Game: Wolfenstein: The New Order
Made by: Machine Games
Published by: Bethesda Softworks
Available on: PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
I bought Wolfenstein during a Steam Sale in 2014 looking for a gripping single-player shooting experience. I played the first few levels and enjoyed them, but time took me away. This last month, I finally got around to completing the game, just in time for the release of its sequel. In the past I’ve moved through single-player games slowly, playing a level or two here and there, but my second playthrough of Wolfenstein had me hooked, and I found myself squeezing in a level wherever I could, finishing the game in just a few days.
The game, a reboot of the classic Wolfenstein franchise, puts you in control of American soldier B.J. Blazkowicz, who, following a brain injury experienced fighting the Nazis in 1946, finds himself in something of a comatose state. Only fully waking in 1960, you find that the Nazis are now at the height of their power, having defeated the Allies and won World War II. As the Nazis and their regime continue to rise, it’s your job to do whatever you can to stop them, and to kill as many Nazis as you can on the way.
Classic First Person Shooter Gameplay: While Wolfenstein feels comfortable in the current market of FPS games, it makes an effort to return to the series’ roots. By including health packs, an arsenal of guns available at nearly all times, and signature boss battles, Wolfenstein brings the chaotic and classic ‘90s FPS back to the table.
Single-Player: Wolfenstein: The New Order is, in and out, an entirely single-player experience with no multiplayer mode. The New Order’s campaign is engaging, well-written, and fun, but players should know not to expect additional content after they’ve beaten the game.
Progression System: The New Order’s progression system incentivizes players to try out different play-styles to unlock gameplay upgrades. Getting kills with grenades will upgrade your grenades, achieving kills with a variety of guns will unlock reloading upgrades, and overcharging your health high enough will allow you to heal faster. There’s no choosing a progression path or character building, but the game’s simple progression succeeded in pushing me to try a more diverse playstyle and move away from my one-gun habits.
Stealth: Though stealth isn’t the primary focus of the game, most levels come with a stealth component, and a large portion of the game can be beaten by sneaking around and stealth-killing Nazi Commanders. The game’s stealth certainly isn’t the most evolved in the genre, but it’s entertaining and offers an alternative route through its levels.
Boss Fights: The New Order revitalizes another staple of classic FPS titles through its inclusion of challenging Bosses. While neither particularly plentiful (the game boasts only two major boss battles) nor significantly unique, Wolfenstein’s boss battles provide challenging punctuation to the otherwise quick progression of a 1960s Nazi bloodbath.
WHAT I LIKED
Compelling Story: For a game that prides itself on allowing you to mow through hordes of Nazi enemies alone with an arsenal strapped to your back, it almost seemed as though The New Order had no right to lay claim to an interesting and gripping story. From the very beginning, though, as you observe and learn about this world the Nazi regime has created, it begins to come to life, and it was almost uncomfortably easy to feel myself slipping into the shoes of the protagonist to shut it all down. The game’s compelling characters feel real and filled with purpose, fighting back against a regime interested in their extermination.
Satisfying Gunplay: Simply put, the guns of The New Order feel good. From stealth kills with the silenced pistol to mowing down enemies with the electric MG-60 machine gun, each individual weapon in Wolfenstein feels right and lends to a fun shooting experience.
Brevity: According to Steamspy, The New Order’s median playtime is just under 12 hours. The game probably took me around 12-15 to beat on Medium difficulty without going too far out of my way to search for collectibles. Unless you’re looking to fully complete the game by beating it on its hardest difficulty and locating all collectibles, make sure you’re comfortable paying for a 12-15 hour single player experience.
Single-Player Only: While I’d argue dedication to single-player is what makes this game strongest, players focused on multiplayer experiences may consider steering clear.
Intense Violence: True to its roots, The New Order is a game that doesn’t shy away from depictions of intense violence. Alongside standard combat violence and gore, players should expect regular depictions of wartime cruelty and scenes involving torture and grotesque imagery.
Sexual Content: The New Order only has a couple of sex scenes, but they’re graphic and involve nudity. Each scene is less than thirty seconds in length and is comparable to an episode of Game of Thrones.
Nazi Imagery: The New Order is a game about fighting Nazis, and with that comes naturally a lot of swastikas and the familiar Nazi imagery of the third reich. While likely not a concern for most, players in countries that ban the swastika and other Nazi iconography should be aware that your experience may be censored or otherwise altered to conform to local laws and expectations.
WHO’S IT FOR?
If you’re looking for a violent, single-player First Person Shooter experience, Wolfenstein: The New Order may be the game for you. Boasting an excellent story and solid gunplay, the game has what’s necessary to hold your interest from the first shot to the final boss.
Players searching for a calm, non-violent experience or one lacking in political themes or imagery should consider looking elsewhere; Wolfenstein: The New Order tells the story of a revolutionary, anti-Nazi killing spree, and while rabid Nazi killing may feel therapeutic, the game is far from a relaxing experience.
From Steamspy unless otherwise noted.
Average Playtime*: 18 hours
Average Cost per Hour**: $1.11
Median Playtime*: 12 hours
Median Cost per Hour**: $1.67
* Playtime rounded to the nearest half-hour
**Costs calculated using a price of $19.99