Game: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Consoles: Xbox One (Reviewed), PS4, PC
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
One of 2014’s more underrated game releases was Bethesda Softworks and MachineGames’ Wolfenstein: The New Order. It managed to breathe new life into the once stagnant franchise by introducing stronger plot elements, more creative environments to run & gun through and a return to old school FPS mechanics. MachineGames has developed a standalone prequel to The New Order that places B.J. Blazkowicz behind enemy lines once again. Welcome to 1946 and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood.
The Old Blood returns to the series roots for this go-around. You head into Castle Wolfenstein to complete a dangerous mission, but things don’t go as smoothly as your military superiors wished they did. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself attempting to make your grand escape and still complete the mission at hand. Where The New Order freshened things up by placing you outside of dreary castles and underground caverns, The Old Blood returns to its roots with those same locations. To be quite honest, those elements felt tired before and they still maintain a feeling of “meh” now. The more cramped locations you’ll be placed in aren’t as open as the ones in The New Order, which makes sneaking around less of a viable option in some cases.
Luckily, the gunplay is still as awesome as ever. B.J.’s weapon wheel retains many of the weapons used during his last romp against the Nazi’s. Running and gunning with your dual automatic machine guns still feels gratifying. The new sawed-off shotgun and grenade launching pistol pack on extra bouts of fun as you blow your enemies to bloody bits. The simple joy of picking up pieces of armor from dead enemies and dog food is still a pleasure that has to be experienced to be understood. The stealth sections aren’t as strong as the ones on display in The New Order, but the fun gunplay feels great in the main campaign and challenge maps. The newly added pipe manages to include a fun mechanic that makes stealth kills and vertical navigation enjoyable.
The fact that this standalone expansion isn’t overly long is a blessing. While The Old Blood starts out fine, the later stages of your run through begins to feel a bit stale. The New Order amazed gamers thanks to its various changes in locations, optional approaches to situations and stronger storytelling. The Old Blood relies on several instances of more gunplay over sneaking, which loses its luster after a while. The old environments seen in series’ past will invoke feelings of “been there, done that” for Wolfenstein regulars. The main campaign starts out well enough, but it begins to feel like a chore as you do and see the “same ol’, same ‘ol” after a while.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a decent offering for a standalone expansion release. The swift firefights are still fun and the addition of challenge maps keep that strong aspect of the game front and center. However, the elements that made The New Order stand out are not present here to keep The Old Blood as entertaining. The repetitive environments will bring on a feeling of staleness and the more linear take on stealth is disappointing. The Old Blood is fun at times, but it lacks some of the finer mechanics that made its predecessor stand out.
- Maintains the fast, gritty gunplay seen in Wolfenstein: The New Order
- Short and sweet length for the main campaign
- Challenge maps are a fun diversion
- A feeling of repetition will creep in during later portions of the campaign
- The maps aren’t as large & varied as the ones seen in Wolfenstein: The New Order