'Wolfenstein' enables players to destroy Nazi dreams
By Tim Bowers | Special to Stars and Stripes | Published: May 27, 2014
Desperate times call for determined heroes.
“Wolfenstein: The New Order” takes players to a hypothetical version of the 1960s, where the Nazis have won World War II because of superior technology. It revolves around a hulking hero named William B.J. Blaskowicz and his struggle against the Nazi war machine.
The mature-rated game from Bethesda Softworks starts off with an assault on a Nazi leader’s compound in 1946, immersing the player in a bloody battle through the deadly trenches and dark corridors of the tyrannical leader’s castle.
During this intense first chapter of the game, the player is presented with a choice that leads down two separate storylines. In these lines, Blaskowicz will encounter slightly different NPCs, gain different kinds of upgrades, experience new dialog and unlock different areas. After the choice has been made, Blaskowicz receives a head wound in the fighting and loses consciousness.
All of this is only the first chapter of Blaskowicz’s tale. The player can experience Blaskowicz’s bravery through a total of 32 incredibly addictive chapters — 16 chapters per storyline.
When Blaskowicz awakens, he finds himself in a Polish mental hospital. It’s 14 years later, and the Nazis have conquered the world. And Blaskowicz knows he has a difficult job before him.
Players must use a combination of stealth and firepower to accomplish missions.
The idea of being a silent stalker might seem very appealing in the game’s dismal settings. However, stealth kills with a knife or a suppressed pistol can take you only so far before you’re forced into a gun fight. Enemies tend to bunch up or watch over each other at many spots. And to make the stealthy approach even harder, there is no way to hide dead enemies after a successful knife kill, which leaves their bodies exposed for other Nazis to find. This forces the gamer to really plan out stealth assassinations — and even then there is a chance that they might be seen during the process. But even though the stealth aspect has its problems, it’s still enjoyable.
The gun fights are just as fun and they are generally jaw-dropping in their intensity. Explosions, destructible cover and even dismemberment are present in the firefights with Nazi troops. And to make things even more epic, the player is able to dual-wield weapons. Now, there are plenty of games that allow players to dual-wield pistols or submachine guns, but there is something supremely satisfying about running toward a handful of Nazi soldiers firing two automatic shotguns, destroying their cover and their dreams.
Each level and chapter was masterfully created to give the player a feeling of the overpowering Nazi rule. From the constant Swastika flags to the Nazis actually speaking German to each other, it is easy to feel a sense of despair while fighting almost single-handedly against what is history’s most feared regime. The developers also have placed newspaper clippings and photos with captions that provide the gamer with more information on how the Nazis won the war and what life is like underneath the iron fist of the Third Reich.
There is no multiplayer for “Wolfenstein” but that does not mean that it’s lacking in playability. Each chapter has secrets and collectibles for the player to find and some of them are only accessible by playing through both of the story lines and finding the secret rooms in them.
The secret rooms provide ammo, health and armor or even an area that may provide the player with a tactical advantage. Players are also able to find Nazi Enigma codes that allow the player to unlock different game modes.
Inquisitive players can even find a playable glimpse of the original “Wolfenstein” game, complete with old-school game music and pixelated Nazis.
“Wolfenstein: The New Order” is a fantastic game that will both shock and entice gamers to play through the addictive story lines. With each mission, with each Nazi slain, a sense of accomplishment is achieved and a feeling of some ultimate goal being fulfilled draws the player in. It is challenging, yet fun, and does not have any truly significant faults with the game play. The only thing that could have been improved upon is the capability to hide bodies.
Bottom line: There was never a dull moment over the entirety of the game.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One (tested), PC