Wolfenstein bites a little more than it can chew

Wolfenstein: The New Order, I almost gave up on you. You were bleeding, in my arms and I couldn’t stop the blood from spewing out of you like someone had pulled a cork out of a bottle of champagne.

But out of nowhere, you showed signs of life. I gave you one last shot and you proved me wrong. What took you so damn long!?

I think my initial issue with what turned into an enjoyable romp was preconceived ideas about a game from other reviews and recommendations from people. We like to hear positive stuff but after so long, I was bound to hear maybe a little too much and what my mind had anticipated was a gun-slogging fun ride where I would mow through my opponents like I was playing Farm Simulator.

Instead, what came along with dual-wielding machine guns actually presented a hybrid of action and stealth, rewarding playing with the latter. It was a jarring change that probably wouldn’t have been as much of an issue without expecting something more chaotic but I had to re-adjust my sights a little.

Then some of the game’s flaws really started to grate. The antiquated style of picking up ammo and health with a press of a button was a stupid decision, leaving me to mash the X button like my life depended on it while constantly praying my character wouldn’t reload his gun instead, getting me in more trouble.

With the sheen of being a overpowered gun-nut gone as I was repeatedly pounded by the enemy, the covering mechanics started to push me even further away. I had to crouch, be next to a wall, look over said wall with my left stick before aiming with the right and shooting. It required an absurd amount of button presses to do such a simple concept that it felt like my hands were fighting each other.

That overshadowed any fun I was having and with some of the starting levels being so similar, my enthusiasm ebbed away. That crisis point of whether to really bother hit me but I gave it one more shot, went in with a refresh optimism and thank goodness, this game fought back.

The slightly serious story had given way to more and more absurdity, from breaking out of high-security jails to concentration camps to fighting in space and taking down a giant laser machine, Wolfenstein had finally hit high gear.

It mixes being a little stealthy and action-orientated so well without diluting the other. The stealth is forgiving yet super rewarding, making inevitable gun fights easier but no less satisfying as the gun play in open areas is as solid as protagonist B.J Blazkowicz’s metal-plated skull.

The style is great too, everything looks inventive and every new environment is eerily created in a very clean Nazi-esque vision. Those antagonists themselves are hard to not despise but Machine Games did a wonderful job of making them extra devilish and frightening than anything that has proceeded them.

They even threw in recreated bits of the original Castle Wolfenstein in, using the modern guns but in the old retro enemies and backgrounds. It was an excellent little touch that was put together superbly, it was a nice relaxing break from the usual game and just an added experience that you wouldn’t expect from this kind of game.

Overall, they had to work for it but Wolfenstein won me over in the end. There’s undoubted problems and the fact I got it during a significant sale does help soothe those issues but by the end, it had just worked out what would be fun to do in an alternate universe, it’s just a shame it took so long to get to that point.


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