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Wolfenstein: The New Order (Video Game Review)

Wolfenstein: The New Order is a new first-person shooter from developer Machine Games and publisher Bethesda Softworks. The title continues the rich tradition of the Wolfenstein series that originally helped introduce and popularize the first-person shooter genre way back in the early 90s. The new release features some impressive graphics on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC that is comparable with the best in the industry, and it easily features one of the best storylines the series has ever told as well. The only real knocks against the game would have to come from the lack of any multiplayer support or the old school shooter mechanics that forces players to constantly walk around picking up health and armor in traditional shooter fashion. If players can look past these minor complaints though, Wolfenstein: The New Order is a really fun shooter game worth checking out on next generation consoles and PC immediately.

The story of Wolfenstein: The New Order is one of the best the series has ever told and is definitely among the best featured in the first-person shooter genre that typically values other aspects of a game over the narrative. The single player campaign in Wolfenstein: The New Order sees the return of protagonist BJ Blazkowicz, and he's a much more humanized character with an interesting background and self aware thoughts and feelings this time around. The setting is very different this time around as well and pictures a world where Nazi German forces won World War II and now occupy the majority of the world with advanced machinery and chemical enhanced super-soldiers. It's an interesting take on the classic World War II shooter that likely won't make history aficionados very happy, but it does create a fun atmosphere for the game.

Wolfenstein: The New Order doesn't do anything truly special in combat, but it doesn't do anything wrong either. The main objective of most any mission in the game is to shoot as many Nazis as possible with any weapon that can be found lying around. The game takes place in the 1960s, so the firearms available in the game are typically older model guns post World War II, but there are plenty of variances that includes semi-automatic pistols, assault rifles and others. Players can also choose to dual-wield in the game, and while it looks pretty awesome from a theatrics standpoint, it's hardly the most effective use of ammo. Sneaking up on unsuspecting enemies will allow players to land stealth kills, which can lead to different ways to progress through missions, but it's nothing we haven't seen before in many other shooters.

One cool thing Wolfenstein: The New Order does do though is in its unlockable skill trees. Rather than leveling up and using skill points to unlock new skills, unlocks in Wolfenstein: The New Order are based on the skill of the player, and possibly which unlocks are currently available to make completing challenges easier. Skills are unlocked in the game through completing a set of minor objectives such as pulling off so many head shots in a row or getting kills while aimed down the sights. It's a really neat way to deal with progression and unlocking new abilities in the game, and we it would be fantastic to see more games implement similar systems in their first-person shooters in the future.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is comparable with classic games in the series in a couple of major ways. The most prominent reason is the way players replenish ammo, armor and health. Rather than using the accustomed auto-regeneration health design, Wolfenstein: The New Order chooses to force players to seek out health packs, helmets and other items to replenish health and armor. This can be a really tedious process at times, but it doesn't detract away from the experience enough to be a concerned flaw. A better design choice comes in the form of numerous collectibles to seek out in the game. When a first-person shooter chooses not to include multiplayer of any form, it had better feature a campaign with good replay value, and fans will certainly want to go through the game multiple times to find all of the gold, letters and Enigma Codes scattered throughout the campaign.

Wolfenstein: The New Order does a good job of pacing and coming up with different enemy encounters and mission objectives across different levels. One mission will have players trekking through a jungle, shooting down enemy soldiers all the way, while another will have players entering the gunner seat of a warship to shoot down German fighter planes from the sky. Moreover, the game gradually introduces more advanced soldiers that can take a load of ammunition to bring down and massive mechs that are even tougher to stop. Wolfenstein: The New Order always seems to throw something different at the player, and it makes the game's campaign and storyline all the more memorable for the effort.

The presentation of Wolfenstein: The New Order is top notch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with some really nice graphics and details in the environment that helps make exploring the in-game world more interesting. The game looks noticeably worse on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 with some graphical glitches and dropped frames, but the game is still fun across all platforms. It's also worth noting that playing the game on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 will require a hefty install of right around 10 GB, so players will need the hard drive space and some patience when playing the game on other platforms.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is a solid shooter that does really do anything wrong and features a fun storyline that players will greatly enjoy. Shooting Nazis to regain a free world is a good enough reason to continue playing through the game, but Machine Games throws in a good storyline and an interesting protagonist just to sweeten the deal. The game lacks multiplayer of any form and doesn't run quite as well on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but the minor problems doesn't stop Wolfenstein: The New Order from being a must play across all platforms. Look for Wolfenstein: The New Order in stores today!

Wolfenstein: The New Order is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $59.99 and can be purchased for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. Wolfenstein: The New Order is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content & Use of Drugs. For more information on the game, check out the official Wolfenstein: The New Order website.

Game Features:
  • Single Player
  • Return of BJ Blazkowicz
  • Dual-Wielding Weapons
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer: Machine Games
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One (reviewed), Xbox 360 & PC
Release Date: May 20, 2014

Score: 8 out of 10
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