Wolfenstein: The New Order is a reboot of the classic Wolfenstein series and brings a whole new story and world to the franchise.
While I’ve always known of the historical significance of Wolfenstein I can’t say that it has been one of my favourite franchises. Perhaps that’s why a reboot of the series with a fresh developer and brand new story (yes it actually has a story!) appealed to me so much.
The game starts during an alternative time-line World War II in 1946 when you, as the classic character William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, attack the Nazi compound run by the game’s primary villain General “Deathshead”. The General is developing all sorts of advanced technology and in the end your mission fails resulting in you being stuck in a coma for fourteen years. When you do finally awake you find the world is a completely different place. The Nazis won the war thanks to Deathshead’s technology and the whole world is basically one giant prison camp.
Without spoiling the story I will say that you soon join a resistance which takes you all over the world from Poland to England and yes even to the Moon.
This is a very fun first person shooter (FPS) with plenty of throw backs to more classic FPS games, previous Wolfensteins included. For example unlike most modern FPS this game does not include recharging health, instead requiring you to pick up health packs and armour you find around the world to stay alive. It also features an element of stealth gameplay which can be very useful but is basically irrelevant as soon as a boss shows up.
To me though the thing that kept me hooked was the plot. It is absolutely full of detail with newspaper clippings, deep character development and a story that isn’t afraid to touch on the darkest, most uncomfortable subjects like prison camps, human experimentation, eugenics and more. It truly makes you hate the game’s villains and cements your motivation pretty early on. Beyond that though it does have its lighter moments such as finding vinyl records of famous songs re-recorded in German to reflect this new reality. There are also small, completely optional and unrelated, moments that really make the game feel like something more, something bigger. Here is one such moment from a character named Tekla that depending on how you play the game you may never even meet. Obviously this may contain spoilers so view at your own risk:
For all of my praise I would be lying if I said this is the best game ever made. From a purely gameplay perspective it feels… old, never venturing too far from the staples of the genre, giving you the feeling that you have played this game before. The difficulty in some sections of the game can also vary dramatically making it feel unbalanced at times.
However I think you would be missing out on something if you didn’t play this game and would highly recommend picking it up. I’m sure you can even get it for relatively cheap these days.