Wolfenstein: The New Order – Game Review and Analysis
By Dan Maurer
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Directors: Jerk Gustafsson, Jens Matthies
Designer: Jerk Gustaffson
Programmers: Markus Buretorp, Jonas Mauritzsson
Artists: Kjell Emanuelsson, Tor Frick, Axel Torvenius
Writers: Jerk Gustafsson, Tom Keegan, Jens Matthies
Composer: Mick Gordon
Engine: id Tech 5
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Genre: First-person shooter
The latest entry in the Wolfenstein series, you are tasked once again with the complete and utter elimination of the Nazi’s. Developed by MachineGames and published by Bethesda, the newest game in the series takes you to various locations where you will kill, infiltrate, and you guessed it, kill Nazi’s. This newest entry is out for not only the next generation consoles but the previous generation consoles as well. Does it stack up when compared to other recently released shooters though?
Wolfenstein: The New Order casts you as B.J. Blazkowicz, an gigantic American whose profile contains hundreds of endorsements for his skills at murdering Nazis. The game kicks off in a 1946 level as dull as the day is long. The Nazis are winning World War 2 due to technology hundreds of years in advance of what they should have. Things do not go according to plan, and Blazkowicz spends the next 14 years in a vegetative state, returning to his senses only when the hospital he’s in is closed down and he’s about to be “purged” as a sub human. In 1960, the Nazi regime rules the world, which just means there are even more Nazis for Blazkowicz to kill than before. Killing Nazis can primarily be accomplished in one of two ways. You can opt for the guns only route, charging around levels firing wildly and slaughtering everything in your path, or you can opt to take a more stealthy route, sneaking around and stabbing them in the neck. More than likely you’ll have to employ both at different times and not just when the game commands you to go for one play style or another. It occasionally does have you complete certain tasks, either by having enemies instantly detect you when you walk into a room, or by giving you absolutely no weapons but a knife and nothing more.
While this is a linear shooter in every sense of the term, there are paths and offshoots throughout that give you the chance to do a bit of exploration. If you want to hunt down the numerous collectibles that litter each level, then you’ll need to scour every part of the stages, even hunting down entrances to numerous secret rooms that can prove quite tricky to locate. These branching pathways also feed into the stealth gameplay, as some routes will give you more options to eliminate guards stealthily, while others will lead you straight into a head on confrontation with the Nazi’s themselves. Depending on which system you pick it up on, the game looks really great and you’ll initially be impressed by the crisp graphics running at 1080p and 60 frames per second. The problem comes when you get too close to certain surfaces, and find that some textures seem to be quite low resolution and blurry. This would be less apparent if you were barreling through the environments skimming over the detail. But since you’ll likely be spending time hunting for collectibles, the problem becomes more and more apparent over time, eventually tarnishing the otherwise shiny next generation graphics on display.
This particular Wolfenstein iteration pays homage to its roots, by removing today’s regenerating health mechanic in favor of more classic fare. The result is a system that ends up becoming rather frustrating within a short amount of time. The design of the game means that, instead of hiding to regain your health, you’re tasked with picking up individual med packs and pieces of body armor, all of which vary in size. Being able to overclock your health is a welcomed aspect, as is being able to permanently upgrade the meter. Many of the environments employ a simple design, individual captains must be taken out in order to prevent back up from being called in. If you fail to assassinate them and they spot you, then an unlimited amount of bad guys will pour out of every corner. It’s sensible and ties in well with the old school feel that the developers went for, but it doesn’t always work. The approach to combat and how it awards perks is well done. Although the designers didn’t always make perfect choices, they did manage to turn Wolfenstein into a game that allows players to utilize two different play styles. One style involves running around and carelessly blowing stuff up while the other option involves stealth.
Wolfenstein: The New Order does just enough to hold your interest to keep you playing and wanting more. If you are looking for a solid single player experience, then I would recommend this game. For the most part, it packs in crisp graphics with a surprisingly well done story that definitely shapes the history of the series going forward.
PunchDrunkGamer.com Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
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