Wolfenstein is a name every FPS fan should be familiar with, since it was Wolfenstein 3D that basically launched the genre. It has been called the grandfather of shooters and for good reason. Back in 1992 it was revolutionary, shooting up Nazi’s with machine guns never looked so good, and it paved the way for the hundreds of shooters to this day. Since it was such an important game it’s understandable that many developers would want to create spin offs to try and capture a little bit of that magic seen over two decades ago. The latest reincarnation goes by the name of Wolfenstein: The New Order and is developed by Machine Games, but have they managed to capture a little bit of the first games soul somewhere in between all the gun fire?
Wolfenstein: The New Order tells a very different version of World War 2. The Nazi’s have acquired highly advanced technology, enabling them to command the skies in jets, which look like stealth bombers, and dominate land battles with powerful death-dealing machines. The Allies launch a full-scale attack in true D-day fashion against the massive fortress that houses the enemy’s precious technology. Sadly the mission fails, even with the help of the gun-slinging William Blazkowitz, who you play as once again.
William and two members of his squad are captured by an evil scientist that goes by the name Deathshead – who is one cruel and twisted psychopath. After having to make a very tough choice between which of your team members lives, you manage to escape, but a head injury lands you up in a mental hospital. A few years go by and the world is a very different place under the rule of the new Nazi super power. The Nazi’s come to pay the hospital an unpleasant visit, and you manage to escape in the chaos once again along with a nurse named Anya a she’s Williams’ love interest. You then begin setting plans in place to form a resistance to take down the Nazi empire. The story keeps you captivated right to the very end thanks to some great villains like Deathshead, who you will want to see burn in the muzzle flames of your machine guns before the credits roll.
It wouldn’t be a Wolfentstein game without plenty of machine guns and that’s one thing the game does just right, especially thanks to the fact that you can basically duel wield every single weapon. There are few things more satisfying than clearing a room of Nazi’s duel wielding automatic shotguns, and the feel of the weapons are fantastic. Gun fire sounds terrifying as you dismember enemies and blow chunks of concrete out the wall. It’s all about over-the-top violence in Wolfenstein: The New Order, which in essence was what the original was all about. The tone of the game feels like something out of a Tarantino movie, more so Inglorious Bastards, which was clearly the inspiration for some tense dialog moments, such as the one around a few strange photographs on the train to Berlin.
The game actually has a few tense moments thanks to the fact that certain areas require you to use a little bit of stealth. Some sections require you to keep a low profile while hunting down a general. Generals can trigger alarms, turning levels into Omaha beach in seconds, so taking the time to use a few knife kills pays off, especially since ammo can be scarce in certain sections. Wolfenstein: The New Order pays homage to the original in a few ways. If you want to view the map to see where you are or maybe where some interesting items are you can’t just hit a button. You actually have to find the map first for that area. It’s this lack of hand-holding that makes Wolfentstein: The New Order feel like and old school shooter with upgraded visuals, which is what it should feel like considering the source material.
Visually Wolfentstein: The New Order does a good job of handling all the chaos that unfolds on-screen, with the PS4 version pushing out a solid 60FPS throughout the experience. There are moments where the game drips in beautiful atmosphere, and moments where you think, I wish this wasn’t a cross-gen game due to the downgraded visuals. However, for the most part things look really good as you shoot your way through hundreds of Nazis.
At this point you might be thinking, “Okay, so what is the multiplayer like?”To to my surprise there is no multiplayer at all. That’s something that’s very out of the ordinary as almost all FPS games have an online component these days. However this does not take away from the experience as there are 16 chapters to play through and each of them will take you around the good part of an hour to complete. There is also a fantastic cover system that lets you peak under doors and around corners that is one of the best FPS covers systems I have ever experienced.
So the lack of online multiplayer should not stop you answering the call to return to the Wolfenstein series once again. I had way more fun with Wolfenstein: The New Order than I thought I would, and its easily one of the best FPS games to come out this year. If you enjoy the series or even just solid shooters in general, then Wolfetnstein: The New Order is a must play, and a worthy successor to the pixelated masterpiece of yesteryear.