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Wolfenstien The New Order

 

Part One

There are not many developers the can say their game franchise has spanned over 30 years. During that time you can expect a few sub par Wolfenstein titles, but Wolfenstein the new order is not one of those. It blends its old-school roots with more modern game mechanics. Although it does suffer from some of the problems of both schools of thought.

In the new orders alternate history you play as reoccurring protagonist B.J. Blazkowitz a US Army Marine who at the game’s outset is infiltrating a compound that houses reoccurring antagonist, and general creep, General Deathshead.

After a failed raid on the compound you are left paralysed in a mental hospital in Poland and after a miraculous recovery you find out that you’ve been in the hospital for 14 years. And in that time the Nazis have taken control over most of the world. It’s your run of the mill revenge story, but the characters involved add some intrigue, especially the few villains you come across.

B.J. Blazkowitz is very much the old school action hero. Everyone relies on him to do everything ranging from the most menial tasks to asking him to single handedly infiltrate a top secret Nazi research centre on the moon. Yeah, you heard me correctly. The game usually makes each task or mission interesting though. As having to do something as interesting a finding a circular saw can end up leading you through such scenarios as traversing a sewer system filled with Nazi drones.

The resistance you meet up with consists of some characters you would have met before, if you’ve played the previous games, and some new ones. But they have a tendency to stereotype characters such as Max Hass – the childish brute. There is also a choice about an hour into the game that will split the game into one of two time lines. The most noticeable change between the time lines is that one of the resistance members will be different. One will give you Jay, a guitarist who, if you look into his back story, strikes resemblance to Jimmy Hendrix, or the much more interesting Techla who you’ll have a chance to talk to a lot more.

One major problem I have with the game is that it changes tone very frequently and suddenly. In the space of 5 minutes you may be joking around with your fellow army members and then suddenly being held captive choosing which one of them should die. I think it would have served the game well to stick with the more serious aspects as if you look past all the attempted jump scares there’s really good tense moments in the game which I think could have been focused on more.

The combat itself is fantastic. There is a slight emphasis on stealth where in new areas you could slowly walk around the level taking out guards from behind or shooting them in the head with a silenced pistol and hearing that satisfying “tink” sound of the bullets penetrating their helmet. The AI while stealthing is terrible, though. If an enemy spots you they’ll usually just say “What’s that?” and before even finishing that though return to their designated walk cycle. Still though, the stealth sections play a bit like puzzles and give you a break from he run-and-gun action which can be a bit overwhelming at times.

Once and when you have been found you’ll turn into a one man killing machine. There’s a small amount of weapons to choose from with grenades and throwing knives to mix things up. Most guns can be dual wielded which ends up being surprisingly accurate and makes defeating some enemies with higher armour a little too easy. Although not really challenging you’ll soon forget about realism as you’re mowing down tonnes of enemies with fully automatic shotguns in either hand.

The game looks really good too. Whether you’re inside the air vents of a prison camp, the air vents of the orange safe house or the air vents of the research camp on the moon. In all seriousness though the environments can feel a little “samey”. This is contextualised by the Nazis having totalitarian control over the world, but I’m still left feeling like there could have been more diversity in the environments. That said, there are a lot of small touches that make the game’s graphics stand out. I really enjoyed the effort put into the idle animations for the guns and the fact that, in the case of the assault rifle’s grenade launcher attachment, you can see how many grenades are in the clip by looking at the weapon itself instead of having to rely on the heads up display.

Although not without its issues Wolfenstein The New Order is a really fun game to play. The combat alone is enough to warrant a recommendation for this game to anyone who curious about playing it. If they can fix some of the issues the game’s inevitable sequel will be one worth waiting for.

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