More than three decades ago, Castle Wolfenstein entered our lives.
With its no nonsense gameplay and delightfully simple premise – kill as many Nazis as possible – the blocky platformer was unsurprisingly a huge hit.
Then came Wolfenstein 3D – with players once again reprising the role of Allied spy William “B.J.” Blazkowicz.
This time, the action switched to first-person – and saw BJ blast his way through corridors teeming with Third Reich sympathisers.
Fast forward a few years and not much has changed.
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus still sees you playing the Nazi-pummelling brute – there’s just a load more guns, eye-wateringly good visuals and enough blood to refloat the Titanic.
But it’s not all pointless violence – under the skin is a deep, moving tale that somehow gets away with tackling sensitive subject areas with the subtly of a rocket launcher.
Incredible story and writing
A large part of that is down to the quality of the writing – reminiscent of recent Quentin Tarantino flicks – particularly 2009’s Inglorious Basterds.
One scene, now infamous on the internet, involves a nail-biting run-in with a German officer in an American diner.
Another, early on, sees you watch an argument escalate between your father and mother – with devastating results.
Later, to tackle racism, there’s an interracial sex scene – another, hardly subtle, middle finger to the Third Reich.
Thankfully, the voice acting is spot on – and wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood motion picture.
Then there’s the violence
Without doubt, Wolfenstein is the most violent game of the year.
Whether you’re smashing someone’s face into a wall, or unloading a magazine of bullets into their chest – developers Machine Games have captured death in a frighteningly-realistic way.
Bodies convulse and shake when bullets rip through them – leaving blood-soaked stains on their uniforms. Explosions send limbs flying, leaving pools of claret on the floor.
You get the idea.
It’s gruesome stuff – but, after what the Nazi’s did to you in the first game (no spoilers here), it’s incredibly satisfying.
There’s a load of weapons at your disposal, too – from SMGs, shotguns and pistols to grenades and melee weapons.
Environmental kills are encouraged, too – whether that’s tampering with a power supply or shooting some strategically placed explosive barrels, with the obligatory guards patrolling nearby.
Of course, none of this would matter if the game looked terrible, but Wolfenstein’s looks are up there with the best games around.
It’s powered the iD Tech 6 engine, which is the same powerhouse behind Bethesda’s ultra-violent Doom remake.
It’s arguably made to work harder in Wolfenstein – where there’s much more than just linear, dark corridors.
One scene in America, best described as The Man in the High Castle on steroids, is perhaps the best example.
Bombers soar through the sky, painting it red and white (the Nazi colours), confetti dances in the air – it’s all terribly impressive.
For the best possible experience, be sure to play the game on PC at 4K.
Our test rig was powered by the brilliant GTX 1080Ti, which allowed silky smooth framerates throughout.
It’s just fun
In the end, what’s the point of all of this if it’s not fun to play.
well, after a few hours with Wolfenstein, I’m completely hooked.
Just like Doom, Bethesda and Machine Games have gone back to basics, rediscovering the elements that made us fall in love with Wolfenstein 36 years ago, to deliver the most enjoyable shooter of the year so far.
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is out from October 27 on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
GAME are doing midnight openings throughout the UK tonight – visit the GAME website to find your nearest store.