When it comes to FPS games like Wolfenstein: The New Order, I always hold a certain unspoken expectation. It’s an expectation that, well, I can never really put my finger on. Impressive graphics? Hmm, meh. Since my favorite all-time FPS game was released in 2003, I’d be hard-pressed to say that amazing graphics really pull me in. So maybe it’s maneuverability; controls that allow me to use skill and dexterity to the max, controls that feel natural and don’t have me panicking to find that one key in the heat of the moment? (I never have to look at my keyboard when typing or when I’m relaxed, but for some reason, when I’m in-game, moments away from death and need to find that one key to save myself, I look down and it’s like I’m seeing a keyboard for the first time in my life.) Sure, maneuverability is a pretty big deal.
Or maybe I’m just looking for a decent multiplayer platform. Maybe it’s a heartfelt soundtrack, an unexpected twist in the story, compelling characters or a dramatic ending? To be fair, there’s an array of desirable qualities that a game can have and maybe the reason I can’t quite pinpoint the most important one is because it requires a perfect combination of all of them.
So I will admit that although my aforementioned all-time FPS game is Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, the standalone Wolfenstein games never really lived up to my expectations, and thus never really harnessed my interest. In fact, the only good thing in my mind about 2001’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein was its multiplayer which eventually became Enemy Territory anyway. And so, it was with all this in mind that I played Wolfenstein: The New Order with heavy trepidation because, unlike the previous Wolfenstein games, this one doesn’t come with a multiplayer campaign. Did it live up to my expectations?
It exceeded them.
Now, it needs to be noted that I’m not one for unrealistic games unless they happen to strictly fall into the horror genre. That said, if someone were to tell me that in Wolfenstein: The New Order I’d be shooting down Super Soldier Nazis with laser-tech, defeating heavily armored dogs, robot dogs, space marines, and robot soldiers I would’ve, quite simply, laughed in their face, especially if they told me I’d be having an awesome time all the way through.
And yet, having an awesome time playing this game is exactly what happened. There’s so many good things that can be said about Wolfenstein: The New Order that I’m having a hard time choosing which point to start with, but for now I’ll just begin with the plot.
In recent years I’ve found that when it comes to storylines and war-based FPS games, the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises usually top the charts. But I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with this one. Brutally gripping, we’re met with and cast as B. J. Blazkowicz, who has been stuck in a vegetative state for the last fourteen years and forced to watch from his wheelchair as Nazis take over the world. But when he finally stands, all hell breaks loose. There’s an air of historic mysticism, with the revelation of ancient Jewish weapons of mass destruction and some weirdly laughable German covers of a few Beatles’ tracks. Even though this game takes place in a 1960’s world under technologically advanced Nazi’s, the use of good writing, strong dialogue and well-developed characters all add to the effortless believability that Wolfenstein: The New Order holds.
Although the graphics aren’t the best I’ve ever seen, they still look stunning. From cities decked out in Nazi art deco, to the unique and beautifully designed Nazi moonbase, there is a visual treat on every mission.
The use of weapons here is also fun. All Wolfenstein games have, in essence, revolved around the same thing. Kill Nazis, find the resistance, kill Nazis, find a way to stop their technological advancements, kill Nazis, kill more Nazis, and finally… kill Nazis. But the wide variety of weapons, with almost all having the option to be duel-wielded, add something new and exciting. They all have alternate firing modes and, I have to admit, it sounds and feels pretty damn good when you’re preying and spraying those suckers down. There is also a rewards system provided that offers perks for completeing various tasks. If the guns, the graphics and the story-line weren’t enough to keep you playing, the perks definitely will.
Overall, when it comes to Wolfenstein: The New Order there are no regrets. I eat my previous Wolfenstein judgements and words. Even the lack of multiplayer doesn’t let the game down because it’s brilliantly competant and successful as a single-player only campaign. It’s exciting, fun, challenging, attractive and tastefully written. In my opinion, that’s all a good FPS needs to be.
My conclusion? Try it. You won’t be disappointed.