2014 seems a lifetime ago. Well 4 years to be exact, still we know how games are hard to keep track of. Occasionally a big hitter will slip by you if not for budget or time constraints. Wolfenstein has always been on “the list” and the sequel is high on it but other releases got in the way and one thing lead to another and I’m running out of excuses damn it. Finally I’ve made time to go kill nazis!
I’ve needed this more than I realised. A well crafted tightly made, Bond/Indiana style brain-off kill Nazi first person shooter. It’s gun play is superb, the guns, knives and weapons pack a satisfying punch. Killing Nazis is less of a chore more of an enjoyable romp around the levels.
Wolfenstein the New Order is full of many great set pieces, enough jump scares and shooting mechanics to make it fresh and wonderful even now. Don’t think too hard about the story, it’s a little too over the top for its own good but as long as you don’t worry too much about the deus ex machina it all plays along nicely. There’s a simple leveling system where the more you perfect and harness skills the more extra skills you unlock to augment them but it essentially focuses your game to a more stealth or a more killing streak approach. It’s nothing groundbreaking but encourages you to use different weapons more than simply sticking with one weapon of choice.
AI is good but not great, sometimes cheaply taking pot shots through destructive scenery that doesn’t fully go and other times flanking you in open spaces and catching you unaware on any difficulty setting. There are collectables, upgrade and secrets but once you find a map for the area they show as ?, giving you a rough idea of where their located. You might think this takes out the fun of exploring but its brilliant system that helps you explore areas worth looking at and not wandering off.
Frustratingly level design is a mixed bag, sometimes brilliant open air areas to clear of Nazi soldiers and others linear snakes that have you looping back accidentally. Occasionally you’ll find yourself relying on Nazi corpses to help you navigate areas you’ve already been through. Still did I mention the shooting is good? It’s not without a few unique twists, one of which is the addition of a leaning mechanic which starts out strange but the more you adapt and start to use it to stealth and snipe the more you find yourself benefiting from it (especially against the bosses). The laser gun and it’s cutting mechanic is interesting and it even throws in dual wielding for good measure. All of which works well in a game where slaughtering Nazis is the way to go.
A prime example of art direction and attention to detail surpassing the limits of its generation. The engine and various aspect of the game look a little bit dated now (as early PS4 does) and yet there are some visually stunning set pieces here. The game is chock full of little extra details, you can find various notes, newspapers and titbits to flesh out the history of everything that happened in this alternative universe. The base of operations in particular is full of visually amazing treats with each character being assigned their own room allowing their personality to shine through the design of the items in there. This is a textbook example of how to expand and develop your side characters without forcing hours of back story through unnecessary dialogue.
The beginnings of the DOOM soundtrack at work here. Though disappointingly sparsely used. That being said the guns sound super, the explosions, gunfire and grinding metal when things go wrong is worth checking your system can handle it without blowing.
Of all the bizarre things Wolfenstein the New Order brings to the table brilliant voice work was not what I expected. Granted some of it is a little terrible but that’s largely because it walks a fine line between serious war story, insane killathon and cheese. The performances of Blazkowicz and Anya start off a little stilted but eventually warm into a really nice relationship. Hell the game even has a few sex scenes that are actually adult enough to not feel like a David Cage awkward porno.
Personally I found the portrayal of Max Hass & Tekla as exceptional. I can see why this would raise debate with both characters having clear mental health issues but to me it seemed handled in a realistic way that had the characters interact with you in the way they should and not a forced sideshow to the destruction of the main game. More a pleasant intermission that creates some really painful moments towards the later half of the game.
The game has various difficulties but is still enjoyable on Very Easy and controller distressingly challenging on Very Hard. It has plenty of collectables, as much as any other really good FPS. There is an annoying multiple choice after an hour in that changes the way the game plays out but the ride is pretty enjoyable so a second go around is probably going to be worth it. Although I highly recommend you chose Captain Price like character Furgus for your first play through.
Wolfenstien is a strange beast at heart. When I started out I thought it would be a mindless blaster with little to no thinking, killing nazis and getting bored with the gore. What I got was a game that got more serious as it progressed, slowly caring more and more about what happened to Blazkowicz and his crew. The pace and need to save the day just kept getting more and more important as the game ramps up. It’s a fantastic story and recently the game has been released with The Old Blood for a budget price. If you’ve never played The New Order? Pick it up. You won’t regret it.
8/10 – That robot dog is going to stay with me for ever. Lets go kill some nazis!