Wolfenstein: The New Order
I’ve always found it’s important to know your roots as a gamer. Just as music, TV and movies have important roots, so to does the video game industry. All great game genres have various iconic games and franchises that created them; Space Invaders gave birth to space shooters, The Legend of Zelda gave birth to RPGs and Wolfenstein 3D gave birth to first-person-shooters.
Beginning on DOS, Wolfenstein 3D was not the first game to feature first-person gameplay, but its unique mix of labyrinthian castle levels and vioent Nazi shooting won over gamers who wanted something different and mature from their games, and gave birth to a phenomenon.
‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’ marks the ninth installment in the long-running series, and the story takes place in an alternate version of the 1960’s, after the Nazis won World War II. Players once again assume the role of William “B.J.” Blazkowicz as he battles the Nazis across Europe, acquiring Nazi super-weapons to help he reclaim the world for allied forces.
Developed by MachineGames (a newly-formed studio whose staff have developed a number of games including The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay and The Darkness) Wofenstein: The New Order looks to further incorporate the science fiction elements from 2009’s Wolfenstein, as well as add more variety the gameplay, such as stealth gameplay and puzzles.
I recently sat down with some Bethesda staff as they took me through one of the levels from Wolfenstein: The New Order. While I enjoyed 2009’s Wolfenstein, I wasn’t particularly blown away by the game. MachineGames looks to be better suited to the Wofenstein franchise, who have created a dark and clever title, with over-the-top action, fun exploration mechanics and rewarding gameplay.
The level I saw was inside the castle, and finished at a Nazi weapons facility. Immediately noticable was just how good Wolfenstein: TNO looked. The guns looked great, the lighting was fantastic and the A.I were clever. We saw one particular section of the level multiple times, and in it, the enemies adapted their tactics to counter the player’s tactics accordingly. They attempted to attach from a distance behind cover when B.J. wielded a shotgun, they tried flanking when B.J. shot his assault rifle sparingly, and they tried other things to gain an advantage over the player.
One part of the level saw B.J. needing to cross a gap between two platorms. As the bridge was destroyed, B.J. had to improvise. Taking his laser cutter, he then cut the supports for a model satellite, which fell from the roof and wedged itself between the two platforms. B.J. then accessed an elevator shaft. Climbing steadily towards the top, we were constantly barraged by falling debris and Nazi soldiers, which demanded quick thinking. These exploration sequences and puzzles added some needed variety to the Wolfenstein franchise.
Another part of the mission involved a massive shootout with a Nazi mech (large bi-pedal assault robots) with a number of different approaches available. At one point, we rained down on the mech with two shotguns that we dual-wielded. Yes, you can dual-wield primary weapons in Wolfenstein: TNO and its an absolute blast. When we played the section again, we chose to cut the support links of a large V2 gas missile that was hanging from the ceiling. It crushed the mech instantly, and proved to be a much smarter tactic on our behalf.
To say I was pleasantly surprised by Wolfenstein: The New Order would be an understatement. It came as a total surprise to me that the game looked as fun as it does, and it has everything that a World War II fan and an FPS fan would like, namely precise and fun shooting mechanics, well-varied levels and over-the-top action, with a few puzzles and stealth thrown in. Put this game on your radar if you’re looking for an FPS with an entertaining campaign to play.