Wolfenstein The New Order Retrospective
When Machine Games released Wolfenstein: New Order in 2014 I had absolutely no relevance or interest to the franchise. I understood that Wolfenstein 3D was one of the first FPS games to be released and along with Doom, really made the genre mainstream. I was only two years old when Wolfenstein 3D released so naturally by the time I was old enough to even play video games I had no idea what it was. Wolfenstein games were somewhat constant though, through the years there were many iterations like Wolfenstein RPG and Wolfenstein Enemy Territory a free to play multiplayer game but there were also full fledged sequels like, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, released in 2001 for PC, Xbox, and PS2 and another simply titled Wolfenstein is 2009 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. I played maybe an hour of the one released in 2009 but that’s about it.
When Wolfenstein New Order was announced I didn’t even give it a second thought, I didn’t follow the game at all. It wasn’t until I saw the launch trailer for the game that I thought “this looks pretty bad ass”. I had some extra cash at the time so I just picked it up for PS3. I popped the game in and after about 30 minutes I was already bored. For starters the game had insane graphical issues on the PS3, the pop in was insane, second, for the 30 minutes I played I haven’t shot anything yet. I was just following this guy and hiding from that thing. I literally turned off my PS3 got up and went to go make a sandwich. I was so upset that I spent $60 on a bad game.
About two weeks later I was sitting at home, bored as hell, I saw the game sitting on my shelf and I thought what the hell, lets give it another go. I continued past where I originally stopped playing and then all of a sudden something clicked inside my head. My hands were gripping the controller tightly, my thumbs moving efficiently, and my concentration was on the screen, I somehow got hooked. Maybe it was as soon as the shooting started I felt how fluid, tight, and responsive it was, maybe it was how the enemies would explode in an awesome bloody fashion when shot, or maybe it was how awesome the stealth gameplay was but my mind has done changed.
From that point Wolfenstein The New Order grabbed me and never let go. What I really was never expecting from this game was how it captivated me with an amazing story and characters. The game then picks up 14 years into the Nazi reign, BJ fell into a coma towards the end of the war and to his shock the allies have lost. Nazi’s rule the world with an iron fist and anyone who apposes them Is quickly killed. While BJ Is in a coma we get introduced to his nurse, Anya and her family who run an asylum where BJ is admitted do. But contrary to what we know about asylums, Anya and her family are caring and loving to each patient especially BJ. He is taken care of properly and respectfully. After some time though the Nazi’s decided to shut down the asylum murdering every patient in the facility including Anya’s family. Before they get a chance to lay a finger on Anya BJ wakes up, murdering every Nazi in the asylum. Eventually after there escape BJ and Anya join up with the Resistance and plot to destroy the Nazi regime once and for all. The story is pulpy and amazing. There was so much care put into the story that every victory felt amazing and every loss felt devastating. This Nazi controlled world felt so gosh darn real.
We all know that the Nazi’s lost the war in real life but their victory in this game is terrifying and really makes you think “what if?”. They use giant stone structures and skyscrapers to dominate the land. Nazi idealism is littered across everything with swastikas and propaganda in every corner.
What really stands out though is how Machine Games took William “BJ” Blaskowicz, a character that was as one dimensional as they come and created this complex, sympathetic person that I fell in love with instantly. At first he seems like just another “soldier man mcshooty face” but it can’t be farther from the truth. BJ is emotional, and he cares for the people around him. When faced with horror you feel his courage to stand against it but also feel his despair. Anya is sweet, smart and strong as hell. Quickly we see that she is no damsel in distress but a force to be reckoned with. She takes charge and quickly became one of my favorite female protagonist in recent memory. They are not the only strong characters though, this game is filled to the brim with memorable characters that all make there mark on the story and further develop this horrific world.
The gameplay though is what truly shines.
A video game story can be great but if the game plays lot hot garbage then you’re just watching a poorly paced movie. Wolfenstein The New Order is an old school, no nonsense first person shooter that is challenging and demands your attention. BJ will acquire many weapons through his journey and all are distinct and vastly different. Each weapon has a secondary fire and is fully upgradable and better yet they are all capable of being dual wield. Dual wielding shotguns is literal carnage in the best way possible. Wolfenstein also offers the chance to play the game stealthy and this is not a tacked on feature, its excellent and works great.
Usually I have a problem with first person stealth games but here it felt amazing. Having the ability to peek around and over objects helps tremendously with the disorientation someone might feel with FPS stealth. But no matter how you play its fun. Whether playing stealthily or guns blazing the game accommodates your play style nicely. This is most apparent in the talent tree of the game. Instead of gaining XP for kills and the player placing them where they want, the game will follow your play style and upgrade your skills accordingly. If you fancy dual wielding, then you will earn perks that help you dual wield more efficiently. If you prefer stealth, then the game will give you better stealth skills. Its awesome and really keeps you focused on the action, it also encourages experimentation.
I, like many people, was surprise by the excellence of Wolfenstein: The New Order. In a time where mobile game mentality and FPS games shifting to a more multiplayer focus started to dominate the gaming world Machine Games showed us that a single player FPS can be just as relevant and excellent as they were 20 years ago. Wolfenstein The New Order will suck you in with its excellent gameplay but will also tell you a mature and emotional that will keep you invested through its 13-hour campaign.