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Review

Wolfenstein: The New Order Review

  • Game release: May 20, 2014
  • Reviewed:
  • PC
  • PS4

Get psyched.

by

It's 1960, and the Nazis have taken over the world. Once-beautiful cities like Berlin and London have been transformed into oppressive urban landscapes. Propaganda posters are plastered over miles of depressing concrete, while loudspeakers echo the doctrine of the Nazis' totalitarian regime and the punishments that follow for breaking it. The streets are patrolled by technological terrors--Nazi mechs and robotic guard dogs, whose imposing grey forms against the drab grey concrete are broken only by the deep red of Nazi banners. This is the world of Wolfenstein: The New Order, a world where resistance seems futile. But there is one man who is up to the task: William "BJ" Blazkowicz--the same Blazkowicz who escaped Castle Wolfenstein, shot a lot of Nazis, and took down Mecha Hitler in 1992's Wolfenstein 3D.

But what is Wolfenstein's place today? The series spawned the first-person shooter genre, but like The New Order's alternate-history setting itself, times have changed. Can a Wolfenstein game in 2014 marry the bombastic action and narrative drive of today's shooters with the series' own simple pleasure of shooting Nazis in the face? With this fresh and interesting setting, powerful and satisfying weapons, and a new, robotics-focused take on the Nazi war machine, developer MachineGames, formed by ex-Starbreeze veterans, has figured out how to answer these questions.

The New Order's visual design captures the drab and depressing nature of life under Nazi control.

The first few hours of The New Order take place in 1946. Despite the Fuhrer's demise, the Allies are losing. Blazkowicz spearheads a last-ditch assault on the new, heavily fortified headquarters of the Third Reich. The operation goes awry, and Blazkowicz takes a piece of shrapnel in the head. He spends the next 14 years in a vegetative state, recovering in a Polish mental institution.

The Blazkowicz that emerges into this strange new world is still the same Blazkowicz of Wolfenstein 3D: a blunt instrument.

This isn't just a convenient plot device to bring the majority of the game's action into the Nazi-controlled world of 1960. You see, the Blazkowicz that emerges into this strange new world is still the same Blazkowicz of Wolfenstein 3D: a blunt instrument. He isn't tormented by a dark past like BioShock Infinite's Booker DeWitt; he does not suffer a deep-seated sense of loss like The Last Of Us' Joel; and he has no trouble reconciling his nature as a killing machine like Spec Ops: The Line's Martin Walker. He is a man who, as a side character excitedly exclaims, "was born to kill Nazis." Though Blazkowicz emerges from his vegetative state fully functional, he still doesn't know how to view the world unless it's down the twin barrels of assault rifles akimbo. If a switch needs a gentle press, Blazkowicz punches it. If a door needs opening, Blazkowicz kicks it down. For as much as The New Order's plot is about Blazkowicz rebelling against the Nazis' iron grip on the entire planet, it's also about the friction created when the original first-person shooter protagonist drops into a first-person shooter designed for 2014.

The Nazi forces include a mixture of humans, superhumans, robots, dogs, and robot dogs.

"Nazis dead. Nazi robot dead. Broke all your shit. Helicopter secured."

BJ Blazkowicz

As Blazkowicz escapes the institution and contacts the resistance, its members give him highly technical objectives--patch this module into the control tower so we can hijack this helicopter--as he stares back at them, dumbfounded. Blazkowicz's inner monologue upon completing such an objective offers cogent insight into his thought process: "Nazis dead. Nazi robot dead. Broke all your shit. Helicopter secured." Friendly side characters describe him as "ape-like" and "the crazy American." A Nazi who attempts to subdue Blazkowicz with what he describes as "enough tranquiliser to put an elephant to sleep" exclaims in shock, "There must be something wrong with your cerebral cortex," as Blazkowicz simply walks it off.

But there is nothing wrong with Blazkowicz's brain. He simply says and does things a shooter protagonist from 1992 would say and do were complete motion capture and voice acting available at the time--most of which is shooting Nazis. Blazkowicz is positioned as a lens through which you see how the nature of first-person shooters has changed since his first appearance. Tonally, the result is an overarching sense that the world has left Blazkowicz, and his intentional lack of nuance, behind.

Weapons have iron sights, but it's not necessary to use them, as firing from the hip does not incur an accuracy penalty.

In combat, Blazkowicz even functions like a 1992 shooter protagonist--he needs health and armour pickups to stay alive, and he can carry all of his guns at the same time. This immediately allows for a wider range of options in any particular combat situation than a shooter with a weapon carry limit would offer. Those guns are big, loud, and satisfying to shoot. Most weapons can be dual-wielded, which works well because you don't lose any accuracy by not aiming down the sights, a tweak that lends the combat a sense of finesse despite its fast pace. Individual enemy AI isn't particularly complex, but it works in the context of this kind of shooter. Instead, larger enemies like Nazi robots add variety to combat through their increased threat and the fact that different tactics are required to take them down, such as using Tesla grenades to stun them, or shooting off specific pieces of armour. All the while the combat feedback is dialled to 11, with effects like near-comedic squelching sounds as stick grenades shatter Nazis into tiny giblets.

There is enough variety in the combat spaces, and the enemy combinations within, that The New Order's levels feel well paced, and combat feels tense without being unmanageable or overwhelming.

Levels flow back and forth between tight corridors and wide, open arenas. A lunar museum sees Blazkowicz running through backstage passageways and around large, spacious exhibits. A level set on a massive, destroyed bridge requires Blazkowicz to squeeze through train carriages precariously dangling over the edge, whilst crossing back and forth over the larger, open structure of the bridge itself. Though enemy numbers never reach those of the Doom or Serious Sam-like hordes, there is enough variety in the combat spaces, and the enemy combinations within, that The New Order's levels feel well paced, and combat feels tense without being unmanageable or overwhelming.

Stealthy takedowns unfold with brutal animations, and prevent commanders from calling in reinforcements.

Some rudimentary yet functional stealth mechanics allow The New Order to craft entire levels where Blazkowicz is armed with nothing but a knife. These are interesting because they add variety to the game's pacing, providing quiet, tense moments in which you are required to pay attention to enemy patrols and lines of sight, but which don't end in a "game over" screen if you get spotted. Nazi commanders, who can call in reinforcements if they detect you, create a hierarchy of high-value targets in a single room. When those commanders are present, the interface shows your distance to them, but not their exact location. It's rewarding to feel like you're stealthily stalking them, taking them out silently, and then are free to pull out the big guns to clear an area in the most efficient manner possible. With these mechanics, along with some interesting mission locations and stellar environmental design, The New Order offers a wide variety of combat experiences.

In an effort to further allow for play style personalisation, a perks system lets Blazkowicz gradually unlock both stealth and combat abilities. However, the tasks required to unlock individual perks--such as stealth-killing a certain number of Nazis--are mostly actions that you perform naturally over the course of the game. Combine that with the fact that the majority of the perks themselves have only subtle effects, such as slightly extra ammo, and you'd be forgiven for forgetting the system exists at all. Outside of the perks system, weapon upgrades can be found throughout the game's levels and permanently attached to your guns. Assault rifles can be upgraded to fire underslung rockets, and shotguns can be made to fire shells that bounce off walls, effectively turning them into Unreal Tournament's flak cannon. The upgrades are useful, opening up new avenues for tactical approaches to taking down the tougher Nazi foes.

Having to stop and use this laser cutter gets really old, really fast.

The New Order also requires Blazkowicz to make regular use of a laser cutter. It is both a weapon and a utility that can manipulate the environment. However, its use is mostly relegated to cutting Blazkowicz-sized holes in the only pieces of metal grating that are blocking forward progress in the first place. There are a few panels which hide secret areas containing health and ammo pickups, but although you can cut any shape you like, unless it's a square you won't fit through it.

The game is both a celebration of the Wolfenstein series and what feels like a fitting send-off for it.

Both the laser cutter and the perks system feel like missed opportunities at worst, because even aside from them, The New Order's combat intensity and variety have granted the Wolfenstein series a breath of fresh air, whilst still managing to hit the nostalgic highs that I expect from the series. It has injected some substance into the primal pleasure of shooting Nazis by way of an interesting tone that addresses the changing roles of first-person shooter protagonists. Through this, the game is both a celebration of the Wolfenstein series and what feels like a fitting send-off for it. The New Order could be the last hurrah of William "BJ" Blazkowicz, an outing which, for all its excess and bombast, is far from mindless.

The Good
Old-school combat mechanics are a refreshing change of pace
Big, loud guns with excellent feedback
A simple but effective stealth approach
The Bad
Laser cutter can't be used creatively
Inconsequential perks system
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

/ Staff

Daniel finds comfort in the aural feedback of a shotgun, in shattering a demon into tiny giblets, and in scrounging the environment for health packs and armour to stay alive, and keeps on shooting. He blasted through The New Order's singleplayer campaign on PS4 in roughly 12 hours, and replayed a few more hours on PC on a higher difficulty.

Discussion

1165 comments
gamer_hudson
gamer_hudson

So basically....play it once and be done? No thanks. Waste of money

Zenwork21
Zenwork21

I am really enjoying this game it may be old school but ... who cares I love it

uninspiredcup
uninspiredcup

Weapon wheel. Big icons showing the player where to go. Long, incredibly scripted "press x on item". Iron-sights. Multiple on the rail sections. Forced paths.

Yep, really old school. 

horosavinXX
horosavinXX

this game is very fun and looks good. simple as that. and since it plays and looks well I can overlook the incoherent and confusing story.

eyematter
eyematter

It's a shame Gamespot reviews don't do a point something system, because this game was clearly an 8.9. This game is really good and so close to being a 9 or even a 10. It really reminded me of playing half life 2 for the first time 10 years ago. 


Best Melee killing I have ever seen in a FPS, and very satisfying :D

runningman5ksmak
runningman5ksmak

i'm almost done this game  i'm on the last chapter and wow this game has been awesome by far one of the best first person campaigns 

leikeylosh
leikeylosh

Just finished a couple days ago! This game has an amazing start and great scenes, like the one in the train with the german lady! (Trying not to spoil anything)

Daniel is right, the laser cutter is annoying and interrupts the flow of the game, because you have to switch to it in order to use. The Y button brings up the last weapon you picked, so the laser cutter just messes up your weapon selection strategy.

The game comes to a close with a lot of loose ends, but the overall experience is very good. Definitely the best Wolfenstein of the new generation.


koospetoors
koospetoors

They really nailed the mix between old school and modern with this game, definitely up there with Shadow Warrior as one of the best recent shooters I've played. That hidden nightmare level is hilariously awesome too, great throwback.

grin89
grin89

i enjoyed this game more then watchdogs.

celeost
celeost

WOW....does anyone notice the terrible tecnical issues with this game ?????? the game i downloaded in my pc was a piece of sshitt , more than 50 gb of glitches and low frame rates , who would think that after fucckking us with "rage" theyll do the same with wolfenstein i feel violated with this......8 out of 10 ???? maybe if the F... game worked  ¡¡¡



try to review from costumer perspective gamespot ¡¡¡.......

the_game_2626
the_game_2626

i am SO glad they didn't screw this game up. one of othe first games ive ever played using a floppy disk

Foxhound1982
Foxhound1982

But does it have ladders to climb? if it doesn't have ladders im not interested. Ladders.

Foxhound1982
Foxhound1982

This looks great, wish it was available at launch so i might not have wasted so much time and money on Killzone Shadow Fail.

badger6724
badger6724

Just found the first level of the original Wolfenstein 3D hidden in the game!  Loved it!  Brings back memories on my old 286.  As for a buggy in engine, plays perfectly on my system.  i7-3770k  3.50GHz, 32gigs of memory GTX 670 with 64bit windows 7 pro.  I love this game.  Starting to get tired of MOH COD games.  There great but don't really seem to have the story (or history) of Wolfenstein.  As for multi player, I can never find the time to commit to joining multi player, just easier for me to sit down play 30 mins and then go look after other responsibilities.

Ripper_TV
Ripper_TV

EightSpot... it's becoming NOT FUNNY.

push88
push88

I find it strange that there is no review for Watch Dogs yet.

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

I'd give this fun game a 9.0 it would be a 9.5 but the engine lets it down. 

Brilliant story, music sound effects, dialogue.. AI isn't special but it's good enough, difficulty scales nicely though, devs definitely played it thoroughly, 1st play through on Uber and loving it. I love how he psyches himself up and the story driven noir-style monologue is great, reminds me of Max Payne. 

I like the gentle giant nice guy with a cause they've given to the main character, BJ is awesome. 

i'm as far as chapter 5 out of 16. Best story-driven shooter I've played in a long while. Only real contender is last light and whilst that has a better engine this has better everything else. 

Id Tech 5 really is a bloody awful engine. I hope i'm just being overly harsh but something tells me it's gunna be a buggy unoptimised mess for as long as it's used.



ronan32
ronan32

this place should be re-named 8spot because every game gets an 8

cuprashoe
cuprashoe

When I first played this I found it pretty generic but it really sucks you in.

wgerardi
wgerardi

Had tons of fun with this game. One of my favs of the year so far.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

It's kinda ironic when ppl whine about paying $60 for a MP only game like Titanfall (not like you were ever going to buy it) but never say a word when New Order has no MP, just SP. That's just an MP bias (usually bringing up Lame CoD comparisons), not a matter of money or value that you pretend to debate with.

nemesisu_zork
nemesisu_zork

Wolfenstein New Order is the Half Life we have been wating for so long... to long. So, heil B.J Blascowicz, the new Gordon Freeman of our PC gaming universe ! 

liquidbutter
liquidbutter

it's hilarious how they try to make Tekla's ridiculous rambling seem intelligent and though-provoking by presenting it with lots of weird camera angles quickly cut together. Such amateur writing.

LtReviews
LtReviews

"Nazis dead. Nazi robot dead. Broke all your shit. Helicopter secured."


Best. Line. Ever.

gruber23
gruber23

There's two branching story lines, but they aren't too different. One you get health upgrades and can hotwire things, other you can lockpick different things and get armor upgrades. Different scenes and dialogues and stuff too. And if you get all the collectibles you unlock other modes of play, although im not sure what they are. Also, in the top of ur safe house, there's a bed you can sleep on to play the old style wolfenstein 3d with a modern character. It's actually a really cool easter egg. I really enjoy this game and am glad I bought it, so I do recommend it..

Wolfenstein: The New Order Steam

Navardo95
Navardo95

@grin89 Let me guess...you're one of those people that had heaven-shattering expectations for Watch Dogs and thought that it would revolutionize video games forever???

runningman5ksmak
runningman5ksmak

@celeost thats why im a console gamer nothing is worser then buying a game and finding out your pc  cant handle the game

koospetoors
koospetoors

@celeost Hit up Google and search around for fixes, the game's steam forums is a good start. I had some large technical problems too but some tweaking here and there quickly sorted stuff out, easy stuff too, barely takes you three minutes.



theprismhead
theprismhead

@celeost I play this on laptop and it runs absolutely fine on full hd, high graphics. Are you playing this on a calculator or what?

grin89
grin89

@celeost your pc couldnt handle the game if you were having low frame rates.

roman4545
roman4545

@celeost you mad because YOUR ''copy'' of the game dint work properly and it automatically deserve a lower score ? ... bravo mate... nice ego..

badger6724
badger6724

@the_game_2626  Me too, 5 1/4 inch at that.  My 286 didn't have the new fangled 3.5 inch.  Just finished game.  Loved it. 

ati-miz
ati-miz

@push88 are you stupid or what?there's a review for Watch Dogs check it on Gamespot unless if you're blind..

NorseLax09
NorseLax09

@push88 why are you posting this in the comments for a completely different game?


Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

@ronan32 What a new and original observation.

Apart from, you know, all the games that don;t get an 8.

ringringabel
ringringabel

@Gravity_Slave actually i was one of those whiners about MP only, and bought Titanfall. with both Titanfall and Wolfenstein concentrating on one mode, they have the time and energy to make that one mode amazing...instead of having some half-baked mode thrown in to appease people like you. they want you to buy the game for the content they KNOW will entertain ya!

ringringabel
ringringabel

@nemesisu_zork i can see that comparison in some of the sections of the game, in what section w/ water puzzles i actually said out loud "damn this takes me back to half-life"

knoekenknecht
knoekenknecht

@nemesisu_zork Mumpitz. Wolfenstein is Wolfenstein & Blazkowicz is not Freeman. The Polish-American exist since 1992, quite years earlier. Valve have to come up with something own to produce a new Freeman-story. Wolfenstein is no placeholder or interim gap-filler for Half-Life, man.  And, so I think, Blazkowicz wouldn't appreciate to be greeted with 'Heil'. For a reason.

jecomans
jecomans

@runningman5ksmak Not hard to find out before hand, save yourself the trouble. Besides, unless you're trying to play games on a cheap old laptop basically everything will run at some capacity, but the OP is clearly having troubleshooting problems anyway.

Wolfenstein: The New Order More Info

  • Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • + 3 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    Wolfenstein hero B.J. Blazkowicz returns to fight the Nazi menace in the 1960s in an alternate history world where the Nazis won World War II.
    8.4
    Average User RatingOut of 397 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Wolfenstein: The New Order
    Developed by:
    MachineGames
    Published by:
    Bethesda Softworks
    Genres:
    3D, First-Person, Shooter, Action, Team-Based
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms