If you’d sat me down this time last year and asked me which games I would be most looking forward to playing in the next six months or so, then you’ll have found me reeling off a list of sports titles, racing beasts and the odd puzzler. You would have had to push me real hard to name a first person shooter in my hotly anticipated list, so it was a bit strange to find me enjoying near on every moment experienced in 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order. Not only do I normally try and keep away from shooters, but anything that is stupidly fast paced just pushes my gaming skills to their utter limits. I’d much rather sit down, have a nice relaxing time and enjoy what I’m playing through, normally without the stress that lining up that killer shot brings.
But The New Order was a bit of a surprise as it was not only a bloody good playthrough, but most definitely on the contenders list for my 2014 GOTY.
So when I heard that Bethesda and MachineGames were coming back with a standalone expansion/content add on, my ears pricked up and I took a great deal of notice.
Boy am I glad I did.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is set in an alternate 1946 prior to the going ons featured in The New Order. As always with the Nazi shooter, the main protagonist is that of William B.J. Blazkowicz as he sets out on a mission to infiltrate the infamous Castle Wolfenstein in an effort to obtain a top secret file containing the location of everyone’s favourite Nazi General, General ’Deathshead’!
And B.J. gets to go about his mission in the only way he knows how…creating havoc, dishing out plenty of justice and spraying bullets around forever more.
Thankfully, The Old Blood gives him the chance to do just that. Whilst it in no way expands on the experiences of The New Order – there wasn’t really an awful lot to expand on – what we do get is a great little title that gives us everything we loved about the first game, whilst omitting the drawn out storytelling that slowed things down last time.
For it is the fast paced, slightly manic gunplay that MachineGames are known for which really does shine yet again. New weapons are a plenty, as is the addition of a melee pipe which can be broken down to enable Blazkowicz to scale walls. He may not have the agility of a Titanfall Pilot and may not even do the stealth side of things to anywhere near the scale of that found in a Sam Fisher, but give him a gun or five and he will dual-wield it with the very best of them.
To do just that, there needs to be a decent amount of ammo available with which to fill the numerous guns at his disposal. With every single Nazi enemy from the standard guards, the super soldiers, commanders and armored dogs dropping ammo (and occasionally armor) on their death, there really is nothing to stop you or B.J. from running through the vast majority of levels with ease.
If you want to get the very most out of The Old Blood, then the inclusion of a number of perks again allow you to play the game the way you want, whilst collectible gold, concept art, character bios and letters give you something to discover in the dark corners of the castle. That said, exploration isn’t very high on the agenda as much of the levels placed in front of you are fairly linear affairs with little to no chance of finding multiple routes to your goal. With the amount of action going on, the single routes are something that is hardly noticed.
Aside from the story campaign, ten unlockable challenge areas bring about even more of the best action. Comprising of the most noticeable areas from different segments of the main campaign, the challenges available put you up against the clock as you try to dispatch as many enemies as possible, whilst all the time just trying to survive as long as possible. It’s a lovely little addition and scratches the itch for those who wish to look for more shooting time without having to move up through the story again via higher difficulty curves. With up to five medals on offer depending on how well you do and which challenge you take on, it’s probably the best way of filling the odd ten minutes every now and then.
The Old Blood may not bring the hours that The New Order kept us entertained for, but for a third of the price and as a digital only download, that is to be expected. You won’t find the AI on anywhere near the same level as some of the very top AAA titles from the last year or so (sloppy stair-sticking is a bit of an issue), but hey, Wolfenstein is all about being fun and exciting above anything else. It would however have been nice to have seen a few extra additions added in to make it stand out a little more from last years title, but as it is, as an add-on to The New Order, it is very nearly a must play game.
B.J.’s adventure last year brought many hours of enjoyment and it’s with great pleasure I see him back in 2015…destroying Nazis yet again!