Wolfenstein: The New Order is a first-person shooter that takes place during World War II. The difference that keeps this game from being just another World War II game is that this one takes place in an alternate timeline. On this timeline the Nazi’s won the war and now rule with an iron fist of oppression over all of those that don’t fall in line with Nazi ideology. The game is produced by Bethesda and was developed by MachineGames after they were able to obtain rights from the original creators at id Software. The Wolfenstein franchise has had somewhat of a harried past with success, but always keeps chugging along. So, let us clean the grit from our face and take a look at what makes this game worth every penny.
In Wolfenstein: The New Order we continue to follow our hero, William “B. J.” Blazkowicz, on his journey to defeat the Nazi’s. Wolfenstein: The New Order is only historical in the use of World War II, but doesn’t have anything to do with actual events or situations that happened in the war. You fight your way through Nazi’s using energy weapons, bio-mechanical dogs, and mechanized robots all hell bent on ending you. Your goal in the beginning of Wolfenstein: The New Order is to bring down General Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse and gain the advantage for the allied forces. Blazkowicz and a small platoon of men aid in infiltrating the beach and interior compound. As you progress through the beginning level, you get pieces of Blazkowicz’s thoughts as members of his team die at the hands of the Nazi’s.
If we look at the graphics of Wolfenstein: The New Order, they are pretty smooth. The engine used reminded me of the first time playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It’s not super smooth, but it has a certain grit that appeals to the game world. It just fits with the bleak look of the cities ruled by the Nazi regime. It also feels like a Wolfenstein game; there is a certain feeling in the desperation of the plot that you can feel in the world just by how it looks. This game has a certain special touch that took me back to my days playing Wolfenstein 3D. Perhaps it is the graphic nature of combat that relates back to those good old days. Much of the graphic nature being absurdly over-the-top, but still a key quality that makes the franchise enjoyable.
The mechanical attributes of Wolfenstein: The New Order are very smooth. The player can select from a variety of weapons that come up on a wheel display. You can either single wield or dual wield the majority of what’s available as long as you’ve picked up at least 2 of a particular weapon. The weapon upgrade system gets a little confusing as the upgrades are randomly found in the world; some of them might get missed if you don’t do some exploration. Alongside the weapons is a perk system of sorts. As you accomplish different feats, i.e stealth kill 5 commanders, you gain some additional abilities; these abilities can increase your speed, ammo capacity, and weapon damage. What’s nice, is the abilities scale you to the difficulty of many of the later encounters you will have with enemies. Wolfenstein: The New Order keeps tradition in some of the gore physics. That tradition being over-the-top in most situations.
Let’s talk about the difficulty of Wolfenstein: The New Order. The player is given 4 selections that are the same as previous incarnations of the game except for the addition of ÜBER. ÜBER is the definition of insanely hard. Even playing BRING’EM ON, which is normal mode, the game scales in difficulty as you advance. Even with all of the perks unlocked, all weapons and their corresponding upgrades, there were areas of the game that were frustrating even for an experienced player. Wolfenstein: The New Order makes players realize how important the use of cover is when engaging large groups of enemies. There were many times that the AI was smart enough to flank me and I was forced into a retreat. The game features health and armor upgrades, but these depend on a choice you are forced to make early on in the game.
Wolfenstein: The New Order has a story that drives the game forward constantly, but still connects you to our hero. From the beginning, you are given a small amount of the PTSD issues that Captain Blazkowicz is dealing with. He’s lost a lot of friends and allies; he’s ready to do whatever it takes to end this war. Wolfenstein: The New Order has a unique twist that forces you into a decision that will affect the rest of your game. This gives the game a good replay value if you want to see how things will change based on that decision. Some of the changes are small and some of them are much more distinct. You really feel for the character when he begins functioning in a world where the Nazi’s have complete control, his friends are either dead or locked up, and he finds love in a world fraught with fear. The story drives forward with a lot of momentum and leads us to a climax well worth getting to.
Wolfenstein: The New Order succeeds as one of my favorite games this year simply because it doesn’t hide what it is. At its core, the game is about killing Nazi’s and doing so with some ridiculous firepower. The addition of a great story and tactile environments helps push its success even further. It keeps to simplicity and doesn’t aim higher than it needs to. I look forward to the future of the franchise if MachineGames continues to produce this kind of content. It’s comforting that a company seems to understand what the game should be and delivered exactly that without diminishing the experience for players. Let’s look at the breakdown:
Overall, I would score the game with an 8.5/10. The game is visually striking, but doesn’t quite make the mark of other next-gen graphics. This isn’t to say that the visuals aren’t good; they are smooth and textures are easy to look at. Mechanically, the controls are easy to comprehend. The only problem is sometimes with weapon switching and the quick swap; it treads close to having a few too many actions mapped to a single button. The story really takes it away and by the end I truly cared about the characters. I’m interested to see where the story of Captain Blazkowicz will go in the future. If MachineGames continues to sit in the pilot seat I think there are good things heading down the road for this franchise. This game is definitely worth a pick up and play. You can play the game and invest more than 10 hours into it if you go through all the story elements available. Get it now for PlayStation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.