Wolfenstein: The New Order
There’s a simplistic beauty to Bethesda’s newest release, Wolfenstein: The New Order. There’s no over hype about ‘is it better than the last one?’ or ‘I hope the killstreaks are better this time!’ or ‘Geez, I hope those laggy multiplayer servers are fixed!’ Nope, it’s just a simple ‘well, the Nazis are back. Better go kick their asses.’ Right from the get go, Wolfenstein kicks you in the face with a robot boot, throws a few hand grenades around the place, and then comes at you duel wielding full-auto Shotguns. History has changed, and the Germans have won World War 2, which means our old friend B.J Blascowitz is back to what he does best-the business of killin’ Nazis. And brother, business is boomin’!
Wolfenstein is a blast, almost from the moment you have control of B.J’s actions. The intro mission…well, it’s difficult to call it an intro mission. Taking part in a last ditch Allied attempt to stop the Nazis from winning the war, the game gives you barely any time to learn your way about before you’re on the coastline of the Baltic, storming a castle in a way that seems very reminiscent of Omaha Beach style assaults from Medal of Honor. Just with more explosions, and giant Nazi robots. It’s straight into the action-what, did you expect some sort of wussy Call of Duty-style firing range exercise? From here, you’re taken on one heck of an adventure as you travel Europe, trying desperately to stop the Germans from conquering the world (and beyond.) Much of the game is based in 1960, where the war has been over for some time. German occupation forces reign supreme, and you’re tasked with contacting and then assisting the resistance, based in Berlin, with making life hell for the Jerries. Think Inglorious Basterds…only with more guns. And Nazi Robots.
Being purely campaign based with no multiplayer, Wolfenstein really does have an old school feel to it. Id has really done the world a service with this game, by reminding us what an FPS should be all about. The missions are long and thought out, and while there is no free roam as such the mission levels are quite broad, giving you ample opportunity to explore and discover new guns, hidden loot and much more. The health system regenerates to the highest 20%, with health packs required should it fall below this. A feature I like is the ability to ‘overcharge’ your health; by taking health packs, even when your health is 100%, it adds onto your health, meaning for a limited time that you have a larger amount of health than usual, making fights against bigger, more armoured foes a bit easier. You can scavenge armour from destroyed robotic foes as well, and hidden upgrades throughout the game permanently boost your maximum health. You can also unlock perks, which can help you in combat, make your health system better, and give you the ability to carry more ammunition. Perks are unlocked by performing certain challenges throughout the game-killing x number of Nazis with a grenade, silent kill x number of officers, etc. No doubt those perks include a few Nazi robots as well…
To help you on your way you have a hilariously enormous and overpowered arsenal at your disposal, with the ability to dual wield most of what you find. Twin Auto Shotguns are a massive help against larger foes, and mounted miniguns throughout the levels can be picked up and carried around (something very Rambo-esqe that nowhere near enough games let you do). Assault rifles, laser cutters that double as weapons, Tesla grenades, rocket launchers…the weaponry alone deserves an award. You can literally blast your Nazi enemies to bits, pick them off silently, or charge in spraying and praying that you don’t need to reload halfway through a Panzerhunden attack. Stealth is a valid option in most levels, but not mandatory. You can ghost through a level like you were never there, or slash, blast and destroy everything in your path, leaving a trail of bodies and destruction, letting the Nazis know well and truly that B.J is back. The choice is yours, Mein Kamrade!
Despite the action adventure and mindless ‘shoot everyone and blow it all up’ that Wolfenstein delivers (which I absolutely love), they have also done a great deal of work with building the characters involved, on both sides. It’s a serious game, with several emotional moments, but they throw in just enough humour and dry wit in at times to make it a highly entertaining story. Expect to see a few familiar faces from previous titles, and several new ones that…you probably wished you hadn’t. Uber Commandos, drones, robotic giant dogs, AT-AT style robot walkers, even gigantic War of the Worlds-like tripods…the Nazis sure know how to throw a party. the soundtrack, and sound effects, also build a good deal of tension; you can never be sure what will leap at you from the shadows, or rubble, or even the giant building you just brought down. The game really keeps you on your toes as you battle to stop the Nazis; you never really know what you’ll be up against. And a lot of the time you’re forced to develop a strategy on the run; Mr Nazi AT-AT isn’t going to politely wait for you to read the tutorial on him so you know how to kill him. Think fast, and shoot faster solider.
Wolfenstein is a welcome return for the series. Ridiculous guns, massive overpowered enemies, a Hollywood worthy story, and an awesome Easter Egg throwback to the original Wolfenstein 3D (hint; check upstairs in the resistance HQ), coupled with a treasure trove of goodies to play back through to look for, mean Wolfenstein is a game that’ll keep you going for months.
- The successful reboot of the franchise, giving us a timely reminder of what and FPS should be
- The very loosely linear storyline gives you a lot of freedom in terms of how you accomplish the mission -A heap of collectibles and unlock able modes to play in means you’ll be coming back for a while.
- It is prone to loading in textures, meaning at times it can be difficult to see exactly what’s in front of you.
- AI can be a little poor at times. Some tend to wait until you’re within. A certain radius before attacking, meaning they can be picked off from a distance with impunity.
- A lot of players (me included) have suffered a few nasty glitches in the game, at times making it impossible to progress further.
Written by Ben Rachow