This week in video games, November 20, 2017: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus not afraid to make you queasy

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      This week, former Vancouver Canadians ball player Marcus Stroman finds a home on the cover of a video game, and Nintendo gets two new Pokémon video games. But first, some thoughts on Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.

      Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus shocks with a sustained assault on the senses

      Given events that have occured in the real world in the past year, it's fascinating to play a game that has, as its central conceit, the notion that the Nazis won the Second World War.

      Picking up immediately where The New Order (2014) left off, with protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz sacrificing himself by triggering a nuclear blast while resisting the Nazis, Wolfenstein II is every bit as extreme. It is an ultraviolent affair, and the assault is on more than just your senses. There is blood splatter and the punctuated rhythm of weapons fire, but there is also a blitz on your thoughts and emotions.

      This game is not afraid to shock you; it’s not afraid to make you feel queasy at the actions and behaviours of its characters. And although the Nazis are clearly the evil enemy here, there are moments when those who are resisting seem to take a little too much pleasure in their own moments of butchery.

      In this sequel, the action shifts to the United States, and it's in the small towns of America that Blazkowicz and his ragtag group drive the rebellion. While the hero, always ready to sacrifice himself to save others, has the blond, muscular appearance that would be praised by his enemy, he draws a more diverse cast of characters to him. That variety comes with its own conflict—between intentions and expectations—that feels astoundingly authentic.

      Over all of this, Blazkowicz provides a voice-over commentary that warbles between psalm and poetry. He knows he's living on borrowed time. In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, he's going to make the most of it.


      Pokémon zooms back onto Nintendo handheld consoles

      The next Pokémon games arrived last week for Nintendo's 2DS and 3DS handheld consoles.

      Pokémon Ultra Moon and Pokémon Ultra Sun derive from the Sun and Moon titles released in 2016. These new games have a modified story and introduce new characters, including the Ultra Beasts Adhesive, Assembly, and Burst.

      Legendary Pokémon Necrozma transforms into two new creatures, Dusk Mane and Dawn Wings, by absorbing the legendary Pokémon Solgaleo and Lunala.

      Players who activate their game by January 10 get the Pokémon Rockruff, which evolves into Dusk Form Lycanroc. Purchase the digital version by January 10 to get 12 quick balls added to your inventory.

      Released earlier this month is a very cool New Nintendo 2DS XL that is designed in the style of a Poké Ball. It's available for $210.

      Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman on the cover of MLB video game

      MLB The Show 18, the next baseball game from Sony for the PlayStation 4 console, launches on March 27, 2018.

      Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman, who started his major-league career in Vancouver playing for the Canadians, is on the cover of the edition being released in Canada.

      Stroman won the Gold Glove Award last season as the American League's top pitcher.

      Games released or releasing

      • Doom, the ultra-extreme shooter from Bethesda, has been released for the Nintendo Switch.
      • A. Noire, the engaging crime story from Rockstar Games, is now available in an edition for the Nintendo Switch.
      • Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, for the PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.
      • Star Wars Battlefront II, for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One, comes with a robust single-player campaign as well as endless multiplayer. A review of the game is pending.