Wolfenstein the New Order
While not a new game, with the sequel fast approaching, I felt a little refresher was in order. Bearing in mind, that I was in high school/college when the original was floating around a freeware, this update was more than welcome to my gaming library. Developed by Machine Games and published by Bethesda, it has a solid pedigree and an established team in the bullpen.
Though I am rarely a fan of revisionist history, this game uses it to great effect to drive the story. B.J. Blazkowicz, only a few years after his first foray through Castle Wolfenstein is back in the thick of the fight, only this time, the Germans have developed new technology and weaponry. Long (extremely engaging) story short, the Axis wins the war and becomes THE worldwide super power. What follows is an immersive adventure where you, as Blazkowicz must use all the tropes of modern games: stealth, shooting, puzzle solving, and sometimes, deciding whether to fight or run (running is rarely an option). All of these options however, are executed in proper proportion to make for a solid, and truly entertaining playthrough.
As a first person shooter, the game follows in the footsteps of the original. Being a modern gen game, however, it improves in every way over not only the original; but every previous installment. The graphics are realistic and smooth, with a solid frame rate that leads to realistic movement from enemies and environment alike. Each area you run through has a distinct look and the attention to detail shines. Whether in dungeons, caves, or broken down castles, Machine Games really put their best foot forward on this and it shows. NPCs look and move like real people, get as close as you want, take a good look. The A.I. truly challenges you even at lower difficulty levels. Enemy soldiers will take cover, run away from you, and come at you from different angles. If you’re not careful, you will die, many, many times. The weapon selection is great, everything from handguns to BFGs and everything in between. Being able to dual wield shotguns is a really fun and satisfying mechanic. Especially when you’re up against armored soldiers.
With no multiplayer mode, the developers had time and the ability to focus on the single player campaign. It’s not a short game by any means; but you won’t have to spend a month on it. Without a multiplayer mode, you have to depend on your console/platform (PSN/XBOX LIVE/STEAM of choice to provide you with stats in regard to your friends’ progress versus your own.
Machine and Bethesda weren’t done with Blazkowicz after the New Order, they later expanded on the mythology with Wolfenstein the Old Blood. This was another solid entry that allowed players to continue the madness/fun killing evil Nazis and horrific metal monstrosities. They kicked up the occult content while maintaining the shoot ‘em up factor. Set before the New Order, Old Blood is a prequel that manages to squeeze in the COD staple of Nazi Zombies without it feeling tacked on; it makes sense within the story. Later this year (October), welcomes the release Wolfenstein II the New Colossus. This game will take players back to the good ol’ US of A, albeit one currently under Nazi control. I’m excited by this next installment, because there are so many awesome story possibilities. Machine Games and Bethesda look to have another hit on their hands.
Now, for the real question, is this game worth my hard earned money? Abso-freakin-lutely. This game is a great value, brand new, Wolfenstein the New Order will cost you 19.99 on STEAM, PSN and XBOX prices are the same through their respective online stores. If you go the brick and mortar route, you can get them for the same price or even less if you don’t mind buying used.