“Wolfenstein: The New Order” review

I won’t lie to you, I haven’t played the “Wolfenstein” series before this game, but I wish I had. Maybe they wouldn’t have been as good as this, but the nostalgia would have totally added to the enjoyment that I have for this game.

“Wolfenstein: The New Order” is an oasis of enjoyment in a sea of “Call of Duty” and “Battlefield” clones that really don’t innovate on a tired formula. While it’s not going to shatter any ideas of how games are made or tip the genre on its head, but it is certainly refreshing.

While we’re all tired of the Nazi baddies, the alternate history setting allows “Wolfenstein” to play with what-ifs enough to add some variety that we were all craving. Couple that with a tight control scheme and an actually interesting and engaging story, you’ve got a recipe for success.

B.J. Blazkowicz has never looked better, but the real star of the game is the world itself. You’ll undoubtedly encounter texture popping as you turn quickly, though it will only be noticable when stealthing around or looking for collectables. Otherwise it’ll just seem like battlefield blur.

Visuals aside, the actual world is populated with some pretty interesting people with a story that isn’t half bad. I won’t reveal much but suffice it to say that a near Captain America scenario for Blazkowicz seems to fit for the semi-campy semi-science fiction nature of the game. The rest of his team is filled with some well-written people with good motives and compelling voice acting. As a person who actually likes the single player campaign in FPS shooters, this was so appealing to me.

Armored enemies will require a little thought when fighting them

Despite the rich world, the game does feel a tad on-rails. There is obviously a desired path that the designers wanted you to take and it’s near impossible to try and circumvent it. However, there are some pretty creative things you can do with the zones you’re in as they have destructible cover. This adds a little strategy to straight shoot-outs. Not only that, but a cover-lean system is awesome for some pretty heavy firefights that you get into.

“Half-Life 2” had the gravity gun, and “Wolfenstein” has the laser cutter. It slices, it dices, it even ricochets off of surfaces for some handy little kills. Using the laser cutter to solve puzzles is fun, and using it to cut a hole in a box to shoot directly through your cover at an unsuspecting Nazi is better.

Dual-wielding machine guns or shotguns feels a little excessive in this game, though. I know it’s extreme, and a little fun to feel that powerful, but as soon as you do it a couple times, you realize it’s actually not. Powerful, that is. Whether it’s decreased accuracy or some game programming at work, it just feels less efficient to use two guns to kill an enemy in “Wolfenstein,” which sounds like crazy talk, but trust me. I’ve done the research.

I mentioned it before, but the stealth element in this game is really quite entertaining. B.J. can throw knives, or use them to kill an opponent quietly while moving through a room or the field of battle. When you find out that certain soldiers can summon endless supplies of reinforcements upon noticing you, the necessity for stealth becomes paramount. They may never do that though since the AI does tend to ignore dead bodies, or just generally run around like a chicken with its head cut off.

All the killing really does add up in “Wolfenstein.” After meeting certain requirements, you’ll unlock some bonuses for B.J. that’ll aid him in some upcoming fights or just make him more equipped for the situation. A little motivation can go a long way for gamers, and this game uses it well. Before you know it, you’ll be completing some of the requirements without even trying as you continue the campaign.

So where does “Wolfenstein” stack up? Is it like “Bioshock?” It’s not quite there. Is it better than any other WWII shooter we’ve seen in years. Most definitely. While we enjoy historical games, “Wolfenstein” has some fun which, in turn, makes you have fun. It’s definitely not the best game I’ve ever played, but it was certainly surprising how much I really really liked it. Despite some rather disturbing imagery, we are dealing with Nazis after all, this game might be a good fit for those who enjoy single-player FPSs. Is it a reason to get an Xbox One or PS4? Probably not. Hold out, for those of you who haven’t buckled under the glitz of the new generation. Better things are on the horizon.

I forgot to mention the absolutely horrifying robot dogs. I’m serious.