I am unconvinced by
Wolfenstein: The New Order. I played Wolfenstein 3D growing up, and Wolfenstein before that. Okay, that last one is a completely different genre even if it is part of the franchise, but I include it because I have fond memories of it. Wolfenstein: The New Order features all the blood and Nazis and robo-dogs you really want to see from the franchise, but it lacks the sort of over-the-top oomph truly required of it.Beyond Castle
Obviously, you’re being rather foolish if you enter into Wolfenstein: The New Order expecting some rip-roaring narrative about BJ Blazkowicz. Blazkowicz’s objective is as it always has been – kill Nazis. In The New Order, he mainly gets to do this in an alternate version of post-World War Two Europe, where the Nazis have won the war.
The point then, as is essentially the point in virtually every FPS, is to kill the bad guy and, let’s face it, the Nazis are the baddest of the bad and a world in which they’ve won the Second World War is about as dystopian as you can get. So, a lot of motivation to get you to go out and achieve your goal isn’t necessary.
That isn’t to say that Blazkowicz and his Nazi-hunting buddies don’t get awfully talkie between missions, they do, it’s just that it’s all pretty irrelevant. Perhaps that’s where the issues lie with the game, but it isn’t the only place.
Chief amongst the game’s sins is that it just gets boring. Maybe that’s because the story isn’t great, because they view things in the simplest of terms – Nazis bad, go kill; not Nazis, good, save at all costs.
The point of The New Order is nostalgia. Heck, Wolfenstein 3D wouldn’t be sitting there as an Easter egg in the game if the point wasn’t nostalgia, and they wouldn’t use the old school difficulty names either. You could get away with “Nazis bad, go kill” with Wolfenstein 3D, but I’m not sure you can anymore.
The developers would come closer to succeeding despite the simple message if the combat remained interesting, but it doesn’t. It gets exceptionally repetitive, and at times truly annoying. Enemies come in several flavors, but you’ll see them over and over again. The cover mechanic is bad, and while the weapons are enjoyable, Blazkowicz, starts more than one mission without a weapon. This sometimes feels story driven, but not always. And, even if it is story driven, it stops being an enjoyable trope very quickly.
One of the game’s other big problems comes with its desire to have you do weird, small, things to advance without always making what you’re supposed to accomplish clear. You can be in a huge area and be told to carry person A to spot B. Of course, finding person A is difficult and then if you don’t get to spot B from the right angle, it might not count. You might be led to think that you’re not at spot B and to wander around for 20 minutes. There is also a moment where you have to figure out how to break a concrete machine, which requires you figure out how the not-great-to-begin-with controls should be manipulated to allow you to use, improperly, the device. These moments feel tossed in as a way to break up the monotony of killing Nazis, so that someone, somewhere, can say, “No, no, Nazi killing is just a part of the title, there are some puzzles too.”
And here, I stop and return to what I said a few paragraphs ago – the point of this is nostalgia and that it’s easy convince folks that the Nazis winning World War II would have been a bad thing. It feels like this aspect of the game was given short shrift.
Thought was certainly put into the different types of weapons available, what would be dual-wielding and what wouldn’t. Thought was also put into exactly how bloody bodies would get and how different weapons should mutilate. There is a whole lot of blood and guts and gore, but heck, this is a first person shooter and it’s blood and guts and gore of Nazis (again, Nazis are bad).
If you have a love of the franchise, a love of FPS titles, or simply a desire to take out your aggression on one of the most evil regimes of the modern era, you could do worse than Wolfenstein: The New Order, but it isn’t a game which is going to expand anyone’s view of the franchise or genre.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs. This game can also be found on: PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.
[amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=B00DHF39KS]