War is brutal, unsettling, heart breaking and dangerous to engage in. For those who had to bear witness to the Nazi regime during the days of World War II, all this rings true. Thankfully, the Nazis rule was overthrown and the world was free of their evil agenda. But what if the Nazis were the victors of WWII? What if they dominated the United States and became the global superpower they sought to become? Wolfenstein, the OG of the first-person shooting game genre, offers players that horrifying alternate reality in The New Order.
Players once again get to step into the shoes of B.J. Blazkowicz, an Allied Forces soldier who’s name scream “90’s gaming badass.” You’re transported into a world that’s ruled by the Nazis, which means you’ll have to contend with plenty of opposing forces along your journey. This alternate take on the outcome of WWII offers some of the classic technological advancements that may have come true if the Nazis took advantage of their experiments. Rabid dogs outfitted with robotic limbs and huge mechanized robots make up just some of the weird enemies you’ll encounter. This is a game that focuses on nothing but single player, which is a fresh and welcome change from FPS games that don’t offer enough of a good solo campaign. There’s some replayability to be had here too, thanks to the differing scenarios that result from one important decision near the start of the game.
The plot itself is simple but effective. Gather up your resistance allies, destroy the Nazis and restore order to the world. The plot is told pretty well through the use of in-game events that transition into cinematic cutscenes right in the middle of gameplay. From time to time, you’ll put down your weapon and engage in some truly unsettling character interaction moments that show you just how evil some individuals can be. These instances do a good job of breaking up the action and offering you more of an incentive to take down the bad guys. The more interesting characters in the game are the antagonists, yet the good guys are well-worn stereotypes who aren’t very memorable. There’s the soft spoken badass, the resilient but reserved love interest, the hard-boiled war veteran with an accent etc. B.J.’s low, monotone voice also is grating at times. You’ll have a hard time hearing his random quips during gameplay, which is an annoying trait for any game’s lead character.
Wolfenstein: The New Order looks and sounds pretty good. The dark and dreary environments perfectly capture the look of a world that’s controlled by an all-powerful and corrupt force. The visceral nature of this game is its strongest point, though. Shooting down your enemies results in incredibly violent and detailed death animations that are cringeworthy and welcome all at the same time. The sounds of gunfire, alarms going off and screaming soldiers do a great job of having the appropriate audio needed to put you in the mindset of going to war.
Id Software may not have developed this next entry in the series, but MachineGames has done an admirable job of keeping the spirit of the series fast-paced shooting alive. The New Order moves at a speedy pace, which is the perfect fit for a modern-day shooter with old school mechanics. The weapon selection is wide and varied. One minute you’re mowing down Nazi generals with an automatic rifle, then the next moment you’ll be shooting them from afar with an upgraded laser cutter. The inventive weaponry you’ll obtain keep the intense gunfights from growing stale. The old school mechanics tend to get in the way of this game’s entertaining factor, though. Being forced to pick up numerous ammo, health and armor pickups after clearing out a room of soldiers grows tiresome real fast. The option to just walk over these powerups and automatically collecting them would have been much a preferred option here.
One of the other ways this game stays fresh throughout is its cool perks system. Depending on your chosen playstyle, you’ll unlock different boosts that award you for approaching missions differently. It doesn’t matter if you choose to run into a room guns blazing or take a more stealthy approach to the mission at hand. The game will still allow you to stay on your chosen path of gameplay and provide you with the necessary upgrades needed to stay on that path. This mechanic keeps things fresh and keeps you coming back for more as you replay missions with differing approaches.
The overall single-player campaign is nothing too special, but its still fun nonetheless. Each mission turns into an open playground that includes all manners of shooting and sneaking around to enjoy. The action-packed spirited sequences do their job and the large collection of collectibles pushes you to stray off the beaten path. There’s a lot of fun gunplay to enjoy and secrets to be found here, which makes the single player structure worth coming back to once you’ve beaten it. The lack of a multiplayer component is disappointing, though. A slick and fast FPS such as this one just screams for a proper deathmatch mode. But the solo campaign offers enough of a distraction from that game mode omission.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is a solid and enjoyable FPS. The incredibly fast gunplay, perks system, fun single-player campaign and awesome collectibles keep this shooter from being average. You won’t care too much for the protagonists and you’ll grow annoyed with the classic FPS gameplay methods at times, but you’ll still get a kick out of shooting down them darn Nazis.