#1929: Omega

OMEGA

FORTNITE (JAZWARES)

Oh boy.  More Fortnite.  Remember Fortnite?  That thing I said I had no attachment to, but for which I have now written four reviews? Yeah.  That’s the one.  For what it’s worth, this us my last Fortnite review, at least for the foreseeable future.  Somewhat appropriately for my last review of this set, I’m going to be taking a look at Omega!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Omega was released in the “Early Game Survival Kit”, a slightly more deluxe offering from Jazwares’ Fortnite line, which falls right between the “Solo Mode” and “Drama Llama” offerings.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  In the game, Omega is a progressive skin, meaning he starts out rather basic, and gains new armor as the player progresses.  The Omega seen here is a fully kitted-out version, which I suppose is a sensible choice.  His construction is the same styling as the other Fortnite figures, so he’s a pretty solid little toy with a decent spread of articulation.  The only slight downstep from others is this figure’s more restricted elbow movement, but he’s still getting more than 45 degrees, so we’re not quite at Mattel levels.  The sculpt does a solid job of recreating the in-game design, though like the others, the detailing can be a little soft in some spots.  He’s certainly helped by the design’s more simplistic nature, which just makes for a clean overall figure.  The paintwork is decent, if perhaps not anything amazing.  I like the metallic finish, and the application is overall pretty good.  There’s a little bit of slop, especially on the red lines, but given the scale and the price point, he’s certainly passable.  The more deluxe nature of this release means that he’s a little better accessorized than Raptor was, but not *quite* as accessory heavy as Rust Lord.  He gets a Legendary Assault Rifle, the Onslaught harvesting tool, Precision back pack, Wet Paint Glider, and a foot-peg-bearing building plate.  It’s a nice little taste of all the differing accessory types.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite being my last of the reviews, Omega was actually the second Fortnite item I acquired.  Super Awesome Fiancee’s store had gotten him in, and after I was so happy with Rust-Lord, she asked me if I might also like this guy.  I’m hardly one to turn down someone buying me a cool action figure, so I of course took her up on it.  Omega is another solid toy from this line, and I definitely dig it.

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#1915: Turbo Builder Set

TURBO BUILDER SET (W/ JONESY & RAVEN)

FORTNITE (JAZWARES)

Well, with another week of Post-Christmas reviews under my belt, and a theme thoroughly exhausted, let’s go back to the beginning.  Yep, I started this year’s round of gift reviews off with a Fortnite item, and here I am with another.  I know, I’m as surprised as all of you.  With my last Fortnite review being on the smaller side, I’m jumping over the other end of the spectrum, and taking a look at one of the largest offerings in the line, the Turbo Builder Set, featuring Jonesy and Raven!

THE SET ITSELF

The Turbo Builder Set is the largest offering so far from Jazwares’ Fortnite line.  It’s made up of the two figures, the AC/DC and standard pickaxe harvesting tools, the hunting rifle, revolver, submachine gun, tactical shotgun, and, of course, the main focus, a whopping 81 building plates, evenly divided between wooden planks, sheet metal, and brick and mortar.  There are a lot of building options with the plates, and they are of course completely inter-compatible with the ones included with Rust Lord and Raptor.  They can be a little tricky to assemble and take back apart multiple times, which led to a few broken connectors on mine, but with the sheer quantity offered here, I don’t foresee it being too much of an issue.

JONESY

Jonesy is another character that seems to be leaning heavily on the G.I. Joe end of the spectrum, and also being about as standard issue as you can get.  There are a lot of potential variants of Jonesy, but this one seems to be based on his “Survival” variant, which again looks to be using some pretty standard issue looks.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  He’s built in the same fashion as the last two figures I looked at, meaning there are a number of similarities to the 25th Anniversary Joes.  Jonesy has the first parts re-use I’ve seen in the line, with a small handful of parts being shared with the Rust Lord figures.  It’s just the lower arms, lower legs, and pelvis, which appear to be pretty similar elements in game as well.  I was surprised by how few of those parts were actually re-used, given that some of the uniquely sculpted parts are just small tweaks away from being the same.  Hey, I’m not going to knock the attention to detail, though.  Jonesy’s head is further on the cartoony side of things than some of the line’s other offerings, which I’m not huge on, because it’ll make slotting him in with Joes a little harder.  That said, it’s still a decent enough sculpt, and it’s pretty accurate to the game design.  His paintwork is pretty decently handled.  Application is clean, and there don’t appear to be any missing applications.  I was also quite impressed by the tattoo on his right arm; that’s a nice attention to detail.

RAVEN

Definitely the most unique of the figures I’ve looked at from this line, Raven moves away from the knock-off G.I. Joe bit that the others possess.  Raven’s design is one of the ones that’s a bit more dependent on the game’s animation style to sell it, which makes its translation to toy form a little more difficult.  The end result is okay, but not quite as impressive as I’d hoped.  The biggest letdown is the implementation of his head; in the game, he’s got a hood that obscures is face, so that all you can see are his eyes peering out.  I was expecting something along the lines of a Moon Knight figure, with a featureless black head underneath of a sculpted hood.  Instead, the figure has an empty head with some eyes sculpted on it.  It’s pretty shallow, so it never seems to look quite right, especially when directly lit.  The design of the body also ends up limiting the articulation a bit more than usual, especially in the arms.  Beyond that, there are still some nice details worked throughout, and he’s still a generally enjoyable figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I touched on in my Black Series reviews, there was some slight worry about those figures not arriving in time for Christmas.  Since they were going to be my main gift, Super Awesome Fiancee wanted to make sure I had *something* and since I’d mentioned this set in passing when I got Rust Lord, she tracked one down for me.  Of course the Black Series figures ended up arriving on time, so I guess it just worked out well for me.  Jonesy’s another for my “augmenting my Joes” venture, Raven’s a flawed but entertaining figure, and the building plates are certainly going to make for some fun diorama building.  All in all, another winning piece from this line.  I hope that Jazwares can keep it up!

#1901: Raptor

RAPTOR

FORTNITE (JAZWARES)

And let the gift reviews commence.  Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  The post-Christmas season, when I have a ton of new toys to review here.  As per usual, I’ll be kicking off the post-Christmas reviews with sort of a Day 0 kind of a review, with my one non-Christmas gift of the season.

Remember a few weeks ago when I reviewed one of them there Fortfighters?  Crap, I mean Fortnite.  Yeah, that’s the one.  Despite my very obvious lack of prior knowledge of the source material, I was enamored by the toys.  I kind of foresee a good number of reviews from this line forthcoming.  Today, I’m keeping things pretty basic, and looking at Raptor, Royal Air Force Test Pilot!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Raptor is part of the first series of the basic “Solo Mode” figures from Jazwares’ Fortnite line.  He doesn’t come in the impressive packaging that Rust Lord did, nor does he feature quite as many fancy parts, but he’s also less than half the retail price.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His construction is very similar to the previously reviewed Rust Lord figure, though his actual sculpt is completely unique.  While I think the general assembly of Rust Lord is a little more solid and better fit together, I certainly can’t fault this guy’s sculpt.  It helps that, like Rust Lord, his design lends itself pretty nicely to a toy translation.  I mean, the guy is perhaps the most blatant G.I. Joe rip-off of the bunch.  That’s pretty basic toy stuff right there.  Raptor is a bit more simple than Rust Lord when it comes to actual detailing, with the main exception being his ski mask, which does actually get some solid work.  I was sort of hoping for a bit more to his bomber jacket, but this is, admittedly, fairly true to the game design.  Raptor’s paint is a little bit of a mixed bag.  There’s a lot I like, especially the things like the insignias on his shoulders.  However, the thing that bugs me the most about the figure is completely to do with the paint, and that’s the eyes.  They’re not *terrible*, but they’re definitely too big, especially relative to what’s sculpted.  Eyes are, admittedly, hard to do, especially at this scale, but as his only visible facial feature, it’s unfortunate they aren’t more on the mark.  Raptor is a lighter release, in contrast to the more heavily armed Rust Lord.  He gets a pick axe and a building plate with a foot peg on it.  I like the variety among the plates, and I can definitely appreciate the inclusion of a melee weapon this time around, especially after getting so many guns with Rust Lord.  They’re really encouraging the play pattern here, and I can get behind that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Raptor here was an anniversary gift from Super Awesome Fiancee, exchanged on Christmas Eve, as is our tradition.  After I raved so much about how cool Rust Lord was, she kept an eye out for the rest of the line, and thought I’d like this one.  Slight flaws aside, I really do like this figure, and he continues the “augmenting G.I. Joe” thing I started with Rust Lord.

#1888: Rust Lord

RUST LORD

FORTNITE (JAZWARES)

Oh man, let me tell you guys, today’s review?  It’s totally lit.  Like, it’s at peak levels of on-fleek-ness.  This review here?  It’s cool AF.  This is about the dankest review you’re ever gonna read.  I’m finna about to review this boi, which, I assure you, is not empty.  Yeet.  Stick with me fam, things are about to get hella turnt! …am I doing this right?  Is this how we talk about the Fortfight?  I’m sorry, I don’t have the 411 on what’s hip these days.  But, in an effort to get home with the downies, I got one of these here Fortniters to review.  Swag.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

So, homeslice here is Rust Lord, an absolute unite, who is one of the many available skins in Fortnite.  He’s a part of Jazwares Fortnite line, available exclusively in the “Llama Drama Loot Piñata” pack, which was the first item available from Jazwares’ line, first showing up on shelves at the beginning of the month.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Stylistically, Rust Lord is very similar to Hasbro’s 25th Anniversary GI Joes, though perhaps a bit heftier.  He’ll fit in pretty well, though.  What surprised me most about this figure, though, was the articulation, which honestly is a bit of a step-up from the Joes, and even rivals the likes of Marvel Legends, but at a smaller scale.  Despite all of this articulation, the construction of the figure is still really solid, and he’s not flimsy at all.  Rust Lord’s design is definitely one that lends itself pretty well to a toy.  The figure changes up a few proportional elements, in order to make for a better translation to toy, but he’s actually pretty close.  The sculpt is clean and pretty sharp, which is honestly a fair bit better than I’m used to seeing with figures at this scale, even from the likes of Hasbro.  The paintwork for Rust Lord is fairly cleanly handled.  It’s pretty striking, and, like the sculpt, it will help him to match alright with Joes.  There are a handful of unpainted details here and there, but for the most part, he gets the job done.  Rust Lord himself only makes up a small piece of what’s included in the Loot Piñata.  There are also a whopping ten weapons*, four backpacks, and eight building plates.  For weapons, he has an assault rifle, bolt-action sniper rifle, drum gun, grenade launcher, legendary assault rifle, legendary burst assault rifle, light machine gun, pump shotgun, rocket launcher, and suppressed submachine gun.  Some of the sculpts are a little cartoony for my taste, but they’re mostly pretty solid pieces, and, like the main figure, they should do well arming your Joes and the like.  For the backpacks, he has the Bright Bag, Cuddle Bow, Satchel, and Scaly.  The satchel’s the only one that really matches up with the figure, but the options are nice nevertheless.  Lastly, there are the building plates.  Two sets of four line-up for some graffiti, and can be configured into all manner of different structures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is all Max from All Time’s fault.  A couple weeks ago, he told me about this set, showed me a few pictures of his and said “it’s kind of like G.I. Joe,” which was enough to sell me.  I’m an easy mark, I guess.  As someone with absolutely no experience with Fortnite, these figures weren’t even on my radar.  Doubly so when I found out they were produced by Jazwares, a company that I generally find to be the toy world’s equivalent of a yawn.  This figure has no right to be anywhere near as cool as it is, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of the coolest, most solidly crafted figures I’ve picked up as of late.  I’ve still got no attachment to Fortnite, but I’ll definitely be finding a spot for this guy with my Joes.

*My set actually had 11 weapons, thanks to me getting an extra drum gun in my set.  One of those few times an error totally worked out in my favor.

#1853: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS GAMERVERSE (HASBRO)

“Now a seasoned Super Hero, Peter Parker has been busy keeping crime off the streets as Spider-Man.  Just as he’s ready to focus on life as Peter, a new villain threatens New York City.  Faced with overwhelming odds and higher stakes, Spider-Man must rise up and be greater.”

I had originally planned to continue the Star Wars thing today, but with the passing of comics-legend Stan Lee yesterday afternoon, I’ve decided to shift focus for the purposes of today’s entry.  I never met Stan Lee, but for 23 of my 26 years, he managed to influence every day of my life, be it directly through his introductory segments during the Marvel Action Hour in the ‘90s and his numerous cameos in all of the Marvel films since, or indirectly through the universe he helped to create, and all the characters he created to populate it, and all of the important messages that he would use them to tell.  The man influenced the lives of a great many people he never even met, and taught a lot of us how to be the best versions of ourselves, while at the same time reminding us that nobody’s perfect, and that’s okay too.  Stan had great power, and he did his very best to use it responsibly.  The creation Stan was always the proudest of was Spider-Man, and so I feel it’s only fitting that in his honor, I take a look at a Spider-Man figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is the inaugural release in the Marvel Legends Gamerverse line, which, as you may have gathered from the name, is a line devoted to the current crop of Marvel video games.  Spidey here is based on his appearance in the recent PS4-exclusive Spider-Man game, which hit just a few months ago.  The figure was initially supposed to hit closer to the game, then was pushed back to December, and then was moved up again.  The important thing is that he actually made it out.  So, yay.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s built entirely from re-used parts, but Hasbro’s got a substantial enough library that it’s a reasonable way of handling certain figures, this one included.  He’s built on the 2099 body, and makes use of the head from Spider-UK.  Interestingly, this means we have a Peter Parker figure that’s not built from any Peter Parker parts.  The end result is a figure that actually has something of a John Romita Sr-styling to him (I’d love to see this same combo done up in a classic deco), which definitely works for the game’s version of our favorite wall-crawler.  The paintwork for this figure is, of course, its main selling point, since that’s what truly signifies it as a video game Spidey.  The design is nice and distinctive, and the paint is crisply applied and a solid match for the in-game appearance, all while still maintaining the currently running Legends aesthetic. Spidey is packed with two different sets of hands in thwipping poses and fists, as well as a two of the new webline piece we first saw with the House of M Spidey.  It’s a nice selection of extras, especially in light of some of the recent Spidey variants lacking the extra hands and such.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve liked the PS4 Spidey design since it was first shown off, and was definitely hoping for a figure of some sort, so when this guy was announced, I knew I’d want to get one.  Super Awesome Fiancee was nice enough to pre-order him for me through her store, which proved an especially helpful move, since this guy’s proved rather scarce since his release.  Despite being made up totally of re-used parts, this is one of my favorite Spider-Men of recent years.  He’s just an entertaining figure all-around, and a good fit for today’s theme.

Excelsior!

#1776: Motorized Patriot

MOTORIZED PATRIOT — BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

BIOSHOCK INFINITE (NECA)

“Originally constructed by Fink MFG. to serve as tour guides for the residents of Columbia, the Motorized Patriots now serve as a standing guard for the entire city.  Fearless and unrelenting, without a shred of self preservation, the Patriots will track down and eliminate any opposition without remorse.  Will you be able to find the right combination to defeat these automated monstrosities?”

You guys ready to play another game of Ethan reviews a figure from a video game he’s never played?  Oh yeah, let’s do this!  The game I’ve never played this time is Bioshock Infinite, the third game in the Bioshock series, a whole series of games I’ve never played.  But this one has cool old-timey motorized robot automaton things, which in turn make for cool action figures.  And that’s by far the most important thing for me.  So, without further ado, here’s the Motorized Patriot.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Benjamin Franklin Motorized Patriot is the second to last release in NECA’s Bioshock Infinite line.  He’s the second of the Motorized Patriot after the George Washington version from earlier in the line.  Unlike Washington, who was actually in the game, Franklin is just a concept figure.  The figure stands 9 1/4 inches tall and he has 19 points of articulation.  Ben shares most of his pieces with the first Motorized Patriot.  The movement on the joints is a little bit stiff, especially on the legs.  That right knee in particular doesn’t have much budge to it.  With that said, you can definitely get the basic standing poses the Patriots stand in in-game, and he’s pretty stable.  The body sculpt is up to NECA’s usual standards, with sharp, crisp detailing on the uniform, and some very nice dynamic work on the folds and wrinkles, which matches up pretty decently with the game stylings.  This figure removes the shoulder pauldrons from the Washington Patriot, which actually does quite a bit to change up the general shaping of the figure, and sell him as a more unique “character.”  Also helping sell him as a new character is the unique head, which captures the classical Ben Franklin image.  It does look perhaps slightly off on the thinner Washington body, but it’s a solid sculpt in its own right.  In contrast to Washington, Ben gets to keep both of his eyes, though one of his lids is broken, helping to keep up that sort of creepy appearance.  The paint work on Ben is pretty impressive.  He swaps out the blue of Washington’s military jacket for a deep purple, which works quite well for the design.  The application is all quite clean, and the accent work on his uniform does a lot of favors for the sculpt.  The Patriot’s primary accessory is his main weapon, the Peppermill gatling gun.  It features a spinning barrel and a rotating handle, and is just generally a pretty cool piece.  The only slight downside is that the handles are the slightest bit too big for the figure’s hands, which can easily cause breakage if you aren’t careful.  Fortunately, you can pretty easily mod the figure’s hands by cutting the connection between in thumb and forefinger, and that saves a lot of trouble.  The Patriot also includes a pair of Columbia flags, for mounting on the figure’s back, as well as an alternate head, sans the Franklin mask, which is also appropriately creepy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when these figures were new, I totally meant to get one of these guys.  I was trying to pick between Washington and Franklin, and just ended up getting distracted by other things.  So, why end up with one now?  Well, as you may have noticed, the number for this review is 1776, so I wanted something appropriately festive, and I remembered these guys.  Fortunately, I was able to get some assistance from my friends at All Time Toys, who were able to secure me this guy for this review.  I think if I had the choice, I might have instead gone for Washington, but this one is still really, really solid.

If you want one of these for your very own, he’s still in stock with All Time, so check him out here.  Or, if your looking for something else, make sure to check out their web store and their eBay storefront.

#1690: Claptrap

CLAPTRAP

BORDERLANDS (MCFARLANE)

“A general purpose CL4P-TP robot manufactured by Hyperion, Claptrap acts as the Vault Hunter’s (sometimes) useful guide and quest-giver on Pandora. Programmed with an overenthusiastic personality, Claptrap masks his fear and loneliness behind cheerful bravado.”

What happens when you cross R2-D2 and Jar-Jar Binks?  Claptrap.  Okay, well that’s what some people think, anyway.  I don’t quite agree.  Claptrap’s nowhere near as annoying as Jar-Jar.  That said, he’s cetainly more talkative than R2.  Or at least more fluent in English.  Anyway, he’s by far the most merchandised character from the Borderlands, so it wasn’t much of a shock that he turned up as one of the earlier offerings from McFarlane’s Borderlands toyline.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Claptrap is the first deluxe offering from the Borderlands line, hitting shelves at the same time as the Zer0 figure, and thus loosely making up the second series of the line.  Most of McFarlane’s deluxe figure offerings are at a larger scale than standard releases, but this isn’t the case with Claptrap, who is meant to be in the same relative scale as the three prior figures.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  The majority of the articulation is in the arms, but he’s got a movable eye and a “lid” that goes up and down, which is a pretty nifty feature.  As far as scaling of this figure relative to the others, he seems a touch large for my eyes.  Like, not atrociously so, but he just looks a little off to me.  It *could* just be his accessories that are throwing me off.  His sculpt is an all-new one, and its a pretty solid offering.  The model from the game has been well captured here.  The details are clean, and the line work is sharp.  There’s some great work on the dings and weathering on his outer plating, which helps give him that nice broken-in look that fits in so well with the game aesthetic.  My one complaint about the sculpt is the pegs they’ve put on his top for his hats.  They’re not at all subtle, and break up an otherwise very  faithful sculpt.  I think it would have made more sense to put the pegs in the hats, since the holes would be less obvious.  The paintwork matches up with the sculpt, the base work is clean, and the accenting helps sell the sculpted details.  There’s a slight gash on my figure’s eye, which is a little annoying, but it’s minor, and I think it’s safe to say it’s not the norm.  Claptrap includes a stand, which uses an articulated arm to plug into his back.  He can’t stand without it (it’s just one of the troubles of translating this design) so it’s certainly appreciated.  He also includes a sherrif’s hat and revolver, and a wizard’s hat and two different wands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I don’t dislike Claptrap as much as some of the fanbase, I still waited a bit on this one.  I ended up grabbing the last one at my local TRU, once they hit the 40% off level of their liquidation process.  He’s a pretty decent figure, but I’m not sure he’s really worth the heightened price.  It’ll be interesting to see how this concept works out for McFarlane.

#1616: Zer0

ZER0

BORDERLANDS 2 (McFARLANE TOYS)

“Shrouded in mystery, Zer0 is an assassin-for-hire whose identity and origin are unknown. Left unsatisfied after a previous target failed to fight back, Zer0 turned to Vault hunting in search of a worthy challenge.”

Borderlands 2 is, if I’m being quite honest, a favorite game.  In terms of figures, toymakers always focus, just on NPCs.  This has upset me, and other fans I’ve no doubt, who want Vault Hunters.  They are the center, of all of the cool gameplay, and have neat designs.  For their second set, McFarlane has broached the group, with the Assassin.  His is the figure, which I plan to examine, for today’s review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Allow me to tell, the info of this figure, such as I know it. He is named Zer0, part of the second series, of Borderlands 2.  He’s from McFarlane, same as his predecessors, Jack and small Tina (Tiny is her name, usually that is, lest I do this thing).  Of the Color Tops, he is numbered 41, ‘spite the others lack. He stands 7 inches, and he is packed with movement, 26 points here.  Articulation, as it is for this figure, has been worked in well.  It’s superior, a definite improvement, to prior figures.  The hips merit note, as they diverge from others, and are the best yet.  Movement is solid, though it’s somewhat restricted, to preserve the sculpt.  Zer0’s sculpt is new, rendered from his game model, and quite expertly.  His build is proper, he’s appropriately thin, and oh so scrawny.  The other details, such as weathering and wear, is also top-notch.  His armor’s beaten, it’s all scratched up and dingy, just as it should be. In terms of paintwork, Zer0 exhibits quality, that is like his friends.  The details are clean, and the colors match the game, and he looks the part.  There is some small slop, it’s on his right upper arm, but it’s not awful.  Zer0 is packed with, an assortment of extras, all of them well picked.  First is a number, to attach to his faceplate, as within the game.  It can be tricky, getting it properly placed, but once on it stays.  Also included, the Infinity Pistol, winnable in-game.  Though it’s well-sculpted, Zer0 has trouble with it, falling from his hand.  Up next is a sword, Zer0 uses for melee, and always has near.  It’s really quite long, in fact surprisingly so, more than half his height.  It has got a peg, which helps to keep it in place, unlike the pistol.  The third thing packed in, is a display stand like Jack’s, which keeps him stable.  Lastly included,  there are SHIFT codes for the game, granting you three keys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Zer0 was purchased, on a trip to Toys R Us, and was a surprise.  I’d just discovered, the two Series 1 figures, and didn’t expect him.  Zer0 is solid, the best of the three figures, so far in the line.  I’m happy with him, and am eager to see others, of the Vault Hunters.  Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to stop writing, in the haiku form.

#1588: Terror-Billy (B.J. Blazkowicz) – The Cold-Blooded Terrorist

TERROR-BILLY (B.J. BLAZKOWICZ) — THE COLD-BLOODED TERRORIST

WOLFENSTEIN II: NEW COLOSSUS (BETHESDA)

“Murderer…Spy…Saboteur…Assassin…only some of the ways to describe the Fiend William Joseph Blazkowicz—the Most Wanted Man in the World.  A Captain of the vanquished U.S. Army Rangers, Blazkowicz was rendered vollig untauglich sum Dienst during a failed assault on a Regime compound. Blazkowicz awoke from his coma fourteen years later as “Terror-Billy”—a mindless killer!—and launched a six month reign of violence across Europe.  After brutally assassinating the esteemed Minister of Advanced Research, Wilhelm Strasse, Blazkowicz vanished.  Some think him dead, others that he went underground and lurks in the American Territories of the Regime. Now it is up to you and Elite Hans to hunt down Terror-Billy and make him face the justice he has so cruelly denied his innocent victims.”

Alright, here we are.  The review I teased a week and a half ago has finally arrived.  Does this mean I sorted out my camera issues?  No it does not.  But, I’ve got a loaner for the time being, and I’m making the best of it.  Wooo.  As today’s guest review of Wolfenstein II by my brother may have clued you in, this review is video game based.  In fact, it’s based on the very same game, albeit I’m not looking at the game itself but rather…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

That was clever, right?  No?  Well, I tried.  BJ Blazkowicz, or Terror-Billy as he’s dubbed by the packaging, is a pack-in figure, included with the deluxe edition of Wolfenstein II: New Colossus.  If you want to get technical, the way the figure is presented, he’s actually the main item, with the game being packed-in with him, but nevertheless, he’s the extra, not the main selling point.  This is something to keep in mind for the purposes of this review.  In the context of the game universe, this figure is supposed to be part of the larger Elite Hans toyline, which is sort of the evil-alternate universe equivalent of G.I. Joe.  Given the ‘60s setting of the last two Wolfenstein games, this is a rather appropriate.  That being said, it’s worth noting that this Blazkowicz figure owes most of his existence to the ‘90s revival of the 12-inch scale than to the vintage G.I. Joe.  It’s a perfectly sensible choice, mind you, and one that I think will resonate a bit better with the fanbase of Wolfenstein II, so I can’t fault Bethesda for going this particular route.  The figure stands 12 1/4 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. 

The head is the real high point of the main figure.  It’s somewhat generic, but overall is a solid rendition of Blazkowicz’s in-game model.  He should have a few more scars, I think, but he’s got that overall grizzled and determined look down pat.  The paintwork on the head isn’t Hot Toys level or anything, but it’s still pretty sharp, and pretty realistic.  It’s on par with the best of the older Joes and that’s nothing to shrug off. 

Flipping over to the definite weak point of this figure, let’s take a look at his underlying body.  I’m not sure if this is based on an existing mold (it wouldn’t surprise me to find out it was; the molds from defunct toy companies are usually pretty easy to procure), but it’s definitely not quite up to the quality of even Hasbro’s older molds.  It’s hollow and very light, and not particularly lifelike.  Now, none of these things are really a major issue on figures of this nature, since that’s all pretty well hidden by the clothing.  The real letdown of this particular body is the lack of any sort of swivel joint at the biceps or thighs.  The legs I can get over, but no swivel on the arms means he can’t two-hand any of his weapons, which is a bit of a disappointment.  On the plus side, the hands, which are the only visible parts of the body, are actually pretty nicely sculpted, and look not unlike a lot of Hot Toys’ offerings in this respect.

Blazkowicz’s outfit includes a t-shirt, pants, rubber boots, and a two different leather jackets.  The shirt is a little tight, and the pants are a bit shapeless, but they’re decent enough, and would likely look better on a slightly better body.  I like the Rangers emblem on the shirt quite a bit.  The boots are big and a little clunky, however, given the style they were going for, this is accurate.  The two jackets allow for the choice between the main designs of the two games.  I’m partial to the bomber jacket myself, but the motorcycle jacket is certainly a well-put-together piece.  Both of them are well tailored, and help to mask some of the body’s faults.

In addition to previously mentioned extra jacket, the figure is packing “5 Deadly Weapons!” as is so proudly proclaimed by the box.  Included are the Dieselkraftwerk (flamethrower), Schockhammer X (shotgun), Laserkraftwerk (laser), Maschinenpistole (machine pistol), and Kriegsbeil (axe).  All of these weapons are incredibly detailed in terms of both sculpt and paint.  By far the highlight of the figure.  I do wish that in addition to the weapons he came with at least an extra set of hands, or even just an extra left hand with a grip to it.  Blazkowicz can dual wield weapons in the game, so being able to do that here would go a long way, and would also distract from the lack of bicep swivels.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As you may have gathered from Christian’s earlier review of the game, Terror-Billy comes from another joint purchase between the two of us.  Christian was quite fond of the last Wolfenstein game, so he was already on board for this one.  When we discovered that the deluxe version had this figure included, we were both pretty pumped.  Funds and time being factors, we didn’t end up getting this set quite as quickly as we’d planned, but Amazon marked it down to a pretty good deal, and neither of us felt we could pass it up.  Blazkowicz isn’t a top of the line figure.  He’s not going to be winning any awards or changing the industry.  But, as something that’s really more of a fun side novelty, he’s the sort of figure I can get behind.  Yeah, I’d have liked it if the base body were slightly better, but that’s honestly the easiest thing to replace on a 12-inch figure, and I can’t deny, I had a ton of fun playing around with this guy when I opened him up.

Wolfenstein II: New Colossus – A Video Game Review

In an industry just over 40 years old, we have finally reached the point in gaming where character models actually resemble people and game controllers feature more buttons than the number friends I have, it would make sense that we could focus on developing story and gameplay beyond our wildest imaginations. Games today could have branching stories and invest us in the character’s background and with the leg up on film or TV through the interactivity. Or they could innovate with new types of gameplay and create new genres to really make the general public treat video games with the same respect as they treat movies. Or a literal cup and mug could make a pact with the ACTUAL DEVIL and then have to gangster-snap a carrot to death to take its soul back.

*despair intensifies*

Fear not, though, as Wolfenstein: The New Colossus seeks to remedy my despair. With amazing cinematography and thrilling gameplay, this sequel to The New Order keeps up appearances for the game’s inevitable conclusion via the third game obviously going to be named Wolfenstein: The New Shadowcat. Who knew Fox would make a Wolfenstein game? Does that mean Disney owns it? Does that mean B.J. Blazkowicz is a Disney Princess?

This is a SPOILER WARNING.

 

The Story In Summary

As always, you are still William Joseph Blazkowicz. You have survived what was thought to be your death(again) via severe surgery and some good sleep(again). You awake a few months after the last game ended and start your journey wheelchair bound with pistol in hand. Eventually you gain a power suit from your ex-friend Caroline who has suffered a fresh King Louis and your bomber jacket has these big ole holes in it. (Like, from the power suit. Obviously a jacket has holes in it. How else would you put it on?) You may think Terror-Billy is perfectly fine, but your health only goes up to 50 for the first half of the game. You suffer through the pain just enough to go through a 1950s dream town Roswell to plant a nuke to blow up, you guessed it, Nazis. You drive away just in time, but the you get caught by the main antagonist of the game, Frau Engel. You are put on trial for war crimes and immediately sentenced to join eating cake with King Louis. You legit get beheaded and think you’re dead, but obviously SCIENCE occurs and your head is saved. Your melon is attached to a Chris Evans pottery class project and now B.J. is back to 100 health. The rest of the game increases the Nazi killing Zehn-fold and B.J. eventually knifes the heck out of Frau Engel. It ends patriotically and lovingly as you propose to Anya, your long time steady. That’s the story in a nutshell. Plenty more happens in this game and some might consider it too much. One of those some is me!

The Me Half of the Story Equation

This game has a story that is really really really trying to be good. I want it to succeed, but can’t help but say that the story of this game is its weakest area. While much caries over from The New Order, it almost feels like the writers wanted you to be able to play TNC without playing TNO which you shouldn’t do. These are supposed to be episodic and I don’t get why they felt the need to introduce so many plot lines in this game as if they were always there because they weren’t. I feel like the lack of J in this campaign really spelled out what was wrong with the side characters(aside from Fergus and Wyatt): none of them had really any personality. I especially noticed the side plot between Sigrund and Bombate pointing out as my biggest “Wait where did that come from?” The subplot concerning B.J.’s parents was really weak and introduced a lot of filler and bland storytelling aspects that only kept me from actually playing the game. The ending to the father storyline is completely underwhelming and trivializes what could’ve been a non-Nazi struggle in B.J.’s life into another “it’s all the Nazi’s fault” trope. The subplots really make this game look thematically weak which is unfortunate. The main story between Frau Engel, Fergus/Wyatt, B.J., and Anya* is enjoyable and moving. When this game focused on why it was fighting the Nazis instead of how it really shined and made me have fun being happy and happy to have fun. I hope the third game fixes these short changed plot lines because underneath all that mess is a game with a whole mess of heart.

*Anya gets the most badass moment in the whole game. Prepare.

Sorry to beat up on the game, but the praise is coming.

The Design In Question

Many said when The New Colossus was released that Bethesda didn’t shake anything up and that the setting formula was no different. I can’t outright disagree. Yeah, you travel across the map underground, on a train, and even to other celestial objects and shoot stuff and plant bombs and steal papers: it’s the same schtick. They’re right. However, where the word “Order” in the first game’s title is fitting to its universal grim aesthetic, The New Colossus plays around with the venir and creates a different essence in each level. A character like J in The New Order wouldn’t work in The New Colossus because TNC fully embraces the 1960s vibe or haze, if you will. First off, the sheer amount of collectibles in each level is stunning. Like the last game you can collect records you can actually listen to in the game, but you can also collect toys and gold as well as star cards which are drawings of famous entertainers and other German elite. These kinds of collectibles would be out of place and easy to spot in the dark and gloomy film tape of The New Order, but blend into the scenery in The New Colossus.  When you go to Roswell, it’s a 1950s dream town (if the dreams featured the literal KKK) wherein you act as a friendly firefighter carrying an extinguisher encasing a nuclear warhead. This scenery is bright and happy, despite your weaponry and their white supremacy. This deeply contrasts with your trip to Mesquite, Texas just after you blow Roswell the hell up. Mesquite is dusty and tan and rundown. Then you get back to the industrial but very personalized submarine you call home, the Eva’s Hammer to be told you have to fly to Venus to audition in front of Adolf Hitler for the lead role in a movie about you since they think you’re dead. Venus is, obviously, hot and blazing, but the insides are reminiscent of 1950s and 1960s science fiction bases. Each of these settings is a different flavor. TL;DR: The New Order is like passion-suppressing corn flakes in water where The New Colossus is like those cereal value packs where each cereal gets its own box.

The Gameplay In Question

On the subject of gameplay which is this game’s strongest aspect, I couldn’t put the controller down. I had a lot of trouble with The New Order when it came to the mesh between stealth and combat. I died non-stop and felt cheated nearly every time because the stealth mechanics were terrible. In this game, they’ve intertwined much better and make both stealth and combat seem like viable options at all times in the game. B.J. feels faster and leaner in this game once you get your new body. I would replay missions just for the heck of it because I love how Terror-Billy feels when he runs and shoots. This game lets the player decide when it goes from slow to fast and I adore being given that choice. This game fixed my biggest problem with TNO and I’m very grateful. This game features new tech for B.J. to strap to himself including ram shackles, which allow B.J. to run into people to kill them,  a battle walker, which allows you to double your height to gain a vantage point, and a compression harness, which allows you to compress your body under tight spaces. These all make the gameplay feel even fresher when the game is halfway done and come with their own upgrades that allow stuff like regenerative health and armor. This game when its about killing Nazis is 110% fun and I can’t get enough.

The Guns In Question

I’ll walk through each of the guns included with the figure and talk about how they were in the game.

The Machinepistole is a 9mm fully-automatic submachine gun. It’s the first gun B.J. gets in the game whilst battling à la wheel-chariot. This gun is your typical shooter submachine gun with three possible upgrades: a compressor, a nail gun attachment, and a drum magazine. I found this gun very easy to use in those areas where stealth could turn to combat as the compressor made headshotting enemies easy. I’d say this gun isn’t really worth much until you upgrade it, but I never stopped using it. I’d say I never ran out of ammo for this gun so you can trust it as a fallback gun above anything else.

The Schockhammer X is a buckshot automatic shotgun. I think this is the most “run and gun” weapon in the whole game. Someone peers out of the corner two feet in front of you and *BANG.* From distances more than ten feet, this gun is some weaksauce. But, that’s fine seeing as it’s a shotgun and you’re carrying a plethora of other such things. When B.J. is in the trains or any other tight squeeze, equip this gun. Even up against a heavy, this gun is fantastic at mowing any Nazi down in just a few shots. This gun has three upgrades: ricochet, which sends shrapnel flying all around after a shot, rotor, which allows for three shots to be fired with one trigger pull, and and extended magazine. Unlike the machinepistole, the schockhammer’s upgrades, to me, are really pointless and don’t help the gun do any more than it already does. I enjoy this gun a lot, but it is what it is: a dual-wieldable shotgun. Your mileage may vary.

The Laserkraftwerk is only available in the Reid Timeline. It’s very similar to the gun of the same name from the last game, but this is much more compact and powerful. This gun is a laser. It’s a laser. It takes a second to warm up, but it does some serious damage. Expect constant rumbling in your controller when firing this gun. The laserkraftwerk also works to melt metal plates in B.J’s way at various parts in the game. This gun works fine and is certainly cool looking, but functionally I didn’t really enjoy my time with it. There are three upgrades: enhanced scope, battery upgrade, and supercharge which kills a heavy in one shot. These upgrades do more than the schockhammer’s do, but not very much to make this gun fun. I much prefer the next and final gun in this package…

The Dieselkraftwerk is only available in the Wyatt Timeline. I think this is the most interesting and innovative gun in a series of extremely standard selections. It fires diesel-powered grenades that you can stick to just about anywhere and blow up anytime. I think this is a great weapon in both stealth and heavy fire as the ability to hold the detonator button down as you fire so the grenades explode on impact can essentially clear your screen. It is dope shooting a grenade on the back of a heavy causing his firepack to explode instantly killing him. If you detonate a regular Nazi they will go flying and actually get stuck about ten feet in the air, clipped into the wall. The Dieslekraftwek also helps B.J. traverse through metal plates and blast through holes in infrastructure. This gun comes with three upgrades: an ignition muzzle, which detonates the grenades as soon as they leave the barrel, supercharge, which fires five grenades in a row, and an extended barrel. The only thing  “bad” about this gun is that ammo can be incredibly scarce. Like with the Laserkraftwerk, there are charging stations placed randomly in the missions, but when you’re in a pinch they seem to disappear for a good half hour. Either way, this gun is my all-time favorite and I think this gun makes it worth playing the Wyatt storyline over the Fergus story. (Though you should still play both. They’re great stories that I won’t spoil here.)

The Overall

Overall, this game could’ve been better. It continues a great story of rebellion against Nazis and though topical right now, this game doesn’t get caught up in current politics. It remains true to the run and gun Nazi killing spree fans have loved for years while branching out and evolving extremely well and maturing for today’s audience. The story could use some work and maybe some of the guns could be a little more interesting, but like I said; I couldn’t put the controller down. This game is absolute fun from start to finish and a real-looker at that. This game hopefully seems to be the beginning of a new era in video game storytelling and I’m very behind Bethesda’s ultimate goal. I’d give this game a 7.5/10 only because I feel it banks too heavily on the success of the last game and feels a little closed in its world. Otherwise, please go buy this game and have as much fun as I did.

…. I’m still waiting for Wolverine and The Fastball Special DLC