Developer: Machine Games
Release Date: 5/20/2014
Also Available On
The fear of Nazi Germany taking over the world was probably quite believable about 60 years ago. Nowadays it’s a fascinating “what if” scenario that authors love to toy with. While it’s never usually anything good or nice, it usually shows how nations can come together and fight a larger enemy. The New Order does exactly this with a tight narrative and some pretty solid shooting.
Now, let’s just put all this aside right now. Wolfenstein has its nostalgic moments that feel archaic and ancient compared to modern shooters, but for some reason will always be there. This includes health packs, ammo pickups, and level design. The narrative is actually a huge step up for the series. William J. Blazkowicz is an American Captain helping fight the ever-losing war with Germany. Wolfenstein was popular by delving into the arcane and supernatural that was part of rumored goings-on by Hitler’s elite group. Weapons use ancient technology to have an advantage over the rest of the world. In Wolfenstein Hitler succeeds, but it’s not Hitler here, but Deathshead, a Nazi general who is doing terrible and evil things to the world.
The New Order captures this cry for help from the rest of the world with torture and a small rebel group working together to bring down The New World Order. While the atmosphere is captured quite well the game does dive into some past Wolfenstein stuff that makes accidentally brings you out of this modern take on the series. Things like linear level design and enemy AI. Sneaking on an enemy and killing everyone in the room doesn’t alert other enemies. They will walk right past dead bodies and not bat an eye. There are also too few cinematic cutscenes with long dragged-out battles that are extremely difficult and require multiple attempts. This type of poor pacing leads to the constant reminder of past games in the series and just how old the series is.
The actual gunplay is solid with great feeling weapons and not just any weapons, but weapons that you have to switch between as the situation calls. I used every single weapon along with the multiple modes they have. I did feel the stealth areas were a little unnecessary and slowed the pace down too much. This is forced due to lieutenants with headsets that will call in backup if they aren’t taken care of quietly. Outside of those series-specific issues it just felt too much like a same ‘ol FPS to really be anything revolutionary or truly memorable.
Multiplayer is also non-existent so the team could focus on a great single-player experience which is rare for shooters these days. Does the campaign feel like it was worth cutting a multiplayer mode? That’s hard to say. I just can’t help but recall so many good moments that lost momentum due to tried and tired FPS issues that Wolfenstein kept getting lost in. Sure the shooting was solid but those moments of torture and the uniqueness of Wolfenstein were just kinds of let down.
With all that aside the game doesn’t look as good as everyone was claiming. id Tech 5 isn’t all impressive. The textures are really low resolution and the lighting effects seem fairly dated. I looked at some textures that looked like they were pulled from a PS2 game. The facial animations were awkward and the water effects did not look next-gen. Maybe my expectations were too high but right away I noticed all these flaws within the first 5 minutes of the game.
In the end, The New Order is a solid shooter and one of the best on next-gen consoles, just don’t expect anything revolutionary for the genre — just for the series. This is a great step in a new direction for the aged Wolfenstein series, but it still needs a little more something to be anything memorable.