Wolfenstein: The New Order (Xbox One)
A splitting image of the original game, Wolfenstein The New Order maintains the gore of yore in a beautiful, modern package. If pay-to-win models are getting you down, The New Order is a very good reminder of why we play video games in the first place.
The First Place
I mean every bit of that praise, too. This video game is good. No, it's damn good. It's damn good for the classic reasons video games are good, and not because it's a movie disguised as a video game.
Ya see, Wolfenstein released waaaaaay back in 1981 on the as Castle Wolfenstein, to pretty good praise. "Addicting" and "adventure" are two words thrown around in reviews from the time.
|"Castle Wolfenstein was one of the first combination arcade/adventure games. Using simple but effective graphics, it tests your arcade reflexes and your problem solving skills." -Ahoy!|
Yikes. So its aged as well as Carlos Mencia's stand-up comedy. But hey, President Reagan hadn't even talked the Berlin wall into falling yet when Castle Wolfenstein released, so its understandable that some imagination was required to play. What's important here is the game's then-fresh blend of action, adventure, and stealth is present today in many shooters including The New Order.
The Art is So Cool That You Won't Care that its a Last-Gen Port
In the original game, your Swastika covered enemies shouting garbled German commands created a world unlike games before 1981, so too does The New Order craft a stunning environment on the PS3 and Xbox 360. It's a dreary world of concentration camps and Nazi hatred but boy does it visually look good.
This game pulls no punches with its setting. You will see everything you'd expect from a 1960's Earth ruled by Nazis: concentration and work camps, death ovens, and horrible machines of war. have won Graphically, it looks fine, just fine, by 2014 console standards. The textures are kinda blurry and light effects have a weird glow to them but models and character faces are spot on. There's neat depth of field effects here and there, too, but the world's design shines through the game's obvious last-gen console roots.
|LOOK AT THOSE THINGS! You get to fight those things and die many times because of that but boy is it fun!|
I love how amicably its design treads the line of creativity and realism. My crap screenshots don't do this game justice so be sure to check out the gameplay clips throughout the review to get a clearer picture. Speaking of gamepaly, this game...
Is Pure Unadulterated Fun With Zero B.S.
|Good thing his eyes are obscured or else this brutal take down would humanize the enemy.|
Badass innit? You'll enjoy 16 sprawling levels with cool shit happening just about always, tense firefights, explosions, and boss fights. The regular difficulty provides just the right amount of challenge to keep you playing without throwing anything important, which is considerate, but some areas can be downright punishing.
But that's what restarts are for and, 9 times outta 10, the problem is easily resolved by dual wielding shotguns.
Other times, ya' just gotta think of alternate ways to progress. For instance, there's a natoriously difficult mission where large Nazi-bots are spawned around you. With limited ammo from my most recent save, I spent two enraged, INFLAMED hours trying to defeat them before realizing dashing for the escape train before the soldiers had a chance to shred me was a much better choice. Am I dumb? Probably.
But the fact that's even allowed is pretty damn awesome and its actually kinda nice not being spoon-fed in a game for once. Sometimes, you'll find sneaking about committing silent kills is better or vice versa. Either way, there's no bullshit. You're not punished for deciding which way to play. There aren't any microtransactions, loot boxes, game-breaking glitches or expensive DLC.
You buy the video game and that's what you get: a full video game. Well, its a very bloody, senselessly-violent video game but a full one at that. How about that?
Well the Senseless Violence Actually Makes Sense
If the hyper-violent gore fest grows old (it never does but we'll pretend), The New Order provides context through a damn good story and likable characters. Where some games go to embarrassing lengths towards this end, like that one time Modern Warfare 2 killed an astronaut to show the senselessness of war, The New Order has nuance to its characterization and story telling, cooperating with frightening acts of violence you'll commit as BJ to provide context to his almost unflinching, murderous actions.
Your playable character, William "BJ" Blazkowicz, is the typical, square jawed Jewish hero we're all accustomed to. Although he has a personality, it's second fiddle to the bright cast around him. They each have an undeniable liveliness that BJ lacks. Overall though, the characters, story, and story telling are so phenomenal that its uncanny. How can voice acting feel this genuine in a game where stabbing Nazi-dogs is the norm?
Guess who's my favorite character.
Of course, these things matter when you want to feel as if what you're doing matters in the game's world and Wolfenstein accomplishes this goal with flying colors. You're not throwing knives into the heads of Nazis just because its fun, you're doing it to save your Yiddish speaking friends and to see a smokin' hot sex scene.
...I had a screenshot of it but Xbox thinks it's too hot to upload to the cloud. Here's a visual approximation instead.
It's Just About Perfect
If I have to moan about something, I gotta mention how early in the campaign, a player-choice mechanic is introduced that is never revisited. Its kind of jarring when it happens, too, because the game takes you out of the fantasy to literally shout "MAKE A CHOICE" at you until you do.
Furthermore, the choice changes a few conversations and the player upgrades you'll start with, but nothing more. Your "choice" doesn't make a meaningful difference. Its like the developers woke up on "integrate player choice mechanic" day and immediately hit the "fuck it" button on their alarms.
But who cares? Some won't enjoy the science fiction elements but everyone should play this game anyway to enjoy classic shoot 'em up thrills in a modern wrapper.
See on Amazon.
- Wolfenstein The New Order made me cry only two times.
- The main character, BJ, reminds me of a friend I once had (JUST a friend) and probably contributed to the many tears.
- Its sequel, Wolfenstein II The New Colossus is just around the corner so please hurry up and play this one first.