Wolfenstein is a name that conjures up memories of Nazi killing machine B.J. Blazkowicz, attack dogs, and of course, a tasty bowl or two of dog food. What if I told you a story of another B.J Blazkowicz? One who is thoughtful, loving, and with fond memories of times gone by. This one has a little bit of post traumatic stress and a want to not upset anyone, but he’s still obsessed with killing Nazis and has a fondness for eating dog food.
This is the new look B.J Blazkowicz in a brand new game – Wolfenstein: The New Order. Although this game starts of in World War II it isn’t set there, it is set twenty years later in an alternate universe where the Nazis built the nuclear bomb, and subsequently won the war. This makes for some interesting quirks. Firstly, the Nazi machine didn’t stop trying to build things that want to kill you in the mid-40s, and everyone lives in fear of the Nazi rule. If you don’t, you’re either put in a camp or killed.
Of course, there’s one big question hanging over The New Order: How did the Nazis win the war? Why didn’t B.J. Blazkowicz stop them? (Okay, technically that’s two…)
Well, Blazkowicz was put out of commission thanks to the large chunk of metal lodged in his head. He’s spent the past 20 years in a mental asylum, being looked after by the ever lovely nurse Anya.
Now, the Nazis have come to shut the asylum down, kill everyone and drag Anya away, and this is enough for Blazkowicz to get mad… of course, you don’t want to be a Nazi when B.J. Blazkowicz is mad. His next job – as well as killing Nazis – is to rescue the captured freedom fighters. This is where you step in, with the rest of the game taking you all around Europe… and the moon!
The New Order isn’t your regular run and gun. It actually has a very intense storyline, almost like a movie. This is one of the things I first noticed, and really what separates and makes this game great. The writing for this game is simply amazing, telling stories of father and son in a Nazi world where the disabled son wouldn’t be allowed to live, turning the father from a Nazi to a freedom fighter. An older lady shot up by years of war, now in a wheel chair, but still determined to stop the Nazi rule. There’s even the most realistic depiction on a love story I have ever seen in a video game, including sex scenes that display the awkwardness and spontaneity that is what happens when real people fall in love.
[img_big]center,11144,2013-06-10/RoW_Colors.png,Wolfenstein: The New Order[/img_big]
Now onto the details. Wolfenstein: The New Order is pretty. The entire atmosphere creates an immersion that I haven’t seen in too many first person shooters, and to be honest it reminded me of the Half-Life series of games. This isn’t a linear first person shooter, there are many routes, and even puzzles that need to be solved. It can really make your game much easier if you put some attention into what direction you take, the wrong way can bring a hell storm of Nazis on your back, where a stealthy kill brings minimal resistance.
But of course, there are the exceptions to this. Times when no matter what you do, you will have more enemies on your case than you know what to do with. One thing I noticed with The New Order: If you stay still too long, you will die. It isn’t the smartest AI I have come across but it is effective and they will make your life very difficult. However, in many of the more run and gun moments of the game, I noticed that charging with a shot gun was often the most effective way to mow down the enemy.
[img_big]center,11144,2013-08-21/RoW_WakeUp.jpg,Wolfenstein: The New Order[/img_big]
Wolfenstein: The New Order is a great game, and should go down as one of the top games for this year, however it wasn’t perfect. The first devil in the room is crashes. I had a few, what’s more I had a few that happened at exactly the same place. I had to go back over the same area four times, before I tried lowering the difficulty settings, trying again and having it actually continue.
Secondly to that, there were some missions that were just unnecessary. “Where is the welder? Oh I dropped it in the water, go fetch it for me!” Of course, BJ can’t just reach in and get it, he needs to take a ten-minute journey just to get back to where he started from. This – and a couple of other missions – just felt like filler, and I really wasn’t sure how it contributed to the game other than simply making you hate the dude who dropped the welder in the water.
If Wolfenstein: The New Order is a sign of things to come in this new generation of first person shooters, then bring it on. It doesn’t come under the “new IP” category I like so much but it also doesn’t come under the annual franchise list. With a throwback feeling to the good old days of Half Life, the character development of a movie and graphics to rival any modern games, this is definitely a title you want to check out.