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Gaming Review

Wolfenstein: The New Order review (PS4): Entertainingly over-the-top

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Released on Tuesday, May 20 2014

New 'Wolfenstein: The New Order' screenshot

© Bethesda Softworks

Wolfenstein is loud, brash and over-the-top


Release Date: May 20 (Worldwide)
Platforms available on: PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: MachineGames
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First-person shooter

Much like lead character B.J.Blazkowicz, Wolfenstein: The New Order is a game that's big, brash and proud of its Nazi-killing exploits.

It features a B-movie plot, a cast of cartoonish stereotypes, enough blood to make even a vampire squeamish and more explosions than an '80s action movie.

After a wartime assault on a mysterious research fortress held by long-serving Wolfenstein villain Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse, the action takes place in an alternative 1960s where the Nazis have won the war.

Wolfenstein: The New Order comes to current, next-gen consoles and PC

© Bethesda Softworks

Dual-wielding is unlocked from the start


Blazkowicz snaps out of a coma of sorts, grabs his guns and seeks out the resistance in an adventure that spans Nazi-occupied Berlin, London, Croatia, and Africa, as well as a few environments that wouldn't be out of place in a science-fiction movie.

It's a pretty drab and dreary vision of the past, with locations that are dictated by Nazi propaganda, cast iron statues and huge concrete structures, something which works both in the game's favour and against.

It features a B-movie plot, a cast of cartoonish stereotypes, enough blood to make even a vampire squeamish and more explosions than an '80s action movie.

While the idea of a Nazi-occupied planet is an interesting one, some of the oppressive grey interiors are a little too samey, making certain sequences more forgettable than others.

Also, after fleeting glimpses of the Berlin skyline and famous landmarks such as London's Big Ben, we would have liked to have seen the Nazi impact on even more familiar real-world locations.

Wolfenstein: The New Order comes to current, next-gen consoles and PC

© Bethesda Softworks

The Nazis have access to technologically advanced weapons


Much more interesting than the environments and interiors are the things that populate them.

With a breakthrough in technology, the Nazis have access to hulking great robots, mechanised dogs and lots of explosive weaponry.

With dual-wielding unlocked from the offset, as well as Hollywood-style sliding shots and a handy leaning ability, Wolfenstein is a game that excels with all guns blazing.

The outrageous violence complements the over-the-top action, and while it's the sort of violent video game tailor-made for negative newspaper headlines, it's hard to imagine it being as much fun without all of the blood, guts and gore.

However, Wolfenstein isn't just about lining walls with claret and blowing up Nazis, it also features a low-key stealth element.

Wolfenstein: The New Order comes to current, next-gen consoles and PC

© Bethesda Softworks

The action is intense and explosive


Most sections can be completed by silently assassinating commanding officers with pistols and knives before they raise the alarm and call for back-up.

While we enjoyed the chaotic gunfights afforded by the direct approach, we found ourselves turning to stealth more and more as the game progressed.

At times mandatory, the all-out action approach can become repetitive, especially when limited health regeneration and occasionally poor checkpointing forces players to repeat sections over and over.

The way you play the game also dictates the kind of perks you unlock. As somebody adept to stealth, my character had access to additional knives and quieter sprinting.


Taking advantage of Blazkowicz's other skills unlocks abilities suited to explosive experts or technical players.

With new perks unlocked by performing certain actions, the game does a fine job of encouraging experimentation, not to mention a second playthrough.

In fact, with levels that are bursting with secret items and Easter eggs, we'd recommend a second playthrough just to collect all of the valuables.

Fans of the original Wolfenstein will enjoy a nightmare sequence accessed in the game's hideout, while finding and cracking the elusive Enigma Codes unlocks new game modes for the real hardened player.

Wolfenstein: The New Order comes to current, next-gen consoles and PC

© Bethesda Softworks

Old enemies make an appearance


Hands down our favourite hidden items are the 1960s pop records, which offer a distinctly Nazi take on songs inspired (both directly and indirectly) by The Beatles, The Animals and Sonny and Cher.

At least one additional playthrough is also required to access new story content and abilities influenced by a life and death decision during the opening act.

This level of replayability is certainly welcome when you consider the lack of multiplayer.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is not the most sophisticated of games and it's certainly not perfect, but it wears its silly plot and over-the-top action like a badge of honour, and for that we applaud it.

The only major downside to playing the game for a second time is that you'll have to revisit awkward underwater sections and witness a couple of stomach-churning sex scenes.

Wolfenstein's other flaws are easier to forgive. The way it forces players to explore the hideout by performing fetch quests is laborious, but at least these moments are brief.

The most ridiculous example tasks players with delivering a file to Blazkowicz's girlfriend, who's literally sitting at the next table.

Wolfenstein: The New Order comes to current, next-gen consoles and PC

© Bethesda Softworks

The Nazi influence is everywhere


The dialogue is also a bit on the quiet side, although turning on the subtitles soon solves this problem.

Visually, the character models are well drawn and animated, but it's hardly a shining example of next-gen graphical potential, falling short of the likes of Infamous: Second Son and Killzone.

Still, everything runs smoothly and the action never slows down, even when you're tackling an army of the Third Reich's finest.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is not the most sophisticated of games and it's certainly not perfect, but it wears its silly plot and over-the-top action like a badge of honour, and for that we applaud it.


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