Tag Archive: wolfenstein


Once again folks, there’s been another blog gap. I’ve not had much impetus to complete an entry – there have been several false starts but after getting to a second or third paragraph, I realise that my scribings are utter drivel and just cannot bring myself to inflict them on the public. But today, I wanted to catch up re E3, GTA Online’s latest update and of course to whine about the summer. 

So in that order – E3. IMHO, Nintendo were the winners although the new Super Mario is basically a rip-off of the Amiga game Putty. Or Kirby. Still, they got people excited and talking by just announcing stuff without actually committing to anything. For yours truly, what I’m looking forward to most has to be Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. I watched the trailer and have to say, I bought that recording of “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton so every time I hear it, I can mentally picture BJ running through the USA blasting apart Nazis.

As for the new Xbone, looks good, upscaling might be a very nice feature to have but the biggest drawback as far as I could see, is that the console only comes in a 1TB HD model. Surely a 4K game is going to be bigger than a regular HD one and the internal HD won’t cope. However, my concerns aside, I think the better news has to be the fact that backwards compatibility is going to extend to the original Xbox console. With any luck, that’ll mean Battlefront 2 (as in the original game) will be re-released! I mean, I enjoy the occasional killing spree on my laptop but I seldom switch it on these days, not least as the dining table is horrible to sit at.

GTA Online – last Tuesday saw the release of the latest addition to the online world: gun running. It starts off by using your in-game funds to acquire a bunker where Agent 14 (aka the contact from the Prison Break and Humane Labs heist) inducts you into the world of weapons development. You can also acquire a truck to act as a mobile operations centre (which clearly underscores somebody’s affinity with Knight Rider – first KITT, now the FLAG Mobile Unit) as well as a much welcome anti-aircraft gun to swat Hydras from the sky.

The point of the base is that you can either manufacture weapons, develop new weapons (not available at Ammu-nation) or do both. All the bases are located in Sandy Shores, Paleto bay or other isolated spots in the north of the map thus further addressing one of my long-held bugbears, that players tended to spend huge amounts of time driving around LS itself whilst neglecting Blaine County. And you can access your base whilst being a CEO or heading up your local MC so both options are available to the player.

I’ve not really immersed myself into the game too much – other things going on. That said, I did manage to rack up a few hours. My in-game bank balance of $5M has crashed to $1M by just buying the base and the add-ons which _were_ optional but still… Still don’t have enough for the truck, not without buying in-game currency or grinding horribly. That said, my car warehouse is full of vehicles that are begging to be sold. Anyway, I’ve taken care of a few resupply missions and they’re actually pretty challenging on the main map and a great deal of fun as armoured vehicles are de rigeur. Driving halfway across the map to drop off a tank whilst blasting apart army jeeps – great fun.

My last post was about a month ago so I haven’t really commented on the election. One of my abortive posts which I still have the draft of read:

“Speaking of the election, in Vauxhall the Liberal Democrats are really going all out to see Kate Hoey (current Labour MP) dumped, principally on her pro-EU exit stance. I’ve had correspondence and flyers every day this week, stickers are appearing all over the borough – on lamp posts, on telephone exchanges and the like. Given as Lambeth recorded the highest pro-Remain vote (Gibraltar aside), it’s not looking too good for the incumbent.”

Alas, that didn’t become manifest. I did see the candidate on polling day, with child strapped to his chest in one of those baby carrier things but no sign of Labour’s electoral machine. Ah well, I think that she’ll be dumped ahead of the next election. Correction – I hope that she’ll be dumped ahead of the next election.

Oh, and I wanted to post the following about the Griffin:

The refurbished Vauxhall Griffin has opened under new management. The new landlords have gone for an idiosyncratic look, kinda like the old place but there’s a smash-up of two very different styles (possibly three) which I have a hard time seeing it blending together. I don’t know if they’ve deliberately gone for eclectic (or post-modern) deliberately – it’s just…odd. The two feature walls: one is red brick, the other is recovered (and painted wood). The bar area is white ceramic, the furniture is contemporary, the light fittings are quite nice (hi-tec lanterns), the toilets are a vast improvement but the upstairs function room hasn’t been touched other than a clear out of the art (so far). It’s definitely lost something but I’m at a genuine loss as to say whether anything has been gained. The landlords seem nice enough. So all things considered, I don’t hate the place – I don’t ‘like’ it – I guess cautiously neutral for now. If nothing else, at least I still have Zeitgeist (although I still object to the sneaking in of Adnams behind the bar for the real-ale twats).

S’all for now.

 

Not my kinda capitalism

I don’t know who writes David Cameron’s jokes at PMQs but if I were them, I’d find a more suitable career. And if I were Seth McFarlane, I’d sue for ripping off a 15-year old Family Guy gag. 

Another week almost over. Let’s start with the Star Trek news. Geeks all over…well…London (as I don’t know many others around the world) are rejoicing. Me – way more sceptical. For one, there was nothing actually announced other than “it’s going to happen”. Well Beetlejuice 2 was supposed to happen in the 1990s and a new He-Man film has been in the pipeline for nearly three decades so I’ll only believe it when I see something more tangible. And given what JJ “Murderer of Continuity” Abrams will be doing to Star Wars, I’d be most hacked off if after reams and reams of books/magazines/expanded universe material, CBS decide to piss over another load of continuity. It feels like someone in a suit somewhere is laughing maniacally, saying “yeah, we’ve got their money and we’ll release a whole new load of stuff because the fans are stupid and will buy any old crap”. Should that actually turn out to be the case, this fan will just stop buying the books and actively encourage others to do the same. I buy these things on the understanding that they’re continuing the story albeit in a different medium. I don’t want a DC “let’s crap out a brand new universe every five minutes” Comics state of affairs.

So yeah, I’m really sick of this cynical capitalist exploitation. I’ve a decently paid job (despite my whining) and a big mouth – I can take my cash elsewhere and yell and yell until the suits listen to the fans again. What good can one fan do? Ask Bjo Trimble.

Sorry, didn’t mean to lead in with a rant. Perhaps I should have stuck to the usual, safer topics.

Right, moving on then. Had a game of Risk Legacy last night over some raclette – the cheese went down really well and after RL, we squeezed in a quick game of King of Tokyo. Brendan and I both died twice in the same game! Always good to play a mad dice game. There weren’t any games on Wednesday alas. I also managed to finish the Xbone version of Wolfenstein: The New Order, scooping up the achievements. For those interested, you get two sets of achievements for the two copies (unlike Rare Replay where if you owned any of the games through Live, you can’t get “double achievements”). One more play through I think, to gather up all the remaining collectables in this version. I did see read on Wikipedia that the owners of the songs spoofed/adapted for the game would never allow their music to be used with Third Reich imagery which is why you don’t hear “Mond Mond Ja Ja”, “House of the Rising Sun” or “Karl and Klara” in the game but actually whilst escaping the lunar base, you _can_ hear “Mond Mond Ja Ja” over the intercom.

I also enjoyed (when doing some research on the soundtrack) some comments made by an MP in Liverpool – once again showing how an MP misses the point with regard video games. This MP screamed foul at the Beatles being used to ‘promote the Nazis’ but had he done the least bit of research…well, let’s not go there. It’s bad enough with Keith Vaz always whining about the pernicious influence of games on youth – personally I think disreputable and dishonest MPs who have been suspended from the House of Commons are far more damaging to the health of the nation but what do I know?

Pontificating aside, November looks to be a pretty slow and demure sorta month, a peaceable run into December’s shopping orgy. Swansea and Brussels are the only major events coming up. Couple of birthdays but I think those celebrating are doing so quietly this year which is of relief to the wallet. I would like to go bowling soon – it’s been too long and it’s not exactly an expensive hobby (if the drinking is done in moderation).

Die Alte Blut

Another pictureless review. I’m sorry folks, I’m just a lazy s.o.b.
So, I purchased an Xbone on Friday 3rd after work whilst harassing the sales assistant just because I was feeling so inclined. The games I purchased with it were GTA V, Arkham Knight and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. And it’s the latter I’m going to review today.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood was originally intended to be two expansion packs to The New Order but as it is an 8th Gen exclusive, there was more than enough content to justify mashing the expansion packs together and releasing as a separate release. Fans of the series will realise that WTOB is actually something of a retelling of the first and second parts of Return to Castle Wolfenstein which was released on PC…ooh, 2001. Let’s say reimagined rather than retold as the story is quite different and fits in better with the story established by the New Order. 

Our hero BJ Blazkowicz has been sent to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein in an attempt to find the location of the compound of General Deathshead, the man principally responsible for the success of the Wehrmacht. It is believed that one of his underlings has the relevant information. Of course, Castle Wolfenstein is built near the town of Paderborn (I’ve been to the genuine Paderborn – trust me, it’s nothing like the game) which was at the centre of some weird hokey stuff a thousand years prior and rumour has it that Helga von Schabbs (formerly Helga von Bulöw in RTCW) is leading an archaeological expedition to try and find the secrets that her ancestor King Otto buried away.

The game has two chapters, four parts in each chapter and features the usual mix of action, exploration and stealth. In fact, you’re pretty much thrown in at the deep end straight away with a nasty claustrophobic battle (which almost led to the first throwing of the controller). Anyway, it’s not really a spoiler to say you’re captured, thrown into the dungeon and from there you have to escape armed with only a pipe to help you…to begin with. The Pipe is the first new feature of Wolfenstein and can be wielded as a club or as two separate sharp objects. It is also used to scale mouldy walls/porous surfaces. Other new weapons appear in the game which shake up the system of gameplay a little.

There are plenty of nods to the main game in this prequel as well as other nods to the Wolfenstein series. Perhaps one of the most welcome features is a return of the nightmare levels which throw the modern BJ into the original Wolfenstein game. Several stages have one and each takes you to a different stage in the first part of that classic. What’s more pertinent is the fact that these have a bit more use overall than a trip down memory lane. Also included are the range of upgrades achieved by performing specific actions within the game which are entirely at the player’s discretion how they are achieved.

Graphics: Pretty. The backgrounds in particular are beautifully renditioned as well as incredibly detailed whilst animations are lovely and smooth. Of particular note is the lip synching of characters when they are speaking which adds to the movie-like quality of the game. My only negative point is that the darker areas are a little too dark, but…

Sound: Once again, when graphics let the player down, the sound picks up and continuing the point made above, you’re sometimes forced to navigate on sounds alone. Given the “B-Movie” feel of the game, this really does work but would be frustrating in any other trip-A title. The music is scored well during the intensive firefights but otherwise the game plays quietly. The drunken singing in the tavern is of amusement…

Gameplay: Plays almost exactly the same as the original which always helps (i.e. not having to re-learn the control system). Enemies are clever though can be easily outwitted by the veteran gamer, the difficulty doesn’t massively increase throughout the game though the player isn’t handed as many favours to beat levels and the fact that you can play a level stealthily or noisily allows different styles to be mashed up nicely.

Lastability: Once it’s done, it’s kinda done. You might play through again to hoover up all the collectables or try the slightly different path progression (there’s one choice to make in the game to affect the outcome). But there are the challenge levels where the goal is to rack up points in certain areas which will allow for some replay. This gamer’s appetite was particularly whetted for more adventures as the world of Wolfenstein is very satisfying to explore.

Overall: First of all, the game is cheap. Even brand new it is cheap. The cost of an Xbone game is typically £50 for a new title and this is £15. There’s a helluva lot of features in this title which means loads of fun for a fraction of the cost of a brand new game. There’s plenty for n00bz as well as experienced players to enjoy. A bit short, possibly but for £15, I ain’t going to be complaining for long. Definitely a worthy title to have on your shelf, especially if you like your games distracting but not heavily involved. 

Bethesda, MOAR WOLFENSTEIN. Please.

Finished…the okra.

I dislike staff/employee surveys. They focus way too much on the quantitative data rather than the qualitative which allows managers to gloss over the results without actual interrogation of the data. Oh there are subsequent follow-up groups but they never ask the difficult questions, preferring the quick win to the endurance marathon. As a result, same negative feedback endures year on year leading to an increasing and enduring sense of dissatisfaction. And it shows.

And second random rant – adverts that play cover versions of well-known songs, particularly when they screw with the melodies making them almost a Capella or skip to another genre altogether. Latest advert (no idea what the product is, all I know is that Cindy Lauper’s (original version of) True Colors has been mangled. Whichever agency is responsible for this garbage ought to be eviscerated for their lousy idea.

Yep, it’s a Tuesday all right.

Finally finished Wolfenstein: New Order at the weekend but immediately started the game again to see the campaign through with Private Wyatt rather than Fergus. I don’t know if it’s bitter experience but the game seems so much easier this time around – I’m wondering if the game is slightly imbalanced depending on who you choose. Towards the end it got frustrating when it was Supersoldier after Supersoldier but the end of game boss was appallingly easy (and I was playing on the standard level). I like the obvious sequel hook though, here’s hoping there’ll be another release in a couple of years’ time.

Otherwise the weekend was a tame affair. Found out why it’s bad to take a hot bath on a cold day – right foot still hurts from where the skin cracked. Finally won a game of Civ V as Indonesia which means that (again) I have won at least one game as all Civ’s. I had to rig the map to be Large Islands just to ensure I could take full advantage of the bonuses but yeah, not a bad little Civ. Culture victory – thanks to a lousy start on a literal desert island, I got the desert faith pantheon bonus, landed myself Stonehenge and was lucky enough to found a religion and enhance it before anyone else so got Mosques and Pagodas + Piety in full which meant I was churning out 250 Faith per turn. My problem at the end of the game (as only Liberty and Exploration were completed) was what to spend all that Faith on. Had over 10,000 points stockpiled by the end of the game (Reformation bonus was +2 tourism to all religious buildings).

Five weeks until Berlin again. Not that I’m counting down the days, honest. Bank balance hasn’t made for pleasant reading but then again, it never does after the rent has been taken out of the account but before Dom pays me back. Couple more days, then it’ll look better. Still, even with a couple of lump sum payments in the offing over the next couple of months, it is concerning. Then again, looking after the pennies isn’t really being done these days. Quite easy to buy lunch at work, have a coffee shop coffee and realise that you don’t get much change from a tenner. As always, I blame the baby boomers.

I saw in the latest edition of Retro Gamer, they’re flogging/advertising the C64 Bible with an A-Z of the old characters on the front. Very tempted, even though it’s a _book_ rather than something electronic. Still want to see the Star Wars novels published by Bantam available electronically – IN ENGLISH. On iBooks.

I like okra. But I never buy it for myself, only ever seem to have it in restaurants. Nuff said.

id software abuse

It’s quite funny – if the decision to grant workers consideration that overtime should be considered in calculating rates of holiday pay were made by the European Court, politicians would be almost certainly in uproar. But as the ruling has been made by the Employment Tribunal, I have heard nary a whisper from down the road. Probably because the hypocrites are already calculating how to boost their own wages from this case.

I went to Zeitgeist last week, had been thinking about it all week, particularly the possibility of having dinner. It took a mere two beers (Jever and Krombacher Dunkel) to push me over the edge and when I saw people at the next table with their giant Schnitzel platters, I knew I just couldn’t manage a jumbo meal and skulked off home to open a can of parsnip soup. Pathetic, I know. I did toy with the idea of going out afterwards, as in _out_ out. But one soup and one bath and I was ready to pass out from fatigue. So I started a new Civ Game (random Civ, ended up as Greece) and caught up on Daily Challenges for Solitaire and Sudoku.

Office was all but deserted last Friday. I’m caught up with the few odds and sods that were on my plate so hunting for training courses and sorting out somebody else’s travel claims. Calm before the storm of course, I’m expecting a huge chunk of work on Monday but in what format is anybody’s guess. That’s the way of life lately, done completely on the fly. Breakfasts in the canteen are nice (another day of getting out of bed struggling = no time for food at home) if a little congealed.

Random question – is there a good strategy guide anywhere for Bubble Bobble on the Master System? We’ve forgotten how to get the three mirrors (even using the 3V35NLLE password) to unlock level 200. I think that level 148 is the key but can’t be sure.

Summing up last week then – too many late nights, too much alcohol, plenty of abuse hurled at id Software. By Thursday, I crashed onto the couch to watch the rest of the Clone Wars on blu-ray and could not get up for three hours. Actually, that’s a lie. I didn’t have too much alcohol, that was the week before. Nothing on Monday, 1 Aspalls on Tuesday, 2 ciders + 1½ bottles of wine +… ok, this isn’t going to end well. Point stands though that by Thursday, I was wiped out and couldn’t have moved even if the flat was burning down around my inert form. So Friday was planned as a day of rest which was carried through to Saturday and ventured forward to the old stomping ground of E15 on Sunday just ‘cos.

Nintendo have stopped corralling all their new releases in an update log on their DS shop (dumb idea but I’m sure a company haemorrhaging millions of Yen have some notion of what they’re doing…) so I missed the new release of Picross 5 until I went for a complete nosey at the shop. Doesn’t seem to be anything new in this latest iteration of one of my favourite puzzle games which is no bad thing but it’d be nice if they were to release a few 3D puzzles (which reminds me to try and track down a copy of Picross 3D for the DS on eBay). The Micross puzzles are ok as is the Mega Picross – dunno what else they could bung into the game to keep people coming back for more.

I had to rein in my recent book buying last week – still buying back eBooks from my slimmed down library (next iPhone I get will have to be to 64gb model) but been really ploughing through them lately, books I’ve only read once, maybe twice before. And at £5.49 per “paperback” (I don’t know what to call an eBook that’s half the price of a new release but isn’t technically made of paper – thoughts?), they quickly add up in price. So finally forced myself to plough through those books Jad lent me. One point in the “decision making book” really stuck out in my mind: the experiment was that housebuyers were given a choice of a large house in the suburbs with a 45 minute commute and a smaller place in the city but with a 10 minute commute and invariably, those with the larger house were generally unhappier with their lives. I can’t help but wonder, since moving to first Camden, then Vauxhall, how things generally seem a lot better. Could it be that a simple reclamation of a hour in commuting = happy bunny?

Bought Robocop – the 2014 remake – a few weeks ago and finally got around to watching it. Have to say, whilst it was visually impressive and had some good notions of the future, the main plotline of the machine struggling to reconnect with family was completely tedious. There was no challenge, no proper villain and too much fat that ought to have been trimmed from the story. Every time I saw Joel Kinnaman in the suit, all I could see/hear was Brian Thompson (TNG, DS9, Buffy, X-Files et al). No media break though I couldn’t resist ignoring half the film just to watch the tickers whenever the news reports were on; love those crazy images.

Should be a quiet week, all things said. Quiz finale on Tuesday, finale of Risk Legacy Wednesday and coffee with R & D on Thursday. Also looking to finish off Wolfenstein: The New Order (currently in London Nautica redux) before tackling a couple of other backlogged games.

I write blog entries and they languish in Development Hell before actually getting published long after the events are current. Joe-Fail.

The four day weekend was very welcome indeed and I’m simultaneously pleased and sorry to say it was another video game orgy. I finished off Resident Evil 5 and one of the downloadable scenarios (it was RE Porn for long-standing fans of the series), went through the Soviet Campaign in Red Alert 3 again, played several games of Civ IV (particularly Rhye’s Mod), Pac-Man Championship Edition, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, Wolfenstein 3D, GTA IV and that’s about yer lot. I do like Rhye’s even though I still struggle with managing Empire Stability (as it’s inadequately explained in overall management terms, even online).

Just to reassure the reading public, I did manage to leave the house during the weekend – drinks in the Griffin, walks when it wasn’t raining down to Clapham. Feeling regretful that I didn’t make it a five-day weekend however. Even went up to Camden on the Monday: I’d envisaged walking up there but the rain put pay to that idea so it was bus up and tube back which really grated. If nothing else however, it gave me the chance to finish off Casino Royale (yeah, I’m reading the James Bond novels).

Elections on Thursday: went as expected. Naturally frustrated at the result but with less than a 50% turn out…hey ho. I do think that the current plans to reform/screw over the trade unions ought heed that particular issue – considering the vagaries/biases in First Past the Post and how majorities are seldom over half of all voters. Compulsory voting isn’t especially popular in Australia, particularly amongst the young; freedom of choice should mean the freedom not to choose. But then again, everyone loves Order on Civ V BNW, not Freedom.

It should be something of a packed week ahead – it was the quiz yesterday (we won with 22/40 which I consider quite pathetic – the special guest was…well, someone I’m not too fond of), board games tonight, nothing tomorrow, pay day/shopping Friday, Paul’s Birthday on Saturday and finally Hint Hunt on Sunday. Then we’re in June and there’ll only be three weeks before the Solstice. Dark nights and the slow, inexorable slide into Xmas coupled with bloody sporting events crammed into the calendar taking over everything.

Something of an antsy mood this morning – not entirely sure why though the aural assault of several boring telephone conversations being conducted by stupes in the office probably had something to do with it. Bugger the so-called egalitarianism of it all; it’s not conducive to well being. Had to plug in the earphones and listen to playlist LJ1 which is my generic playlist of 800 or so tracks and there’s always something good buried away in there I forget about but becomes the day’s earworm.

Ok, have to end this as I’m feeling quite belligerent and feel like passing unwarranted harsh commentary on…people with a view to getting into trouble. Salutations, or summat.

Wakka wakka wakka

This weekend’s games of choice have been Pac Man Championship Edition and Wolfenstein on the Xbox. Although you get nine games (I think) with Pac Man, the one I’ve been playing the most was the Championship Game itself. In either five or ten minute slots, you have to run around two halves of a maze, eating the pellets in each half. If you successfully do so, a piece of fruit appears which must be reached in order to trigger the next round of pellets. And the game speeds up, the layout of the maze changes whilst the lighting and sound gets more intense. Sounds simple but then again the most horribly addictive games typically are. It also gives me crazy ideas for video game challenges…

Wolfenstein; I bought this at the same time I bought South Park: The Stick of Truth from Game in Hamleys but it lost out in the immediacy stakes. Still, you know I enjoy the original, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and I was keen to see what 2009 made of the franchise, not least with half an eye on “the New Order” release next month. And I kinda like it. It took a while to get to grips with the controls but once mastered, there’s lots of fun to be had in the 3D mazes of the fictional town of Isenstadt. Nice story, good balance of tech and horror (within the world of Wolfenstein), only gripe is that the individual missions can’t be revisited which means you have to shoot for 100% completion up front rather than go back and pick up things you missed.

No “Achtung” yells or mad little doggies either…

I wanted to try Red Dead Redemption but it turns out I have Red Dead Redemption Nightmare (bought from Morrisons in the new year sale) and it’s only fricking disc 2. Screwed over twice! So Wolfenstein was chosen as the new game of choice. Might have to be Lego Pirates of the Caribbean next or perhaps I’ll return to GTA IV. So many games, so little time.