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Wolfenstein: The New Order (Video Game)

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Wolfenstein: The New Order (Video Game)Rated M for Mature

Available for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC

Developed by MachineGames

Distributed by Bethesda


The blade jabs into the back of the knee effortlessly; the searing pain I can only begin to imagine seems of little consequence as the knife is soon yanked out and jammed into the throat. “Nazi scum!” jaws my new hero, B.J. Blazkowicz, through clenched teeth as the blood flies. I linger a minute to watch the lifeless corpse of my former captor, a steady stream of crimson still flowing from the neck long after his life force escapes him. In the world of Wolfenstein: The New Order, violence is golden.

40,894 Shots fired and 884 dead Nazis later, I stand broken and triumphant. The Herculean quest to stop Nazi surgeon Deathshead and his Nazi super machines has left myself and my hero, Blazkowicz, lying shattered. I came out of this game a winner, but I can’t help but feel that my life will be shorter because of the ordeal.

This is the world of Wolfenstein: The New Order. The single-player, first-person shooter makes you earn every step you take. But what is so magical about it is it rests perfectly on the fun side of the border between challenging and frustrating. While the game is going to challenge you, it is never impossible.

A singular example of this is the game’s final level. A great deal of games falter at this point by providing too large of a difficulty spike which seems out of line with difficulty progression of the rest of the game.

However, Wolfenstein transitions into its final stage very naturally. Its difficulty progressed seamlessly into the challenging final level. While the battles are difficult, it balances them by providing extra health and armour. The countless super soldiers you face, while difficult, are an abundant source of armour and more powerful weapons, but only after they are defeated.

While this game hits hard and hits often, it paces it out immaculately. The challenge and rapidity of the battle levels are offset with levels in your safe house. They provide an opportunity to catch your breath with short exploration missions.

Wolfenstein: The New Order counterbalances its gritty gameplay with a very moving cinematic experience. The reward of viewing another of the game’s many cut scenes kept me going through Wolfenstein’s many hellacious battles. The graphics featured in the cut scenes are detailed and beautiful, drawing me into the experience with a camera in constant motion.

With its Nazi super machine content and breathtaking style Wolfenstein: The New Order very much so plays like an exploitation movie directed by Martin Scorsese.

These scenes are accentuated with B.J Blazkowicz’s reflective, yet hard-nosed monologues that seem direct from the pen of Frank Miller. They add depth to Blazkowicz, a hardened war god showing the marks his past have left upon his living self.

The game draws you in with the beauty of its cut scenes, but at the other end of the emotional spectrum, it repulses by providing such a bloody and deliciously violent experience. Pipes jutting through necks and knives meeting Nazi heads are a common occurrence. But just when you think you’ve seen it all, someone’s face gets ripped off, gore dripping furiously in full close-up. This is the single most violent and bloody gaming experience since the Soldier of Fortune franchise.

But what prevents the violence from being gratuitous is the fact that it is centered on history’s biggest scum of the earth: the Nazis. Every thing you do to these soldiers seems justified as they are history’s greatest monster. By giving the player the most heinous enemy in history, the game harkens back to another time when the U.S. Army was a force for good. B.J. Blazkowicz may be a killer, but he’s a heroic killer as he laments his modus operandi: “shootin’, stabbin’, and stranglin’ Nazis.”

While this game does have a lot of nice little touches, in the end they are just that, nice little touches. This is a first-person shooter, and where it will live and die is its combat. Wolfenstein: The New Order places a heavy accent on a strategic approach to battle. To survive the world of this brutal shooter, you need to think before you act. Picking the right way to enter a room, using cover, and retreating are all required if you are going to last any considerable amount of time in this bloody hell on Earth. This is extended into its boss battles, every one of them has a strategy. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to play this game.

What the game adds to the fun factor of combat is the dual wielding ability, allowing you to wield two bullet-spewing murder machines at once. Killing Nazis is fun so mathematically doing it with two assault rifles at once is twice the fun. Having this great, but very unrealistic ability adds to the super human factor behind Blazkowicz and fits in dutifully with the comic book level violence found throughout.

The only major low point is the game ends in three boss battles; it’s a little much. Due to the overall length of the game (15 chapters), I was in no mood to face a boss battle followed by a two stage boss battle. It’s guilty of misdirection, as just after you defeat Deathshead, you are asked to do it again under tougher conditions. Ending the game on a bait and switch was the only flat note on this sonata.

What is so fantastic about this taste of a bit of the old ultra violence is it is a true single-player experience. There is no data wasted on multiplayer and they put every inch of that extra space into providing a very lengthy and fulfilling single-player game. Finally, a shooter for us, for those who hate the constant run and gun style of multiplayer shooters and want to slow down and soak up every speck of the gleeful brutality. 2014, we have our first Game of the Year candidate.

4 1/2 out of 5

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Review – A Haunting Mixture of Psychological Turmoil and Brutal Supernatural Horror

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Starring Brittany Anne Woodford, Jenny Curtis, Kanin Guntzelman, Brendan McGowan, Jake White

Directed by James S. Brown

We all like to think of ourselves as being surrounded by friends, but let’s face it, if we were to ever truly hit hard times, there are probably very few, if any, people we could truly rely on. So on some level, Friends Don’t Let Friends is a film we can all relate too, as it deals with this very issue.

Stephanie is an emotionally unstable young woman who strangles her boyfriend to death after he insults and breaks up with her. She calls her friends to help her dispose the body out in the Joshua Tree National Part area, and instead of reporting her to the police, they reluctantly comply. As their car breaks down, the four friends find themselves alone at night in the Californian wilderness with the rotting corpse in need of disposal. Given their dire circumstances, they begin to become more and more aggressive towards each other, and this was where the film was really at its best. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how far the limits of their friendship could be stretched, and who would be the first to crack and turn on the others.

Anyway, their body disposal endeavor soon proves to be a mistake, as Stephanie’s ex rises from the grave as vengeful zombie demon thing with claws as long as knives. I’ll admit, I first I thought Friends Don’t Let Friends was going to be a movie purely about the limits of trust, so I was pretty surprised when the supernatural elements came into play. And when they did, the trust and friendship elements of the plot were somewhat downplayed in favor of a more traditional horror approach, and while it was still entertaining, I still would have preferred for the film not to have strayed from its initial path. At least the ending came as a shocker. I won’t go into spoilers, but let’s just say the even the most attentive viewers probably won’t see it coming.

As you can probably guess from a psychologically-driven film of this kind, the performances were top notch, with Brittany Anne Woodford being on particularly top form as the manipulative and unstable Stephanie, a character who revels in the revels in the power she felt when ending another human life.

With its mixture of psychological turmoil and brutal supernatural horror, Friends Don’t Let Friends is a film I would certainly recommend, but keep in mind that it may make you think twice when confiding in people who you think of as being your friends.

8 out of 10.

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Coulrophobia Review – One of the Most Entertaining Killer Clown Films in Quite Some Time

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Starring Pete Bennett, Warren Speed, Daniella D’Ville, Roxy Bordeaux

Directed by Warren Speed


The word ‘Coulrophobia’ refers to the fear of clowns, and if you happen to suffer from it, you might want to avoid director Warren Speed’s film of the same name. However, if you can stand the sight of clowns with gaping wounds in their manly parts, then you’re in for one heck of a fun time.

An all-female hockey team get lost deep in the Scottish woods on their way to a match (don’t ask), and are captured and forced to participate in a series of horrific games by the Grock family of clowns. All of the members of said family are absolutely fucking insane, but the one that really stood out was Twitch (Pete Bennett), who wears jester cloths and it said to have a short attention span. He longs to be a violin player and wishes he could blend in with normal society like the other members of his family. And you almost feel sorry for him, even though he’s a mad killer with bells on his head.

Director Warren Speed also appeared as Milo, a grunting mute who had his tongue cut out when he was a boy. As mentioned above, we see a close-up shot of a open wound in his penis being stitched up, which is not an image that will be leaving your mind anytime soon. Speed is clearly fearless when it comes to his art.

Inter-spliced with all the torture and mayhem, we also see documentary-style telling the sad history of the family involved, and this was where the film unfortunately faltered, because these scenes seemed out of place and just didn’t flow with the rest of the plot.

Ultimately, however, Coulrophobia almost seems like a film Rob Zombie might have made before he lost his way and started churning out trash like 31. Comparisons to House of 1000 Corpses are inevitable, and I absolutely mean that as a compliment. This is one of the most entertaining killer clown films in quite some time.

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User Rating 3.1 (10 votes)
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The Gatehouse Review – What Is Found in the Woods Should Be Left in the Woods

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Starring Scarlett Rayner, Simeon Willis, Linal Haft

Directed by Martin Gooch


Now while no one will sneeze at the prospect of bringing up a bit of a rebellious child alone, it’s those damned kids that like to tempt fate by pissing off creatures in the woods…oh kids, they do the funniest things, don’t they?

In Martin Gooch’s moderately spooky presentation, The Gatehouse, a struggling writer named Jack (Willis) finds himself behind the 8-ball following the tragic drowning death of his beloved wife, and if that isn’t enough to torque your drawers, his young daughter, Eternity (Rayner) is becoming quite the salty soul herself. Unfortunately the little one has been finding herself bullied at school, and her recourse of sorts is to simply toss attitude around as if it was pleasantly acceptable. Her pastime has become lonely wanderings in the deep woods, digging for hopeful treasures…and we all know what problems reside in the woods, don’t we, horror fans? Well, Eternity’s father is attempting to re-start his writing career with a frightening backstory – taking the reigns on a novel that was abruptly ended when the author committed suicide, and supposedly the tome is quite the dark piece of literature.

Eternity’s never-ending quest for fortune and glory in the forest leads her to a most interesting (and ultimately) dangerous discovery (don’t sweat it – I won’t spill it for you). Bottom line here is this: the little girl has taken possession of something that should have been left in the friggin’ woods, and now someone (or something) wants it back PRONTO. What follows is a lackluster series of “spooky” events, and far be it from me to say, I’ve seen creepier stuff watching the evening news. Gooch then tries to bombard the audience with a plethora of instances and swerving plot direction – it’s fun at the beginning but can grow a bit tiresome over a duration.

Performance-wise, both Rayner and Willis play the perfect combination of mentally-shot dad and determined-to-be-independent daughter – their scenes are ripe with subtle contempt, and the right amount of indecision. Overall, the film is best suited for those fans of fantasy/fable-like horror, and while it might not scare the pants off of you, it definitely will give us all another reason to stay the hell out of the woods once and for all.

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Summary

Children in a forest-setting don’t always add up to cutesy-pie encounters with furry creatures – this one’s got a few scares to keep fans of coppice-horror appeased.

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User Rating 3.38 (13 votes)
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