Wolfenstein The New Order - Game Review, Punished BJ Edition.
Since it's sequel week and Wolfenstein 2 releases in a few weeks it's time to revisit the re-imagined world of Wolfenstein, so sharpen your best Hitler youth knives and reload your bouncing shotgun pellets and lets dive back into the world of Wolfenstein.
Setting and Plot
Wolfenstein the new order begins aboard a fighter plane in an unnamed sea with you stepping into the shoes of BJ Blazkowicz, renowned Nazi killer and shooter of many guns, funnily enough the start of this game is technically the sequel to the DLC released after the Old blood where you have found General Deathshead' compound.
The story line revolves around BJ trying to make sense of the world, he's been out of action for nearly 14 years and everything has changed, everything but him, still intent on fighting the good fight against the axis powers that be he befriends a young polish nurse who eventually leads him to the resistance, or what's left of it, for the purposes of not spoiling this i won't tell you where they're located but it's the last place you would expect.
After a great opening sequence BJ finds himself somewhere in Poland recovering from "events" that took place during the raid on deathshead' compound, he's slowly watched the seasons change and strange soldiers come in and out of his resting place seemingly from the future, after some time you recover and discover what's happened, the 3rd Reich was victorious the year is 1960 and the allies were decimated.
The story line for The New Order is pretty cinematic in scope, giving you time to get your bearings before throwing you in the deep end and also tossing grenades and live sharks in with you, the places you travel to are not nazi occupied, but rather nazi territory after hitlers total victory during the war and as such things have changed, iconic cities no longer have their original aesthetics and the people themselves have come to accept the new order in the world.
The story revolves primarily around BJ reigniting his 1946 war with the Nazi's, as someone who has just "woken up" the long stretch of time doesn't affect him, his emotions and feelings are still the same as they were in 1946 all though the entire world has changed and the war is long since over unable to come to terms with that BJ begins doing what he does best, killing nazi's and well....that's about it, all though the content in the game varies widely the overall narrative is the same, kill nazi's to get to deathshead and then he'll see what happens from there.
The game starts in Berlin, now a sprawling mega city, the kingdom of the 3rd Reich where everything is engineered to socialist design and the people willingly follow the new way of life, it's important to note that though that cities feel eerily empty and seems to only be inhabited by Soldiers and the people they're abusing, there doesn't seem to be any actual citizenry all though this could solely be a design choice by the developers.
The story is narrated by BJ through internal, critical monologues that are pretty awesome as the 6'3 110kg nazi killing machine seems to be impenetrable on the outside, his mind is fractured and worried on the inside often wondering why he of all people were left to fight this fight when so many others he deems more worthy died on the beaches during the war, it's truly amazing character development through these monologues that i hope to see more of in other games as it allows the player to understand what's truly going on inside their characters heads rather than what they say or do to other people.
Rather than parts of the story line being drip fed to you, The New Order has enough content to fully explore the stories of the game rather than just going to a place to gather "X" amount of information, every part of the game reveals something more to the main story line and adds to it until things come to a head in some levels either finishing them or leaving them open for down the road or even new games, overall however the story line is surprisingly refreshing as most games with an "occupied" setting have you being the downtrodden on the run victim, The New Order makes you a massive spanner in the works as you continue to destroy things and kill people that have been unchallenged for nearly 2 decades.
One of the things that makes The New Order a great game to play is the game play itself, fast paced and nonstop but on the other hand depending on your play style you can take the stealthy approach using knives and silenced pistols to sneak around the levels avoiding detection giving you an easier path forward, iv'e tried both of these and the kick in the door and start shooting approach is definitely more fun given the weapons you receive.
The gun play in the game is addictive, shotguns and assault rifles galore as well as other quirky guns made in the new world you'll also find differing ways to change your guns or even new ammunition types that change the game play all together, for example the new shotgun can be equipped with bouncing pellets which turn enemies holed up in a room into pin cushions as the bullets bounce all around the room shredding anything they come in contact with, alternatively the AR Marksman rifle can go from a one shot one kill sniper rifle to a fully auto plasma rifle.
A return for the better
Finally, health kits and armor! unlike most modern shooters everything you acquire in the game comes from enemies or on the ground and health and armor are no different, sometimes you will be faced with multiple enemies with a shred of health left which requires you to fully commit to your tactics and aiming, scavenging what you can to keep going this is more prevalent on the higher difficulties as enemies hurt, a lot, and ammunition can be scarce sometimes so changing your tactics from madman with a rifle to quiet sociopath with a knife may have to be done so you can move forward, thankfully though the harder the enemies the more likely they are to have armor plating you can pick up.
- Other mechanics.
The New Order is pretty straight forward throughout the entirety of the game kill bad guys, collect stuff, save the world there are some hidden puzzles and collectibles as well as secret i won't spoil, but the game is pretty straight forward in this regard, there are some quick time events you'll have to do every now and then but this game largely puts you in control to destroy and maim the way you want.
One important thing to note is the upgrade system while it doesn't play the biggest role in the system, it links into achievements and can tailor your game play even more so to your style.
Graphics and Direction.
MachineGames did a great job of bringing Wolfenstein to the new era, the graphics are sleek and very aesthetic in some parts, it also shows the long time fans just how far we've come in terms of graphic dedication, as the first wolfenstein was pixel block art that just looks hilarious now days.
The direction of the game ties in well with the world they've created, towering structures and the legendary aesthetics of the 3rd reich have been refined and displayed after 14 years of work, as such expect to be guided into magnificent set pieces that stretch incredibly far and make you feel connected to the world you're battling through.
The story and direction of the game are very well created giving a realistic sense of the world you find yourself in, remember this a world controlled entirely by authoritarians so you won't usually find many markets or non German culture around, it's gonna be concrete and steel, with the occasional trip off the planet and under the sea(oops spoiler).
I guess the biggest part you could take away from this is turn the phone off, close the blinds and gag anyone around you and sit down and immerse yourself in the game as it feels like a movie that you control and dictate when things happen even though it's pretty linear you'll come to enjoy that aspect as you move from place to place without having to stop and go back to previous areas to pick up things or find someone, it's a straight shoot to the end but you're going to have to crawl through glass and hot sauce to get there.
The game itself is a classic by any standards, there aren't too many things i can pick out of the game that annoys me, the only thing that does are the "choices" you're given in some parts of the game which really aren't choices, more like do you want to handicap yourself or buff yourself, and since it's such a story driven game you get involved in sometimes you will want to make different choices than the character does, but that's a part of playing a story driven game.
As a whole i give Wolfenstein: The New Order a very very solid thumbs up and would and have recommended this game to friends and family, with the new game on the horizon in a few weeks maybe it's time to polish off the game one more time or even get into the franchise for the first time and enjoy the mayhem for yourself.