The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Tag Archives: Steam

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus- Review and Reflection after the Manhattan Bunker, New Orleans and Oberkommando Venus Base

“Welcome to the Oberkommando. Population: shitload of assholes. You got my ODIN codes, assholes?” —William “B.J.” Blazkowicz

With a powerful new body, Blazkowicz is sent to a Nazi bunker in Manhattan to retrieve a file on New Orleans and learns that the Nazis have a plan to systemmatically eliminate everyone in a large walled ghetto there. Travelling to New Orleans with the Kreisau Circle and fights his way through the occupying Nazi forces to meet up with Horton Boone and his resistance members. Blazkowicz’s combat efficiency impresses Horton, and after a few drinks, he gets into a shouting match with Horton that culminates with Blazkowicz earning his respect. Horton and his crew agree to join the Kreisau Circle, and Blazkowicz uses a captured Panzerhund to distract the Nazis while Horton’s people evacuate to Eva’s Hammer. He returns to the Eva’s Hammer and uses the nuclear cannon to generate a shockwave that pushes the submarine back into the ocean ahead of the Ausmerzer’s arrival. Back on board, the Kreisau Circle learns that the Ausmerzer was originally built to suppress resistance forces and would be a powerful asset if captured. However, the Ausmerzer’s ODIN defense system must first be disabled, and to this end, Blazkowicz travels to Venus under the guise of an actor auditioning for the role of Terror Billy in a propaganda film. He comes face-to-face with Adolf Hitler himself, although far from being the mastermind of the Nazi’s rise to power, he’s now degenerated physically and mentally, suffering episodes of psychosis and a persistent cough. After a tense audition where Blazkowicz brutally kills a Nazi soldier for a scene, impresses Hitler and is given the part. Blazkowicz later steals away from his quarters, fighting his way through the Venus facility and reaches the Oberkommando Base, located on the blisteringly hot surface of Venus, where he finds the codes for ODIN.

This is where I am so far for The New Colossus, and like The New Order before it, I’ve advanced through the game at a high pace – The New Colossus is engaging in its story, and the colourful cast of characters have been the game’s strongest point, adding much humour to an otherwise grim world. The second half has definitely been a blast, and while perhaps similar to The New Order in essentials (stealing a powerful Nazi war machine to supplement the Kreisau Circle and travelling to a facility in space to acquire codes required to make this endeavour possible), the second half of The New Colossus is coherent, focused and clear as to what Blazkowicz’s goals are. One of the aspects that is absent in The New Colossus are over-the-top boss fights mid-game: so far, the toughest enemies I’ve encountered so far are the Zitadelle robots, which can be easily defeated by making use of an AP round-equipped assault rifle to eliminate its weapons. By comparison, The New Order had Blazkowicz fight the London Monitor in a titanic battle. While the lack of memorable bosses in The New Colossus prior ot the the finale is noticeable, The New Colossus offers an excellent set of Übercommander assassination missions, in which Blazkowicz returns to previously explored districts to kill off a high ranking officier, as well as side-missions that allow him to explore Eva’s Hammer in more detail. The additional world-building provides further depth to the world that Wolfenstein II is set in, and I’ve found it to be superbly enjoyable to revisit old locations with upgraded weapons and contraptions.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • After getting a new body, gameplay changes slightly as Blazkowicz regains access to 100 health, but loses the ability to pick up additional armour. Dropped in New York without an air filter or powered armour, the return to Manhattan has Blazkowicz picking up health packs every so often to ensure that he does not succumb to the radiation. Of the three contraptions, I picked the battle walker, which allows Blazkowicz to gain the high ground in combat and access locations that are otherwise out of reach.

  • The other two contraptions are the constrictor harness, which allows Blazkowicz to squeeze into incredibly tight quarters such as vents and openings closer to the ground, and the ram shackles that offer the ability to ram through some doors and boxes. My choice in the battle walker was made because it seems the most fun to use, bringing to mind the Bamboo Boogie Boots from Futurama. The ram shackles are the best suited for a highly aggressive play-style, while the constrictor harness is fantastic for stealth. It is possible to acquire all contraptions and upgrade them, and this is something that I ended up doing.

  • Panzerhunds make a return as mini-bosses of sorts in The New Colossus, although by now, I have no shortage of options in dealing with heavy enemies. The battle walker allowed me to climb onto hard-to-reach places or maintain a superior vantage point over the battlefield. Together with the Hammergewehr, I absolutely massacred the Panzerhund here. I’ve read that the lowest difficulty is the best way to enjoy The New Colossus, but I would have to disagree with this remark: normal difficulty is fine.

  • Collectable concept art, star cards, Nazi Gold and Max’s toys are scattered throughout The New Colossus, and while I’ll pick them up if I find them, my greater priority is on collecting weapon upgrade kits, since those directly affect gameplay. I missed a few during my playthrough, but thanks to the Übercommander missions, I’ve been able to collect everything, allowing me to fully upgrade all of my weapons. The constrictor harness can be found here, and I used it to take out the Übercommander on this map, as well as to help me find the second of the upgrade kits.

  • Here, I find the Kampfpistole to complete my collection of weapons. Returning from The Old Blood, the incarnation in The New Colossus now has a six-round magazine, and while initially appearing to be a downgrade from its predecessor in The Old Blood for firing grenades, the Kampfpistole can be upgraded to fire rocket-propelled grenades. The weapon is based off the Sturmpistole, which was a modified flare gun that was intended to be an infantry-portable anti-tank solution that could further be mounted as an under-barrel attachment, as seen in Brave Witches.

  • Reaching the end of the Manhattan Bunker with the New Orleans folder in hand, there’s a short elevator ride that takes Blazkowicz back to the surface. After returning to Eva’s Hammer, I spent a fair bit of time unlocking Übercommander missions with the enigma codes I amassed. Before heading to New Orleans, I cleared out Manhattan, Roswell and Mesquite: the missions don’t feature auto-saves, and the Übercommanders are armed with the Kampfpistole. On some missions, I was forced to take them head-on and died more times than I cared to count, but I managed to finish the Roswell mission without being detected.

  • Under Nazi occupation, New Orleans is distinctly woebegone, with empty streets and boarded up buildings. For some reason, I’ve inexplicably associated the Deep South with Tango-Victor-Tango, if only for the fact that one of my friends introduced me to the site and Marble Hornets and I began playing Left 4 Dead 2 during the summer days, when the weather up here in Alberta elicits the sort of atmosphere seen in the Deep South. Marble Hornets is set in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Left 4 Dead 2 takes players through the swamps and cities of Louisiana. Thus, playing through New Orleans in The New Colossus elicits memories of summer evenings spent browsing Tango-Victor-Tango and watching Marble Hornets long after research hours ended when I was an undergraduate student.

  • I remember seeing gameplay footage set in New Orleans during demos back during the summer and found myself highly impressed with the visuals. Compared to The New Order, lighting effects and details are slightly more sophisticated, and I originally wondered if my computer would be able to handle The New Colossus. While we are on the topic of Tango-Victor-Tango, the last week was a little hectic after one reader sent me a request to help fact-check for the Hai-Furi page there; they were looking for some assistance in determining which of the technical examples were legitimate and which ones were fallacious. I spent most evenings looking through examples and verifying them in place of my usual relaxing.

  • In the end, I managed to corroborate most of the information save two claims: that methane clathrate (“burning ice”, or “gas hydrate”) deposits were not located anywhere near Japan, as well as the assertion that Akeno, Moeka and Mashiro’s nicknames (“Mike”, “Moka” and “Shiro”) are common cat names in Japan. The former is untrue, as geological surveys have in fact found the presence of some deposits, and the latter is also untrue: a year-and-a-half after Hai-Furi ended, I still haven’t found anything to suggest that Akeno and the others are named after cats beyond one bogus “discussion” whose author claims that “the cat theme is there and intentional, though – it extends to the entirety of the Harekaze crew”.

  • After twelve episodes and two OVAs, cats have a practical, rather than symbolic role in Hai-Furi, so I’m going to leave the discussion there and transition over to talk of dogs, specifically, mechanised ones. Panzerhunds have been trying to kick Blazkowicz’s ass throughout all of The New Order and most of The New Colossus, so when Horton gives Blazkowicz a captured Panzerhund to ride, the game kicks things into twelfth gear. The Panzerhund can pick up armour off defeated enemies to restore its armour pool to prolong its usefulness in combat.

  • It is incredibly satisfying to use the Panzerhund’s flamethrower to incinerate enemies: the flames are so intense they can burn through the Supersoldaten in mere moments, and even explode a heavily armoured vehicle carrying Nazi soldiers. However, all good things must come to an end, and eventually, the path becomes too narrow for the Panzerhund to fit through. After entering an abandoned factory and fighting off a horde of Nazis, Blazkowicz makes his way into the sewers of New Orleans.

  • It turns out that the massive robots I’ve been fighting are called “Zitadelle” (German for “Citadel”). Their armaments allow them effectiveness at all ranges; while they are intimidating with their size and loadout, they can actually be destroyed quite quickly. My preferred tactic is to use the Sturmgewehr’s AP rounds in single-fire mode and blow off the left arm first, limiting its attacks to close range, and then destroy the remaining arm, which causes the entire thing to explode spectacularly. The stealth approach is a bit riskier, involving sneaking up on it and severing both of its fuel lines. Igniting the fuel also allows for the Zitadelle to be destroyed quickly.

  • I originally was not intending on playing The New Colossus entering the weekend – Yūki Yūna is a Hero: Hero Chapter was scheduled to release, and I was aiming to have a post out for the first episode of Hero Chapter out that evening, but we ended up with a recap episode, and so, I ended up taking the time to advance further in The New Colossus. I’ve previously remarked that I have plans to blog about Hero Chapter in an episodic fashion, and while no new episode was aired, I did see that another anime blog had a talk out for the recap, published while I was still at work. If this is the case, I do not think I’ll be able to offer the fastest discussions on Hero Chapter, but I think I can make interesting, insightful posts nonetheless. I will try and see if it is viable to get posts out on the same day that episodes air, although it is possible that Saturdays are when the posts will be published, as well.

  • While the section through the New Orleans sewers is short, they nonetheless bring back memories of the sewers from Enter The Matrix. The last time I completed the game was back in late 2015, and I’ve been meaning to do a pair of talks on the game, but the opportunity has not yet materialised. A Matrix reboot is supposedly in the works, and it could be time for me to take another look at a game that I greatly enjoyed when I was younger, back in the days when dual core processors and high speed internet was just beginning to become commonplace. The ram shackles can be found here for observant players, and folks who missed it can always return to claim it during an Übercommander mission.

  • At this point in The New Colossus, I’d upgraded enough of my weapons so that even Supersoldaten were not much of a threat: the Schockhammer X, when fully upgraded, features a forty-round magazine and can fire three shots with each pull of the trigger. It will annihilate almost anything downrange, and after I cleared out the area here, I found another weapon upgrade kit inside the house, in a small room to the left. This is one of the upgrade kits that are more out of the way, and in my experience, was the second most hidden one.

  • Adolf Hitler is depicted in the game, and far from the powerful dictator who commanded the Third Reich, the Führer now is a wretch of a man, troubled with a failing body and neurodegenerative disease. Critics have praised this particular direction, suggesting that it’s the perfect caricature of one of the most vile individuals calling themselves a leader in history, and for this, I find that this particular incarnation of the Führer is ill-suited to be the antagonist of any sequels, being relegated to a pathetic and somewhat comedic role. There’s an easter egg here for folks who are inquisitive.

  • The Oberkommando base on Venus is a familiar concept, being similar to the Moon base from The New Order. However, the different environments mean that the Venus base and Moon base are completely different from one another. The presence of a Nazi facility on Venus also attests to just how much of a technological advantage they have over the world, and to have constructed a base on Venus, of all places, is a nontrivial feat: consider that we’ve not returned to the moon since the last Apollo XVII mission in 1972.

  • The interior of the Venus facility feels a little bit like the average space museum, with all of the surface relief models and satellite replicas. The page quote here comes from a point during this mission when Blazkowicz closes in on the Oberkommando center, bringing to mind his comments on the Nazi moon landing in The New Order. Present in the new Wolfenstein games since 2014, I’ve been a big fan of the random quips that Blazkowicz will make during the course of a mission.

  • The engineering in the Venus base is incredibly detailed, and really gives the sense that it was designed to withstand the extreme pressure and heat on the surface. Hallways are composed entirely of steel and look like they’re designed to withstand high pressures, with HVAC components visible here and there to hint at how much resources are directed towards keeping building interiors cool. Windows are small, compared to the large windows and high ceilings of the lunar base seen in The New Order. It’s apparent that Machine Games investigated architecture suitable for conditions on Venus, and the interior of the facility screams Venus, with its yellows, reds and tans, compared to the greys, whites and blues of the moon base.

  • At its surface, Venus has an average temperature of 462°C and a pressure of 92 atm. The atmosphere is largely carbon dioxide, with traces of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen. Precipitation takes the form of sulfuric acid, which is highly corrosive and can cause severe burns. In The New Colossus, Blazkowicz dons a special suit in order to traverse the facility’s exterior, and while it is not implausible for a suit to withstand extremities of temperature, I find its construction to be most impressive, given that it can stand up to Venus’s atmosphere, which exerts an equivalent of the pressure found in the oceans down at a depth of one kilometer.

  • One of the nuances about Venus is that Blazkowicz must be mindful of the amount of coolant remaining in his suit: it depletes over time, forcing him to resupply at special stations. Running out completely results in a painful death, but it seems that moving around at high speeds and taking damage in combat thankfully does not appear to have an impact on the coolant supply. It is possible to instantly restock on coolant by entering a building, and while it can be easy to neglect coolant levels mid-combat, The New Colossus provides cues for players: Blazkowicz will remark that it’s a good idea to resupply or that it’s getting hot when he’s low, and an alarm will go off if levels are critical.

  • In The Old Blood, the Kampfpistole could not be dual-wielded, so when they made it an option to pair the Kampfpistole with another weapon and even use two at once, there is the possibility for limitless destruction, allowing Blazkowicz to reduce entire groups of enemies to puddles of blood and chunks of meat. Fully upgraded, the Kampfpistoles can put out six rockets at a time when dual-wielded, with each Kampfpistole firing three rounds at a time for massive damage.

  • This ladder goes up a shaft leading to the next section, and it is here that the best-hidden weapon upgrade kit is located: it’s found halfway up the shaft on a ledge adjacent to the ladder and can only be accessed by climbing to the top and hopping back down. There are a total of twenty one weapon upgrade kits in The New Colossus, and while I’ve heard of players farming Übercommander missions to acquire more, one only needs twenty one to fully upgrade every weapon. The last upgrade kit is found in one such mission, and can’t be missed, being on the way to the Übercommander.

  • Admittedly, the exteriors on Venus bring to mind the terrain and landscapes of Mars in DOOM: this is the closest that Wolfenstein and DOOM will come; while the games original incarnations were quite similar in mechanics, their narratives differed greatly, and both games contributed to the development of modern shooters.

  • Scattered throughout the Venus base are large spherical fuel tanks that explode when shot. A well-placed explosion can eliminate an entire group of enemies at once, earning players environment kills that contribute to a perk that reduces explosive damage taken.

  • The Übergewehr is the ultimate weapon in The New Colossus, being more or less the Wolfenstein incarnation of DOOM‘s BFG 9000. Like the BFG, it is so powerful that it can reduce entire groups of enemies and even Supersoldaten into unrecognisable piles of meat and blood. However, unlike the BFG 9000, Blazkowicz cannot carry the weapon in his inventory, experiences reduced movement speeds while wielding it (like all other heavy weapons), and there aren’t any powerful bosses to use it on. It must be charged before firing, and creates a massive energy sphere that vapourises anything it touches. The scene where players are presented an opportunity to try it out is also reminiscent of DOOM, where players can try their newly-acquired BFG 9000 on a room full of possessed.

  • As I wander deeper into the Oberkommando facility, I’ll also take this time to remark that its been a bit more than a week since the Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka??: Dear My Sister OVA began screening in Japan. With the home release (and correspondingly, my review) likely to come in Spring 2018, I remark that discussions on the OVA has been fortuitously light. With this in mind, at least one English-speakers have already seen it, having reserved tickets ahead of time and traveled to Japan with the sole purpose of seeing the film. While one might perhaps admire their tenacity and disposable income, I simply don’t have the time to do something of a similar scale. So, for folks wondering when I’ll write about Dear My Sister, the answer to this is that it’ll be close to the home release: ordering BDs is rather more economical than spending an excess of two thousand Canadian for one 50-minute long OVA.

  • It’s actually a bit surprising to learn that I’ve spent roughly fifteen hours in The New Colossus and I’ve still got quite a bit to do before I finish the game: I spent most of the past weekend in The New Colossus. Despite having spent most of Saturday out looking around for a new tree top ornament with LED lights, I nonetheless managed to get a good way into the Oberkommando mission after a hearty dinner of fried chicken and fries with a nacho salad to start – it’s always satisfying to spend a Saturday evening gaming following a crunchy and flavourful fried chicken, which seems the perfect accompaniment for shooters (after washing and drying the dishes, of course).

  • Contrary to complaints about things on Steam reviews, the amount of content in The New Colossus is nothing to sneeze at, and it looks like that I might not be able to finish The New Colossus‘s campaign and Übercommander missions before the hopefully upcoming Steam Black Friday sale, where I’m looking to pick up The Division. I’ve mentioned this in passing previously, and while I didn’t think the value was there when the game was going for 35 CAD during last year’s Winter Sale, the game has seen discounts to the tune of 60 percent off, which corresponds with a price tag of 28 CAD, which is rather more reasonable. Coupled with the fact that this time of year, leading up towards Christmas, ties in nicely with the atmosphere in The Division, it feels like the time is right for me to experience a game I’ve not played since the open beta back in February of last year.

  • As for Star Wars: Battlefront II, I’m still on the rocks about whether or not I’ll be picking it up. The crisis with the loot crates notwithstanding, the gameplay looks mechanically solid, and the Christmas season seems the time to be playing a Star Wars game. I’ll make a decision on Battlefront II closer to The Last Jedi‘s première, when the game will likely be sold at a discounted price. Back in Wolfenstein, I’ve upgraded all of my weapons and have all of the contraptions upgraded as well, meaning that I’m more or less ready to roll onwards and finish the final mission on board the Ausmerzer. I will be returning once I complete The New Colossus to do a final impressions on the game overall. In the meantime, Hero Chapter‘s first episode is set to air this Friday, so I’m looking forwards to seeing what this entails.

From a technical perspective, The New Colossus is an incredibly fun game that definitely has earned its place in the sun as a worthy predecessor to The New Order. The biggest strengths in the game lie in the world-building, which expands upon what was seen in the first game, and the cut-scenes were as entertaining to watch as the shooter elements were to play. Notably, The New Colossus is able to strike a balance between comedic and serious moments more so than its predecessors – finally, we have a game that feels consistent with the marketing and advertising, and the humour interspersed throughout the game conveys a sense of hope that, with Blazkowicz and his raggedy-ass bunch of resistance members, there really is a possibility to liberate the world and return liberty to its people. The New Order ended on a somber note; defeating Deathshead did not stop the Nazi stranglehold over the world, and similarly, The Old Blood concluded with Blazkowicz joining Fergus for the ill-fated run on Deathshead’s compound. Both games had easy-going, hilarious advertising campaigns, and the games themselves left me feeling a bit melancholy, knowing that all of Blazkowicz’s effort notwithstanding, his dream of ending the war and settling down to start a family would not be realised yet. The change in atmosphere in The New Colossus, seemingly irreverent, actually gives the impression that the world Blazkowicz dreams of building might not be an impossibility after all.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus At The Halfway Point

“You take freedom away from the American people, you’re playing with fire. And I intend to pour some gasoline!” ―William J. Blazkowicz

After reaching the remains of Manhattan, Blazkowicz makes his way to the Empire State Building to link up with the American resistance elements. The trek through the crumbling ruins of New York is an arduous one; Blazkowicz fights off hordes of patrolling Nazis and even a massive robot. After meeting up with Grace Walker and Norman “Super Spesh” Caldwell, Blazkowicz clears off the area of Nazi reinforcements before flying back with Grace’s resistance team to Eva’s Hammer. Blazkowicz informs Anya of his condition after she confronts him about avoiding her as of late, but their conversation is broken by Grace, who announces a plan to cripple Nazi leadership (the Oberkommando) at their base in Roswell, New Mexico. After recovering a nuclear warhead from the bowels of Eva’s Hammer, Blazkowicz travels to Roswell and meets up with Super Spesh, who provides support for him as he infiltrates the Nazi base, plants the bomb and annihilates it. However, when he makes a detour to his old home in Mesquite, Texas, to retrieve a family heirloom, Blazkowicz confronts his father and is captured by General Engle. An attempt to free him from captivity fails, and Blazkowicz is sentenced to death, briefly imagining himself escaping and meeting with his mother one last time during the trial. During his execution, General Engle personally beheads him, but the Kreisau Circle recovers his head and manage to keep him alive, grafting his head onto a new body. Swinging from the morose and maudlin to whacky comedy at the drop of a hat, The New Colossus has been one hell of a journey so far, and this is from just completing the first half of the game, which I’ve heard to be the weaker half (in turn suggesting that things will continue to get better as I progress further).

When The New Colossus first released, it was bug-ridden: I’ve been fortunate in that the game has been very stable for the most part. With this in mind, my first evening with The New Colossus was characterised by not being able to take screenshots and my mouse sensitivity settings reverting to their default values whenever I re-entered the game. I’m also able to alt-tab out of the game now without suffering crashes. The game has since seen some patches and at the time of writing, both of my issues have been rectified, allowing me to focus on the gameplay and story. Shooting and movement is of a high quality, thanks to both the Id Tech 6 Engine and a capable GPU, presenting an experience as smooth as that of The New Colossus‘ predecessors. However, where The New Colossus really shines is in its characterisations: more so than the previous Wolfenstein games, The New Colossus presents Blazkowicz as a mortal man struggling to deal with his impending death and resolute determination to have a proper family, having known only abuse with his father and seeking solace in his mother’s company. The Kreisau Circle and crew on board Eva’s Hammer become his new family, and in exploring Eva’s Hammer, players see through Blazkowicz some more interesting and meaningful interactions amongst the people on board. Similarly, the extent of General Engle and the Third Reich’s fanaticism is superbly presented – by The New Colossus, the enmity between Blazkowicz and Engle reach new heights; Engle addresses Blazkowicz with a mixture of revulsion and perversion. While The New Colossus might be a shooter whose marketing campaign was centred around wholesale slaughter, a colourful, well-written cast of characters forms the centrepiece of The New Colossus, and moments spent on board Eva’s Hammer exploring are just as enjoyable as the moments where I am taking on Nazi robots with the Lasergewehr.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • In the past 24 hours, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka: Dear My Sister premièred in Japanese theatres, although unlike Girls und Panzer: Der Film, things have been quieter – I’ve not seen quite as much excitement around the ‘net. There will be a time to write about Dear My Sister later, so for the time being, I will focus on The New Colossus. After seeing the trailer footage of a Fat Man-like device being used on New York for The New Order, players will have a chance to see what New York looks like in the aftermath. In the trailer, the bomb appeared to have been detonated in Lower Manhattan: if we assume a similar yield of 20 kilotons, the blast would level everything within a 1.1 kilometer radius and severely damage buildings out to a distance of 1.24 kilometers.

  • Looking at the maps, then, it is plausible that the Empire State Building would have survived, structurally intact. Blazkowicz is dropped into an area outside of the detonation, since most of the buildings are still standing, albeit severely damaged and exposed to the elements. Of the crew on board Eva’s Hammer, Blazkowicz is capable of surviving the radiation in New York owing to the suit of Da’at Yichud powered armour, and so, he is sent to go into the ruins of Manhattan to locate the New York resistance.

  • The hazmat gear Nazi soldiers have are reminiscent of the cleaners from The Division, and I’ve made a decision about The Division: the game’s gone on some sales now for prices well below what I’d seen previously, and I’ve heard rumours that Steam will have a Black Friday sale this year starting on November 22. If this is the case, I will likely pick up The Division; this time of year seems to be well-suited for playing through The Division, and I would like to get a bit of a start on it.

  • After I found my first weapon upgrade kit, I added the suppressor to my pistol so I could headshot commanders from a distance outside of the throwing range for hatchets. The pistol is surprisingly useful and while I avoid sidearms in most games, Wolfenstein‘s pistols are immensely useful for stealth approaches, being able to eliminate most standard enemies with one well-placed round to the skull. The second weapon upgrade I would apply was adding a marksman optic to the assault rifle. The lack of dedicated long-range weapons in Wolfenstein is a first: The New Order had the Marksman rifle, and The Old Blood gave players the Bombenschuss. The marksman optic turns the assault rifle into an accurate weapon for longer-range combat, making it an indispensable upgrade.

  • The lighting effects in The New Colossus are impressive, and here, I stop to admire the volumetric lighting in New York before descending into the subways. I’m playing the game on standard difficulty: I went through the previous two Wolfenstein games on “Bring ’em on!”, occasionally switching to “Don’t Hurt Me!” when things got too tricky to play through in The New Order. Because I became much more familiar with the mechanics by The Old Blood, I’ve not had to do that, and in The New Colossus, while some parts of the game kicked my ass, I’ve managed to overcome those segments without lowering the difficulty.

  • I imagine that when I begin my journey in The Division, I will be seeing a lot more of the New York Subway; The New Colossus has a few sections set in the subway systems of New York, and in the close quarters of the tunnels, having a good close quarters weapon becomes indispensable. Since I’ve yet to get the shotgun here, I stuck with the Dieselgewehr, a flamethrower-like weapon that launches fireballs that are devastating against even heavily armoured opponents.

  • The derelict tunnels of New York are reminiscent of those seen in the Metro series of games. My introduction to Metro was through Last Light four years ago, when my GPU came with a complimentary copy of the game. A mere curiosity at first, I came to greatly enjoy Metro: Last Light, went back and beat Metro 2033: Redux, and presently, I’m looking forwards to seeing how Metro: Exodus will handle. I’ve heard the game will be more open than its predecessors, and I’m hoping this to be true, as Metro: Last Light and Metro 2033 were both highly linear in nature.

  • Against the Supersoldaten, who dual-wield heavy weapons, even a single Dieselgewehr proves to be absolutely lethal, making short work of them on standard difficulty. By means of a pilot light, the weapon can be kept ready for firing on short notice at the expense of mobility, similar to the Lasergewehr. One thing I was not expecting here was suddenly being knocked down by dogs, which causes Blazkowicz to drop any heavy weapons he’s wielding and lowers mobility. Jumping up after being knocked down is the fastest way of getting back into the fight.

  • Here, I fight against a massive robot in Manhattan: it is armed with a missile launcher similar to the Cyberdemon’s aerial bombardment ability, plus a flamethrower for close range combat. When I encountered this monstrosity, I was running low on Dieselkraftwerk ammunition – I ended up emptying my magazine into it, and then switched over to dual assault rifles, hammering the missile launcher to destroy it. It subsequently became a matter of staying out of range of the flamethrower and shooting it until it ded.

  • After linking up with Grace Walker and Super Spesh, Blazkowicz stays behind to hold off the Nazi reinforcements while the other resistance members are evacuated. The penthouse fight is high intensity and offers only a few places to hide from enemy fire. I ended up using dual assault rifles throughout the fight, counting on the heavier hitting rounds to deal damage. Enemies will appear from all directions, and it took me several attempts to overcome this part of the game. There is a weapon upgrade kit up here, and some cans of fuel for the Dieselkraftwerk, which is useful for taking out the Supersoldaten that arrive.

  • Back on board Eva’s Hammer, Grace’s crew settle in and open up a hacker’s corner. Exploring Eva’s hammer is surprisingly fun, and there’s even a club with a working Wolfenstein 3D mini-game in an arcade console. I ended up grabbing some potatoes for Rosa, a pig that Max Hass is fond of. I cracked a smile when I saw how Rosa’s room is set up; there’s a disco ball in here that certainly livens things up. Walking through Eva’s Hammer and exploring all of the rooms was fun, and there’s even a shooting range here where Blazkowicz can go to resupply and practise shooting. Some weapon upgrade kits are also hidden in here.

  • Deep in the bowels of Eva’s Hammer is a nuclear weapons armoury that is protected by Supersoldaten: the heavy weapons will make short work of them. There are numerous recharging and refuelling stations here. I note that all heavy weapons can be warmed up, allowing them to fire more quickly, but this comes at the cost of movement speed.

  • By this point in The New Colossus, I’ve also opted to grab the armour-piercing rounds for the assault rifle, as well as the nailgun upgrade for the submachine guns, bolstering their damage potential. I’ve chosen to focus on improving the weapons’ versatility first, before maximising their damage – weapons each have three upgrade slots, and some upgrades are more useful than others, so it’s not too big of a deal that I miss some of the upgrades.

  • While I miss the Marksman Rifle from The New Order, the assault rifles of The New Colossus appears to have fulfilled that void when upgraded with the optics and AP rounds: their advantage over the original Marksman Rifle is that they have a larger magazine capacity and ammunition is more plentiful. In the confines of Eva’s Hammer, a pair of assault rifles with AP rounds will make short work of the Supersoldaten when heavy weaponry and Dieselkraftwerk ammunition are in short supply.

  • A couple of rounds from the Dieselkraftwerk will eliminate the Supersoldaten, and here, I narrowly dodge laser fire from one. Looking at the date stamps on these screenshots and the calendar show that we’re almost halfway through November. Work’s been quite busy, and I daresay I’ve finally found my groove again – October and September was a little slow, but it feels like I’ve been a bit more productive again. Thus, it feels great going into the Remembrance Day long weekend: I’m not convocating this year, so I spent today relaxing at the local bookstore, which was much busier than it had been during the summer.

  • Afterwards, I visited the Café 100 and had their sizzling plate chicken steak with black pepper sauce for dinner. There’s nothing quite like a Hong Kong style chicken steak; the meat is tender and tasty, perfect for nights that are lengthening now that Daylight Savings has rolled back. A ways back, our province was discussing whether or not Daylight Savings should be kept permanent, and while it would be amusing to do so, I can also see it as being a hassle for transportation schedules, as well as NHL games. Back in The New Colossus, I finally find the room with the warheads and retrieve one.

  • After acquiring the bomb, Blazkowicz returns to the bridge and is briefed on his next assignment, to smuggle the nuclear warhead into the Oberkommando headquarters in Roswell and blow the place sky-high. The first segment is to rendezvous with Super Spesh at his All American Diner, and this starts with a walk through the streets of Roswell, New Mexico. The atmospherics here are surprisingly detailed, and it’s worth taking the time to look around and see what’s changed, versus what’s stayed the same, in an America run by Nazis.

  • My favourite cutscene in The New Order is set at Papa Joe’s All American Diner, when a Nazi officer enters and asks for a strawberry milkshake, comments on how it’s his favourite American thing, jokes about how the rest of the menu should be more German and begins asking Blazkowicz for his papers. The fellow seemed friendly enough until he recognises Blazkowicz on the wanted posters, prompting Super Spesh to shoot him. They enter his command post and Super Spesh briefs Blazkowicz on how to infiltrate the Oberkommando headquarters. As an aside, there’s an app on the App Store called “The Spesh”; rather than any space alien conspiracy or anything of that nature, it’s an app designed to find specials for entertainment and dining. While a great idea on paper, the app itself has a terrible design.

  • I managed to complete this entire section without triggering the alarm, attesting to the usefulness of the suppressed pistol. There’s another weapon upgrade kit located here, and I ended up saving it so as to upgrade the shotguns as soon as they are found. The sheer scale of Nazi facilities in Wolfenstein makes exploring an incredibly fun experience, and the aim in this section is to take control of a rocket-powered train to reach the Oberkommando headquarters.

  • What’s impressive about this section is that train tunnels will be continuously generated until players reach the front of the train to helm the controls. This is where players will first find the Schockhammer X, an upgrade from the Schockhammer seen in The New Order, and features a high rate of fire thanks to its three rotating barrels. The best upgrade for this gun are ricochetting shells, which bounce of walls and can damage enemies multiple times if fired in close quarters; this is why saving that upgrade kit found earlier is useful, as the upgrade allows Blazkowicz to tear through the close quarters inside the train with relative ease.

  • The raw firepower offered by dual-wielding both the Dieselkraft and automatic shotgun is unmatched, wrecking havoc with anything that is downrange of the weapons. The automatic shotguns are incredibly powerful and can blow limbs off enemies: one feature in The New Order I found amusing was that some weapons were powerful enough to gouge holes into victims or blast appendages off. I’ve noticed that headshots can blast heads clean off enemies in The New Colossus, as well.

  • Here, I watched the animation where Blazkowicz cuts off the commander’s arm before burying the hatchet…into the commander’s skull. The melee kill animations are incredibly satisfying, and against some enemies, Blazkowicz will slice their legs off. It’s absolutely brutal and absolutely hilarious, but one thing about The New Colossus I had to reacclimatise to was that melee kills on enemies do not restore health as Glory Kills did in DOOM.

  • Like The Old Blood, listening in on the conversations the Nazi soldiers have with one another offers a great deal of insight into their own backgrounds, as is finding journal entries, letters and postcards. There are moments where the nameless, faceless Nazis that Blazkowicz wastes are presented as ordinary humans, but all empathy goes out the window when they spot Blazkowicz and open fire on him. While the game’s proven to handle quite well, the mechanism for switching weapons in dual-wielding is a little cumbersome, and it’s best to make the switch before entering a firefight.

  • On the other hand, dual-wielding two weapons of the same kind at once is easy, and it’s possible to engage the alternative fire mode on one weapon only. Here, I square off against an UberSoldat, a mechanical, Terminator-like enemy armed with energy weapons and graced with incredible speed. The best countermeasure against them are dual shotguns: a single blast from each (or two consecutive shots from a single shotgun) on standard difficulty will make quick work of them.

  • Super Spesh has very quickly become one of my favourite characters in The New Colossus: between his paranoia about “space aliens” and excitement at the prospect of making Nazis experience a bad day, his character’s offered much comedy in the game. He suggests to Blazkowicz that the nuclear warhead be placed inside the nuclear reactor so the radioactive signature is hidden. I managed to blast my way to the end and set the bomb, but alarms suddenly go off: Blazkowicz’s presence has not gone unnoticed, and the Oberkommando begin evacuating, leaving Blazkowicz to fight another robot.

  • Complicating the fight are the numerous soldiers that show up, coupled with the fact that there are gaps in the platform that lead to deep chasms. It took me a few attempts to get this part right, but I managed to succeed in the end, destroying the robot. Being knocked down here is quite costly, so I prioritised engaging the robot’s missile launcher first.

  • As Blazkowicz moves through the facility to escape, Nazi rockets are seen taking off: this whole scene brings to mind the sort of facilities seen in DOOM: I haven’t played through DOOM since I beat it last year, and while the multiplayer was mildly entertaining, the campaign is worth going through again. One of the things that both DOOM and Wolfenstein nail is the simple HUD, which gives enough information to be useful and places the elements in familiar spots so I can immediately ascertain Blazkowicz’s state at a glance.

  • After vacating the Oberkommando Headquarters and detonating the warhead, Blazkowicz heads to Mesquite in Texas, where is family home was. He finds the ring that belonged to his mother, but finds himself face-to-face with his father, Rip Blazkowicz. A racist and self-serving, Rip frequently abused William and Sofia; he is defiant to the last and attempts to sell out Blazkowicz to General Engle before being killed. Engle soon arrives and pulls the Blazkowicz home from the ground, and Blazkowicz is captured here.

  • Super Spesh dies trying to free Blazkowicz with a ruse, and Blazkowicz is sentenced to death. At his trial, he imagines himself breaking free and meeting with his mother, who reassures him. During this segment of the game, Blazkowicz is able to make use of the Hammergewehr, a quad-barrel automatic shotgun that is absolutely vicious in close quarters; I used it to reduce a group of soldiers into a pile of meat and blood à la Mayu Suzumoto of Corpse Party (and most certainly not Mayu Shimada of Wake Up, Girls!).

  • While Blazkowicz’s execution was a sobering scene that outlines just how sadistic General Engle is, the mood changes abruptly when the Kreisau Circle rescues him. The grim mood gives way to a sense of lightheartedness as Set Roth works to bring Blazkowicz back from the dead. I was all smiles here – how Blazkowicz is rescued is well beyond the realm of any known science and quite over-the-top, comparable to Futurama in execution; Blazkowicz is preserved as a head-in-a-jar until Roth manages to link his head to a new body.

I think I’m at The New Colossus‘ halfway point now: with Blazkowicz restored to full physical fitness, it seems my days of being stuck with fifty percent health and ability to pick up two hundred points of armour are long over. I’ve had the change to test out the battle walker stilts, as well: taking the place of DOOM‘s double jump, the battle walker contraption acts as a mobile set of steps, and allow Blazkowicz to reach high places, perfect for picking off enemies with headshots. It’s apparent that the gameplay is about to change, and this shift keeps The New Colossus refreshing and novel; MachineGames has evidently found new ways to continue to keep Wolfenstein exciting. Moving ahead, Blazkowicz is heading to New Orleans; the deep south has long been a place I’ve associated with long summer days and as we’re approaching winter, it’ll be quite fun to play through a warmer locale with a Blazkowicz who handles more similarly to his old self from The New Order, albiet with some fancy upgrades. My experience at the halfway point suggests that the price of admissions was worth it, and I’m looking forwards to seeing just how The New Colossus will prove this point to be correct in the game’s second half.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus First Impressions

“I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism.” –P.D. James

After destroying Genera Wilhelm Strasse’s headquarters during the events of Wolfenstein: The New Order, William “B.J.” Blazkowicz is rescued and falls into a coma. He is returned to Eva’s Hammer, but awakens to find the vessel under attack from General Engel, who has engaged in a personal vendetta against Blazkowicz since The New Order. Crippled and unable to walk, Blazkowicz fights his way through Eva’s Hammer on a wheelchair to regroup with Anya, who is expecting twins. He reveals his plan to surrender to Engel, and is taken aboard the Ausmerzer, Engel’s airship along with Wyatt and Caroline. Caroline is executed, but before Engel can kill Wyatt, Engel’s daughter, Sigrun, stops her, buying Wyatt enough time to kill two guards and pass Caroline’s powered armour to him. Blazkowicz fights his way through the Ausmerzer and disables the electromagnetic clamps holding Eva’s Hammer in place, before returning to the U-boat, where he finds a group of Nazi soldiers holding out in a hitherto unexplored part of the submarine. They are transmitting a signal, explaining how Engel has found them so easily, and Blazkowicz disables this transmitter before joining up with the others to mourn Caroline’s death. This is how far I’ve gotten into The New Colossus‘ campaign after two hours: the decision to purchase the game on launch day rather than waiting for a sale was not an easy one, motivated the fact that I have a reasonable grasp on what my schedule this month looks like. With two hours of the game under my belt, the price of admissions has proven to be well worth it: I’ve heard that the campaign spans fifteen hours when played through at a brisk pace, and this is to say nothing of the assassination and side missions.

From a technical perspective, The New Colossus is an impressive game. Powered by the Id 6 Engine, which drives last year’s DOOM, shooting and movement feel more fluid than they did in The New Order. While not as smooth as DOOM, The New Colossus has so far been a thrill to play. The new dual-wielding system combines the whacky ability of being able to fire two heavy weapons simultaneously akin to GoldenEye 64‘s system with Halo 2‘s capability for mixing and matching weapons to dual-wield to improve weapons diversity. So far, I’ve only got the Maschinenpistole, Sturmgewehr and pistol, plus the Dieselkraftwerk, a compact grenade launcher, but it’s been fun to mix and match weapons, even if nothing is quite comparable to the raw firepower offered by a pair of Sturmgewehr rifles. The wheelchair sequence in The New Colossus‘ first mission was also an innovative one, forcing players to make use of the environment in order to navigate and also appreciate the amount of freedom available in just being able to walk. The visuals in The New Colossus have also been improved from its predecessor: there are more details in the environments, textures look sharper and lighting is more intricate. In spite of this, I’ve had no trouble running the game at 60 FPS at 1080p – my rig is four-and-a-half years old now, but The New Colossus is buttery-smooth in the frame-rate department, running the game on Über settings without too much of a struggle.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • With this The New Colossus post, I’ve got 888 posts, and in my last post about Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered, I remarked that I would go back through the game and get all of the intel items before the ten year anniversary for Call of Duty 4‘s release passed. I ended up succeeding in my endeavours, although on closer inspection, I realised that there was not much more I had to add to my thoughts on this particular title. So, at the ten year anniversary of Call of Duty 4‘s release, I will be going through the first hour of The New Colossus instead. Call of Duty: World War II also released yesterday, and while the campaign looks quite nice, I do not think I’ll be playing it in the foreseeable future.

  • I’ve seen footage of The New Colossus‘ opening moments during the E3 demo, which sees Blazkowicz start the mission in a wheelchair. Eva’s Hammer is evidently not designed to be wheelchair accessible, but Blazkowicz improvises to the best of his ability. He picks up the MP61 Machinepistole, a submachine gun, from a resistance fighter when Nazi soldiers begin boarding the U-Boat, and fulfills a role similar to that of Halo 2‘s submachine gun, with a high firing rate and low bullet damage.

  • The New Colossus allows players to really appreciate the freedom conferred by being able to walk around normally. Ordinary constructs like stairs suddenly become obstacles, and a part of the first mission is really just getting used to the shooting again. Like its predecessor, The New Colossus lacks hitmarkers and instead, counts on highly visible indicators of a successful hit on enemies, who will stagger or outright collapse when shot. Conversely, it’s actually quite tricky to tell when Blazkowicz is taking damage, and consequently, I’ve died more often than I cared to count because I wasn’t aware of how much damage I was taking.

  • Players have explored Eva’s Hammer previously in The New Order, when the goal was to capture the submarine. In the time that has passed, the submarine has evidently become a base of operations for Kreisau Circle. As Blazkowicz, players explore hitherto unknown areas of the submarine, hinting at just how large the U-Boat really is. Eva’s Hammer is inspired by Nazi Germany’s Type IX U-boat. There are four variations, with the having had a maximum length of 87.58 meters and a height of 10.2 meters. By comparison, the Ohio-class submarines are 170 meters in length and a height of 10.8 meters, while the Soviet Akula (NATO name “Typhoon”) was 175 meters in length and 12 meters high.

  • The dimensions of Eva’s Hammer is likely much greater than even those of the Typhoon-class, considering the amount of space there is to explore within the submarine. One of the things about Wolfenstein II and the games that Bethesda has published in recent memory is the fact that they seem to be caught in the middle of petty squabbles from folks on the internet who seem to have nothing but leisure time on their hands. With DOOM, some ignorant knaves claimed that “this level of extreme violence shouldn’t be considered normal”, although fortunately, negative social media impressions did little to dampen DOOM‘s success.

  • The New Colossus, on the other hand, has been counted to be a “politically correct” game for its portrayal of diverse groups unifying to challenge Nazi rule in an alternate history. Groups who have been attempting to force developers to inject political correctness and social justice messages into games have been around for a few years, and while some feel that games are on the decline for this, I’ve long found that the operative word here is “attempt”: gaming will only die when the options for exploring fantastical, fictional worlds dwindle and the only titles left on the market lack good mechanics in favour of pushing agendas.

  • The bottom line for The New Colossus is simple enough: if I can go around, smoothly explore a map and light up whatever is downrange of my crosshairs, that’s good enough for me, and this generally holds true for other games that I play. So far, the game plays very well, so even if there are messages in the game, at the minimum, they’re not affecting the gameplay. Thus, I won’t trouble the blog with this particular topic any further, and return discussion to The New Colossus; at this point, I’ve been captured by General Engel, saw Caroline executed and capitalised on Sigrun betraying General Engel to save Blazkowicz, as well as Wyatt. I’ve also got Caroline’s powered armour, which allows Blazkowicz to move freely again, and my first action is to dual-wield the MP61s.

  • In The New Order, melee weapons were restricted to knives. The Old Blood introduced the pipe, a clever tool that could be combined to form a single weapon, pulled apart and dual-wielded for quick strikes. On top of this, the pipes could be used to scale some walls and also open hatches. The New Colossus introduces the hatchet, which makes for some interesting kills, but lacks the utility of the pipe from The Old Blood. Superbly useful for silent kills, the hatchets are the best way of eliminating enemy commanders from a distance.

  • Like its predecessors, enemy commanders will call for reinforcements if a firefight breaks out, and neutralising them will prevent them from doing thus. Commanders are almost always found in groups of two, and in The New Colossus, they drop enigma codes that can be used towards unlocking missions for the assassination mini-game. In The New Order, enigma codes were scattered throughout the levels and could be used to unlock cheats for the game. I don’t think I ever collected everything in The New Order.

  • One of the joys of The New Order was seeing a fictionalised depiction of Nazi technology and architecture. The second mission is set on General Engel’s Ausmerzer, a large fortress capable of flight by means of three large repulsors. One mechanic in The New Colossus is the fact that Blazkowicz spends most of the game at fifty health, forcing players to keep an eye out for armour. It’s a slight change of pace from other games, adding another nuance to the New Colossus that make things interesting.

  • The assault rifle in The New Colossus is known as the Stermgewehr, and while it’s supposed to be a straight upgrade from the assault rifle of The New Order, it has a smaller magazine and lower firing rate. In its base form, the weapon is only slightly better than the Machinepistole – while capable of dealing more damage, its recoil is similar to the assault rifle of The Old BloodThe New Colossus seems to dissuade methodical, tactical play, as I’ve found that going loud seems much easier when I’m dual-wielding the assault rifles.

  • Killing Supersoldaten in The New Colossus will allow Blazkowicz to pick up heavy weapons: the Lasergewehr is a directed energy weapon that can outright vapourise unarmoured targets, and it’s an absolute blast to use. Capable of melting through and vapourising steel sheets, the weapon is also useful for opening metal crates. There are plenty of charge stations on board the Ausmerzer, allowing me to utilise the Lasergewehr liberally.

  • A straight upgrade from The New Order‘s MG60, the Lasergewehr is a beastly weapon that also has a firing sound rivalling the seismic charges and thermal imploders of Star Wars. Supersoldaten are now powerful enough to dual-wield these weapons, and they can tear through Blazkowicz very quickly. Unlike the Supersoldaten of earlier games, the ones in The New Colossus are equipped with a rocket pack that allow them to cover great distances quickly; they will use this ability to knock Blazkowicz down.

  • Because I picked the Wyatt timeline, I ended up getting the Dieselkraftwerk: the Fergus timeline will yield the Laserkraftwerk. Fueled by diesel, this incendiary weapon is new to the Wolfenstein game and acts as a delay-grenade launcher with the option of launching projectiles that detonate on impact. I’ve heard that the Laserkraftwerk is easier to use, and did not know that the choice between Wyatt and Fergus would alter the signature weapon Blazkowicz accesses. I ultimately chose Wyatt because I chose to save Wyatt in The New Order, after watching a Fergus playthrough and so, I wished to see the other timeline.

  • One of the most glorious features of The New Colossus is the ability to dual-wield any weapon that can be held in Blazkowicz’s inventory, meaning that the Stermgewehr can be used simultaneously with the Dieselkraftwerk to provide over-the-top firepower. Although dual-wielding is a fantastic way to bring a large amount of damage to bear against enemies, it comes with the disadvantage of requiring a longer reload once Blazkowicz runs out of ammunition.

  • While the schematics might have shown section F as a mere laundry room, it turns out there’s an entire section of Ava’s Hammer that remains unexplored and home to Nazi soldiers holding out. The conditions leave them in a woebegone state, but they’re still hostile to Blazkowicz. The cavernous machinery and hallways really give a sense of how large Ava’s Hammer is, and finding the signal altering General Engle to the Kreisau Circle’s whereabouts is a nontrivial task.

  • When I started The New Colossus last week, the weather had still been very much autumn-like, but on Wednesday, a slow-moving system moved over the area, bringing with it at least fifteen centimeters of snow and an additional ten projected. It’s feeling a lot like winter now, and on Thursday, I decided to swing by the local bookstore after work to pick up the final manga volume of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, which I’d been following since 2013. The drive was ardous, and remained so yesterday morning; in response, I left for work a full hour earlier than usual. Things had not improved by evening: roads were very much icy when we went out for dinner at the Café HK; the windchill and snow made dinner (a Japanese-style curry tonkatsu) especially delicious.

  • The roads are still treacherous today and will likely remain so for another day or two while the city clears and sands the roads. This means a quieter day spent at home in lieu of my usual weight-lifting, and this will give me some downtime to read through The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan. I will be doing my first-ever manga review once I finish, and discuss what about this particular manga worked well for me. It’s been a four year journey since that day when I picked up the first volume at a bookstore downtown: back in 2014, only four volumes had been available for purchase. There will be more on this later – this isNew Colossus post, and not a Nagato Yuki-chan post, after all.

  • After sweeping through the bowels of Ava’s Hammer, I finally reached the room with the broadcasting equipment and incinerated it. What followed was a fierce firefight: while I’d been keeping the Dieselkraftwerk’s ammunition in reserve so I could break through any passageways, now seemed as good of a time as any to unload with the weapon’s payload. Against numerous targets, using the weapon’s alternate fire mode turns it into a highly effective grenade launcher that can blow away even Supersoldaten on short order.

  • Once the broadcasting station is destroyed, the Kreisau Circle is finally afforded some peace, and this mission comes to an end. After two hours, I am convinced that The New Colossus was worth the price of admissions, and with unconfirmed news that Star Wars Battlefront II might be discounted close to The Last Jedi‘s theatrical première, it seems that going through The New Colossus in November will allow me to focus fully on Battlefront II come December should it go on sale. I’m also wondering if it will be worthwhile to buy Tom Clancy’s The Division during the Steam Winter sale for the single player aspects. There will be more posts this month on The New Colossus as I advance in the game, along with a handful of anime-related talks before I delve into Yūki Yūna is a Hero: Hero Chapter, which will begin airing on November 17.

The New Colossus was originally the name of a poem by Emma Lazarus, intended to raise money to construct the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. Inscribed at the base of the statue on a metal plaque, The New Colossus is a poem that was aimed at inspiring hope, welcoming people arriving in America – during this time, immigrants arriving in the United States likely would have been sailing from Europe, and New York would have been their first destination. This is where Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus takes its name from, being about the hope that has forsaken the alternate-history America within the game, and in classic Wolfenstein manner, this hope is embodied in a Blazkowicz’s crusade to liberate the United States from Nazi rule. The setting in the United States, rather than in Europe, offers a unique perspective on what a United States where Hitler had won might look like; the fight is taken much closer to home. Overall, The New Colossus has a satisfying shooting system, and combat is visceral, as its predecessors before it: having removed any doubt that my system can handle The New Colossus, I greatly look forwards to seeing what awaits me in the Wolfenstein sequel, especially with respect to the part where I get to explore the different locations of the game and make use of the new weapons to, as Bethesda puts it, Make America Nazi-free Again.

Call of Duty: WWII- A Reflection on the Open Beta

“Hot today, forgotten tomorrow. I’m not buying anything.” –James Marshall

Activision has stated that development on Call of Duty: WWII began long before negative reception to the franchise’s shift into future warfare began. The full title will release on November 3, and during the last weekend of September, an open beta was available for Steam players to try out. Offering five maps and four game modes, the beta was an opportunity for players to test the game out prior to its release. After installing the beta initially, I found myself unable to run it; the game would not load, and it was not until I reinstalled the title where the game would open. After entering my first few matches, it became apparent that the game has not been optimised fully for PC yet: frame rates dropped, the game stuttered, and death followed. When frame rates stablised, I began my own boots-on-the-ground experience, making use of the different divisions to get a feel for the gameplay. Call of Duty has always been more about small maps and fast-paced combat, as well as kill-streak rewards over the slower, more methodical and large-scale gameplay that characterises Battlefield 1. Maps feel like closed-off sets designed to give the sense of a well-designed paintball arena, rather than the wide-open spaces of Battlefield 1, and the numerous corners and hallways encourage a very aggressive, forward style of gameplay that rewards reflexes over strategy. Filled with details, from aircraft flying overhead and artillery, to muddy and damaged set elements, maps definitely exude a WWII-like atmospheric that, in conjunction with traditional movement systems, looks to return Call of Duty back to its roots. However, well-designed set pieces and premise can only carry a game so far, and the major deciding factor in whether or not a game is worth playing lies with its gameplay and handling.

During moments where the Call of Duty: WWII open beta was running with optimal frame rates, the game feels modestly smooth, although the Infinity Ward engine is definitely feeling dated. Movement is a little jagged and uneven, feeling somewhat sluggish. In a game where the goal is to move around in a high-paced environment and play the game aggressively to score points, the movement system is not particularly conducive of this particular play style, as I found myself getting stuck in geometry on more than one occasion, leading to death. Inconsistencies in movement and hit detection meant that the Call of Duty: WWII open beta felt like one protracted match on Prise de Tahure. I was dying to players coming from unexpected angles and places. Exacerbated by lag, I would open fire on players first, only for them to whip around and instantly nail me, suggesting that I had in fact been firing at air when my client put a player on screen. Performance issues aside, the chaotic nature of Call of Duty multiplayer environments and an emphasis on twitch reflexes with a high RPM weapon over finess means that Call of Duty: WWII‘s multiplayer certainly isn’t for me. This beta reminds me of my advancing age – long ago, I enjoyed close quarters combat for the rush it brought. With age comes decreasing reflexes, and I’m not able to keep up with the whipper-snappers out there now. The kind of gameplay I might have preferred a few years ago no longer feels fun to me compared to methodically picking off distant enemies and moving cover-to-cover.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Call of Duty: WWII introduces a new game mode called “War”, which is a close-quarters objectives-based match. On the “Operation Breakout” map seen in the beta, Allied Forces must capture a German outpost and then build a bridge, allowing their tanks to destroy an ammunition depot. German forces must prevent the Allies from succeeding. The game mode is admittedly similar to Battlefront 2‘s Galactic Assault, albeit a much smaller-scale version.

  • I’m not sure if this were the case in earlier Call of Duty multiplayer games, but in Call of Duty: WWII, there are different classes players can spawn in as, from the jack-of-all-trades infantry class, to the more nimble airborne class that emphasises high speed gameplay. There’s also an armoured class that can equip heavy weapons, the mountain class that is suited for long-range sniping, and the expeditionary class that dominates in close quarters.

  • Here, I equip the Bren LMG, Perrine’s weapon of choice from Strike Witches. However, despite its WWII-setting, I do not feel that Call of Duty: WWII is able to capture the Strike Witches atmospheric and aesthetic anywhere nearly as effectively as does Battlefield 1, despite the fact that the latter is set during World War One. This further stems from the very static, arena-like maps as opposed to the larger, more natural-feeling maps seen in Battlefield 1.

  • I’ve heard folks complain that the STG-44’s sight to be completely inauthentic: while it is true that modern electronic red dot sights with LEDs were developed during the 1970s, the concept of a reflex sight has been around since the 1900s. Earlier sights either depended on ambient light to function or else had a built-in light source whose operational time was constrained by limited battery life.

  • I only spent two hours in the Call of Duty: WWII open beta on account of a cold that saw me sleep most of the weekend that the beta was running, but I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on too much. By comparison, when I played through the Battlefront 2 beta last week, I had largely recovered and so, put in closer to nine hours over the Thanksgiving Long Weekend. During the moments where I was feeling a little better, I hopped into a few matches and found myself outplayed at every turn.

  • Averaging a KD ratio of less than 0.25 in almost all of my games, I’ve found the movement and handling in Call of Duty: WWII to be very poor. This is especially problematic, considering that Call of Duty: WWII is meant to be a fast-paced shooter where reflexes and high sensitivities are king: slow movements and aiming made it difficult to aim and fire, taking away from the run-and-gun style of play that Call of Duty emphasises.

  • I’ve heard that client-side modifications were widespread during the open beta, allowing people to one-shot other players with instant headshots, or else gain awareness of where all of the other players were. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I would prefer a hardware ban for folks caught cheating as Blizzard has implemented in Overwatch: this forces all but the most resourceful of cheaters with deep pockets to think twice before using tools to bolster their in-game performance.

  • On my end, I do not believe I encountered any cheaters. The biggest enemy ultimately ended up being the game performance itself: my hardware, while four years old, is no slouch with respect to performance. Nonetheless, I saw the game dip below 15 FPS during some moments, and I could only watch as other player lined up their sights and pasted my face into the walls. The lag, coupled with the fact that the beta did not even open made the Call of Duty: WWII‘s beta a little difficult to enjoy; the Battlefield 1 and Battlefront II betas were characterised by a straightforwards setup process where I activated the installer and then joined matches without any difficulty.

  • From a visual perspective, Call of Duty: WWII looks average at best, especially when compared with some of the other titles available. Textures are a bit dull, and lighting isn’t terribly complex: in fact, I feel that the graphical fidelity of Infinite Warfare and Modern Warfare: Remastered to be superior. While this is just a beta, Call of Duty: WWII does not inspire me to give the game a go, whereas Battlefront II‘s beta convinced me that, provided the loot crate system doesn’t completely suck, the game might merit a purchase shortly after launch.

  • I saw some footage of Cr1tikal playing through the closed beta a month ago, and recalled his use of incendiary shells in the expeditionary class. In his video, Cr1tikal criticises the map design, and ultimately, makes extensive use of the shotguns to squeak by in a match before switching over to mountain class briefly. I was hardly surprised by the expeditionary class’ efficacy with incendiary shotguns and found myself doing much better than I had in previous rounds.

  • Stationary weapons in multiplayer shooters are always a death-trap, leaving users exposed to attack from behind and snipers, but here, I use one of the mounted weapons to defeat another player from a distance. Despite the splintered wooden poles, shattered concrete bunkers, muddy ditches and remnants of sandbags, the maps in Call of Duty: WWII simply do not feel as though they are World War Two settings, but rather, feel like World War Two-themed settings.

  • The under-barrel grenade launcher in older Call of Duty games was counted the “n00b tube” for its ease of use. Under-barrel grenade launchers are gone in Call of Duty: WWII, but the incendiary shells of the expeditionary class are probably going to be regarded  as fulfilling a similar vein: despite dealing the same damage as a conventional shotgun shell, the incendiary shells apply damage over time by means of burning opponents hit, and because they replenish fully on death, they are an appealing weapon for beginning players who can gain a kill even after they are killed.

  • During my time in the beta, I did not hear any complaints about use of incendiary shells and so, like Cr1tikal, I used them during the later period of the open beta. I’ve heard that the release version of Call of Duty: WWII will see several changes, and one of the top-most changes proposed will be reducing the damage dealt by incendiary ammunition.

  • During one particularly lucky short, my pellets outright took out one opponent and burned another to land me a double kill. One feature in Call of Duty that I’ve never been fond of is the killstreak system, which rewards players purely based on how many kills they’ve gotten before dying. The most infamous killstreak bonus is the tactical nuke, which instantly wins a game for the team that the player triggers it on. Overall, I prefer Battlefront II‘s system, where playing the objective and actions helping teammates will unlock battle points that can be spent on perks.

  • Despite the closed, arena-like maps, the Operation Breakout map has long, open avenues that are well-suited for sniping. The Commonwealth rifle proved fun to use: it’s a one-hit kill bolt action rifle, and coming from the likes of Battlefield 1, where I’ve acclimatised to bolt-action rifles lacking a straight-pull bolt, this weapon wasn’t too far removed from my usual play-style. I never did get around to learning the performance attributes of the different weapons, and I didn’t make it far enough to unlock most weapons. Instead, I looted weapons from other players to give them a whirl.

  • Medals are earned in Call of Duty by performing specific actions or scoring kills in a particular manner. They will confer a boost in XP, and are similar to the ribbons of Battlefield, appearing at the top of the screen. I believe they were introduced in Black Ops II, although as mentioned earlier, I’m only vaguely aware of game mechanics in Call of Duty titles and I find the game engine to be quite out-dated.

  • Some folks have asserted that Call of Duty: WWII is a blatant rip-off of Battlefield 1 for featuring similar features, including the bayonet charge and for returning things to a World War setting. At the opposite end of the spectrum, others claim that Call of Duty: WWII will cause Battlefield 1 players to switch over on account of limitations in the latter’s gameplay. Quite honestly, while Call of Duty: WWII is quite unique in both game mechanics and time period, I found that I have more fun in Battlefield 1. After one particularly tough match, I returned to Battlefield 1 and perform considerably better than I did during the Call of Duty: WWII open beta.

  • My last match during the Call of Duty: WWII beta was spent in a match of domination with the airborne class and the starting M3 submachine gun. I attached the suppressor to it and snuck around the map to get kills. Capture points trade hands numerous times during domination, and one thing I noticed is that in Call of Duty: WWII, the submachine guns do not appear to have an improved hip-fire accuracy.

  • One of the most infamous constructs to come out of Call of Duty is the notion of a “360 no scope” and “quick scope” moves. While considered to be trick-shots with little practical advantages in a real game, folks on the internet suggest that people of middle school age take the move quite seriously and consider it a viable tactic. Regardless of whether or not this is true, one thing is for sure: until the PC version of Call of Duty: WWII is optimised, trick shots will be very difficult or even impossible to pull off.

  • After this match ended, I decided to call it a day and went back to sleep with the aim of fighting off my cold. Two weeks later, I’m back to my usual self, although an occasional cough continues to persist. I usually get sick twice a year: once before winter appears in full, and once before spring completely displaces winter weather. I’m hoping that this means winter is upon us; it’s certainly been colder as of late, although forecasts show pleasant weather over the next while. Overall, I would say that I had much more fun with the Battlefront II beta than this one, and while the campaign looks interesting, I’ve got no plans to purchase Call of Duty: WWII at the moment.

Playing through the beta reaffirms the reasons behind my decision in not playing Call of Duty multiplayers, but having tried the Call of Duty: WWII open beta, there are a few things that Call of Duty does well; my favourite is the instant spawning back into a match after death. The quick time to kill is also great for high-speed engagements, even if it is hampered slightly by the movement systems. However, compared to Battlefield, which has a better movement system and larger maps that accommodate all styles of gameplay, I cannot say that I’m won over into Call of Duty‘s multiplayer aspects. The single-player elements are a different story: until Battlefield 1 introduced its war stories, Call of Duty games had consistently more entertaining campaigns, and I am looking forwards to seeing just what Call of Duty: WWII‘s story entails. From what has been shown so far, it’s a return to the European front in the later days of the Second World War, featuring a modernised take on the D-Day invasion. Overall, I am not particularly inclined to purchase Call of Duty: WWII close to launch, or at any point soon, for its multiplayer content. If the single-player campaign is impressive, I might purchase the game some years later during a Steam Sale – the game certainly does not feel like it is able to offer the value that would make buying it at full price worthwhile, but I’m always game for a good war story, even if it is a shorter one.

Stay! Stay! Democratic People’s Republic of Korea! Review and Reflection

“Just a small game that I sponsored; simple, short, and hilarious in a silly and campy way. Oh, and I’m also a guest character.” –Akeiko “Daigensui” Sumeragi on Stay! Stay! DPRK

Battlefield 1′s In The Name of the Tsar DLC has only been out for five days, but aside from spending enough time in the DLC to unlock the Fedorov Avtomat Trench and the Parabellum MG14 Suppressive, I’ve got a bit of a confession to make: I’ve been playing through DEVGRU-P’s Stay! Stay! Democratic People’s Republic of Korea! (which I will truncate to Stay! Stay! DPRK! for brevity’s sake) in my open time. An overt parody of Go! Go! Nippon! My First Trip to Japan, Stay! Stay! DPRK! follows the adventures of an American soldier in the Hermit Kingdom; in a manner similar to Go! Go! Nippon!, the protagonist visits North Korea and learns his pen pals are in fact ladies. What follows is a refreshing and hilarious take on a familiar set-up: the player accompanies Jeong or Eunji in touring locations of North Korea, but with more restrictions and jokes. The tour culminates in a visit to Mount Paektu for a soak in North Korean-style hot springs, but things go awry when it’s revealed that Jeong and Eunji are under investigation for harbouring a foreign agent. Depending on what decisions players make, they will either survive or be executed, a darkly humourous take on bad endings in the visual novel genre. During my playthrough, I opted to go with Jeong and see about unlocking her ending first – she’s Stay! Stay! DPRK!‘s equivalent of Makoto, so I figured it’d be appropriate to start here, and after two hours, I’ve completed the Jeong route, which sees the protagonist go at it with Jeong before escaping North Korea and landing in Syria, of all places.

It is worth mentioning that Stay! Stay! DPRK! is by no means an accurate North Korea simulator, but in spite of this, the title ends up providing a fairly informative background on the locations players can visit. On my run of Stay! Stay! DPRK!, I visited Mansudae, Kaesong and Yanggakdo, learning of the details and history of the areas while cracking the occasional joke with Jeong or Eunji (and often, watching the player suffer the consequences of doing so). Minor elements, such as random brown-outs, the extent of state-controlled media, reverence for the Glorious Leader and depiction of antiquated infrastructure and technology in North Korea also add to the atmospherics, although the adventure players experience is quite far removed from the undisclosed human rights violations and recent nuclear tests that have shaped the news. Books, such as Blaine Harden’s Escape from Camp 14, offer a much more sobering insight into what conditions at political camps are like, while news of North Korea’s fledgling nuclear weapons program continue to remind the world that the Hermit Kingdom hides a great deal behind closed doors. In spite of this, or perhaps because of this, Stay! Stay! DPRK! represents a light-hearted opportunity to simulate a tour of North Korea without any risk beyond the initial price of admissions, and ultimately, succeeds in entertaining audiences with its parody.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I remark that, in this collection of twenty screenshots, I do not have access to the usual 1080p images on ultra or near-ultra settings as is the usual standard for my other posts on games. As a visual novel, Stay! Stay! DPRK! does not have different graphics settings, or even different resolution settings. Some of the images may also appear a little fuzzy on high resolution displays.

  • I recall photographs from textbooks depicting empty shelves in department stores and the like in the old Soviet Union owing to shortages of consumer goods as the USSR placed greater emphasis on developing heavy industry. In North Korea, I imagine that there are always shortages of consumer goods, and grocery stores almost certainly would not look like this. The protagonist comments on this and gets a stern talking to from his “tour guides”, but mistakes are generally forgiven very quickly, befitting of the atmosphere in the game.

  • My first destination of Stay! Stay! DPRK! was Mansudae Art Studio, which is located in the Pyongcheon district of Pyongyang. The artwork of Stay! Stay! DPRK! excels at creating a highly peaceful atmosphere that is certainly absent in the streets of Pyongyang. I’ve got no intentions of actually visiting for myself – North Korean authorities have detained visitors in the past before for various offenses that seem trivial here, but owing to the severity of the penalties (which may involve sentencing to hard labour), the risk simply exceeds the values of visiting.

  • The Mansudae Art Studio is the largest art centres in North Korea and is home to upwards of four thousand artists; founded in 1959, numerous North Korean monuments are crafted here. Because the artwork here is officially sanctioned by the North Korean government, artists live in better conditions than most North Koreans, and works from the studio have been exhibited in other museums around the world.

  • While I have no plans to visit North Korea in the foreseeable future, I have visited South Korea some eleven years ago, and true to the depiction in Stay! Stay! DPRK!kimchi is a very common element of the Korean diet. Consisting of pickled vegetables seasoned with chili, ginger and garlic, kimchi has a very distinct, potent flavour that I enjoyed eating. One of the things about kimchi that I find a riot is that, owing to the gases resulting from fermentation, kimchi jars can explode if improperly stored or handled.

  • The Mansu Hill Grand Monument depicts North Korea’s previous leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il as 22-meter high bronze statues, and as described in Stay! Stay! DPRK!, visitors must capture the statues in full if they photograph them. Kim Il-sung’s statue was completed in 1972, and Kim Jong-il was added in 2011. Unlike the protagonist of Stay! Stay! DPRK!, my first destination in Seoul during my visit was a ginseng chicken soup restaurant: after the long flight across the Pacific, ginseng proved to be a nice boost to my spirits.

  • On the second day in Stay! Stay! DPRK!, I set my sights on Kaesong, a city close to the border with South Korea and so, hosted a special industrial district. However, I’m not sure if there’s anywhere in North Korea that looks quite like this: Jeong is standing in front of the Namdaemun here (which is written in Hanja as 南大門 and phonetically sounds similar), but this landmark is located in the heart of Seoul. One wonders if this is a deliberate or accidental oversight.

  • I note that I’ve not gotten all of the possible locations available for Stay! Stay! DPRK!, so at some point in the near future, I will need to go back and play through the destinations that I did not visit earlier. I’ve said this before for Wolfenstein: The New Order before, and despite having beaten the game once two years ago, I’ve actually yet to go back through and play the second campaign. I probably should do that ahead of the upcoming release of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.

  • Between “dates”, the protagonists lodges with Jeong and Eunji. Their time together is characterised by particularly bad jokes, flirting and a bit of physical violence. Of the two sisters, Jeong is a carbon copy of Go! Go! Nippon!‘s Makoto: gentle, versed in English and mature, while Eunji is the North Korean counterpart of Akria, being tsundere, ill-tempered but also a good cook. These moments are set in more or less the same rooms, and I note that visual novels do tend to rely a good deal on one’s imagination, with the artwork merely acting to prompt the mind’s eye.

  • The odds of accidentally entering the wrong room, seeing this and coming away in one piece are probably the inverse of the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field (i.e. I will get away with this once in 3720 attempts). There was a similar pair of moments in Go! Go! Nippon, and in both cases, the older sister is walked in on mid-shower, while the younger sister is walked in on mid-change. Stay! Stay! DPRK! presents itself as the unauthorised parody of Go! Go! Nippon, and it is moments like these that accentuate the influences the latter has in the style and tone of the parody.

  • While I could have gone to every conceivable spot with Jeong, it felt as though it might be more appropriate to diversify the characters at least a little, so I went on the last tour with Eunji, who takes players to the Yanggakdo Stadium in Pyongyang. With 30000 seats, it eclipses the Scotiabank Saddledome by around fifty-five percent in seating capacity, and in Stay! Stay! DPRK!, is where the player watches “football” with Eunji. From a technical perspective, “football” makes sense, since the sport is played predominantly with the feet. “Soccer”, on the other hand, developed out of the shortening of the phrase “Association football”. While us North Americans think of it as soccer, the rest of the world calls it football.

  • The outing with Eunji is actually quite nice, as she takes the player to a fancy revolving restaurant inside the Yanggakdo Hotel. This hotel is the second tallest building in North Korea, after the Ryugyonh Hotel, but unlike the latter, which remains unfinished to this day, the Yanggakdo Hotel is complete, being the only luxury hotel in all of North Korea. There’s a secret floor in the hotel that consists of propaganda-filled hallways and locked doors, although visiting this floor is not the best of ideas, especially considering how tourists have been detailed at this point in time.

  • If memory serves, players also get a lunch date with Akira in Go! Go! Nippon!, rather similar to how players spend a lunch with Eunji in Stay! Stay! DPRK!. By my admission, I’ve actually not beaten Go! Go! Nippon!‘s DLC yet: I have completed the original game and maxed out the Steam badge for it, as well. In the time since the DLC for Go! Go! Nippon! came out, apparently, there’s also a 2016 version as well as the 2015 version, which features animated characters.

  • The final destination in Stay! Stay! DPRK! is Mount Paektu, and if I had to draw the comparison, the mountain is most similar to Japan’s Mount Fuji: both mountains are sacred in their respective cultures, and are formed from volcanic activity. Both mountains are surrounded by dense forests, as well; Kim Il-sung organised resistance forces here against Japanese forces and later, propaganda claims he was born in this area.

  • While Go! Go! Nippon! was ostensibly a dating simulator disguised as a Japan tour simulator, it was devoid of moments such as the ones found in Stay! Stay! DPRK! Folks may find it unusual that Stay! Stay! DPRK! has an onsen chapter to it, although there are indeed hot springs in North Korea. With this being said, I imagine folks would prefer visiting hot springs elsewhere. I further remark that folks may claim Eunji to be “best girl”, although I’m more of a Jeong person, myself.

  • I’ve seen players wonder what the point of including Sumeragi in Stay! Stay! DPRK! was, and the answer to that is simple: she’s allegedly an NOC investigating North Korea. The character was included after an individual made a “Glorious Leader Tier” pledge, which features a cameo appearance for anyone who commits 500 USD to the game. Scuttlebutt has it that this donation was made by one Akeiko “Daigensui” Sumeragi, a rather unpleasant figure reviled in the World of Tanks community, being quite sectarian towards China and advocating revisionist views on history. Fortunately, the Sumeragi seen in Stay! Stay! DPRK! is very pleasing on the eyes, being a source of drunken comedy and perversion.

  • The romance elements of Stay! Stay! DPRK! come out full force late in the game, and the player character compares the two sisters to a beautiful waterfall in the area. Starting with the hot springs trip, decisions players make can actually affect the outcome of the game. Making some decisions can result in what the community refers to colloquially as a “bad end”, and as a parody of the dating sim genre, every ending in Stay! Stay! DPRK! is a bad end to some extent.

  • It is to my understanding that there is a patch for Stay! Stay! DPRK! that lets inquisitive (or insane) players experience the game at a whole new level, one that transcends all known existence. However, I’m not quite ready to transcend this blog into violation of whatever Terms of Service I agreed to when I signed up, and so, for this discussion, I’ve opted to feature only screenshots from the base version of the game on Steam.

  • Of course, Stay! Stay! DPRK! wouldn’t be quite as entertaining without a bit of a plot twist; it turns out Jeong was distracting the player in order to drug him, knocking him out. The player reawakens in a North Korean holding facility and is informed of Jeong and Eunji’s fate, having been branded a traitor by the North Korean government. However, since I did not make any bad decisions earlier, I get to the ending where players manage to escape.

  • With Stay! Stay! DPRK! in the books, I certainly had a few good laughs playing through the game, and I have a feeling that we’ll need these laughs very soon, especially considering recent news of Kim Jong-un’s progress towards developing a miniaturised warhead capable of being outfitted on an ICBM. I’m certainly hoping that negotiations and diplomacy will prevail, although anti-ballistic missile systems will likely be needed to prevent any missiles from reaching North America should things devolve into a shooting war. It is improbably that North Korea will be able to deal extensive damage to North America or triumph in any war to take South Korea, but there will be unacceptable casualties should this happen. For now, however, one hopes that these events will not come to fruition, and that we may continue to poke a bit of fun at the Hermit kingdom even as governments work towards addressing the problem that is North Korea’s weapons programme.

Remarkably enjoyable overall with its narrative, the question that is raised then becomes whether or not Stay! Stay! DPRK! becomes worth the price of admissions. From a strict value perspective, it offers a maximum of around six hours of gameplay assuming several play-throughs, and technically, is a solid visual novel – the artwork is appealing, if somewhat minimal, and while the soundtrack is very limited, it does convey the game’s intent as a parody. The writing is also deliberately chosen to create a sense of hilarity in the game: I’ve only spent two hours in the game, but the entire run was completed with a smile on my face owing to the presence of bad jokes in the game. I’m well familiar with the notion that “North Korea is Best Korea”, for instance, and seeing this thrown into the game, in conjunction with several “accidental” references to the fact that Stay! Stay! DPRK is a visual novel, only serve to bolster the comical value of the game. While immensely unrealistic, the game proved to be much more entertaining than expected; it’s certainly not a bad use of 11 CAD to purchase what is essentially a collection of jokes about North Korea bundled with some visually appealing artwork, although folks interested to try Stay! Stay! DPRK! out might get more value if they should choose to wait for a sale: I bought the game for 20 percent off, which equates to having spent eight dollars for it. Eight dollars is the equivalent of two coffees, and since I’m not particularly fond of coffee, I think that Stay! Stay! DPRK isn’t the worst way to spend eight dollars in the world.