Game Reviewed: Wolfenstein: The New Order
Date Released: May 20th, 2014
Developer: Machine Games
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox One], Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PC
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Rated: M for Mature
Wolfenstein put first person shooters on the gaming map when it first debut in 1992. Since then B.J. Blazkowicz has been decimating the Nazi regime and tearing though it’s ranks of soldiers, zombies, and abominations. This time around, Bethesda looked to Machine Games to breathe new life into the classic series; the result is a thrilling and explosive reimagining that remains true to classic Wolfenstein conventions.
In this alternate 1940’s reality, the Nazis have developed and implemented new technologies that have turned the tides of World War II towards their favor. After an assassination mission gone horribly astray, B.J. Blazkowicz becomes comatose and misses something that should have never been – the Axis alliance winning the Second World War. 14 years later, B.J. awakens from his coma and into a Nazi controlled world. With the fire for killing Nazis once again ignited in his gut, B.J. Blazkowicz reunites with old allies to form a small team of resistance fighters and even after 14 years their main mission remains the same – the assassination of General Deathshead, Blazkowicz’s old nemesis.
The New Order takes inspiration from its predecessors, implementing tried-and-true mechanics that make The New Order’s 15+ hour campaign fun and exciting throughout. Though it does not strive to innovate upon the first-person norm, each level takes place in widely varied locations, filled with explosive shootouts in a disturbing alternate 1960s setting.
The New Order has one of the most satisfying gun-play in a first-person shooter. Each weapon in your arsenal delivers a brutalizing and devastating punch that will sever limbs, decapitate heads, and rip chunks off any poor fool who dares stand against the famed Nazi killer. All but one weapon can be dual wielded to double your firepower, meaning anything from pistols to shotguns to grenade launcher attachments on assault rifles can be held in each hand, the tradeoff is decreased accuracy. On the flip side, wielding one weapon allows you to aim down the barrel of your gun for precise shots.
The whole game doesn’t need to be a constant barrage of bullets; many opportunities to eliminate through stealth kills present themselves so you can save yourself ammunition and health. Certain parts in a level will have commanders on guard that have the ability to call in reinforcements, you can go in guns blazing, but until you kill all commanders in the area, more and more enemies will flood in, so stealth is usually the best route. Choosing to use stealth is entirely up to you, but when you do there are ample opportunities to use alternate paths, the shadows, cover, and crawlways to your advantage that really does add to the variety in gameplay.
The A.I. tends to be a mixed bag. At their best, enemies will use flanking and charge tactics to overwhelm players, using grenades to flush you out of hiding and taking shots from cover. At other times they will simply hide and shoot from cover until you pick them off. For the most part, your foes are competent enough to put down careless players looking to rush though. At higher difficulties these soldiers have hawk eyes and marksmen precision, which may seem to leave you at a disadvantage, but thanks to a helpful perk system you can still level the playing field.
Each perk can be unlocked by performing particular acts such as killing 3 enemies with their own grenades or killing Kampfhunds using takedowns. With every perk comes a passive ability that further increases magazine sizes, reload speeds, helps with stealth, and improves explosive usage. Whatever play style you choose there’s a perk for that!
This is definitely one of the better looking titles so far for the next gen consoles as it’s one of the few to boast running at 60 frames per second at 1080p. The visuals and environments are crisp and expansive, from gruesome labor camps to the wondrous surface of the moon; if you purposely look for them, there are some low-res textures here and there, but the overall presentation is remarkable.
The exceptional voice acting lends itself to creating a cast of actually interesting and three dimensional characters which is sadly scarce in first-person shooters. I’m not asking for Shakespeare level of complexity, but something other than the same drab “Tango Charlie!!!” screaming and shouting that has littered the industry. Wolfenstein, regardless of the all the blood and guts, has genuine moments of wit, humor, and strangely deep philosophical moments in Blazkowicz’s monotone monologues.
Wolfenstein’s last outing fell a bit flat and I was worried that The New Order would follow suit, but to my surprise Machine Games pulled through with flying colors and delivered a game that can be proudly called Wolfenstein. Machine Games not only has kept true to the spirit of the past iterations in the franchise, but has used their past experience to bring us something more than just a mindless shooter. The lack of multiplayer does hurt replayability, but with an exceptional campaign lasting double, maybe even triple the amount of other first person shooters in the market, it’s a feat all on its own, on top of being able to keep you that entertained throughout. Wolfenstein may not be as big of a name as it once was, but The New Order without a doubt will make the name known once more for a new generation.
Overall Rating: 4.25/5