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Wednesday | October 26, 2016
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Wolfenstein The New Order Review

Wolfenstein The New Order Review

Wolfenstein The New Order Game Review

Wolfenstein The New Order (PC) Review

In the history of gaming few franchises have managed to last as long as Wolfenstein. The first title was a 2D adventure game back in 1981 with a sequel following soon after. When iD Software took over the management of the franchise in 1992 they created an all-time classic which, despite a few less than stellar versions since then, has allowed time for someone to get things right. It has now been 5 years since the last attempt at a classic Wolfenstein and this time we have MachineGames, a Swedish developer, at the helm. Can they recapture the magic of the franchise?

Wolfenstein The New Order screenshotWolfenstein The New Order screenshot
Wolfenstein The New Order screenshotWolfenstein The New Order screenshot

What is Wolfenstein: The New Order?

This incarnation of Wolfenstein is a first person shooter at its heart and with gameplay based primarily on foot we occasionally get some vehicle action, and the odd swim here and there. We play as William Blazkowicz, an American soldier and our game world plays from the 1940s to 1960s in a reality where the second world war ended differently, allowing the Nazi’s to take over the world.

As Blazkowicz we play through levels which are reasonably liner, though offer quite a lot of scope for different routes from the start to end. As we go we are able to gather various collectables but the majority of our play is running and gunning against wave after wave of foes, both human, animal and tech based. Among the massive amount of collectable items are health and armour packs which allow us to replenish during and between waves an added to them are masses of weapons, some of which allow dual wielding and the ability to combine mixed assault styles… on the odd occasion we run out of ammo (rare due to nearly every enemy dropping theirs when dead) we can take on foes with blade weapons, or if we wish use them for takedowns.

And that’s it… run, shoot, do a bit of mini-game style tasks here and there the odd bit of stealth is required and then its run, shoot some more. Oh, and there is a plot running throughout with the ability to make choices which throw us down different plot paths.

Wolfenstein The New Order screenshotWolfenstein The New Order screenshot
Wolfenstein The New Order screenshotWolfenstein The New Order screenshot

Our Experience
So there are a few things we need to get out of the way first, before we discuss what we thought of the gameplay and plot. The tech side of the PC version.

Wolfenstein: The New Order uses iDTech 5 as its engine. That’s the same engine we saw in RAGE back in 2011. It’s fair to say that when we played through RAGE, from a tech point of view, it was a bit of a letdown. Some of the game looked great and then there were low res textures all over the place which were a huge disappointment. Then there was the horrid popin/popup of items and textures as we moved around the world. It’s a real shame that the core engine hasn’t really been updated in the last 3 years to take advantage of newer technologies and an even bigger shame that issues such as the texture pop-in are still present here… as is the mix of low res textures with some really nice lighting effects and high res objects. And that’s before we consider the framerate cap which really gives the feel of a console port with PC as an afterthought.

These aspects don’t ruin the game, but they do occasionally cause issues with our immersion in the game word.

So, with that said… we have loved our time with Wolfenstein: The New Order. In fact, it is probably our favourite shooter of the past year or more. Better from a single player point of view than the most recent Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc by miles. There are two main reasons for that the first of which is a strong narrative and the second, pacing. The game world too is very well realised with plenty of atmosphere to this alternate version of Europe.

Essentially MachineGames have approached this version of Wolfenstein in exactly the right way. Significant amounts of violence and gore. Completely over the top characters (in a good way) and gameplay which focuses very much on letting us turn off our brain and just enjoy the ride. The only time the game really miss-steps is an early(ish) sex scene which adds absolutely nothing to the experience. Apart from that the story is well enough written (even if it does take some leaps) and the voice acting good enough to keep us interested throughout (Although, as a Scot, I have to say the character of Fergus really did grate on me during the early part of the game… truly awful stereotype accent and script, but he does improve as the game goes on to add entertainment). We were also happy to find the game packed with cut-scenes which were well directed and equally well rendered.

Wolfenstein The New Order screenshotWolfenstein The New Order screenshot
Wolfenstein The New Order screenshotWolfenstein The New Order screenshot

In terms of the actual gameplay, the core interface and controls are pretty much what we would expect. WASD/left stick to move. Right stick/mouse to look and left trigger/button to fire etc. Executing a sprinting slide (or jump) via a controller or keyboard is a little more complex than it needs to be but other than that everything is as it should be. Collision detection is issue free (other than the odd enemy managing to get through a wall) and performance was pretty great with our system containing 2x GTX 780M able to play at 4K resolution with Ultra detail without issue.

Elsewhere, load times were a little long on the PC version, especially when resetting to repeat an area after a death and there are times when our next objective/path really isn’t clear at all which can be frustrating but these like the other minor issues never combine to ruin the experience. It’s just a shame the overall polish on the game isn’t as good as the story and world deserve.

Turn your brain off, sit back and enjoy. Wolfenstein: The New Order may not be perfect but it’s a heck of a lot of fun to play and one of the best shooters in ages because of that.

Recommended Award

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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