Wolfenstein: The New Order
- Release Date: May 20, 2014
- Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
- Developer: MachineGames
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Platform Chosen By Reviewer: PlayStation 4
Wolfenstein: The New Order explores an alternate reality in which the Nazis were able to overpower the Allies during World War II, leading to their victory and domination of the world. The year is 1946, Nazis have developed advanced technology which has been a crucial part of their war strategy, leading into their seemingly inevitable victory. Players control William “BJ” Blazkowicz as he teams up with other Allied forces in a massive raid against a fortress run by Blazkowicz’s arch-enemy General Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse. After a series of events, BJ is critically injured and suffers from an extensive amount of head trauma which leaves him in a vegetative state for nearly 14 years. Upon awakening to a Nazi attack in the psychiatric asylum he has been kept in, BJ escapes along with the asylum’s head nurse, Anya Oliwa, to a safer area in which he can be debriefed on the years he has missed. He is informed that the war he was a part of before his injury is over and the Nazis have claimed victory. This knowledge disheartens BJ, but only momentarily as it soon turns into anger. BJ then swears to find the silenced resistance forces and lead a rebellion against the Nazis; from here BJ’s journey takes flight.
The New Order features an astounding narrative and marvelous characters which are both something I did not expect to find in a first-person shooter of this caliber. I found myself immersed in a game that not only caught my interest, but was able to hold on to it throughout the entire campaign, my intrigue only growing with each scene. The narrative itself was fantastic as it not only presented a well thought out story but also intertwined a substantial amount of character development. This game is far from a mindless shooter, the level of depth involved with the main character and his interaction with others as well as his own personal thoughts is impressive. When paired with enjoyably challenging gameplay, Wolfenstein: The New Order is truly a remarkable game.
The gameplay featured in Wolfenstein: The New Order is surprisingly entertaining and challenging despite its simplistic nature. The weaponry is varied and features all different types of weapons; there are futuristic laser weapons as well as classic weapons such as assault rifles and shotguns. Most of these weapons can be dual wielded meaning that players can, for example, hold and use two shotguns at one time. Duel wielding has its pros and cons, you lose the ability to zoom or use a scope but gain higher firepower and a faster rate of fire. Weapons upgrades can be found throughout the game such as the rocket launcher attachment for the assault rifle; these upgrades can prove to be very helpful and also serve to vary the gameplay. The gameplay is challenging even on lower difficulties but not in the way that makes the game too difficult to play. I found the difficulty to be centered around simply thinking before acting, which is something I rarely find myself doing in the “shooter” genre, and clearing an area was particularly rewarding due to these minor challenges.
The health system is unique, players are allowed to overcharge the health meter in order to have over 100% health for a short period of time. There is also an armor system, allowing players to pick up pieces of armor that are used to dull direct damage from enemies. The armor cannot be overcharged beyond 100% but it is really useful if you chose to play with a more run-and-gun style. Wolfenstein: The New Order can be played in different ways, I mentioned the run-and-gun style before but you can also play with a more stealthy approach using melee and silenced weapons as opposed to loud weapons and face-to-face attacks. You can also play in a style that is all your own or some kind of combination of the two main styles. There is a cover system which allows you to crouch behind and peek above, below or around the side of the object you hide behind. This is helpful regardless of which play style you prefer as it decreases damage taken and allows time to reload and choose your shots more precisely. Each style of play has its own set of upgrades which can help you master the style you prefer, or a mixture of all of them.
Upgrades are earned through doing specific actions enough times and unlocking the upgrade. There are four different trees: stealth, tactical, assault and demolition. The stealth tree focuses heavily on the use of melee and throwing knives as well as the general stealth approach to combat. The tactical tree is good to focus on regardless of which style you prefer, the unlocks are relatively easy and it improves areas such as aiming through sights and headshot accuracy. The assault tree is as it seems, focusing on assault approaches to combat including duel wielding weapons. The demolition tree mostly has to do with grenades. Some upgrades are extremely easy to get and each one you unlock grants you an achievement/trophy so it is beneficial in multiple ways to try to unlock them all, regardless of how you choose to play the game. The perks that each skill provides are helpful and can greatly benefit you throughout the game.
For a game that was released on multiple platforms, namely new gen and last gen consoles, Wolfenstein: The New Order is surprisingly well done as far as graphical content goes. All platforms will provide you with a completed looking game. Textures blend together well, facial animations are crisp and the general look and feel of the game is rather smooth. When it comes to making the world look dismal and full of Nazi influence this game excels, providing players with a realistic environment. There are little to no glitches, bugs or technical flaws. If there was anything major I either did not experience it or is wasn’t major enough for me to even notice. As I stated earlier, The New Order features a very impressive narrative and alongside that narrative is a well written dialog and great voice acting. While the voice acting alone is not anything to write home about, it is particularly superb when paired with the storytelling and dialog which makes the entire aesthetic experience exceptional.
Overall I found Wolfenstein: The New Order to be an astounding game. I base a lot of this opinion on the narrative alone as I was personally blown away by how meaningful and deep it all was. I truly loved the main characters, I felt for them and I wanted to progress through the story in order to see them achieve their goals rather than to simply complete the game. The gameplay was a huge bonus to the great characters and story, I had a lot of fun blasting through waves of Nazi soldiers and fighting massive mechanical dogs, men and everything else the Nazis had in store. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys first-person shooters as well as anyone who enjoys great storytelling in video games, The New Order was truly a surprise hit for me.