Growing up, there was always one question that my teachers in school would ask me – Where do you see yourself in five years? In school that was never something I knew how to answer, but as an adult, I know that five years is something that can fly by; especially as those grey hairs start to appear!
Five years in gaming is almost like it’s on a completely different time scale, and whilst it may seem like a long time on paper, on some occasions, half a decade isn’t even enough to hear of a sequel to a game, let alone a new title all together. For one series though, those years has seen two new titles launch – with a third set to arrive in the coming months – giving an entirely new audience the chance to sit down and enjoy what has become one of the biggest and most beloved shooter series in modern gaming. Wolfenstein, it’s your time to shine as we look back to 2014 and the incredible series reboot with Wolfenstein: The New Order.
In this adventure players took on the role of series icon Captain William ‘B.J’ Blazkowicz, and after starting the game fighting across the skies in a massive allied air raid against a fortress run by his nemesis General Wilhelm Strass – a.k.a General Deathshead – B.J. and his fellow pilots Fergus Reid and Private Wyatt III, are shot down and captured by the Nazi forces.
During a daring escape however B.J. can only save one of his trusted partners, but with a critical injury placing him into a coma for the next 14 years, things have progressed exponentially by the time you next take a step in his shoes. By this time, the Nazi’s have won the war by forcing a surrender from the United States, and with long term carer and newfound lover Anya by B.J’s side, the only thing left to do is form a Resistance movement against the Nazi regime.
If that doesn’t excite you then A) there may just be something wrong with you, and B) by god, there is something wrong with you. Because for anyone who got involved in the reboot of Wolfenstein, you’ll be aware just how fantastic The New Order was.
If you were to play Wolfenstein: The New Order today in 2019, you’d be hard pushed to believe that you were playing a game that was already five years old. With visuals that stand the test of time perfectly, it could be said that they even trump many of today’s titles thanks to the intricate details that are woven into the finest crevices of the 12-hour adventure. What is more impressive however is that with Wolfenstein: The New Order being developed with id Software’s id Tech 5 engine, much like Bethesda’s Rage before it, not only was the game a completely stunning visual experience but it was also one that was available for players on the older gen consoles at the time, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Yes, it may have arrived with more than one disc on the Xbox 360 to ensure the quality wasn’t reduced too much, but it still proved to be a mighty success becoming the second best-selling game of 2014 in the UK, behind only that of the multiplayer shooting sensation, Titanfall.
With fantastic visuals, gunplay that was as smooth as butter and a pure focus on single-player storytelling, Wolfenstein: The New Order was always going to be a success. And it was, with reviews proving mostly positive and praising the brilliant voice-acting, fantastic script and high quality finish. It was here where the revival of one of the longest running shooters was complete, and with such success comes highly anticipated sequels.
In the years since The New Order, fans have been able to experience the joys of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – the prequel to The New Order – as well as a sequel adventure Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. And as I write this, there are even more titles set to arrive later this year with Wolfenstein: Youngblood seeing the series go cooperative for the first time, whilst VR fans will be able to play through Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot.
For me though, whilst each and every game from 2014’s reboot onwards has been nothing short of phenomenal, it is Wolfenstein: The New Order that many will look back on with fondness most of all. From the early moments in which players watch the years tick by with B.J. able to do nothing more than sit and watch on in silence, to the moment you first regain control and arise from the slumber to mercilessly eviscerate the incoming Nazi soldiers hell bent on destruction, before running off with your new found heartthrob, Wolfenstein: The New Order rarely fails to capture a strong emotional connection of some kind.
Combat is the same too with stealth playing a big part for those who are capable of scurrying through General Deathshead’s compound silently; knowing that the slightest noise will ensure a full-frontal assault, and all the bells and whistles of an engaging and spectacular firefight.
Another encapsulating feature of the new-era of Wolfenstein games is in the cutscenes and set-pieces. To make it big as a single-player adventure, this is an area in which you need to blow the mind of the players who are partaking in the experience. Fortunately, Wolfenstein: The New Order wasn’t slack in this department either, but you won’t find your typical shooter cinematics of explosions and fire in every scene here, instead what we were treated to was some of the finest storytelling, character introductions and brutal executions you could expect to find outside of TV and movies. Recent years may have seen many titles come under criticism for such content, but it’s always nice to see a developer and publisher simply throw the moral rule book out of the window and push on to create such a fine example of freedom within their games. In fact, I’m still surprised today to see Wolfenstein: The New Order only sitting on a current score of 79 over on Metacritic and not much higher.
You could sit all day and talk about the rights and wrongs of classic hits, however one thing is for sure… Wolfenstein: The New Order brought the breath of fresh air the series so desperately needed, and the revival that none of us knew we wanted until it arrived. Today, if you boot up your Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC or compatible PlayStation device, what you’ll find by heading back to this classic adventure is a tale of treachery, excitement, action and adventure, that thrills from the opening moments all the way down to the final seconds. It opens perfectly, it takes a hold and keeps you seated all the way till the end, and what’s more, it still looks like it only arrived on consoles last week.
So why not go back and enjoy a five-year reunion with one of the best shooters on Xbox One right now!
Happy Birthday Wolfenstein: The New Order!
If you wish to play Wolfenstein: The New Order on Xbox One then you can pick it up right now from the Xbox Store.