I’ve always kinda wondered what it would be like to be Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds; B.J. Blazkowicz is probably the closest I can get. I welcome any character that when asked “What have you been up to?” responds, “Shootin’, Stabbin’, Stranglin’ Nazis.” I love the one man army aspect of Blazkowicz. He’s almost always alone and he gets the job done. He’s the hero everyone needs and deserves. Based on my experiences with Return To Castle Wolfenstein, I knew I would be playing as a one man army, but I wasn’t sure if I’d like that. I was getting tired of playing as a protagonist who kills everything because he/she can. But Wolfenstein: The New Order gave me a purpose very early on in the story which grabbed me from the start.
Throughout the game, I’m reminded of why I’m fighting as I read through newspaper articles scattered around the world about how the Nazis “liberated” the U.S. It was a little soul-crushing to read how they did it and what happened to the rest of the world as the Nazis gained power, but it was also really interesting to see how Machine Games handled the alternate universe. Whenever I read the newspapers, I’m always trying to figure out if what I’m reading is Nazi propaganda. The U.S. wasn’t liberated by the Nazis, they surrendered. Of course, that’s not hard to figure out, but for places like Africa, I’m not sure what’s worse; child soldiers and genocide or being “liberated” by the Nazis.
As for the gameplay, Wolfenstein: The New Order certainly pays homage to the gameplay of the old corridor shooter games, but it retains a fresh new feel. The combined usage of cover mechanics, weapon design, and level design open up avenues for a stealthy or chaotic approach. It’s pretty easy to go in guns blazing, with assault rifles in both hands, unloading bullets into Nazis as you see fit. There’s nothing like watching a Nazi Robot fall as you pepper it with your dual-wielded shotguns. If you prefer taking things slow, you can systematically sneak around and eliminate the Commanders first to prevent reinforcements from coming. What makes this work is the way that the levels are designed. It’s open-ended yet linear like Crysis 2’s levels, but it’s much more complicated.
There’s a bunch of hidden passageways that are pretty easy to miss. Even on my second playthrough, I found new passageways to take down Commanders without alerting the nearby guards. All in all, both approaches are equally satisfying and the best part is that neither method of attack has an effect on the story. If I wanted the good ending in Dishonored or Metro 2033, I’d have to play a certain way to get that ending. Sure it’s satisfying after achieving those endings, but I don’t want to be forced to play the game in one way to get what I want.
Throughout Wolfenstein: The New Order, the player unlocks perks to help them kill Nazis. Of the four perk trees, only one helps with the stealthy aspect of the game. Not to worry though, because most of those perks are really useful like the ability to throw knives. The other three help with general shoot em’ up play styles.
Whether you prefer to play tactically and make good use of the cover mechanic or if you like to ”run ‘n gun,” Wolfenstein: The New Order has you covered. Most of the perks include buffs for each weapon, instead of attachments. Attachments come to the player as they progress through the game, like grenade launchers or a Marksman rifle that can turn into a laser rifle. Other than that, weapons are fairly basic with one type of each weapon. Things like a new ammo type to turn your shotgun into the flak cannon from Unreal Tournament, or a laser weapon that can cut holes into cover to shoot through. What those weapons can turn into is what makes them really interesting.
On the technical side, I was running the game at 40-60 FPS on all Low settings. This makes sense as I run a system just slightly better than the minimum specifications. On Medium I was getting anywhere from 30-40 FPS. On High settings, my FPS went anywhere from 18-30, which came with signs of overheating. In the options menu, you can change keybindings and set up alternate ones. There was an option to turn off Mouse Smoothing, and for the most part, I didn’t notice any Mouse Acceleration while playing. For people playing on the couch, there’s four different controller layouts to choose from.
Most of my gripes with Wolfenstein: The New Order comes from how poorly it ran. It’s worth noting that on all of these settings, I experienced a depth of field blur that got in the way of everything and texture pop-in caused by the way the idTech 5 engine does texture streaming. The textures themselves didn’t look all that great, but it was possible to read some of the posters on walls and such. The idTech 5 engine has been known to make large scenes look great, but since I was on Low settings, I missed out on those set pieces.
The first playthrough took me 10 hours, which included reading all the newspaper clippings and finding whatever extras and secrets I could see. I don’t see my second playthrough taking more than 8 hours. However, at the very least, there are two alternate timelines that come with Wolfenstein: The New Order and it’s worth playing the game twice to see how the levels change a bit. For example, there is a prison level where which ever character you’re with affects how you go through the level and, to some degree, reflects their personality. It’s hard to gauge how much I’d want to pay for a singleplayer-only game like this since the replayability factor is entirely dependent on who’s playing. In the end, Wolfenstein: The New Order puts you in the body of a soldier who shoots, stabs, and strangles Nazis and it felt glorious.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
Personally, I would pay $30 on a sale and then buy up any DLC that was released. I found the alternate universe to be interesting due to the changes in culture that happened when the Nazis took over. The gameplay was solid and varied, which kept me engaged throughout the story. Otherwise, the game does have flaws in that it’s a single player game with more replayability than most, but not enough to justify the $60 price tag.
- Time Played – 16 Hours
- Widescreen Support – Yes
- Resolution Played – 1600×900, 1280×720
- Windowed Mode – Yes
- FOV Slider – Yes
- 5.1 Audio Support – Yes
- Bugs/Crashes Encountered – None
- Control Scheme – Mouse and Keyboard, XBOX 360 Controller
- DRM – Steamworks
- System Specs – AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition, Radeon 6870, 12 GB RAM
- Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
- Availability – Steam, Amazon, GreenManGaming, GetGamesGo, GamersGate
- Demo – No
- Saved Game Location – %USERPROFILE%\Saved Games\MachineGames\Wolfenstein The New Order\base\savegame