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PlayStation 4 Review: ‘Wolfenstein – The New Order’

B.J. Blazkowicz is the perfect image of an American hero. A poster model-worthy square jaw, indomitable fighting cause, sunken voice. White. He's entertainment's “perfect,” safe and marketable enough to slam Nazi heathens with a knife's edge. Blazkowicz is there to save us all. His is a world where New York was incinerated by atoms on December 21, 1948. Flash forward to 1960, and Nazi peculiarities have bred armor-wearing guard dogs and cremation robots. It's ludicrous but not funny. 1992's Wolfenstein 3D forcibly fed Blazkowicz a pixel-borne, surrealist Nazi nightmare. Overbearing portraits of Hitler sat hanging on walls sloshing in blue…

Review Overview

Reviewer's Rating

Summary : New Order has no tonal qualities.

User Rating: 4.85 ( 1 votes)
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B.J. Blazkowicz is the perfect image of an American hero. A poster model-worthy square jaw, indomitable fighting cause, sunken voice. White.

He’s entertainment’s “perfect,” safe and marketable enough to slam Nazi heathens with a knife’s edge. Blazkowicz is there to save us all. His is a world where New York was incinerated by atoms on December 21, 1948. Flash forward to 1960, and Nazi peculiarities have bred armor-wearing guard dogs and cremation robots. It’s ludicrous but not funny.

1992’s Wolfenstein 3D forcibly fed Blazkowicz a pixel-borne, surrealist Nazi nightmare. Overbearing portraits of Hitler sat hanging on walls sloshing in blue paint, without visible floors or ceilings to adhere to their concrete joints. Wolfenstein 3D did not exist to make a point; rather it became throne-worthy for its annihilation of robot Hitler. Escapism: It’s something video games do well.

Why, then, Wolfenstein: The New Order flounders in a dreadful series of missions within the walls of a concentration camp, willing to belittle real-world suffering for the sake of hokey exploitation, is inexplicable and indefensible. New Order is brazen enough to use babies, held upside down by one leg and crying in agony, to further expose simulated misery. And it’s disturbingly pointless.

New Order has no tonal qualities. As often as it pits Blazkowicz against ferociously vile Germans bathed in the absurd of cackling electrical technology, it wanders into the abysmally morose. Brian Bloom voices Blazkowicz’s inner grave monologue as if tone-deaf to the needs of Wolfenstein’s splatter-heavy bloodshed, creating a hardened soldier first instead of an empty human exterminator.

This is gunplay for the sake of gunplay. Machine-versus-man (or man-versus-man) duels exist to expel the corrupted ideals of manipulative, impure Nazi idiom. New Order brings about an underground resistance of personalities infinitely purer than Blazkowicz’s liquidated thought process. With Nazi ideologies running Earth, these pesky fighters champion their rights with implausible plans, up to landing on and escaping unscathed from a Moon outpost. Moon Nazis; that’s new.

Somewhere in the midst of exploding Nazi giblets sits a pale romance which exists to tantalize with false female nudity on the part of a forcibly retired mental hospital nurse – one of those stereotyped mental facilities with patients who rock back and forth uncontrollably between walls loaded with gibberish scribbles. New Order’s design follows this inconsistent path of dreary, emotionless design scoured by blues and rare sunlight. Bland hangars and encampments built with conventional realism are considered sufficient spaces for combat opportunities, in utter contrast to the dreamlike unreality which delivers underwater crevices of unfinished ocean worlds. New Order is internally upended by tonal imbalance.

Stakes in publisher Bethesda induce some minor RPG leanings, requiring Blazkowicz to physically reach for his ammunition drops or armor. Like its aesthetic style, New Order is frustratingly unsure of its habits, both a viciously paced flesh-shredding shooter and a stab-happy stealth story. Stopping cold to search for strewn weapons adheres to only one of those styles, yet the design is determined to mingle both methodologies.

New Order is notable for its multiplayer-less design, a “new order” in the sense of discharging modes no one will play anyway. Thus this narrative, sloppily offensive and overly rotund with 16 chapters, sags and bows from its girth. New Order needs 10 hours of content only because anything less is erroneously considered value-less, not because storytellers see a need for such lengthening. Trying to tie this together with embarrassingly aimless item quests in makeshift resistance housing proves how banal these tasks can be. Clearly no one else could source a file folder two rooms over unless they shared Blazkowicz’s heroism.

Exhausting Deathshead’s lifeline is the final goal after scrounging in file-seeking formalities. This Nazi mauling inches toward a stacked confrontation with this frail, disfigured, and scratchy-voiced villain. As Blazkowicz’s inverse, Deathshead exists somehow in the ideals of the deplorable perfectionism the Nazis claim to seek, despite his physical faults. But ghastly-looking malefactors are infinitely easier to kill and white first-person leads easy to accept. They’re a dangerously safe combination of tropes, bundled together.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • sur0x

    Hey guys Wolfenstein The new Order only 39$ here:!!

    https://www.g2a.com/r/wolfestein-new-order

  • http://www.berathen.com/ Venks Dunson

    It’s a shame. With Mick Gordon working on this game as composer I definitely had higher hopes.

    • http://www.doblu.com/ Matt Paprocki

      He does some great work. I don’t think the score here was bad so much as it was lost. It never popped. His Killer Instinct work though? It’s awesome stuff.

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