Sit me down on the sofa, hand me a controller and I’ll happily play any type of game. It’s been that way for the best part of 30 years and I see no sign of it abating. However, fire up a first person shooter and whilst I’ll give it a go, it won’t take long before you see beads of cold sweat dripping down my forehead. That’s not because I don’t enjoy them (for the most part I do), but it’s because at some point I know I’ll have to venture online where guys half my age will hunt me down forever more, sniping me from the other side of the battlefield or piling numerous shotgun cartridges into my slow, cumbersome self.
Anyone regular to the TXH pages will know that I dislike online shooters, and that’s exactly why I’ve been looking forward to playing Wolfenstein: The New Order for a little while….there is none of that hardcore, fast paced online element that gets me so worried.
Instead, the return of Wolfenstein is a strictly single player affair and it’s something that Machine Games and Bethesda should be commended on. Especially when the campaign is this damn good.
You play as Wolfenstein’s long running protagonist William Blazkowicz, better known as B.J. in a game that is set a few years after the goings on in the previous Wolfenstein title. Once again, The New Order sees B.J. pitting his wits through a first person viewpoint as he goes up against a Nazi army that has equipped itself with technology and weaponry that is far advanced of anything that Blazkowicz could ever dream of. After making some tough decisions and eventually joining a Polish psychiatric asylum, B.J. begins to hunt down the Nazis feared leader, General Deathshead with a view to putting him, his robots and his Nazi technology down for good.
With it’s hugely exaggerated storyline; one that is full to the brim with robots, armoured guard dogs (both normal size and of the gargantuan variety) and Nazis, Wolfenstein The New Order doesn’t take itself too seriously, but that is by no means a bad thing. If you’re in the market for a FPS that is going to bring you realism and treat you to pinpoint accuracy, then you won’t be interested in The New Order. Instead if you’re after a hugely enjoyable blast from start to finish that brings a great deal of fun to your gaming schedule, then jump in William’s shoes asap.
It can’t in anyway be said that this latest Wolfenstein iteration is a full next generation experience and the fact the game has dropped on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One shows fully with the now customary graphical letdown that plagues any title that tries to span the generation gap, with jumps between in-game and cut scene being harsh at best and initially rather annoying. Visually it’s just about okay for an Xbox One title but doesn’t in any way push the machine to any kind of limit and this is replicated and indeed taken to another level when you take into account the games audio which is by far the most disappointing feature of the game and one that detracts from the overall experience. There is a fair amount of German spoken in Wolfenstein and with that in mind, the subtitles on offer are a blessing. But far too often these subtitles are needed when listening in to even the native English speaking voices as these are drowned out far too easily by the background noises that go on throughout the campaign. Throw in an absolute shed load of gunfire and it can be easy to lose track of exactly what you’re meant to be doing and where you’re meant to be heading next!
But put the audio and graphical issues to one side and the rest of the game is a joy with one of the quickest paced, most intense campaigns I’ve played for a good long while.
Apart from a small section midway through the story, you’ll find that every corner you look round and every corridor you wander along will be frequented by some kind of Nazi enemy, whether that be a bog standard soldier with a rifle, one with a massive armour advantage and mini-gun or indeed those Kampfhunds. Anyone with an itchy trigger finger will be more than at home as you find yourself dual-wielding pistols, rifles and shotguns in an attempt to work your way through to General Deathshead. Additionally, you’ll quickly come across a laser-cutter than can be used for cutting through the fine metal walls that you find yourself enclosed by. The use of the cutter brings a sense of exploration to the game and you’ll quickly find different routes open up to you depending on how you wish to go about your business of shootin’, stabbin’ and stranglin’ Nazi commanders. As is the case with all the weaponry on offer, the laser-cutter can be upgraded the further you proceed and let me tell you now, the power that thing eventually brings is immense!
The whole damn game is however geared up for a full on assault and thankfully you’ll find plenty of ammo and armor dropped by your adversaries which allow you to continue dishing out some justice without caring too much on whether you’ll be running out of bullets anytime soon. Health wise you’ll also find all manner of food pieces and medikits lying around but if you do find yourself needing a quick boost then you could always take in a bit of dog food. Who said war wasn’t tough?
To keep things interesting there are a number of perks for you to unlock as you play and so if you first decide to run through all guns a blazing, there’s enough replayability in the campaign to give you the chance to then go through at a more sedate pace, sneaking up on your foes and dispatching them with a swift knife to the neck. Of course, each time you replay a mission you’ll have another chance to pick up some more of the many collectibles that are to be found dotted around.
Wolfenstein: The New Order reminds me a great deal of a few games that I thoroughly enjoyed a few years back on the Xbox 360. If you enjoyed, The Chronicles of Riddick then you’ll be more than at home with The New Order. Similarly but to a slightly lesser extent, F.E.A.R. and it’s sequels have a lot to answer for although The New Order is obviously nowhere near as scary.
Ultimately though, Wolfenstein is all about William Blazkowicz and his love of killing Nazis.
And old B.J. doesn’t get it wrong very often!