Wolfenstein has a long and proud history as being one of the original first person shooters and a defining franchise at that. Thankfully, the franchise has gone strong since its inception in the early 1990’s proving that even though this game has a long history, it still manages to keep itself relevant. Fast forward to today where Wolfenstein is coming back to consoles in a flashy, modern take on the series. New Gamer Nation was given the opportunity to play the game first hand and this is what we experienced.
In Wolfenstein: The New Order, you play as the franchise hero William “B.J.” Blazkowicz. Blazkowicz is a US Ranger fighting against the Nazis during World War II. This game starts three years after the events of the 2009 game Wolfenstein. Blazkowicz is fighting for the allies and is assigned a secret mission to launch a counter-offensive against the Nazis. Things go awry and Blazkowicz spends the next 15 years in an insane asylum after a traumatic head injury. Over this period of time, Blazkowicz heals his body and his mind until the Nazis storm the asylum and start executing the inmates. Blazkowicz realizes the fight has come to him and escapes to find the resistance. However, the Nazis already won the war and control the known world. There can’t be a resistance left, or is there?
Wolfenstein: The New Order is the first Wolfenstein game that has been designed for the next generation. We played the game on the PlayStation 4 and the game looked great. Textures and environments ran smoothly and seamlessly. While you would expect as much from a next generation game, Machinegames really took advantage of the hardware they had to create a world that really spoke to the intent of the original games. The environments were beautiful and had a sense of grit to them which just enhanced the experience. In the section of the game we played, there were several different environments from a World War II bomber to the Normady-esque battlefields near the Nazi’s bunkers, so no matter what level you were playing, you didn’t see the same level design or textures twice.
From a gameplay perspective, the game functioned just like you would expect. The controls resembled a typical third person scheme, so if you play first person shooters, this game’s controls should feel comfortable to you. There is an interesting health mechanic which combines the Call of Duty style health regeneration mechanic with a health pack mechanic. The result is a hybrid where your health bar is separated into segments. If you take damage, that damage will recover as long as you didn’t drain the entire segment. If you drain the full segment, you’ll need to get a health pack to restore it but you’ll still regenerate health in the next segment should you take further damage. The system works well and feels like a fair compromise to gamers of both camps.
To us, the best part about Wolfenstein: The New Order was the story. Most first person shooters tend to overlook or over dramatize the story relegating most fans to the multiplayer component of the game. Luckily, Wolfenstin: The New Order weaved an interesting and compelling narrative which was a direct result of the beautiful world MachineGames created. While the story doesn’t deviate too far from what you’d expect, at least from what we experienced, the game still manages to throw some meaningful moments and choices at you which keep you invested in the game. By the time our session was over, we wanted to see what happened next so that has to be a good sign of things to come.
Overall, Wolfenstein: The New Order presented beautifully and offers a promise of something great. The game looked amazing visually and controlled perfectly which are the hallmarks of any great game. Fan of the series are going to see the franchise move forward with compelling characters and narrative. If you aren’t a fan of Wolfenstein, this game does a great job of introducing the characters and keeping players in the loop while still silently nodding to past gameplay elements. Wolfenstein showed us that this game is going to be great and if you have any interest at all, you should keep your eye on this release, we certainly are.