As far as entertainment is concerned, we can now do just about anything we want. Humanity has been to the vast recesses of space, seen back into past history, and much more. We’ve also ventured into the category of “What If?” – for instance, what if Nazi Germany had won World War II? What would the world have been like? What would the consequences have been? What about the aftermath? Starting today, video gamers have that answer courtesy of Bethesda Softworks, iD Software, and Machine Games in a brand-spanking new game titled “Wolfenstein: The New Order.”
The name of the game is the same, but the setting is completely different: It’s the 1960s and Nazi Germany won the war. Everything is covered in swastikas and jack booted, flamethrower-wielding Aryan soldiers, and allied forces are sent to prisons to work as slaves. As with the rest of the Wolfenstein series, you play as Captain William “BJ” Blaskowicz, U.S. solider sent head-first into battle to topple the Third Reich. But this time around, things are a little different. The Nazis control the world, and you’re part of an underground resistance determined to take everything back.
The Look and Feel
You might remember back in February, my review of the first three levels of the game. That was just the beginning. The game itself is massive, immersing you in settings from WWII-era Germany to a dystopian world in the 1960s, even (for a brief moment) on the surface of the moon. The game itself was designed for next-gen consoles and the world looks and feels amazing. Once you arrive in the secret resistance stronghold, you’ll get lost in seemingly endless catacombs and secret panels. You may even find an easter egg or two.
Speaking of easter eggs, the sound and music in the game is amazing. At certain points of the game, you hear music that was clearly taken from the very first level of the original “Wolfenstein 3D.” There are also the random pop and rock songs you’ve probably heard in the trailers, which you can collect as you go. The ambiance at times can get a bit scary, but necessarily so – especially when you’re about to take on armies of robotic baddies. The baddies themselves range from small robot drones and mechanical dogs with razor-sharp teeth to hulking metal abominations and (better yet) huge freaking robots that tower over you, trying to crush you like an ant…with a giant death-ray.
Tools of the Trade
Weapon-wise, in the 1940s you have your standard WWII-style guns and explosives. You can also dual-wield weapons in full-on Rambo style to dispatch enemies. Once you hit the 1960s, you get plenty of advanced tech that would make even James Bond pee himself. There are lasers galore, especially once you get one of your main weapons, known as the Lazerkraftwerk. This is essentially your tool for most of the game, your portal gun, your crowbar, your Chronoscepter (I can’t be the only one who played Turok on N64). It starts off as a little pea shooter that lets you cut through wire fences, but you collect upgrades as you progress. Eventually you’re not just cutting through fences, chains, and metal panels; you’re also vaporizing armored Nazis. Outside of the weaponry, you can also collect random goodies, music, armor upgrades, and even “Enigma codes” which once deciphered enable even more challenges for you. At one point, there’s even a nice little romp through a Nazi prison you can take with a rocket-launching, chain gun wielding robot of your very own.
The game may seem like your typical First Person Shoot-Em-Up at first glance, but there are plenty of twists and turns. While there’s no multiplayer attached (which would have been both amazing as well as time-consuming) the game challenges you to play through at least twice, by giving you another “What If” scenario. At the start of the game, you’re given the choice whether to spare the experienced Fergus Reid or the still wet behind the ears Probst Wyatt. Depending on which you select, you’re put into their respective “timeline” where either one assists with the resistance and gives you specific skills (such as picking locks or alternate routes through levels). At times, you’re also presented with tiny side-quests within the resistance strong hold such as finding toys for your mentally handicapped compatriot or finding a woman’s wedding ring. It may not seem like much, but you do get rewarded with either trophies or upgrades afterwards.
If you love twists on historical themes, romance, terror, intrigue, and mowing down armies of Nazis, Wolfenstein: The New Order is your game. It’s available today for the Playstations, XBoxes, and PC. You’ll also have the chance to enter the Beta for Wolfenstein’s little brother, Doom…whenever it comes out.
I give Wolfenstein: The New Order: 9/10
P.S.: Beware the Panzerhund.
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