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This Week in Gaming: Nazi zombies, murderous orcs, and exquisitely realistic car physics

Two of our absolute favorite games from 2014 are back in a week that is otherwise pretty quiet for new gaming releases. Wolfenstein: The New Order took us back to the beginning of first-person shooters and reminded us how silly and fun they can and should be, while Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor took the last decade of accrued wisdom from third-person action series like Assassin’s Creed and Batman: Arkham and combined them into a master class of orc-slaughtering fun. Now we can go back to Wolfenstein with a new, standalone prequel that goes back to World War II before the Nazi regime had taken over the world. Meanwhile people that were late to the Tolkien party can now experience Shadow of Mordor in its definitive, Game-of-the-Year-Edition glory.

What will you be playing this week?

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

PS4/Xbox One/Windows (May 5)
In Wolfenstein: The New Order we saw a horrifying version of the 1960s where the Nazis had won World War II. This new prequel goes back to 1946 before that terrible alternate history had come to pass. A younger B.J. Blazkowicz must infiltrate Bavaria to uncover the secrets of the Nazi Paranormal Division before Hitler can utilize ancient magic and zombies to turn the tide of war irrevocably in the Axis’ favor.

Following the lead of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Saints Row: Gat Out Of HellWolfenstein: The Old Blood is a “standalone prequel” to last year’s fantastic Wolfenstein: The New Order. In practice that means that the developer reutilized the engine and basic assets of the previous game to make a new entry without needing to reinvent the wheel, and accordingly releasing it for a lower, download-only price of $20.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition

PS4/Xbox One/Windows (May 5)
After accruing an extensive list of accolades at the end of the year, it was only a matter of time before Monolith’s Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor got the Game of the Year Edition it deserves. The story of somewhat-undead ranger Talion and his quest for vengeance isn’t much to write home about, but the finely-tuned gameplay and innovative Nemesis system where your adversary’s dynamically develop in response to your actions rightly won this game a place close to many critics and developers’ hearts.

This definitive edition comes packed with all of the additional content that has been added since the game’s initial launch. That includes new skins for Talion, runes to buff up your weapons, hunts and challenges to test your skill, and a new campaign in which you can play as Talion’s ghostly, elven inhabitant in the flesh, deep in Middle-earth’s mythic past.

Project CARS

Windows (May 7)
Literally titled on every level, CARS is actually an acronym Community Assisted Racing Simulator, because British developer Slightly Mad Studios relied heavily on its community for both the funding and development of the game. It will include over 67 drivable cars and over 52 race tracks for a variety of motorsports and gameplay modes. PS4 and Xbox One versions will launch simultaneously in Europe on May 7, following slightly later in North America on May 12.

The emphasis in Project CARS lies squarely in realistic simulation and a sandbox approach, with no cars or tracks gated off behind unlock requirements when you first play the game. Weather and lighting are simulated live, and it even features a dynamic tire physics model sure to get hardcore gear-heads excited.