Wolfenstein: The New Order is an FPS by Machinegames, set in an alternate reality where the Nazis won the second world war. You play as Blazkowicz (who may also be referred to as the rather unfortunate ‘B.J’) and guide him on his mission to kill all of the nazis on his own.
The new Wolfenstein can best be described as a new retro shooter, in the broadest of terms, it is a game which tries to take the good parts from new shooters while trying its best to incorporate it into a retro shooter fashion – the end result is a game which almost comes across as a weird kind of homage to itself, and it manages to do so while maintaining a serious face. I don’t think ive ever seen a story about 1 man killing thousands of nazi’s be told so seriously before, incorporating surprising amounts of drama, character development and surprises, this isn’t a bad thing at all, but it’s just surprising to see them not go down a more comedic parody style route with it.
At its core, Wolfenstein TNO is a linear shooter, with some elements of occasional stealth. it is possible to skip enemies or small segments of the level at a time if you are able to sneak through properly, at worst it’s an easy way to take out a few enemies before starting up the fight guns blazing. These brief moments of stealth – along with some small breather periods and story segments – are a great way of breaking up the otherwise monotonous gunplay. For the most part however, you’ll be walking along to the next objective, and shooting everything in your path. it’s a good thing then that shooting is pretty satisfying, with weapons having sufficient power to take down most grunts in a few shots, or a single one to the face, the armored enemies are a little more obnoxious and slow down the pace of the game slightly, but perhaps this was just because I was on hard mode. I was slightly disappointed at the lack of weapon choice, with only the basic subtypes represented, though to their credit, each of the weapons did fill their niche well. Gunfight areas were pretty designed in most areas – a mix of tight corridors and corners and then more open segments which allow the player a little more freedom of which way to approach the encounter.
I mentioned earlier a fusion of new and old FPS, some examples of this would be the health and armor systems, which are old school style instantaneous pickups (the game does let you regen to 20, or the nearest multiple of 10 after a few seconds however, preventing unwinnable scenarios), the presence of ‘overheal’ as a feature is also hilariously retro. Another mechanic is the weapon system and accuracy of these weapons, you can hold your entire arsenal at once, and dual wield almost all of the guns at no penalty, guns shoot fairly true even without ADS, meaning akimbo assault rifles or shotguns can be (and often is) the best choice for most of your battles. On the flip, the game features a perks system which unlocks based on fulfilling critera, these perks provide small boosts like magazine size or max holding capacities.
Graphically the game is very nice, with ID tech 5 doing a fantastic job of keeping the framerate at a smooth 60, though sometimes not being quite fast enough to stream in textures if I turn around too fast. I played through on medium-high settings and had no issues with framerate even on an older PC, the game still looked fantastic in my opinion, with plenty of fancy graphical effects, and one of the more impressive depth of field effects i’ve seen in a video game. Sound and music is also pretty well done, with weapons having a good sound to them and the engine rendering sfx, echoes and chatter well for my 5.1 setup, music mostly being low-key but noticeable, aside from towards the end of the game where it goes a bit max payne 3 finale and becomes more prominent.
I did have a few complaints with the game, the subtitles option seemed to be weird, I set it to only show during foreign chatter, yet 2 english characters could be speaking and it would only display subtitles for one of them. Enemy AI is thick as mud and rarely try to use any real tactics other than hiding behind a piece of debris and popping out every 4 seconds, they did flank me a few times, but these were few and far between. My largest complaint is the lack of any auto item pickup, resulting in the player having to mash E to pick up ammo, health and armor – ammo in particular can be dropped in quantities as small as 5 bullets which mean you often are forced into sprinting around the last battlefield graveyard spamming E to pick up all of the drops before being allowed to move on, it sounds like nitpicking, but when my stats say I picked up 1500+ items during the course of the game, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for my keyboard.
The game is on the longer side for a linear FPS, averaging maybe 8 or 9 hours for a playthrough. The game also boasts multiple timelines, without going into specifics, these two timelines feature different characters which provide their own skills and dialogue, changing up the layout of levels slightly as well as altering the story a little. It’s a little odd they decided to include no multiplayer at all, other than the other timeline playthrough and some collectibles, there isn’t a whole lot to bring you back.
Wolfenstein: The New Order was better than I expected, it manages to capture the feel of the FPS games of old without sacrificing new improvements the genre has introduced. Even with its surprisingly long singleplayer, the gunplay is satisfying enough to help players see the game through.
Approximate Game Length : ~8.5 Hours main story
Actual Worth / Steam Price: £15 / £35 = 0.42
Should you play it : For genre fans, those who enjoy FPS games will find a refreshing change of pace from todays slew of modern military shooters. While those who dislike the genre can safely skip this one safe in the knowledge that it does nothing groundbreaking.