Do you enjoy the idea of killing Nazis in space? Well then, Wolfenstein: The New Order is the game for you. Despite strong sales during its release, I often found that a staggering amount of gamers hadn’t bothered with the first-person shooter. Perhaps this was because it was a Wolfenstein game, but then the joke’s on them; as The New Order is the best FPS in years.
Released in 2014 and developed by MachineGames and published by Bethesda, The New Order follows veteran William ‘B.J.’ Blazkowicz, who attempts to stop the Nazis from continuing their reign of terror after winning the Second World War. It’s a fresh reboot for the series, introducing compelling character development to the main protagonist for the first time ever.
During its release, the game was mostly met with critical acclaim, with critics praising its narrative structure and intuitive shooting mechanics. It seemed weird to see a Wolfenstein game receive such positive reviews, but then again, they weren’t wrong in the slightest.
Providing William Blazkowicz (or ‘B.J.’ for short) with much-needed depth and emotion was the best idea that MachineGames came up with for this game. For so long now, the games have only provided little more than a grimacing face but now, B.J. appeared in The New Order with a love interest, a personality and a much greater motivation for killing Nazis.
During the game, players will take Blazkowicz through an extremely unforgiving war, taking place amongst the Allied forces in a deadly fortress, to an asylum where he awakens 14 years later, towards a forced labour camp and even a lunar research facility. The game has it all, even allowing Blazkowicz to commandeer a German U-boat in the meantime.
Of course, the narrative also requires the gameplay to be fun, but thankfully MachineGames decided to make this one of the craziest first-person shooters around. When there’s no need for stealth, gamers can go in guns blazing, wielding some of the finest guns known to the series. If they really want to use both hands, B.J. can even dual wield, therefore making it easier to take down enemies.
Some moments in The New Order don’t always require stealth to complete sections of the game, as it’s up to the gamer to decide on how to tackle certain enemies. Alarms can go off though, and that’s when the Nazis appear in droves. Their deadly machinations though, need to be tackled with much more finesse than other enemies. Just you wait until B.J. encounters some of the big dogs, oh boy.
It cannot be understated just how much fun gamers will have with Wolfenstein’s action-packed gameplay. Thanks to the polished combat mechanics, it’s an absolute delight to play as Blazkowicz. Thankfully, there’s enough variation throughout the game, so players won’t get bored with the same weapons. As they’ll find out, there’s a whole selection of methods in taking down Nazis.
The level design in Wolfenstein is another thing that really stands out as being outstanding, and that is immediately noted during the beginning fortress attack. Despite some of the maps having a linear structure, there’s still room for Blazkowicz to explore certain areas. Levels are designed in a way that players can navigate throughout them however they please, using whatever tactics they see fit.
The New Order really captures the grisly reality of war at first, and it later expands on how the Germans took over parts of the world. The game maintains a certain disturbing atmosphere wherever players take B.J., and I often found myself looking around at the finer details found on specific levels. The propaganda that can be found in the game was usually quite interesting.
The story in The New Order has some fascinating development during B.J.’s journey in taking down the Nazis, and gamers are presented with two different choices in the beginning of the game which affects the narrative later on. The narrative somehow manages to have a wonderful blend of emotional, downright terrifying and crazy ideas throughout. It’s a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.
The length of the campaign is around 12-15 hours, depending on how long gamers want to take with certain extras. It’s a sufficient amount of time for a single-player mode, and it’s a mighty relief to see that MachineGames never bothered to tack on a multiplayer mode onto the game. Too many games nowadays have watered down multiplayer modes, taking up developer time that should be spent on the single-player aspects (obligatory Mass Effect: Andromeda mention again, sorry – not sorry).
It appears that Wolfenstein: The New Order was a nice little surprise for reviewers and gamers alike, who didn’t expect much from the game. The previous 2009 entry was rather unremarkable, so having a Wolfenstein game implement a proper story, strong character development and polished gameplay mechanics was totally unexpected.
The success of The New Order allowed for a small expansion a year later, The Old Blood, a prequel story focusing on Blazkowicz in 1946 Germany. During The Old Blood, players have to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein to obtain the location of The New Order’s main antagonist, ‘Deathshead’.
Whilst the additional content upheld the solid gameplay of the original game, The Old Blood slightly suffered from having a story that just wasn’t as impressive or as interesting as The New Order. Still, it’s certainly worth playing if players are itching to take down more Nazis as the effortlessly cool B.J.
This year’s E3 saw the surprise of new Wolfenstein II footage, showcasing a bunch of outlandish action that the series is now known for. This time, it appears that the Nazi regime is at its strongest in the occupied countries, and a returning Blazkowicz is now ready to help turn the tide once again. Even if he’s in a wheelchair, he’s more than able to kill the enemy.
With the game out later this year, there is no better time to get caught up on Wolfenstein. It is the most fun I’ve had with a first-person shooter in absolutely years. Whereas games like Titanfall 2 provided a decent campaign, games such as Wolfenstein went the extra mile and delivered a solid story with rewarding combat.
Wolfenstein: The New Order should be fairly cheap to purchase now, so you’ve got no reason to not pick it up. MachineGames are cementing themselves as a great video game company, and with the current sequel out soon, let’s hope they continue their success with Wolfenstein and many other games.