Wolfenstein: The New Order ... BLAM-BLAM! That guard did Nazi that coming
Es wird Blut geben, viel Blut
Game Theory I doubt very much when Philip K. Dick wrote The Man in the High Castle that he imagined the very same subject matter could be dealt with in such a rip-roaring, gore splattering, dual-wielding romp. The victorious Nazis are no match for Wolfenstein's B.J. Blazkowicz.
Wolfenstein: The New Order – a dual-wielding romp at your service
Wolfenstein: The New Order does not take itself too seriously, though; even the initial choice of difficulty level gave me a giggle. Being an FPS n00b when it comes to consoles, I was tempted to stay sucking on my dummy in "Can I play, Daddy?" mode (Blazkowicz does paraphilic infantilism?) but hey a girl's gotta do what a girl’s gotta do and, in the end, I went with my catchphrase from the pub "Bring 'em on!”
The prologue starts with an idyllic dream sequence of a good old down-home BBQ. Blazkowicz is then brutally awakened in the midst of an allied air assault on the fortress of General Deathshead, who comes over all Dr Mengele channelling Dr Who. The initial tutorial has me scurrying around the aircraft, fixing pipes and dumping cargo, until I get a chance to clip some Nazi super jets.
The sun shines on the new world order
It's during this prologue, that I am first struck by how stunning this game looks, the sky is always an über HDR sunset and – oops, my reverie is broken by a chomp to the face by a rather aggressive version of K9.
Fighting my way through General Deathshead's fortress, my suspension of disbelief is knocked, and I’m thinking: is this just another run-of-the-mill FPS? Luckily, this feeling dissipates and I become drawn into the narrative by the moral choices I'm asked to make – sorry Wyatt, Fergus just appealed to my Caledonian ancestry. Fleeing the fortress, B.J. receives a bash to the bonce and everything goes black.
The dogs of war look a little different these days
After the prologue, the game's narrative jumps forward in time to 1960. Since his head trauma and resulting coma, B.J. has been committed to an asylum that General Deathshead uses as a candy box for his experiments. The Nazis are ordered to close the asylum and they start massacring the staff and patients inside as a parting gift.
These events shock B.J. awake and he begins to strike back, being sure to save sultry asylum worker Anya on the way out – it’s not long till she's riding him cowgirl-style on a train. Holed up in a farmhouse, B.J. learns that Germany won the war and only he can start the resistance and begin the fight back against the fascist overlords.
Meanwhile, back at the asylum...
The previous Wolfenstein had me toting some crazy super powers, but to me it seems The New Order is all about the guns and mouldy concrete. I can have up to five weapons on me at any one time, most of which can be dual-wielded, and typically they all have alternate fire modes.
Until I picked up the Laserkraftwerk – handy also for laser cutting boxes, creating a nifty escape route, and later in the game instagibing multiple Nazis – my favourite was the automatic shotgun, as it helped my aim with a control pad.
Know your lasers
Wolfenstein: The New Order runs in 1080p at 60 frames per second, so the gameplay feels and looks satisfyingly smooth and fluid. It was created on the idTech 5 megatexture content creation pipeline, which is the same gaming engine that Rage was built on, so it's not the best looking game I have seen lately.
Shoot the moon
That said, the cinematography and engrossingly gory aesthetic make up for any jagged edges visible on closer inspection. I especially enjoyed fighting around the Nazis' personal planetarium detailing their space programme, which reminded me instantly of the recent B movie Iron Sky or at a push, Moonraker.
Every self-respecting baddie needs a space programme
When my health drops to 87 per cent it will quickly regenerate to 100 per cent. All well and good, but if I take more damage my health will only regenerate to the nearest 20 per cent increment. Luckily, I can overcharge my health by picking up the abundant health packs and armour to be found in every nook and cranny.
The developer, Machine Games, have used this hi-tech Nazi timeline to create all kinds of awesome cannon fodder, hulk-like cyber-men and giant robots with furnaces for bellies. They all scrabble for cover at the sight of my impressive dual-wielding prowess – and luckily, most buildings and detritus are destructible under a sustained barrage.
No shortage of mech tech to battle against
I'm not sure whether it's my new Creative VO ZXR gaming headset but, boy, this game is tooth-rattlingly loud. There seems to be a constant drilling of gunfire, buzzing of drones, stomping and exploding metal behemoths.
One of my favourite parts of the game was the four perk tiers – Stealth, Tactical, Assault and Demolition – which level up depending on my play style. This, and the multiple storylines, give Wolfenstein good replay value. I like to play stealth, so as I ticked more boxes, I unlocked more perks, and B.J. became better at being stealthy.
Perks of the game
For the first few hours, I was all about sneaking up behind a guard for a silent stiletto takedown, so now I'm scarred by witnessing the multitude of ways you can stab a Nazi in the ear. Accessing my map was extremely important, and once I had acquired Scout level two I could spot those annoying commanders on my map. Commanders are a right pain as once alerted to my presence they will signal an alarm and everybody and their cyber-dog comes to have a go.
Always be on the lookout for acquiring collectables and Enigma codes, which unlock anything from concept art to bonus game modes. After coming across pages of Ramona's diary, which seems to be an Anne Frank for perverts, I felt the game went from being cartoony to a bit depressing and rapey, but hey, it just gives me another reason to murder more Nazis.
The Reg Verdict
Wot no multiplayer? With a playtime of about 20-plus hours and no multiplayer, some may quibble at the £40 price tag, but personally I can't think of a more brutally entertaining way to spend this coming Bank Holiday weekend. ®
Wolfenstein: The New Order was tested on the PlayStation 4, but is also available (with an 18+ certificate) for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC, priced £39.99.