Wolfenstein: The Old Blood Preview
Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of 2014’s pleasantest surprises and it proved that despite popular opinion, a great shooter doesn’t have to feature multiplayer. The narrative-driven, linear, old-school-like FPS received solid critical acclaim and sold relatively well, too. As a result, developer MachineGames has opted to release a prequel, called Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. Iconic protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz returns to Castle Wolfenstein and once again must face down mystical powers the Nazis possess. The story leads right up to the start of The New Order, so it’s a true-blue prequel.
Set in early 1946, this game features a two-part mission; the first is called “Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves,” where B.J. must take on “a maniacal prison warden as he breaks into Castle Wolfenstein in an attempt to steal the coordinates to General Deathshead’s compound.” The second part of the mission is named “The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs” and lets us visit Wulfburg. There, we’ll meet an “obsessed Nazi archaeologist” who has been exhuming strange artifacts in order to release a dark power. As our fearless main character well knows, this is the kind of crazy crap the Nazis are always involved in, and he’s the only one who can stop ‘em. After all, B.J. is part man, part superhero…except his superpower isn’t quite so exotic: Guts.
Anyway, players can expect a bunch of fresh environments, along with new weapons and enemies. Producer Jerk Gustafsson said “diving back into the world of Woltenstein has been really fun for us” and chances are, if you enjoyed The New Order, it’ll be fun for you, too. New to the upcoming title will be the ability to take down tougher soldiers with melee attacks, and new exploration options as well. As for the new weapons, we can experiment with a sawed-off shotgun, bolt-action rifle, and a pistol that’s kinda like a mini rocket launcher. Remember, though, it was often better to approach certain situations quietly in the first game, so be careful about blowing sh** up without checking around.
In regards to the new enemies, we’ll have to defeat older and perhaps more brutal versions of the foes we saw in The New Order. We’ll also find ourselves going to-to-toe with more enemies straight out of the occult, so prepare for a variety of combat situations. Obviously, this isn’t a full big-budget game; coming in at $20, you can’t anticipate the same amount of gameplay as the previous effort. But given the new stuff we’ll get and the agreeable price, it’ll probably be well worth your time and money. It’s Bethesda’s answer to more DLC for the first game; rather than putting out a bunch of traditional DLC, they opted to put it into a single standalone product. I’m perfectly fine with that idea, by the way.
You may recall Far Cry: Blood Dragon, which met with a warm reception and is very similar to The Old Blood, at least in terms of price and length. The upcoming Wolfenstein prequel will be ready to go on May 4, when it will become available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. No recent shooter plays like this franchise and as far as many are concerned, that’s a good thing. If you’re lying in wait for some of the bigger games later this year, you should be content with this prequel. B.J. is ready for another go-‘round!
4/2/2015 Ben Dutka