Wolfenstein: The New Order review

Wolfenstein The New Order

Wolfenstein 3D was the original first-person shooter, evolving into Doom and spewing a generation of carnage, occluded only by a floating hand and gun.

Wolfenstein: The New Order inherits the original's Nazi-blasting credentials, taking place in an alternate 1960s where Germany won the second world war and now rules the world using advanced technology stolen from a secret society.

Reading this on mobile? Click here to viewDespite the preponderance of giant robots and exploding high-tech-meets-second world war hardware, both plot and characters are treated with utter solemnity, the square-jawed, schoolboy joke-named BJ Blazcowicz a real person whose touching relationships with fellow resistance fighters are genuine and unsentimental. It's also beautifully paced, the story catapulting you from mini-sub infiltration to Croatian forced-labour camp to the moon.

Wolfenstein: The New Order marries the sublime and the absurd with such confidence you don't question it, the game's brutal, loud weaponry and gorgeously designed scenery absorbing you in a story that revels in its characters' emotional vulnerability.


Thomas Was Alone, iPad

Although Thomas is a small red rectangle, his pathos and loneliness are palpable. Chris, a yellow square he meets, hates him because Thomas can jump further. So begins a story that's part graphically minimalist platform game, part existential treatise. First released as a Flash game in 2010, its recreation for iPad is no mean feat, given how reliant it is on split-second timing and perfect jumps, something touch-screen controls are almost always terrible at delivering.

The fact it feels just as solid as its button-and-joystick older brothers is testament to the skill of its developer, leaving you to enjoy the tale of Thomas the daring rectangular AI, who needs to cooperate with the quadrilaterals he meets, risking death and betrayal.

Wry, elegiac and deeply engaging, you will find yourself caring more for your four-sided buddies than you do for any number of immaculately rendered but ultimately vacuous characters in mainstream videogames; and the plot's bittersweet conclusion provides more to think about than your average game involving coloured blocks.

Mike Bithell, £5.99

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Nick Gillett, for The Guardian on Saturday 24th May 2014 06.00 Europe/London

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