Wolfenstein 3D is a title that was revolutionary, it paved the way for future first person games, in fact, we wouldn’t have Call of Duty or Battlefield if it wasn’t for Wolfenstein 3D! Amazing right?
Well zip forward to nowadays and we see the recent release of Wolfenstein: The New Order developed by Machinegames and published by Bethesda Softworks which doesn’t really touch on the revolutionary characteristic the Wolfenstein franchise is known for, in fact, it plays it safe with old school style tradition first person shooter action.
Set in the Second World War era, The New Order stars recurring protagonist William “B.J.” Blazkowicz who, after taking shrapnel to the brain, comes to in an asylum in Poland only to find years have passed him by and the Nazi’s won the war. Not only that but the crazed scientist known as Deathshead has created demonic metallic robot soldiers and dogs to help maintain order in the world. It’s up to you, as B.J. to join your old comrades and stage an uprising. It’s an interesting alternate history storyline separated into two caused by the all-important moral choice you are forced to make near the start which I found to be engaging and gripping thanks to the top notch voice acting and nicely executed cut scenes which follows onto the rest of the game. The game would have been more engrossing however if the cut scenes lost the cinematic black bars present on the top and bottom of them but it’s only a slight niggle.
The gameplay is traditional FPS and MachineGames don’t attempt to do anything different or unique to make The New Order to stand out. Not even the presence of multiplayer to help sell the game, it purely relies on old school storytelling and fast paced all out action and it by no means succeeds. It does include other gameplay elements such as edge-of-your-seat stealth sections and sparse vehicle sections however these are definitely underused and could easily have been elaborated to be key set pieces. The same can be said about the famous moon section, it’s over as soon as it begins which is disappointing. The stealth parts are the star of the show for me, even though being seen doesn’t necessarily mean game over, it certainly pays off to be sneaky with satisfyingly brutal takedown manoeuvres. Pulling off these consecutively as well as using certain weapons correctly, unlocks perks which enhance the experience with hard earned upgrades such as faster reloading or bigger ammunition packs or suppressed pistol attachments and weapon upgrades can be found hidden throughout the game. Dual-wielding is possible too which is less accurate but makes you feel like a total badass!
The New Order offers a nice variety of enemy types ranging from your standard grunt Nazi soldiers to fearsome gigantic robot dogs to hulking mechs loaded with heavy weaponry, it keeps the game interesting and cleverly stays relevant to the current era for example early in the game the dogs just are snarling mutts with body armour however when B.J. wakes up in 1960, the dogs have robotic body parts and spiked metal teeth. I haven’t said a lot bad about Wolfenstein: The New Order and that because even though MachineGames have played it safe without taking any risks mechanically, it does a great job at keeping the action tense and interesting whilst the story stays compelling.
Visually, Wolfenstein is a bit hit and miss. It’s by no means beautiful reinvented alternative historical locations such as London and Berlin however it has a weird focus issue that was present throughout. If there was, say, a wall in the foreground but the corridor it overlooks in the distance stays blurred until the wall is gone. It’s an awful distraction and certainly unnecessary. The texture detail and breath-taking views present during the outdoor levels are phenomenal especially at the beginning in the plane as your frantically trying to recover from flak as the skies are chock full of aircraft, its superb. The enemies are perfectly rendered and the dogs are menacing, your first encounter with one of these is certainly memorable and encounters with the bigger robodogs incur some jumpy moments.
Compelling story, fast and frantic gunplay mixed with tense stealth sections make for a great game which looks fantastic if you can ignore the silly focus issue. Some might be put off by the absence of multiplayer but this just makes for a brilliant single player experience spread into two possible stories and once you finish one, you can do the other. I score Wolfenstein: The New Order 4/5
Graphics – 4/5
Gameplay – 5/5
Story – 4/5
Overall – 4/5
Written by Ian Cooper