Few can deny that when it comes to first person shooters, id Software are masters of their craft. They caught the market off-guard with the release of Wolfenstein 3D back in the early 90’s and have found international success in revitalizing the genre. Today, some of the biggest and most successful games are first person shooters and they have id Software to thank. Fast forward to today, and though id Software was not directly involved, MachineGames took the helm. Wolfenstein: The New Order is their interpretation of the iconic franchise and it is a beautiful one at that. Wolfenstein: The New Order is a gorgeous, immersive first person shooter that is both exciting and fun to play. If there was ever a reason to purchase a next gen console, this game is it.
The story of Wolfenstein: The New Order takes place three years after the events of the 2009 Wolfenstein game developed by Raven Software. You pick up again as B.J. Blazkowicz and you are part of a massive allied raid against a Nazi outpost. Your plane is shot down, but you and select members of your crew survive. It is up to you to gather your wits, rally your crew and storm the stronghold. Obviously, there is much more to the story than just this blurb, but for the sake of spoilers, this description should give you an idea of where the game starts. Unlike most first person shooters, the plot of Wolfenstein is much better than you would initially expect. The plot is engaging and there are plenty of twists and turns that keep things interesting. Sure there are moments that you see coming a mile away, but there are plenty of moments that sneak up on you too. In a world where FPS games have little to no plot, Wolfenstein: The New Order is a breath of fresh air.
While the plot is great, the atmosphere of the game sets Wolfenstein: The New Order apart. The game captures the essence of World War 2 without getting too specific or historical. Sure there are several set pieces and technology that didn’t exist at the time, but that play between history and science fiction makes the game seem plausible and makes the game much more intriguing to explore, which is only a good thing for gamers. The game plays with the notion that the Nazis won World War 2 and the Third Reich spread across the known world. From the interaction with the game’s characters, to the various set pieces found throughout the game, the world they created is convincing and it feels realistic which just makes this game even more fun to play. Also, you get the sense that this world is a miserable place. The Nazis are holding the world by the throat. There is clearly a need for a hero, and that is where you come in. Needless to say, MachineGames nailed the game’s atmosphere and it is one of the best parts of the game.
As beautiful and immersive as this game is, it is still a traditional first person shooter at its core. Luckily for gamers, the gameplay is excellent. The game controls are tight and responsive with a fairly typical FPS layout. You’ll have access to several different weapons at once, all of them accessible at a moments notice. For all intents and purposes, the game plays and functions as well as a top flight FPS should. The only issue we had with the game’s controls is when you started firing weapons. Some weapons had a little too much kickback and it made aiming more difficult that it needed to be. The game didn’t need to follow the Call of Duty method where there is basically no recoil, but there has to be a happy medium somewhere. Another small issue is the way you collect items and ammo. Traditionally, players would just walk near an item to collect it and it is assumed that player intended to pick up the item. This makes sense because in the heat of battle, you want to pick up as much ammo and armor as you can. In Wolfenstein: The New Order, you have to press a button to collect anything. This makes loading up after an intense battle more difficult than it needs to be. It isn’t anything that breaks the game, but it is worth noting in the end.
Where this game goes from “Good FPS” to “Great FPS” is in the game design. Unlike many FPS games where players are tasking with running in a straight line killing everything that moves, Wolfenstein: The New Order allows you to take multiple approaches to the level. You can run in guns blazing, as most people would. However, you can take a more stealthy approach and attract less attention from your efforts. While this approach isn’t rewarded in any way, it still gives the player a level of control not often seen in FPS games today. Being able to play the game using multiple techniques is a great and welcomed addition to the genre and we particularly liked that the game didn’t force you to choose which way to play. Being able to switch between stealth and bezerker was a lot of fun and made this game that much better.
Overall, Wolfenstein: The New Order is an excellent first person shooter that delivers everything that you’d expect it to and then some. The story is deep and immersive, the characters and memorable and well-acted, even the fiction sets up a world that is meant to be explored. Sure there are a few minor annoyances that you may have to deal with, but they are drowned out by everything that is good about this game. If you have been looking for a great FPS experience or just something worth playing on your brand new console, this game is everything you’ve been looking for. Its fast, its violent and it is a worthy addition to the storied franchise. We loved our time with the game and we know that FPS fans will love it too. Buckle in for a trip back to Wolfenstein.
This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation 4 version of Wolfenstein: The New Order developed by MachineGames, published by Bethesda.
- Very Atmospheric, WWII inspired World
- Tight FPS Controlls
- Just Plain Fun to Play
- Slight Issues Regarding Picking Up Items
- Some Plot Twists Are Too Obvious