Game: Wolfenstein: The New Order
Format: PC/PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4/ Xbox 360/Xbox One
Genre: First-person Shooter
Wolfenstein: The New Order is a game that somewhat snuck up on me. I heard murmurs about the game last year, but it wasn’t until only a few months ago that I started doing a bit of research on it. I’m a huge fan of the Wolfenstein series, and didn’t want to delve into the new game until a release time-frame was set. Once it was set in stone that the game would be coming out in May I did a little digging on Wolfenstein: The New Order and everything I found pointed towards an awesome game. I spent countless hours of my childhood mowing down Nazis in Wolfenstein 3D (1992), and even as a full grown adult I still have a thirst for Nazi blood. Granted in recent years there have been an abundance of video games that have been more than able to quench that thirst, but another installment in the Wolfenstein series would be a whole other monster. The last game in the series, Wolfenstein (2009), was met with mixed reviews, but I personally thought it was great. However when compared with Wolfenstein: The New Order, the newest entry in the series blows that game out of the water.
The story in Wolfenstein: The New Order steps away from the occult heavy lore the series has come to embrace over the past couple games, and instead delves into a grim take on technological progress under a Nazi regime. I do prefer to avoid spoilers as much as possible in my reviews, so I’ll just touch on a few major plot points, most of which are established early on in the game. As with every other game in the series you play as William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, who’s a tough as nails Nazi killing machine. The game starts off in 1946, wherein the Nazis have turned the tide of the war by gaining the upper hand through developing advances technologies. In something of a last-ditch effort, the allies launch a massive attack on a Nazi occupied fortress and weapons laboratory run by General Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse. Things quickly get out of hand, and after barely surviving a confrontation with Deathshead himself B.J. makes it out of the fortress alive, but not without serious head trauma.
Presumed dead, Blazkowicz is found and eventually brought to a psychiatric asylum in Poland, where he remains in a vegetative state for fourteen years. It’s only when the Nazis show up and start brutally executing everyone in the asylum that B.J. snaps out of his vegetative state, and gets his murder on. After escaping the asylum Blazkowicz discovers that the entire world has fallen under the Nazi regime, and they reign as the sole power in this new world. Obviously this doesn’t sit very well with B.J. Blazkowicz, and he sets out to destroy all things Nazi. For a game that has the vibe of an old-school run and gun shooter, Wolfenstein: The New Order actually has a solid story behind it, and all the voice acting and dialogue is really well done.
The gameplay found in Wolfenstein: The New Order is extremely satisfying. While the game does play like an old-school arcade shooter, theirs both a decent cover system and fun stealth system to be found in the game. If players can manage to not run and gun through a level while duel-wielding auto shotguns, they’ll find in many circumstances you can actually tip-toe your way through a good portion of the game with a knife and silenced pistol, picking the enemy off one by one discreetly. However while that can be quite fun, blasting your way through an area while duel-wielding all manner of powerful guns can’t be matched. There is a good amount of weapon variety to be found in Wolfenstein: The New Order, but with that being said a couple more guns couldn’t have hurt. Early on in the game there’s a decision that the player has to make that results in two timelines being crated depending on what choice the player makes. Both of these timelines will have a different major character in the storyline, which adds to the game’s re-playability. Generally speaking the story remains the same, but this does change things up enough to where if you enjoyed playing through one timeline, you’re likely to enjoy playing through the other.
As with all the other games in the Wolfenstein series, Wolfenstein: The New Order has a plethora of collectables to be found throughout the game. They range from enigma codes to Nazi gold. I also happened across a hidden game mode, in which you play through the first level of Wolfenstein 3D, in all of its 1992 graphic beauty (aside from the player, B.J. Blazkowicz, who remains in the current Wolfenstein game engine). That particular segment of the game had me grinning like a madman. I found the perk system in Wolfenstein: The New Order to be quite enjoyable. Instead of ‘leveling up’ in the traditional sense, the player has to complete a set task or tasks in order to unlock a perk and gain its benefits. In some instances this has the player doing certain tasks they might not normally perform, and I thought it was an interesting way to implement character progression.
Graphically Wolfenstein: The New Order looks fantastic. Some of the textures in the game can looks somewhat muddy when inspected up close, but given how that’s become something of a commonplace in the gaming industry now-a-days it can be forgiven. However I do want to point out that the fact of texture quality looking muddy up close shouldn’t be a thing in 2014. Some of the outdoor environments in the game are absolutely breathtaking, and a giant Nazi robot dog trying to eat your face has never looked so good. I had no issues whatsoever with the controls in Wolfenstein: The New Order. However if some players do have a problem with them, they can be rebound. I played through the entire game with a mouse and keyboard, only using the gamepad to test out the controls for the purpose of this review, and they were acceptable. Sound wise the game was outstanding. Power-sliding through a room while unloading duel-wielded auto shotguns had a certain deafening effect that really helps to immerse the player into the game. The soundtrack was solid, and I quite enjoyed that Meshuggah guitarist Fredrik Thordendal contributed to the soundtrack.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is without a doubt an epic gaming experience. And given that this game is something of a reboot for the series, even gamers that aren’t long-time Wolfenstein fans should be able to pick up and play this title without issue. Developer MachineGames debut is a strong one and they’ll be a developer people into gaming will want to keep their eyes on. Wolfenstein: The New Order is a must buy for fans of the FPS genre. There’s a good amount of fantastic looking games coming out later in the year, but if you’re looking for something to hold you over until that tide breaks, Wolfenstein: The New Order is a worthy candidate.