Wolfenstein: The Old Blood PC Review
Wolfenstein: The New Order was a modern classic of the first-person shooter genre, and I’m disappointed to say that The Old Blood doesn’t quite get there. It’s a fun game in its own right, but it doesn’t do much new and interesting. In The New Order MachineGames made serious effort to make B.J. Blaskowicz into more than a Nazi-killing machine, it made him and its cast of characters into human beings, instead of generic caricatures. It was a game that was so much more than just killing Nazis. The Old Blood has much less focus on story, it is mostly a game about killing Nazis.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a prequel, now set within the series’ alternate World War 2, where the Nazis are very close to winning the war. You have to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein in order to gain the location to General Deathshead’s compound (the location you storm in the opening of the New Order). It’s a familiar location, and while it’s rendered in strong detail, it’s something we’ve seen before. It lacks the same imaginative spark that fueled The New Order’s creative looking environments.
The marriage of stealth and explosive gunplay from The New Order is still present, but it comes with comparatively little downtime, which is an aspect of what made the last game so special. You had the opportunity to see what characters were like out of battle and really get to know them well. Here most interactions with characters boil down to saying hello before going off to kill Nazis, or you watch them die. Characters aren’t given room to breathe, meaning that the constant murdering of Nazis becomes more of a focus.
Also returning is the system of perks, which give your character stat-boosts and abilities depending on fulfilling certain criteria, such as “kill a number of enemies with dual wield” or “perform a certain number of silent takedowns”. It’s a good system as it offers more encouragement to try the different weapons rather than arbitrary achievement points.
The game opens with a weak stealth section, and ends with an extremely terrible boss fight. The mid-section of the game is the strongest, but only because it echoes the really fun and satisfying moments which came from previous games in the series.
The second half of the game is rather dull, as you spend a large part of it fighting Nazi Zombies which offer very little in terms of resistance, so combat becomes an exercise in hitting enemies as you walk through corridors. Zombies are no stranger to video games, so to see the standard shuffling baddies without any interesting gimmicks or variation is underwhelming.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a distraction, something to tide you over until a game more well put together comes out. It’s something that’s just good, not something you can call a classic, but it isn’t really bad. But compared to something that’s so much more than that, this can only come across as a let down.
It feels a little unfair to have to compare this to another game so much, but The Old Blood runs off of the same frameworks, characters and style that the The New Order came to define. Shooting Nazis until they explode is a fun diversion, but there’s a better game that does that, and it’s called Wolfenstein: The New Order.