It has been over 30 years since the Wolfenstein series of games began on the humble home computers of 1981. With 8 bit graphics, that we see still being used today in some titles to great effect. Castle Wolfenstein was hailed as the mother of the stealth genre when it was released in 1981, where limited ammo scattered throughout it’s 2D world often made the player take the silent approach to enemies. Fast forward just over 3 decades and we now have the most recent release of the series, Wolfenstein The New Order. This release sees this much loved game making it’s way onto the newest generation of consoles and PC with Bethesda and MachineGames to thank for the shit loads of more bloodshed than it’s first outing. With multiplayer games dominating the scene of late, some might criticize this game for being solely based on a single player campaign. I am not of that school of thought, in fact, in this trend of online multiplayer I much prefer to slog it out on my own at times.

The Wolfenstein series has always been based around World War II, and the advance of the Nazis. This release starts us out in an alternate reality where the Nazi army were successful in their campaign to rule the world. A world that is now filled with fear, intimidation and advanced technology. The Nazis have continued with their experiments to create a master race and have combined their knowledge of technology with human experimentation. You play as B.J Blazkowicz, an American war hero, a man’s man, with a hatred of Nazis and a thirst for blood and guts. The game starts out with events based in World War II when B.J and his team storm the castle of General Deathshead. Injured in the assault you end up spending the next 14 years in a mental hospital, with a lump of metal stuck in your brain. Your only comfort, a nurse called Anya, attends to your every need until the Nazi army has no more need for the hospital. This is where you finally come back to life and start out on a journey to build up a resistance, and take down the Nazi army once and for all.

This all sounds far too much like many a familiar story line of ‘man gets mad and wants to get even, falling in love along the way, while picking up every weapon he can find to do damage with in every way possible’. Basically it is. But the story created by the developers delves deep into every character along the way, and manages to drag the player into believing in the cause. For me, the story of Wolfenstein The New Order was one that made me feel for all of the characters, pushing me towards feeling true empathy in some cases. We have all experienced first person shooters, while their gameplay is fast fun and exciting, they have nearly all missed out when it came down to the storyline, this one does not. It creates a world in which you start to believe in, one that stays with you after you stop playing. That for me is a massive plus.

Moving on to the gameplay aspect we find a fast and furious experience. One that is based on dual weapon handling, advance Nazi tech, and down right bloody gore. I loved it! Through all of it’s various weapons, of which nearly all can be handled in dual mode allowing you twice the enemy splatter, there is a very good stealth mechanic. This is another plus point for Wolfenstein The New Order, the game allows the player to choose between waging a full on frontal assault, or sneaking about and taking out enemies silently. With the maps allowing multiple paths, you may find yourself switching between the two as I did, but honestly I love the shoot first and ask questions later gameplay. However, at certain points on each map you will find officers, these are marked by a ‘signal detected’ icon on screen, and it is best to hunt these down, killing them silently before you continue with one of the enemies. If you choose not to do this and they spot you, they will sound the alarm calling in more troops for you to cope with. Skill trees are handled by rewarding you for your play style. For instance, choosing the stealthy approach will see you unlocking this set of skills first, simple yet effective, and no messing around having to add points to anything. You will also find the usual hidden objects, secrets, and side missions to complete if you want to go and explore every inch of the maps.

Some of the things I really liked were the ability to get some sleep once back at the resistance, which rewards you with a permanent health upgrade. Finding the right bed to sleep in will see you having a nightmare that puts you right back into the original game from 1981, Castle Wolfenstein. This was fantastic, and to be honest harder than I remember. I visited this often and enjoyed playing through some of these levels, reminding me just how far gaming has come in the last 3 decades.

The game is not without it’s faults, some of which include lip syncing issues during cut-scenes. Another is the dumb AI issue, I found numerous times throughout the game enemies just standing there, not even noticing me, some running on the spot and others shooting in the wrong direction. These were infrequent, but still managed to muddy the waters so to speak. Graphically, Wolfenstein The New Order is not ground breaking or even stunning, but it is by no means terrible or even badly done. I have not had as much fun and enjoyment with an FPS since Ubisoft’s Far Cry Blood Dragon, that I have played through on a number of occasions due to the sheer enjoyment factor of the game. This entry into the Wolfenstein series is definitely enjoyable, but for me may lack in the replay value. Yes you can go and play in Uber mode, or search out all the collectables, but once played it has not drawn me back for more. Having said all of that, it still is worthy of playing, and really should not be missed. It has everything that gamers want from an FPS, blood, sex, tons of weapons, wide variety of enemies, including mechs, and a great story.