Thursday, 18 December 2014

Return to (Castle) Wolfenstein: The New Order

General Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse is a gnarly looking old man, with the kind of exaggeratedly evil voice, mannerisms and disfigured face one tends to associate with modern depictions of Nazis. He’s crouched down staring at me through the screen, flanked by two giant Über-Soldaten, each with one of my comrades, Wyatt and Fergus, wedged under their weighty knees. He’s goading me - or more accurately William Joseph "B.J." Blazkowicz, the bloke I’m in charge of - in that wholly merciless way Bad People From The National Socialist Party tend to do. And because he’s a thoroughly amoral kinda guy, you see, he’s up for dissecting one of them and he - here’s the kicker - wants me to choose who is to be the lucky recipient of his scientific attention. Do I pick Wyatt, the spunky rookie who only minutes before had saved me from certain death and whom I now "owe one"? Or will Fergus, the gruff and straightforward Scotsman who clearly has a history with B.J - though to what extent I’m unsure; I didn’t play two thousand and nine’s Wolfenstein - be the last man allowed to possibly, maybe, perhaps stand back up?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Resident Evil 2 and the Little Corridor of Horrors

There’s a little corridor in Resident Evil 2 which has stuck in my mind for what must be going on for fifteen years. The last time I saw it was probably a decade ago but I can still (and will) list off its most minute features. It is somewhere under the police station and makes up part of - I’m assuming but can’t remember any details - the needlessly sinuous route from Raccoon City’s claustrophobic streets to its even more claustrophobic subterranean realm. It’s a bit out of the way really, located as it is at the foot of a ladder down the end of a recessed, open-air space which snakes around the back of the municipal building's basement. Upon first approaching it you’re set upon by dogs; enemies so fierce that I can still remember their throaty, digitally processed barks and the relentlessness of their enthusiastically murderous, seemingly nonsensical galloping. Perhaps running this gauntlet is one of the reasons I so vividly remember what comes after it. 

Friday, 31 October 2014

Who on Earth is the DARPA Chief Donald Anderson?

You know the person, I know you do. That person who’s choosing to watch somebody else play video games live over the Internet. That person who enjoys games so very much that when they’re not playing them themselves they like spending (some of) their time digitally peeking over the shoulders of others whilst they play. That person who is electing to forgo personal input into a participatory form of entertainment in the pursuit of an alternative means of consuming said entertainment. That person who must accept all of these things in order to arrive at the destination at which they find themselves, yet still feels the need to tell the object of their scopophilic attentions that they are “playing it all wrong?!!!??!” You know the type.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

You’re on your own: Telltale’s The Walking Dead grows up

I’m going to tell you a story, if I may, about Clementine, the protagonist of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead: Season 2.  Specifically a story about her curious ability, as a child, to make for a more empowering lead than a strong, dependable, burly man’s man named Lee.


I’m covered in viscera, edging my way cautiously through a bloody big mob of the walking dead (Season 2, Episode 3: In Harm’s Way). It’s a tense affair. I’m dressed up like a walker (zombie) in an attempt to fool them into thinking I’m one of their own. My head is lolled a bit to the left which accentuates my double chin more than I’d like. I’m gargling with the phlegm I keep nestled in my throat. I’ve got a bit of poo dripping slowly down my forehead, ready to, in about a minute or so, plop off the end of my nose and maybe, God forbid, land on my slightly extended lower lip. I’m running the risk of eating walker poo for one very simple reason: I don’t want to become walker poo. Not today at least.