along and their pistons push and release in a very visceral way. Advanced but bulky and littered with wires and mechanisms all over; they have perfectly captured what the tech would look like from this era.
Although the story is ultimately a simple revenge tale, B.J.’s concern is more about the friends he’s made along the way – characters you’ll also get attached to. Machine Games makes this story a wonderful departure for a series that has focused on “kill the Nazis!” for 20 years (although there is plenty of that). There’s even some Bioshockesque WTF moments to top it all off!
Not once during my playthrough did I want to put the game down, and when all was said and done, a urge for a sequel was extremely strong. The story and the insane action sequences all come together to form a gripping game. In an era of narrative driven FPS games like Bioshock, I never would have thought a Wolfenstein game would have real depth. Yet somehow Machine Games has pulled it off. This is still the series you know and love but it’s also become a series that feels contemporary without sacrificing its roots.
It was the most impressive game I played all year; defying my expectations at every turn. It comes through in every way. Now we just have to hope id Software can take lessons from Machine Games to revitalize DOOM over the next couple of years.
- Dark Souls II
- The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
- The Wolf Among Us
- Diablo III: Reaper of Souls
Let us know what your GOTY picks are in the comment section below and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @KBMODGaming for updates on the next Staff Picks!