This was one of the major selling points for me, as I’m always trying to weigh the pros and cons of certain guns; but in this game, you just get to pick up everything and switch between them on-the-fly.
As I mentioned before, Machine Games’ new Wolfenstein title doesn’t have any on-screen map interfaces or indicators. You have a numeric health and shield indicator, as well as ammo, and an on-screen crosshair that dynamically changes depending on which weapon you have equipped.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is punctuated throughout with various skirmishes with various intermittent boss battles. The enemies themselves are quite ruthless and will actively pursue Blazkowicz, and they often are intelligent and don’t make certain mistakes. No dumb AI here; the Nazi commanders or stormsoldiers are quite smart and will often stay together in packs rather than splitting off to investigate.
The Nazi regime isn’t just comprised of captains and commanders running around in uniforms with their Rugers in-hand: the fascist forces have an array of diabolical machines and hulking automatons that are hell bent on annihilation. Throughout the campaign, players will have to use their wits (and their guns) to tackle insane mechanical monstrosities that want nothing more than to smush you to a pulp.
The game’s difficulty is attributed to the onslaught of enemies that overwhelm and unleash total havoc upon players, forcing them to strategically use cover to their advantage. As I mentioned above, stormtroopers basically storm in, blasting you away with shotgun fire, grouping together to make a hellish cavalcade of death. Every enemy is aggressive and won’t go down without a fight–but with the expansive firearms, its not hard to oblige them in their desire to meet their maker.
Cover can also be destroyed, as certain environmental features are destructible–various walls and such can be ruined, forcing gamers to use their cover wisely.
There are a few elements that counter the game’s mind-bending difficulty, many of which help Blazkowicz on his journey through the tormenting hell of The New Order’s Campaign. One such element is the game’s basic mechanic of replenishing ammo, armor and health. When enemies are slain, Blazkowicz can walk over them and pick up various refillers that include precious health, armor and of course ammo.
In short of finding caches throughout the game, this is basically the only way to restore health on-the-fly, as well as pick up more ammo and armor. All three are valuable and extremely important to maintain, and this mechanic alleviates some of the game’s blistering difficulty.
Every gun in the game is enjoyable and has its own utility and purpose. Personally I preferred the automatic fire weapons, as I liked zooming via the iron sights and gunning for headshots. Dual-wielding was extremely effective against up-close enemies, and turrets were most effective against those pesky–and quite tough–death-dealing robots that just love to slaughter unsuspecting players.
Throughout the game you have this distinct feeling that you’re right about to fall into a meat-grinder, and that a maelstrom of total chaos is waiting just on the other side of the destroyed door–and many times you’re absolutely right.
The controls were fluid and acclimated to your basic shooter, and didn’t pose any sort of complications or macro-ed controls–everything was how it should be and the buttons did what they were supposed to. Combat was refined and there was no lag, and the graphics were quite surprisingly pristine and composed of high fidelity.
The visual style was quite macabre, and felt like a mix of survival horror and first-person shooter. The game’s campaign story introduces its own brand of dystopian horror, and throughout the game players witness first-hand the results of the Nazi war machine, and how the fascist regime has all-but annihilated freedom.
The style is quite gritty and dark, with sinister overtones flooding your senses: many of the areas are quite shadowy, and there is quite a bit of symbolism that is prevalent throughout gameplay.
In closing, my experiences with Wolfenstein: The New Order was both frustrating and elating at the same time, as I finally tackled the group of Nazis that had killed me again and again. Claiming victory over enemies who continually slay you is quite enjoyable, even more-so in this game–you feel compelled to cheer and trash-talk to their corpses for the trouble they’ve caused you.
All in all, the game is a definite mix of first-person shooter and survival elements; while you do feel as if you’re a badass with all of the immensely powerful guns you’re given, that feeling only lasts so long as you’re faced with impossible odds and hordes of enemies who swarm you from all sides.
If it’s one thing that Machine Games has done well, its capturing the bloody and frenetic magic that fashioned the Wolfenstein franchise from the get-go. While they’ve incorporated a unique and layered story arc that’s filled with dystopic and political intrigue, the core elements still remain as they always have been: kicking Nazi ass and blowing stuff up.
Wolfenstein: The New Order introduces players to a new breed of FPS titles, encouraging gamers to storm the opposition in a whirlwind frenzy of destruction. The game’s fast-paced frenetic action is a maelstrom of chaos, gunfire, and twisted, warped machines that power the Nazi regime, and is filled to the brim with punishing gameplay.
Despite the difficulty, hardcore gamers will no-doubt be attracted to Machine Games’ ninth chapter in the definitive Wolfenstein saga, as it incorporates all of the traditional elements of the franchise: a huge array of powerful guns that unleash hell upon Nazis and explosive battles that culminate in brutal boss fights against hulking automatons.
Wolfenstein: The New Order revitalizes the franchise with a no-holds-barred reboot that almost redefines the series, bringing a new intimate campaign that takes players to the heart of evil while unleashing havoc upon the fascist Nazi empire. With a slew of new characters and the power of next-gen consoles, The New Order looks to be a great contender for FPS supremacy and is definitely a game that will attract hardcore gamers across the world.
The New Order breathes new life into the franchise, introducing a new blistering campaign that’s littered with complete mayhem and diabolical difficulty, adding a new sinister theme to the Wolfenstein series that’s adequately represented by the game’s compelling story arc and quite primal and visceral gameplay.
Machine Games has crafted an excellent mix of new and old that brings an age-old classic to the forefront of our era, ushering in a new style that re-defines many aspects of the Wolfenstein series. If you’re a hardcore fan of punishing FPS games, you won’t want to miss out on this one.
+ Intense chaotic battles
+ Unique gritty & visceral style
+ Dual wielding & massive array of weaponry
+ Smart enemy AI provides quite a challenge
+ Destructible environments
+ Mix of new and classic gameplay elements
- Quite punishing and brutal
- Isn’t for everyone
- No mini-map or on-screen indicators make it hard to navigate
Wolfenstein: The New Order is slated to release in Q4 2013 (possibly in December) for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, and will also make its way onto PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more information or to pre-order your copy, please visit the game’s official website.