Developer(s) – Machine Games & id Software
Publisher(s) – Bethesda Softworks
Director(s) – Jerk Gustafsson & Jens Matthies
PEGI – 18
Wolfenstein: The New Order is a shooter set in an alternative reality, which has the player character fighting in a small resistance faction to overthrow the Nazi empire. Although there have been better first-person shooters than this come and gone, I think it’s certainly a step in the right direction towards developers making shooters with considerably more substance in gameplay than the likes of Call of Duty, Battlefield and Spec Ops.
Graphics – 9.5/10
This game presents what is among the current pinnacle of graphical capability in video games. It was developed using id Software’s id Tech 5 engine, which was used to develop Rage, which is in my opinion not only one of the best games of the seventh generation but also the best thing id Software has ever done. Machine Games must have realized the immense graphical value of Rage and wanted to bring that to the table with Wolfenstein, which was an excellent move in my opinion. But aside from that, the game is also conceptually compelling as well as graphically compelling, as it combines a very unique take on what kind of a horrific dystopian the world could have been if Germany had won World War II (despite heavily fictional elements, such as robotic soldiers) with an extremely realistic portrayal of the horrendous realities and conditions of war and conflict. As such, in lieu of Wolfenstein tradition, the factors of blood, gore, and disturbing imagery in this game are through the roof, so readers are warned.
Gameplay – 7/10
Compared to most shooters around at the moment, there is a fair bit more substance and more to play for in Wolfenstein. Indeed, alternative game modes can be unlocked through the completion of side quests, as well as having the option to occasionally play through classic Wolfenstein 3D levels. But the factor that I was sorely disappointed by was that though it had the strong feel of Rage about it, I felt as if the RPG element of that game was wanting. There were side quests, but I think the game was far too linear for side quests to be more of a prominent factor in the game. I believe that by that token alone, this game could have been much more than what it turned out to be. However, for a linear shooter, it does play out well enough. It’s challenging and there is some replay value to be had for playing through it twice.
Controls – 10/10
Whilst Wolfenstein doesn’t bring anything new to the first-person shooting genre in terms of controls, first and foremost, there are no problems with the formula chosen. But this was to be firmly expected, as this game was developed using an engine made by id Software; the company that popularized the genre with Doom years ago. It’s actually interesting to see how similar the control scheme of this latest game is compared to Wolfenstein 3D.
Lifespan – 5.5/10
I was let down by how short a time one playthrough lasts for how much more emphasis there is on side quests and extras in comparison to other shooters around at the moment, such as Killzone: Shadow Fall for example. The game seems like a first seemingly fleeting experience in that respect. Although there is indeed enough substance in gameplay to at least keep it entertaining for the short time it lasts I can’t help but feel that there’s also more than enough substance in gameplay to have made it last much longer than it did.
Storyline – 7/10
The story of Wolfenstein 3D centers around US Captain William Blazcowicz, who after having fought in World War II, sustains a head injury, which keeps him in a Polish care home for 14 years. Come 1960, having regained cognitive function, he escapes with his carer after the Nazis ravage the care home, to find out that the Germans have since won the war and the Nazi Party now govern the world; Blazcowicz, along with a secret resistance faction based in the heart of Berlin, resolves to overthrow the Nazis and end their reign of tyranny and oppression. For me, though I won’t give away anything else that happens in the game, there were moments in the story, which made it somewhat hard to follow at times. But having said that, the game does also includes some very emotionally powerful and tense moments and presents a small element of moral choice as well as the portrayal of the consequences of such. But I also think that the factor of fighting Nazis is an extremely satisfying story element in itself, as has been demonstrated by id Software many times before.
Originality – 6/10
As I alluded to in regards to the control scheme, The New Order doesn’t really revolutionize the genre in any specific way, it is unique in the respect of how closely Machine Games have stayed true to the source material of its classic Wolfenstein predecessors games in terms of gameplay. With re-vamps of old series’, that’s not an element normally found. For example, the latest Tomb Raider game has more or less completely reinvented the entire series. But with The New Order, it actually feels a lot like a classic Wolfenstein game, but with some modern first-person shooting elements added to it at the same time, such as the weapon selection wheel for instance.
Overall, Wolfenstein: The New Order is good for two playthroughs, making for about 12 hours of entertainment. I do think it could have done with a bit of an extra push, but it is still a fairly entertaining game, and much better than many other shooters currently on the market.