LNLP - Nations at War

GrogHeads Reviews Wolfenstein: The New Order

Lloyd Sabin, September 7, 2014

Developed by Id and Machinegames and Distributed by Bethesda Softworks

Rarely is a review so easy for me to write. That’s because Wolfenstein: The New Order (W:TNO) is not only one of the most fun and creative shooters I have played, it is definitely one of the best games I have played, period. The quality of the visuals, the music, the story, the controls, the setting…everything about W:TNO proves that the developers at Id and Machinegames did indeed care about the tried and true Wolfenstein lineage, while not being timid in creating a brand new universe for this new Nazi-stomper, featuring our beloved hero B.J. Blazkowicz. I was engaged from the very beginning and tore through the single player campaign because it was a fascinating, exciting look at a dark, near-future. Add in a dash of humor and you have an almost perfect game.

Intro screen after one of the best prologues you'll ever play.

Intro screen after one of the best prologues you’ll ever play.

Settings Only a Nazi Mother Could Love

W:TNO has sixteen chapters split up among some fantastic alternate history sets. The Prologue, which took me about 90 minutes to complete, is set during the end of World War II in 1946, but not the World War II in Europe that we know now…it is replete with an extra-large load out of Nazi secret weapons – belonging both to the Luftwaffe and other branches of the German military. As a matter of fact, watching Luftwaffe Komet rocket planes, Me 262s and flying wings zip through the air through the Prologue, and even getting an opportunity to shoot them down, made me nostalgic for the old LucasArts titles.

Want some Nazi killin'? You've come to the right place.

Want some Nazi killin’? You’ve come to the right place.

That was until the Prologue ended, and W:TNO unceremoniously escorted me through an actual castle (‘returning’ back to the series’ roots), a German prison, a new capital of the Reich (Germania – clearly inspired by the nightmares of Albert Speer), an SS concentration camp, a nuclear powered U-boat, and, perhaps most magnificently, a Nazi lunar base.

All of these levels are fantastically rendered and are designed to encourage exploration, which I did with relish. Upgrades and health packs are scattered generously on ‘Normal’ difficulty, which can be adjusted on the fly if your stomping skills are not quite up to snuff (I played on Normal about 97% of the time, honest). There are also two possible story-arcs based upon a very difficult decision the player has to make at the very end of the Prologue, which doubles W:TNO’sreplayability.

Wolfenstein: The New Order gives players the chance to use some pretty high caliber weapons.

Wolfenstein: The New Order gives players the chance to use some pretty high caliber weapons.

Sensitivity to the Subject Matter

If you’re like me, you love history. And sometimes you may get a little queasy because a lot of history is not pretty. This is especially true with anything having to do with the Third Reich. Id and Machinegames should be applauded for handling such dark history in an honest, mature way. The material is not watered down, but it is not gratuitous either – there are referrals to sadism and extermination, but they are honest and never used as gimmicks. The humanity of Blazkowicz and the characters he meets is ever-present, but not goofy and not sentimental either. The voice acting is good, even if some of the actors tended to get on my nerves sometimes because they had a lot of dialogue presented in the form of audio-diary entries. That’s just a matter of taste though, and the quality of the presentation is top notch from beginning to end.

You'll also be given the chance to drive some vehicles.

You’ll also be given the chance to drive some vehicles.

Make no mistake, though – W:TNO is a brutal shooter first and foremost. Enemy troops can be disemboweled, blasted into pieces and have limbs cut off. There is also a sprinkling of naughty language, so use your judgment in letting your kids have a play through…the game is definitely intended for mature adults.

One thing about the enemy troops that both delighted and annoyed me was the wide variety that the player will encounter. The models and uniforms are fantastic and look great, but the game for some reason refers to Wehrmacht troops as ‘German Army,’ Kriegsmarine as ‘German Navy Troops,’ Luftwaffe as ‘German Air Force,’ etc. Not sure why this was done in this way but I personally would have preferred use of the German nomenclature.

The game log provides info on all the character models and enemies you will encounter, fleshing out the story nicely.

The game log provides info on all the character models and enemies you will encounter, fleshing out the story nicely.

There are some models that the player encounters that will just have you ogling for a few moments – heavily armored ‘Supersoldaten’ are an awe-inspiring dieselpunk fantasy, and the lunar infantry are just awesome (think Star Wars storm troopers with a slightly more fascist, realistic 1960s look). Others are ridiculous, like armored SS warhounds…again, a matter of taste. Being able to loot armor and weapons off of every character is a nice touch though, and makes even the ones you will grow to hate of some use.

Pretty hot, for a Nazi

Pretty hot, for a Nazi

Everything You Need to Kill You Some Nazis

If you were a fan of Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds, well, you have come to the right place with W:TNO. Most of the player’s time is spent killin’ you some Nazis. This is done with the requisite tools of the trade: a variety of fictionalized and fantasy weapons, including silenced handguns, assault rifles, repeating combat shotguns, throwing knives and portable laser cannons. Some levels offer even heavier hardware like mounted heavy machine guns, Nazi armored walkers and the occasional vehicle like a one-man submarine. W:TNO had me feeling like a Jewish James Bond with some of the equipment it gave me to use and I loved it…just don’t expect true-to-life hardware realism though, because you’re not going to get it. For me, that was just fine.

Missions span the occupied globe and the moon too.

Missions span the occupied globe and the moon too.

What you will get are detailed models of fictional, could-have-been weapons that are a blast to use and have a satisfying set of audio cues that go along with them. Some realistic weapons would have been nice but the wide variety, high production values and variety of hardware found here will delight almost anyone. Again, if you’re the sensitive type (as I can be on occasion) then you may want to rethink your decision. It’s very easy to turn into a Nazi-killin’ machine here – just don’t spend too much time thinking that you may be turning into something very similar to what you are combating and everything will be just fine.

Even though Wolfenstein: The New Order tends to be really dark, there are lighter moments of humor. Looks like the Nazis in alternate 1960 also enjoy playing games.

Even though Wolfenstein: The New Order tends to be really dark, there are lighter moments of humor. Looks like the Nazis in alternate 1960 also enjoy playing games.

A Model of German Efficiency

W:TNO ran fantastically on my three year old machine with the graphic settings placed at Very High. The game didn’t stutter once and never crashed in 20+ hours of gameplay, so I could not have been happier with performance.

London has seen better days.

London has seen better days.

Usually it takes a strategy game to get me to think about it while I am away from my PC, but W:TNO has done it too – it’s a thoroughly engaging first person shooter and even though it was a bit pricey when I bought it new, I daresay that for the time I spent with it, it was definitely worth it.

I have read some scattered chatter online about possible sequels set in the same universe but nothing really definitive as of this writing. And weirdly I haven’t read anything about any upcoming DLC. Hopefully that will change soon. If you love alternate history, World War II history, German history, Nazi killin’ or enjoy a well-presented, exciting, intelligent shooter, then W:TNO will not disappoint.

Now get out there and get me my 100 Nazi scalps.

Missions are fresh and interesting throughout almost the entire game. Here in the prologue the player must ascend an ancient tower. 

Missions are fresh and interesting throughout almost the entire game. Here in the prologue the player must ascend an ancient tower.


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