Wolfenstein: The New Order Review
Posted 10/07/2014 by BrightHouse Team
Wolfenstein: New Order is the latest first person shooter in one of the most famous gaming lineages of all time, which started with Castle Wolfenstein back in 1981. This latest offering takes place in an alternate 1960s where the Third Reich won World War II, and Europe suffers under the oppression of the Nazis.
Berlin has become a drab, grey cityscape with oppressive architecture and propaganda posters on every wall, and Mechanized soldiers and robotic guard dogs roam the streets, putting a stop to any resistance.
Someone who is trying to resist, however, is William ‘BJ’ Blazkowicz, the returning main character from the previous game. Having been knocked out of action in 1946, BJ awakes to a world dominated by the regime he tried to destroy during the war. Since their victory, the Nazis have advanced their technology considerably, creating fearsome soldiers and bizarre mechanised dogs. As ever, the game gives you an arsenal of big and ridiculous weapons with which to take down your foes, but for all the brutality and violence of the combat, the game is surprisingly well-written, well-acted, and thoughtful.
The classic 1990s shooter protagonist only speaks the language of ‘shoot first, ask questions later’, and doesn’t deal well with technical objectives, leading to some hilarious character interactions. The gameplay also takes a lot of influence from old school shooters, with the protagonist able to carry all his weapons in one go, as well as pick up health packs and armour to stay alive. The guns are big and satisfying to fire, and can also be duel-wielded for added punch.
The bullet-spraying gameplay is also mixed up a bit with some solid stealth mechanics, allowing for levels where BJ is armed with nothing but a knife, adding a bit of variety to the action. Stealth and combat abilities can also be customised, unlocking abilities depending on the actions you take in the game. Weapons can be upgraded with packs found throughout the levels, such as a rocket launcher attached to your assault rifle, or shotgun shells that can bounce off walls, again adding some spice and different tactical approaches to taking down your enemies.
You also have use of a cutting laser, allowing you to get through sealed doors and find hidden items, but beyond that its use is limited. It feels like the developers wanted it to be something akin to Half Life 2’s gravity gun, but in the end it’s just another weapon, and seems like a bit of an afterthought.
Overall, the game is a breath of fresh air in the first person shooter genre, which is saying something for a game that has its feet firmly planted in the old traditions. It celebrates the Wolfenstein series, while intelligently highlighting the way first person shooters have changed over the years. It’s a lovingly crafted game with beautiful detail and solid gameplay, but its main success is that it’s just really, really fun.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is available now on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Gaming at BrightHouse