Wolfenstein is arguably one of the most iconic franchises of my generation, and has spanned over 33 years of the personal computers development and growth. Through that time it has gone through many changes and facelifts, with Wolfenstein: The New Order being the ninth game and latest iteration in the series.
Wolfenstein: The New Order can be seen as a completely new direction for the franchise however, as the game itself is mostly set in an alternate future, in which the Germans won the war. You take the role of legendary antagonist, William B.J. Blazkowicz, as you attempt to take away global control from the Nazi’s.
The first two hours of the game can be seen as a prequel to the story, and is set in 1946, in a world where the Alliance are beginning to fall to the Nazi troops storming the Western front. You are immediately thrown into the action in an action-packed and entertaining sequence, and end up meeting the main villain to the story, Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse, who is also a returning name to the series.
He forces you to make a decision that will ultimately have an effect on your game, as the choices you make will unlock different timelines. That being said, having played the one timeline into completion and having watched the other timeline on YouTube, the differences in the story-arc are absolutely minimal. Your interaction and their responses with the characters from the different timelines are almost identical in nature, and don’t really add much to the replayability of the game.
After waking up from a coma, you find yourself in the year 1960, in a world where Nazis have won the war. It is up to you as Blazkowicz to find the resistance and help them in their efforts to wrest control back from the now Nazi controlled empire.
The alternate universe is incredibly well fleshed out, with information and backstory as to how the Nazis won the war littered throughout the game and extremely well thought through. By the end of the game you know not only how the Nazis did it, but also the impact that it had on the rest of the world.
Adding to that universe (and personally, my absolute favourite part of the game) Machine Games has added German versions of popular 50’s and 60’s songs throughout the game, such as the German version of “House of the Rising Sun” heard in the launch trailer for the game, and is an absolutely beautiful and genius addition to the game in helping to create a Nazi-controlled world.
The overall storyline itself is a bit bland for my liking, and tends to take itself quite seriously for a Wolfenstein game. It does however, take you to various interesting locations (including the moon), with each location having its own goal and storyline as to why you are there.
Towards the middle of the game it begins to feel a bit like a “National Treasure” movie, as you discover the Nazis have been using ancient powerful technology to their advantage, and you start using that technology for your own gain in the quest to destroy the Nazis.
That being said, besides a couple of sequences, that part of the storyline died quite quickly, and you soon find yourself once again blowing up the opposition with a vast array of weaponry and a highly rewarding combat system.
Duel Wielding automatic shotguns - it's as good as it sounds.
Being able to duel wield shotguns, assault rifles, laser weapons and more, the gunplay in the game is (besides the music) by far the biggest gameplay factor for Wolfenstein: The New Order. There is almost no recoil on your guns, giving it a rather arcade-like feel, but still highly rewarding when you blow into a room with a shotgun in each hand and begin melting the enemies in a glorious array of bloodshed and gore.
This is not the only way you can go about the game however, as you can choose stealth as your method of choice to accomplish levels. With a handy knife and a silenced pistol, you can sneak your way through Nazi bases without them even knowing you are there, and on the harder difficulties, is the preferred choice of making your way through the game, as the Nazis can take you down in just a few hits if you happen to set off an alarm.
There is plenty of armour, health and ammo scattered throughout the game, so it is fairly easy to use your weapon of choice throughout the majority of the game, and I actually enjoyed the “old school” stealth system that The New Order employed. If you are on maximum health, you get “overcharged”, meaning you can go up to as much health as you can pick up, but it will slowly tick back down to 100 over time. This is super useful, especially in some of the boss fights, where it is basically required for you to have more than 100 health if you want to survive the bosses hits.
The perk system in the game is fairly arbitrary, as you unlock perks by doing certain things in the game, such as backstabbing enemies, or killing enemies while doing an action style slide along the ground.
To be honest I didn’t even look at most of the perks and still managed to unlock them during the game, purely because there are certain sequences that are specifically tailored to you getting that certain perk, as it is the most logical way to get through that stage in the game.
Although they try to give you some sort of freedom, as I progressed more through the game it began to feel more like a Call of Duty clone in terms of the campaign, as it was made up of cut sequences followed by action, followed by cut sequences, which became fairly rinse and repeat after awhile.
This turned out to be one of the problems I had with the game, because if you actually noticed how the cinematics and gameplay worked, there was only really one way or direction the game would let you take, instead of the fairly open-worldled adventure I was expecting to find.
Also, Bethesda advertised that the campaign would be 20 hours in length, and have multiple replay value, thanks to the different timelines. I have learnt since launch that this is not actually the case. My playthrough, which was not fast by any means, took just over 12 hours to complete, and although that is a quite a long game for a singleplayer only game, was nowhere near what Bethesda advertised as being.
The replay value is simply not there unless you are looking for loot, as the different time lines are just too similar in nature to actually make it worth going back to replay the entire campaign.
Wolfenstein: The New Order definitely has its faults, both in gameplay and story, but was still a thoroughly entertaining game to play through at least once for the sheer joy of the gunplay and the incredibly diverse universe that Machine Games has created around the game. If you like to kill Nazis in their hundreds (it may have even reached thousands by the end of a playthrough) then this is the game for you.
If you would like to watch my full playthrough of Wolfenstein: The New Order, you can head over to my YouTube channel, DeMoNiK Goes Gaming.