Reich Rolled: Gaming

Article by Crispin Boyer

This about that. For now.


COMBAT coots and hand grenades replace high-tops and Rubik’s Cubes in the alternate-1980s setting of Wolfenstein: Youngblood, the latest entry in the series that popularized the first-person-shooter genre back in 1992. The Nazis have won World War II and completed their global domination in the intervening decades. Into this nightmare scenario steps Jessica and Sophia Blazkowicz, twin resistance fighters who try to put history back on track. Players choose one of the sisters and try to liberate Paris from hordes of swastika-sporting stormtroopers. And while knocking down Nazis never gets old, it won’t be easy: This installment arms the Führer’s forces with technology well ahead of the 1980s, including hulking mechs and energy weapons. It’s the sort of fireworks you’d expect if the Third Reich kept up R&D for another four decades.     

Missions have Jess and Soph doing more than mucking up the Nazis’ new world order. They’re on the hunt for their father, William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, a grizzled American war veteran and the longstanding hero of this series. He went missing in the last installment, and now it’s his daughters’ turn to infiltrate forest fortresses and mountaintop eagles’ nests looking for clues. In a series first, you don’t have to tackle the goose-stepping fascists solo. A buddy can fight alongside you as either Jess or Soph online. Your co-op colleague doesn’t need their own copy of the game if you buy the Deluxe Edition, which comes with a Buddy Pass allowing one friend to partner up whenever you play. (It’s also a good way to dip your toes into the game if you want to try before you buy.) You can play missions in any order while unlocking new abilities and gear, including Nazi-pulverizing power suits, making for a more freewheeling way to sabotage Hitler’s final solution.

ROADWORTHY: Four High-Mileage Mobile Games for Summer Trekking

The Elder Scrolls: Blades

(Bethesda Softworks, Android, iOS)
Previous chapters in this series are known for their endless quests and sprawling realms—a lot to pack into a small package. So this mobile version splits it all into three scoops: a Town mode in which you rebuild your village, an Arena where you brutalize other players, and an Abyss with a bottomless dungeon to explore.

Project Cars GO

(Slightly Mad Studios, Android)
Car aficionados covet the Project Cars series for its impeccable re-creations of exotic autos and true-to-life handling specs. This mobile spin-off promises that same attention to detail while adding customizability to the mix, letting gearheads monkey around under the hood. The graphics still scream along, so you’ll feel like you’re going fast even if you’re stuck on the tarmac in real life. 

Super Mario Maker 2

(Nintendo, Switch)
If all your summer downtime makes you antsy, why not do something constructive? This game-making kit gives you everything you need—lava pools, bottomless pits, power-ups, and baddies ripped from Mario’s world—to create the perfect classic side-scrolling experience. Or stay lazy and download levels from players who’ve made more creative use of their vacations.   

Diablo Immortal

(Blizzard/NetEase, Android, iOS)
This series’ simple hack-and-slash formula—inspired by the Gauntlet arcade machine that ate all your quarters in the eighties—pares down perfectly onto the mobile platform, with touchscreen slaying that works surprisingly well. Add in massively multiplayer online play and an endless supply of randomly generated loot, and Diablo Immortal becomes an on-the-go game with unlimited mileage. 

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