Wolfenstein: The New Order Preview
There was a time when Nazis were almost as common an enemy as zombies. But the first-person shooter genre moved past the World War II phase and now we have more modern, authentic shooters. Therefore, when Wolfenstein: The New Order comes out next year, it will almost feel nostalgic to take on those pesky Nazis again. It should also be fun to once again step into the boots of William “BJ” Blazkowicz, who awakes from a 15-year coma and finds that the Nazis have won. Their amazing technological prowess rocketed them to victory, but they gotta be brought down somehow.
The story takes on a dark, comic-style narrative, which probably won’t take itself too seriously. Blazkowicz will likely drop more than a few cheesy one-liners during the course of his new adventure, and we really have to giggle at some of the insane mechs and crazy advanced machinery on display in the game. BJ is up against it but thankfully, he’ll be armed with a wide assortment of extremely potent weapons, strong enough to eliminate even the biggest robots the Nazis have at their disposal. Developer MachineGames should give the game a wide variety of settings, too, as we’ll be exploring Nazi-dominated regions all over the world.
The gameplay will consist of your standard FPS action, along with the addition of some driving sequences and a few puzzles. The creators want to make this an incredibly diverse shooter that stands tall on the strength of its engaging, entertaining story mode. They say it’ll be challenging and might remind older games of the classic Quake franchise, which I find interesting. The expected health regeneration will be limited (kinda the way it was in Resistance: Fall of Man, I think), and med kits and shield pick-ups will be crucial for survival. The wacky firearms should also impart a real sense of power, which is precisely what I want in a fantastically over-the-top FPS.
The game will employ a cover mechanic that I’m hoping will be seamlessly implemented and doesn’t negatively impact the flow. Cover systems can work very well in third-person shooters, but they can feel somewhat superfluous in a first-person shooter; they can even be detrimental, which is a concern. However, if that mechanic works the way it should, it will be essential due to the higher-than-average difficulty. I also like the inclusion of BJ’s laser, which is not only a weapon but a puzzle-solving tool as well. It can easily slice through fences, vents and metal chains, which can open up new paths. Use it effectively, and you might get the drop on your enemies.
It’s also worth noting that MachineGames is comprised of some former Starbreeze members, which I think is very encouraging. Starbreeze gave us a few excellent titles in The Chronicles of Riddick and The Darkness, so they’ve got some solid experience in the genre. And that id Tech 5 engine looks absolutely awesome, so this could end up being one of the most technically impressive titles of the new generation. Wolfenstein: The New Order is slated to arrive some time next year for current- and next-gen consoles as well as the PC. Personally, I’m hoping for a return to form for this franchise, a form it hasn’t seen since the great Return to Castle Wolfenstein in 2001. That was loads of fun.
10/14/2013 Ben Dutka