WARNING: To anyone that is reading this in Germany, this might be censored.
If you've read a few of my blogs, I am big into Id Software. Mainly through Doom and Wolfenstein. The Wolfenstein reviews are some that I have thoroughly enjoyed writing. It has had several revivals in the new millennium with the recent one beginning back in May 2014 with The New Order. To say it's a refreshing game is an understatement. This was a shot in the arm that first person shooters needed.
Let's pretend that World War II still continued. MachineGames gives audiences an alternative history. Once again, B.J. Blazkowicz is leading a group to kill General Deathshead in 1946. Things go awry and shrapnel hits his head. This leads to a coma that lasts for 14 years. In that time, Nazis have taken over the entire world. Not even its Italian allies were supported. Determined to do whatever it takes, B.J. tries to assemble resistance members in hope of eradicating the Nazis and bring the world back to normal. Normally, Wolfenstein games are pretty weak in story, but this is developed very well. It gives you a range of characters with their strengths and weaknesses. You feel for the resistance group and it gives B.J. a personality beyond killing Nazis. Retconning his life to this is not a bad thing. It may not be the strongest story of this generation, but they do good with what they have.
Why is this game refreshing? Because it doesn't cater to the way Call of Duty and Halo are played. You got 16 levels. Each one has you completing various objectives. These are pretty lengthy. You're going to spend quite a bit of time exploring each area. It's a love letter to both old school and new school games. Obviously, it's a love for the Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. Levels with tons of exploration, secrets with valuable items. It's also a tribute to late 90s and early 2000s games like Goldeneye and Medal of Honor. Games that had you as a one man army, but doing objectives, finding tons of ammo at your disposal. New school wise, it's more in line with 2009 Wolfenstein and a bit of BioShock. Locations take you through parts of Europe and even one special level that you have to experience yourself.
There is a lack of a muiltiplayer. That isn't a bad thing. While it might hurt its value, MachineGames had one goal in mind. Deliver a single player experience that has been sorely missing following the first Modern Warfare game. To be able to have a game that is like the early Medal of Honor games, and Goldeneye along with Id's early shooters is why this gets a lot of praise.
It's a very early title for this generation's set of systems, but it looks nice. This feels optimized and developed with PS4 and Xbox One in mind. The areas and character modeling is nice. How the Nazis built parts of Europe are crafted beautifully (ironic, isn't it) and showcase what the hardware is capable of. It's audio reminds of Medal of Honor and Doom. They have parts with orchestra for certain parts, but with gun play, it's rock music that gives you a rush to go after the Nazis. Overall, they got both facets done well.
New Order's set of weapons is not huge in variety, but it gets the job done. What really helps is each one has good use and you have to rely on them, with MachineGames making sure that each one is not forgotten. You can dual wield guns. The knife aspect going back to 3D is still here. Grenades can still be carried. Some of them have certain upgrades like rockets and silencers. The idea is not always to run and gun your way through an area. Taking the stealth approach is more rewarding than most other games. There is perks that can be unlocked if you perform certain kill tasks and add to your trophies/achievements.
The health system is a combo of regenerating and a health bar. Once again, the love letter to 3D and Doom are there. You have armor pickups as well as health. Even dog food is a pickup. You can overcharge your health, but it will drop to whatever the maximum you can have. There are upgrades to both, increasing by 10 each time. Treasure is still a trademark to the series, so there are plenty of gold to find. Quite a bit more is added to the mix like enigma code pieces, letters, and concept art of levels, all of which can be accessed at any time in the main menu. It adds to the phenomenal level design. To be fair, it is linear, but it still gives you the freedom at times to take a look before heading on to the next area. You have to figure out how to deal with Nazis, since each kind is not the same.
For the difficulty, it's pretty good. They give you different difficulty modes, and the combat against the Nazis is mostly fair. There are some cheap moments at points during the game. My biggest complaint is the armor. At times, you can get hit with little damage from gunfire or too much. It's hard to explain, but I feel at times it is useless, especially when trying to hold off certain enemies on your own. Some levels do have certain parts that are questionable, but not anything to where you give up very quickly. But overall, Wolfenstein: The New Order is a great game that needs to be played. Worthy of the praise it has had the last four years.
Score: 8 out of 10