Preview: Wolfenstein: The New Order

The Wolfenstein series is now over 30 years old and must surely be one of the most famous names in video gaming history. The initial Castle Wolfenstein, released in 1981, was a very different game than what you would expect: it was no FPS but was a stealth game where you had to sneak around and escape Castle Wolfenstein in a top down 2D environment. But I think it’s safe to say that this series is more famously known as one of the grandfathers of the modern First Person Shooter genre and this is the genre the New Order will follow when it is released next month.

The New Order will be the ninth game in the series and it again welcomes back William B.J. Blazkowicz as the main protagonist. This time though the game follows an alternative reality where the Nazis have won the Second World War and rule the World. B.J. himself has been in an asylum and doesn’t see the outside world again until the 1960s. This alone opens up many new possibilities for the series, especially in terms of technological advancements available to both sides of the fight.

As the story is there will be a 16 year gap in history that I hope will be filled in as you progress through the game. And that is a long time for the Nazi scientists to concoct all manner of new experiments and by the looks of the early game play videos a variety of mechanised soldiers to fight against. With the Nazis now apparently in charge of the entire world this opens up the possibility of you travelling the world and thus exploring a huge variety of environments and see just how the Nazis enforce their rule in various countries that were formerly enemies. I’m sure they won’t be too kind to the local population.

With this game being released ‘cross-gen’ it will clearly have far better visuals on the Xbox One, PS4 and the PC, and it will be interesting to see if the PS3 and 360 versions will have a slightly watered down version to help it run on the older hardware. I do hope that the only difference between them isn’t just a visual overhaul; developers should really be looking to make the PS4 and Xbox One a more desirable and better version of a new release and essentially encouraging people who haven’t taken the plunge into next gen yet to do so by releasing more advanced versions for the new consoles.

So far I have to say I have been very impressed with how this game is looking in the early trailers and gameplay videos that have been released, visually the world looks great and it really does make me want to experience what the Nazi world has in store. Whilst so far it does look like fairly standard FPS game mechanics it is interesting to note that the health system will include both the newer style of regeneration and the old system of hunting for health packs. This means that your health is split in to sections and whilst it will regenerate it will only do so if you haven’t fully depleted an entire section, meaning you must use medi-kits to keep yourself at full health. I do welcome this little tweak as so many games now use the same health system.

We have also seen a variety of enemies in the early trailers, the standard Nazi troops are of course within your sights but the new mechs that come in differing sizes are also interesting to see and I am sure these will include a few boss battles. I really like the look of the robot dogs and hope that they will have a role to play in the game itself and not just in some cut scenes. Watching the early announcement trailers I really enjoyed the dark humour of the Nazis on the moon as well as controlling symbolic Cities of the world. I am a big fan of alternate reality games, such as the Fallout series with is 1950s stylised post apocalyptic world. I am impressed with how this world has been realised so far, and it does look (to me at least) as though it is the future as it would have been envisioned in a war torn world in the late 1940s. I love the gritty dark military look.

A huge bonus if you are thinking of pre ordering this game is that the PS4 and Xbox One versions will include beta access to the latest Doom game, and I have a feeling that alone will help this sell a few more pre orders. I am hugely interested in both of these titles, I have grown up with the Doom series as well as being old enough to have played Wolfenstein 3D in the early 90s. I have high hopes for this game and so far it looks as though it is going to live up to my hopes, the FPS gameplay may look as though it is standard fare but I love to have an entertaining story in a game and I am sure Wolfenstein will deliver it. I mean a militaristic Nazi future has endless possibilities for a writer to work with and who wouldn’t love to dual wield SMGs whilst mowing down a literal army of S.S troopers and mechs?

Wolfenstein the New Order is available on PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One and PC platforms and will be released on the 23rd May.

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