I'm not a FPS expert. I wouldn't even call myself knowledgeable about the genre. After living on this Earth for 28 years, and playing video games for 24 of them, I know what I like.

And the Wolfenstein franchise isn't it.

I'm a simple guy. I play what I like, and don't usually care what others think about it. My affinity to Dynasty Warriors is probably the best example of this. First person shooters are hit or miss with me. I either like or hate them, there is no in between for me. I'm a fan of Killzone, Crysis, Resistance, RAGE, etc., but Wolfenstein has never been a game I've enjoyed. I can't pinpoint why it never stuck, but something was always missing.

I own a PS4, and games, right now, are lacking in number. Given my particular tendency of being picky, and I'm in a rough shape gaming wise. When Wolfenstein The New Order released, my Twitter feed was filled with reviews and thoughts of the game. Surprisingly, they were mostly positive. Being in need of a worthwhile game to play, I started my research in the only logical place to do so nowadays.

YouTube.

I came upon a walkthrough of the game that was still relatively in its infancy, having only three episodes posted. I watched all three, and immediately went to my local Gamestop to make the purchase. I was hooked even before I owned the game.

I'm a fan of the "what if" scenario that video games can provide. Homefront, for example, places gamers in a fictional U.S. that has been overrun by North Korea, and runs with it. The New order does something similar, and places us in a fictional world where the Nazi's control the world thanks to superb technological weapons and advancements.

 

From the very beginning, the visuals blew me away. There are a few instances of extreme close-ups with your enemies faces that are extremely detailed. The backdrops, the weapons, the gore, everything just looks stunning. Usually in video games, the normal gameplay visuals suffer at the expense of the cinematic sequences. I was happy to see that wasn't the case with TNO.

 

From very early on (before the main beginning credits), you are given the ability to make a choice. This choice is a lofty one, making you decide which of your squad mates to kill. This has been speculated about a bit, wondering the differences in the narrative and game as a whole depending on your decision. Those outcomes are minimal in the grand scheme of the game, only effecting dialog, NPCs, and probable upgrades. The real choice is how you are going to go about playing the game.

Much like Crysis, TNO gives you the ability to stealthily advance with your trusty combat knife and silenced pistol through air ducts and underground tunnels, or to boldly rush in guns blazing. Either way is effective, and equally as fun and satisfying when clearing an area. There's always more than one way to handle a group or zone depending on your particular style of play. You play how you want.

 

The New Order is a thinking man's FPS. Every weapon has its uses and misuses. Of course there are the typical weapons present in every shooter... the pistol, assault rifle, sniper rifle, grenades, etc. The real gem is this bad boy, the LaserKraftWerk. You can use it to cut thin pieces of metal to open new stealth opportunities, to cut chains that lock you in place, and even upgrade it to shoot projectile lasers. Yea. Pretty awesome. Oftentimes, this weapon is your saving grace, as it the most effective against the huge, hulking monstrosities that appear from seemingly nowhere.

There's also the dual-wield option. If you pick up more than one type of weapon, you can shoot them both at the same time. Two assault rifles... two pistols... even two knives. It adds a whole new level of carnage and mayhem that most of us are after.

The gunplay itself is reminiscent of RAGE, in my opinion. The ammo is easily accessible, and the weapons themselves are easily interchangeable via weapon wheel. The guns feel and sound great to fire, leaving me eager to come across a room filled with enemies to mow down.

 

Without a good villain, a game (to me), isn't worth much. There's got to be something driving me... something to shoot for. Meet Deathshead, the brains behind the Nazi brawn. Those monstrosities I mentioned before are his doing. He uses whatever methods he has available to acquire pieces and parts from his victims and forms them into something new altogether. He's not just a crazy coot, though. The reasoning behind his madness is actually pretty simple.

"History won't remember you for what you've destroyed, but for what you've created."

He's a madman, sure, but a driven one. A scientist using his knowledge and resources the best way he can to further his country's goals. You may not agree with that goal, but it's a respectable one. I am a huge fan of Deathshead; definitely one of my favorite villains. 

 

It's important for a game to have a solid cast of characters. It irks me when the only one that matters is the protagonist and everyone else is expendable. Thankfully, Wolfenstein has several notable people that you come across. From the love interest, to the comrade, the weirdo's, and even the enemies, they all provide a little something to the game that keeps you engaged and wanting more of that particular character.

In my opinion, the most interesting character isn't even the main protagonist. Sure, William (you) has a storied history and background. I'm more interested in the story of Anya, you're saving grace for all intents and purposes. She's strong, defiant, but tender and weak all at the same time. Her history is developed through audio logs during the game, and it only serves to strengthen her as a viable member of the team through the development of the story.

There's something that most first person shooters are lacking. A story. The New Order isn't simply a 'Shoot everything for no reason!' type of game. The situations and developments away from battle pulls at you, making every enemy soldier you kill all the more meaningful. You're not just going to space for giggles and rainbows, you're going because the world depends on it. Every area you enter, you enter for a purpose that's vital to the grand scheme of things.

The promise or hope of something more is always a plus. Given Wolfenstein's long and storied tenure in the gaming world, it's fairly safe to assume that there will be a continuation of this story. Once I got to the end of the game, I was left wanting more (so I played it a second time). Thankfully, I was given the hope of something extra after the game was over and done with. I can't remember the last time I was this excited for a FPS game that's probably not even in development yet.

 

I'm not a gamer that is easily pleased. I'm fickle. Picky. I'll like a game one minute, and loathe it the next. After playing through The New Order twice, I can honestly say it's the best FPS I've ever played. It's got everything I never knew I wanted in a first person shooter, and then some. As I stated at the beginning of this blog, I'm not a previous fan of the franchise. That has obviously changed. I can't wait for what's to come.