Another Wolfenstein is upon us, and if you are all like me you still have a sour taste in your mouth from the previous game. Yes, Wolfenstein 2009 was a bit of a disappointment for me, especially considering how great Return was, and it just felt like a flat experience. I admit when I heard that The New Order was coming out, I didn’t expect much from it. But it was the trailers leading up to the game that caught my interest.
I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was the concept of an alternate reality where the Nazis control the world? Maybe it was the humorous banter between all the characters? Maybe it was the Quentin Tarantino style narrative? In thinking this, it made me think could this have been what I wanted Inglorious Basterds to be?
And yes, before you all ask, I did NOT like Inglorious Basterds.
It turns out I was both right and wrong. Yes, Wolfenstein: The New Order does truly feel like a Tarantino movie, but not the ones I thought of originally. That’s not to mention that it makes a triumphant return to the series’ glory.
New Order begins in 1946, where the war is taking a turn for the worse. The bomb was not dropped on Hiroshima, and Hitler never committed suicide in his bunker. It turns out that the Nazis stole all of the Allies’ greatest secrets, and a last ditch effort is made to stop General Deathshead at his stronghold.
However the raid turns out badly, and Deathshead captures BJ Blazkowicz as well as his unit. During the capture, Deathshead gives you a choice of who to use for his experiments. One is Scottish pilot Fergus Reid, and the other is Private Probst Wyatt III. The one selected is killed as a result while the other is thrown alongside BJ in an incinerator room. They both escape, but during the escape, pieces of shrapnel cut into the back of BJ’s head as he falls. He is eventually rescued, but left in a vegetative state, and placed in an insane asylum in Poland.
During his stay in the asylum, BJ is cared for by Anya, a nurse who works there with her parents. Over time, the Nazis show up at the asylum to pick up patients that are deemed inferior by their ways. But that all comes to a crashing halt in 1960, when the asylum is ordered shut down, patients are executed, and Anya’s parents are killed. But when the guard attempts to kill BJ, he snaps out of his coma (similar to Kill Bill) and executes the guard with a reply of “Nazi scum!”
BJ and Anya escape to her grandparents house where he finds the horrible truth. The Nazis have won the war, which culminated when atom bombs were dropped on New York, causing the US to surrender. Even worse, any signs of resistance, including members of the Kreisau Circle have all been captured or killed. However, BJ and Anya have a prisoner of their own, who gives up information despite being tortured Reservoir Dogs style, only involving a chainsaw instead of a knife.
Eventually BJ finds the prisoners, including the soldier that you allowed to live during the raid, and are led to a new clandestine Kreisau compound. It is there you find out that Caroline Becker, the resistance leader from the 2009 Wolfenstein thought to be dead, is actually alive but confined to a wheelchair, and from there you embark on a resistance campaign to put Deathshead’s tyranny to an end.
The rest of the game involves the location of mysterious technology that could be used against the Nazi’s such as a mold that affects their super concrete, and raids on unusual locations, going as far as a moon base that was built. When I heard the trailer where BJ says he’s “on the *censored* Moon!” I thought he was joking. Turns out I was wrong.
That is definitely a surprise in a series like this, even considering its alternate history.
One thing that feels satisfying though is the gunplay. All of the firearms feel just right. Heavier rifles feature a lot of recoil, more so when they are dual wielded. Stealth kills are also possible with takedowns or throwing knives at a Nazi. Techniques like these are encouraged as they will also add special perks such as additional ammo or even leeching health from enemies.
The main campaign went for about 15 hours on Bring ‘Em On (Normal) difficulty, but with five different levels, plus two separate timelines based on which character you save at the beginning, adds a lot of replayability. There will be some who will complain about the lack of multiplayer, but for a game like this, I’m glad it was left out.
Visually the game looks quite impressive. Running on id Tech 5, the game runs at 60 frames per second at 1080p resolution on both next gen systems. Aside from one part at the beginning of the game where it chokes on a specific moment, the Xbox One version tested truly maintains that claim.
It is an amazing game to look at in action, as well as to hear. Voice acting is top notch from the main cast, and finally, finally, FINALLY, we have a Wolfenstein game since the original 3D game where Nazi soldiers speak full German. I am glad to see that Bethesda listened to my complaints when Activision owned the series and made this realistic element happen. Thank you!
I had a blast with Wolfenstein, quite literally. Although the ending was a tad bit disappointing (I won’t give it away) it still was the most fun I had with a WW2 era/alternate history shooter in a long time, and a true return to the series roots.
Still, I would have loved to see them fight on a Nazi occupied America, as it would have shown THQ what Homefront could have easily been if done right.
Pros: An entertaining, sometimes funny, return to glory for the Wolfenstein series. Definitely takes the Tarantino approach in its storytelling. Dual wielding never felt so good. Gorgeous 1080p60 visuals. Two story timeless offer some replayability. Awesome Easter Egg that will please fans of the PC classic. NAZIS FINALLY SPEAK GERMAN!
Cons: The ending might disappoint some players, as well as a lack of multiplayer. Game can get brutal at times.