In today’s world, when one thinks of first-person shooters the first games that likely come to mind are series like Call of Duty and Halo. However, we must not forget about the pioneers of this genre, like Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. Doom is the more brought up game in the group, but Wolfenstein 3D actually came first and helped to define what an FPS really was on the PC. Fast forward more than 20 years later and we’ve seen new games in the series here and there, including the last entry in 2009. Now, MachineGames and Bethesda Softworks have teamed up to bring us a follow-up known as Wolfenstein: The New Order.
The Wolfenstein franchise is pretty personal to me as I have very fond memories of playing the shareware Wolfenstein 3D on my DOS only computer in the mid 1990s. At the time, it was the first truly FPS I ever played, besides the occasional FPS segments in Jurassic Park for Super Nintendo. I actually did not play the game until a couple years after it was out, when other games like Donkey Kong Country were showing the capabilities of graphics at the time, but Wolfenstein 3D still stood out due to the insane nature of the game and the fact that you were actually moving around in 3D, even if it didn’t look all that great. Where else could you face off against a Mecha Hitler anyways?
Rather than a reboot like you might expect after a decently long hiatus in the series, Wolfenstein: The New Order continues onward from the plot of the last two games in the series, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Wolfenstein. We start the game three years after the events of Wolfenstein, now in 1946, with BJ Blazkowicz working to assassinate his now arch enemy General Deathshead, who managed to escape the events of the last game. In the process, we see Blazkowicz hit with shrapnel and going into a vegetative state for 14 years. He awakens in 1960 where the plot of the game truly begins, with the Nazis pretty much having taken over most everywhere by now.
During this aforementioned prologue, you will have to make a major decision choice on which of two characters you want to save, Wyatt or Fergus. Saving Wyatt will lead to you having the ability to picks locks to access special areas, while saying Fergus will give you the hotwire ability that provides health upgrades and alternate paths in the game. However, that is far from all as the story itself is impacted by your choice. As a result, this really helps to extend the game’s length as you technically have two different campaigns to play through, as the events and characters are altered depending on your initial choice. This is something that I hope other games in the genre choose to do in the future, as it brings something new to a second playthrough of the game.
Without giving away much more of the plot, Wolfenstein: The New Order does a fantastic job at crafting a story that actually keeps you wanting to play more. Often times, games in the FPS genre are gameplay first and story second, while this game managed to put the story on the forefront. Seeing General Deathshead’s sadistic actions makes you want to chase and kill him all the more, with plenty of character development along the way. Thinking back to the days of playing Wolfenstein 3D, I never thought I would care as much for Blazkowicz as I did while playing this game. He is not alone in this one either, as the supporting players like Anya and Fergus or Wyatt manage to be standouts as well.
One of the most memorable parts of the classic Wolfenstein games was the difficulty settings you had to choose from, and those return once again. Starting with the easiest of them, we have “Can I Play, Daddy?,” followed by “Don’t Hurt Me,” “Bring’em On!,” “I Am Death Incarnate!,” and “Über.” Wolfenstein: The New Order certainly doesn’t hold back with its difficulty, with even the normal settings being extremely hard at times for even an experienced FPS player. Enemies come from many different areas on the map, so often you will find yourself surrounded and getting killed if you are not careful. Early in the game, you may find a shortage of ammo, so be prepared for a little frustration trying to survive on the higher difficulties. The lower ones you can manage to get around and just knife everyone if you aren’t too surrounded.Wolfenstein: The New Order Review,