Review: Wolfenstein: The New Order
Nazis, Nazis, and more Nazis… There was a time when not so long ago, defending the occupation of the Third Reich was no longer an appealing topic for a game, especially when it comes to shooters. Overused, abused as a storyline, even merging zombies and Nazis (Call of Duty series, or even Sniper Elite), and the Nazi occupied warfare scenario hasn’t had the innovative title it deserves. Thankfully MachineGames and Bethesda’s Wolfenstein: The New Order managed to revive the genre.
As gamers, we became quite used to the rusty Nazis, but the developers decided to rewrite history and create, with flair, all conceivable shots around the pitch. Like all his predecessors, Wolfenstein: The New Order is set in the midst of the second World War, but the main difference is that history has been altered in ways we could never imagine in our modern time.
After a heavy muscle-pumped prologue with Wolfenstein’s iconic character, B.J. Blazkowicz escapes a certain death, but with a heavy injury, his head filled with shrapnel, becoming a prisoner of his own body in a Polish asylum, under the care of a doctor family that spoon-feed him for 14 years. During these many years, a lot happened in the world, with Nazi Germany putting Europe to its knees as well as America and Asia, and what it seems, crushing the last pieces of resistance. It seems at early stage, that Blazkowicz strength that you will join to turn things around and take your revenge on your opponent, Strasse, aka The Butcher . This is an alternate version of history and the world that we discover in The New Order, is delightfully filled with clichés.
The Germans used their dominance to transform entire cities and rebuild them in a certain style that characterizes totalitarian regimes and have especially benefited from technological advances to develop new weapons, robots, mecha, super soldiers and were even settle a base on the Moon.
This is a classic setting, seen all over again, but it works anyway, just because it is well done. The same is true also for Blazkowicz, the eternal “badass”, only truly happy when he leaves a mission after killing all Nazis in the vicinity. MachineGames has increasingly played a wild card, slipping here and there hints of humor and especially with a modern and more effective soundtrack, which further puts you in the mood of 1960 German Nazis occupied world.
As much as is the game is true to the originals, there’s some nuances here and there. As much as Blazkowicz is gifted to kill Nazis, he will be able to slide and shoot, use stealth knives kills and more. MachineGames’ game has a vague skill tree, where improvements are unlocked when you achieve certain objectives like killing X amount of enemies with a single grenade, and so on. These perks will unlock wonderful potential, such as increasing your ammo count, but the deeper part about it is that it has an impact on the game’s story, alongside a though choice to make in the prologue. But I’ll let you discover it on your own.
Speaking of choices, Wolfenstein: The New Order gives you many choices as a gamer, a thing that has thankfully been added to a known corridor-based shooter. Throughout the game, you’ll be given the opportunity to go between a stealthy approach or a full-on rampage, as appropriate, depending on our sick desires. You can easily sneak behind an enemy and slide its throat in all bloody execution, but do not consider Wolfenstein: The New Order as a stealth game. It is close to be one, but it lacks the challenge of a more effective enemies AI, that can somehow see you even when out of sight, pushing you to switch to a direct berserk shooting mode.
It does nevertheless add this fun addition to the game, which is mandatory for certain missions. With that being said, it alternates freely between discretion and heavy assault, but the game sometimes pushes you to go crazy, with a level design and patrols layout opting for a gun craze approach, in contrast to other sequences that give you the luxury of being stealthy.
Even if the knife is often put on top of the improved shotgun with shrapnel cartridges, the laser cutter gun and assault rifle rocket launcher will become your best friends. Especially in cases of particularly vicious meetings with mechas, or even armored super soldiers, a full on explosive assault is the only way to survive, and do maximum damage.
These encounters, are often held in pretty obvious arenas, with no place to escape before having and force you to dump all gun loads, preferably one in each hand, as I would do. Because even if the levels are a bit open, the concept of Wolfenstein is still linear, going through a preset line to collect special items, treasures or finding secret areas, trapped in a corridor.
Technically quite impressive, the game is rather simple, and compensates for its lack of ambition on this point by a successful artistic direction – never seen so much beauty with only few colors – accompanied by a great soundtrack, as well as the side of the electronic music.
Wolfenstein: The New Order was reviewed using a purchased Xbox One retail copy. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• A robust FPS with a hint of stealth
• A fun narrative work with enjoyable settings
• Nazi gore!
• Addictive and intense fighting.
• A long solo campaign for a modern FPS
• Superb art direction
• Interesting perk system
• Nothing groundbreaking as an FPS though
• Some weird visual bugs
• Enemy are not as smart as I though
• An FPS without multiplayer? (I honestly don’t care)