Anyone with a good education knows the events of World War II. Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, threatened to wipe out just about anyone that stood in their way of having complete control. Fortunately, thanks to the Allied Forces, the Nazi supremacy was stomped out of existence and life was able to continue on in relative peace. But what if that didn’t happen? What if the ruthless Nazis won and eventually did take over the world? That horrifying reality is the setting of Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Even in the most hopeless of situations, though, there is always a glimmer of hope and for the Wolfenstein series that hope is a man named William “BJ” Blazkowicz. This man has taken down more Nazis than any other man in existence since he started in Wolfenstein 3D back in 1992, though in this game the odds are against him more than ever before. When the game begins it is 1946 and the Allies are losing and Blazkowicz leads a last-ditch attack on the headquarters of the Third Reich to try and turn the war around. It all goes wrong, however, and Blazcowicz takes a piece of shrapnel to the head and spends the next 14 years of his life in a vegetative state recovering in a mental institution. When he awakens in 1960, he finds a world clutched by the throat by Nazis.
Blazkowicz is able to scrounge together the last of the remaining resistance members from Nazi captivity, and they all form a truly last-ditch effort to take down the Nazi stronghold and turn the world’s despair into one of hope. Blazkowicz is definitely the brawn of the operation, as those more technical and knowledgeable are the ones who plan and discuss what needs to be done to take down the Nazis. Blazkowicz, however, is the only one who can execute those plans, because he is a walking tank of Nazi destruction just like he was in 1992.
Wolfenstein: The New Order‘s gameplay mechanics are that of a 1990’s FPS game, which is something that works to its advantage greatly. In an era of regenerating health and a limitation on how many guns can be held at once, The New Order puts us right back in a time when these game’s didn’t hold our hand. Instead of a regenerating health system you have an armor and health system that needs to be monitored at all times to sty alive. Also, you can hold all of the guns in the game at once (most of them single or dual-wielding), which gives you many more options in each situation. These guns are big and powerful, and they are all a blast to use (no pun intended).
However, it’s the enemies in this game that make this huge weaponry not only necessary, but vital. You won’t just be taking on Nazi soldiers in a typical fire fight, but also huge mech warriors, flying robots and mechanical dogs will be trying to remove you from the realm of existence. This makes every scenario in the game intense, because you need to use your entire arsenal to come out of the other side in one piece. Some of the enemies (like the mech warriors) won’t go down with straight fire and you must instead attack their weak spot on their backs, while the viscous dogs are so quick that you’ll find yourself having to whip out your knife and stab them while they have you pinned down. The combat is always big and loud, making each battle extremely exciting and fun.
While much of the game is spent in huge battles, there are several situations where you have the unexpected option of going the stealth route. You’ll access many big areas swarming with Nazis, and if you play your cards right you can move through and take many or all of them down stealthily to avoid any alarms from going off. These sections work surprisingly well, as thanks to your laser cutter gun you are able to zap through certain walls and move through vents, tunnels and all other matter of hidden areas. This creates really tense scenarios as it is very hard to make it through an area completely undetected, and once you’re spotted all hell breaks loose.
The New Order has a perks system that allows you to customize your abilities to varying degrees. The game will have you take down a certain amount of enemies in a certain way, which will grant you perks that do things like slightly increase ammo capacity or weapon power. While this system is nice to have it’s pretty inconsequential due to the limited gains you receive, which resulted in me ignoring it entirely. Outside of perks you come across weapon upgrades that make many of your weapons even more lethal; such as adding rockets to your assault rifle or a scope to your laser cutter. These are the upgrades that truly matter, as they are all extremely useful and open up different ways to go about a particular scenario.
Narratively, The New Order tells a pretty straight-forward story of the underdogs overcoming the odds to take down the evil empire, but it works really well here because the game has characters that you truly care about or truly detest. They might not be fleshed out quite as much as you would like, but the dialogue that they are given is well-written and has personality. It might seem average in just about any other genre, but in a no-holds-barred FPS it adds a lot to the overall experience. You grow to love the resistance and hate the Nazis and that is exactly what a game like this *should* do.