Wolfenstein: The New Order

Developer: MachineGames | Released: 2014 | Genre: FPS

Late to the party as I pretty much always am these days, I was pleasantly surprised by the “oldskoolness” of this FPS from 2014. It didn’t have the modern nuisances such as only carrying two weapons at a time and no HUD. It leaned more towards the style of yesteryear regarding those things, and I liked that a lot.

There was a prologue in 1946 that lasted more than an hour. Hardcore action hero Blazkowicz was on a war plane dashing for objectives such as putting out fires, dumping cargo, turret shooting, even jumping to another plane in mid-flight. Soon I was on foot dual-wielding rifles against Nazis, mostly on my own but sometimes in a group – like rope climbing a wall with Nazis shooting out of windows.

I never saw a timed task or a dependency, and the Nazis were easy to kill – so far so good.

Fast forward to 1960, where Blazkowicz had to recuperate at an asylum after having endured an injury to his head. After escaping this I ventured through memorable chapters such as on a train, on roof tops, in a prison, in a concentration camp, laboratories, sewers, a subway, in a magical temple at the bottom of the sea, in the ruins of a smashed train bridge, even on the moon – and that’s not even the full list.

Sometimes I was sneaking through a compound, taking down Nazis from behind with a knife. These sneaking sequences actually worked well. Often it’s a bad mix shoving sneaking into an action FPS, but the developers made that work too. I was also swimming a little, manning a one-man open submarine, even sitting in a mech unit at one point. But most of the time I was of course blasting my way through waves of Nazis, and I almost always had an impressive arsenal of weapons that rarely left me wanting.

Apart from the usual weaponry such as assault rifles, a sniper rifle, guns and more, there was also a laser tool that was frequently upgraded during the game. Later it was also handy as a weapon. But as a tool, it could be used to cut through specific fences, metal plates or chains.

The variation was impressive, and sometimes there was even a breather in a secret home base together with a team. Here I could walk around and check out lovingly detailed living quarters – maybe even solve a few tasks. There were a lot of cutscenes in this game and many were long too, but they were also well directed and written. I never felt like impatiently waiting to get back into the action.

The game didn’t have QTE as such, but there were many situations where I had to act fast in a very specific manner that would probably have turned into QTE in the hands of less capable developers. I liked that they weren’t here. For example, there was a corridor that I dropped into that revealed a big robot dog hunting me down. I had to run like crazy, crouch-slide below a pipe, and then cut the chain to a trapdoor to drop down before the robot dog had me for dinner.

Of course the game had its collection of boss fights which is a tradition I’ve grown sick and tired of many years ago. These boss fights were no walk in the park and often had their gimmicks and phases, but I must confess they’re not the worst I’ve seen. In some fights you have a team mate telling you what to do, and there are often a lot of boxes, poles and fences to seek cover behind.

It took me almost 12 hours to get through it. It’s been a while since I completed a game this long.


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