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Wolfenstein: The New Order

Hands-On With Wolfenstein: The New Order

At PAX East 2014 I had a chance to get some hands-on time with Wolfenstein: The New Order on PS4. It was my first time piloting Captain B.J. Blazkowicz in his latest battle with the Nazis. In around an hour of gameplay, Nazis were downed, robotic dogs were made to fetch grenades, and planes crashed into a building as I scaled its walls.

I had access to several different types of guns and the ability to execute stealth takedowns from behind. These takedowns are also quiet, which became an important element as alerted enemies activate alarms that summon legions of troops. In addition to knives and traditional weaponry, Blazkowicz can detach the heavy mounted guns from certain areas. These weapons are heavy and slow down player movement considerably, but they pack some serious punch.

The opening scenes of the demo take place high above the ground as the player is thrust into the middle of an aerial battle. There’s quite a bit of action and some high-flying bullet barrages as the sky fight and abrupt landing function as a tutorial of sorts. It’s all epic looking, but the fact that this insane combat situation is highly scripted for the purposes of teaching players how to play the game detracts a bit from the experience. Players learn how to use a knife, dash, crouch, and other standard first-person shooter maneuvers. After these modest beginnings, the player is left to wage war in a trench with a handful of Nazi soldiers and embedded guns.

While I love what I’ve seen from the Wolfenstein: The New Order trailers, Blazkowicz actually takes second seat to the grizzled pilot featured in the demo; he’s far more entertaining than our hero. This almost certainly changes down the line, but Blazkowicz’s kick-ass demeanor doesn't really show itself at all during the hour I played. The encounters and battles that I went through felt similar to other single-player FPS offerings, but I’m more than willing to admit that the game can’t pull out all the bells and whistles during what amounts to a streamlined tutorial. I’m looking forward to playing more of the game outside of the starter area.

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