Wolfenstein: The New Order Review

Computer specifications: AMD Phenom(tm) ii x6 1055t @ 2.8Ghz, 8GB Ram, Nvidia EVGA GTX 680 @ 2GB

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I’ve been a stark (And very much addicted video gamer) for as long as I can remember, and one of the earliest memories of my gaming experience was attributed to the mass killing of Nazis. Of course, being the young, naive little tyke I had no idea what a Nazi was, I simply enjoyed murdering them (Which has led me to become the psychopath you all know and love today). Many years later I did touch on games such as Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001) and Wolfenstein (2009). You know, the ones where the Nazis experiment with magic like German Hogwarts and the theme of the supernatural was horrendously overplayed like J.K. Rowling on Acid. We all thought it was the end of the franchise as we knew it, so imagine the surprise and skepticism when Wolfenstein: The New Order was announced. I wouldn’t have blamed you if your first thought was, “Oh shit, not another Nazi zombie/undead game“. Fortunately, it’s safe to say that this is not the case with The New Order. For starters, the game focuses on an alternate timeline where the Nazis won World War 2 not with hocus pocus, but with vastly superior technology (which they stole, obviously), the Allies lost and most of the free world as we know in 1960 have been taken over by the Third Reich and are giving the Führer fellatio. You play B.J.  Blazkowicz (hur hur), the main protagonist of the Wolfenstein games, and the only hope left for humanity.

Graphics and Options

The game runs on the ID Tech 5 engine, which under layman terms means that even mid range computers can get a fairly decent performance. As one can see, it allows you to choose how many monitors you have as well as the Field of View slider (80 – 100), which is always good. Advanced options offer additional variety, but generally not as many as PC exclusive games.

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That being said, this game is absolutely beautiful to look at. Nuff’ Said. In fact, Kotaku did an article on how screenshots from the game look like paintings and concept art. It’s not far off from the truth.

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Germaniaaaaa!

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Gameplay

So in a dystopian world where Nazis have taken over, what do you do? Kill them, of course! There are 2 main ways with which you can go about this; namely all guns blazing, and stealth. Stealth elements are new in the Wolfenstein series, and are surprisingly satisfying to execute. You crouch up to an enemy, and when a “takedown” button shows you silently kill him. Detection rates are invisible in this game, unlike Dishonored or Payday 2, and the only indications that you’re detected are when enemies look into your direction or let out a gasp of surprise when they’ve suspected that they’ve seen something (Ergo, you).

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Surprise!

Of course, if you choose to go all guns blazing, you won’t be disappointed. There are a number of old school elements in the game, such as not limiting the number of guns you can carry (Thanks, modern shooters) and dual wielding, which is as awesome as it sounds. Gun handling or switching is generally decent, though not as “snappy”  or “realistic” as modern shooters are. Gun shooting on the other hand, is orgasmic as it gets, with meaty sound effects and the cries of your fallen Nazi enemies. Yes, “Mein Leben” is in there somewhere, I’m just not telling you.

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Dual Wielding Auto Shotties. JOY!

In most scenarios, there are officers who call in a continuous stream of reinforcements if you are detected and alternatively, you can opt to take the officers out silently in order to prevent that from happening. This can be seen through the signal detection on the top right corner of the screen and offers some strategizing and different pathways to utilize. Enemy wise, while there aren’t much variety, they are smart and will flank you and dive into cover when you’re unleashing a bullet storm on them.

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*Whistles*

Map layout and design offers a fair bit of exploration, and yes there are plenty of old school elements such as secrets, and a lot of easter eggs to boot. Different maps feels varied enough to keep you compelled enough to continue exploring and taking in the artistic pleasure that is The New Order at the same time. There are plenty of newspaper clippings lying around that offers insights towards the war that took place as well as everyday life with the Third Reich. There are also plenty of collectables that allow for health/armor upgrades as well as unlocking new game modes.

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Familiar?

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Lastly, what fun would it be without certain perks or skills to help you with the Nazi massacre? The New Order offers 4 different skill trees that is attainable through the completion of objectives, and makes life as a Polish Nazi Killing Machine a tad bit easier. The good news is that skill progression carries on throughout multiple play throughs, giving you the option to experiment with both combat and stealth. You will need the 2nd play through as well, given that early on in the game you will be forced to make a decision that will change certain elements of the game based on that decision. Admittedly, the changes aren’t overly drastic but provides a nice change of perspectives, a different gameplay mechanic (With different pathways in the same map) as well as characters exclusive to each playthrough.

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Weapon Wheels and Acrobatics

Weapon selection. As aforementioned, there is no limit to the number of guns you can carry, and you are able to select them from the number buttons on your keyboard. Unfortunately, as my fingers aren’t trained in finger acrobatics, that’s a bit of a pain. This leads us to the other option of weapon selection. By scrolling the mouse wheel, you can select weapons on an actual wheel! Simple right? Well, not quite.. You have quite the large wheel, and scrolling while in the midst of Nazi slaughter can be a tad bit disorientating. Of course, you could just memorize the weapon numbers like any other normal human being with extended fingers, but just a tiny bug bear.

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Scroll, scroll, scroll, die.

Conclusion

I’m fairly certain that not many of us were expecting this from a Wolfenstein game, but I sure am glad that it is. Overall, it’s a solid shooter with a beautifully realized world and absolutely excellent narrative that sucks you in and doesn’t spit you out until you’ve exacted revenge on the Third Reich. In terms of time, the game should last you around 10-ish hours per playthrough. The game is single-player only, but one hell of a single player experience it is, and I’m ecstatic that MachineGames didn’t have to divide their efforts on a multi-player mode.

Pros:
Beautiful, immersive environment (Destructible too!)
Engaging narrative (And good character development)
Solid combat and stealth mechanics
Smart enemy AI
Controls are for the most part tight

Cons:
Weapon wheel feels wonky
Linear gameplay, but with variety
Certain minor graphical and technical glitches

Final score: NEIN/10. I jest. 9/10.

Should you get this game? Well, to answer that, let me ask you. Do you like Nazis? Pro tip: There is only 1 right answer.

Developer: MachineGames
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: PC (Microsoft Windows), PlayStation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

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