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Wolfenstein: The New Order Review

by phnk

posted October 28, 2016 @ 12:07PM
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filed under ReviewGames

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Wolfenstein was one of the game's responsible for the first-person shooter, being responsible for spawning a genre that is still alive and kicking (not to mention extremely successful) in the current generation. One thing the original Wolfenstein was lacking was a plot, outside of the bare bones “kill all Nazis that you come across.” It's ironic then that over twenty years later the newest entry in the series, Wolfenstein: The New Order, would be praised for it's tightly woven narrative above all else. You'll come for the gunplay and the action, but stay for the interesting characters, inventive ideas and unique setting.


Set in an alternate world where the Nazis not only won World War II but have conquered the world, you once again play as BJ Blazcowicz, American soldier turned rebel warrior. There isn't a lot you can say about the plot without spoiling it, other than to mention this alternate take on history extends beyond merely rewriting it – it also heavily alters it, as BJ fights Nazi robots and even ends up traveling to the moon. The original game always had science fiction elements to it, but the new game turns the dial up to eleven in that regard. The game's campaign clocks in at over ten hours long, doubling that of your standard first-person shooter campaign, with reason to play it again based on moral choices made in the early stages.

Unfortunately, that's the only replayability the game provides, as no multiplayer modes are included. The developer opted to focus entirely on the single player campaign, which for some gamers might not be a negative at all.

We know the story is good, but we're playing a game, not reading a book, so how does it play? The truthful answer is as good as any other first-person shooter, if not slightly better. Guns have a heft to them that is missing from other first-person shooters, the weapons are inventive, the sound effects are spot on, but at the end of the day the shooting never elevates itself beyond anything you haven't seen in the last ten years.

While the game does incorporate stealth elements, most players will just ignore these in order to go in guns blazing due to the stealth mechanics not feeling fully realized. In the end, that's okay, because you're playing this game to shoot things, and in that regard the game does a good job. The stealth elements are easily ignorable.
What the game does do different (and succeeds at it) is the skill system. Wolfenstein: The New Order eschews the typical experience system, instead rewarding you for completing specific in-game requirements in order to unlock items. For example, one unlock requirement tasks you with pulling off a specific number of headshots. The better you play, the better gear you get; it's a novel system that rewards good players, rather than succumbing to the “everybody wins” mentality.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is available on the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC, with the only difference between the systems being the quality of the graphics. On the current generation systems, you'll be floored by the level of detail and graphical flair – it's clear that the game was made with these systems in mind. While the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 still provide decent visuals, they aren't on par with the current generation systems, showing the gap in power between the two generations.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is a game no one expected to be good, but has defied all expectations: A rare thing in the video game world. It combines quality shooting mechanics with a well-written plot, something you don't see too much of in the genre these days. With the move away from World War II towards future-based games in the first-person shooter genre, Wolfenstein: The New Order is a blast from the past that will blow you away.

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