Fight For The Top 50 2014 - Wolfenstein: The New Order

by Mike Futter on Nov 27, 2014 at 04:00 AM

It is rare that I gush about a game, and even rarer that I continue to do so eight months after I’ve finished it. I’d be lying if I told you I always had faith that Wolfenstein: The New Order would be fighting for the top spot on my personal best of 2014 list. But here we are in November, and I’m urging you to make time for it as soon as possible.

Learn more about the Game Informer Fight For the Top 50 Challenge 2014.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is an exceedingly competent shooter that looks and feels great. But if that’s all it were, it would have faded to “that came out this year?” status. Instead, Machine Games took the opportunity to craft deep characters and a beautiful love story. While some games would choose to bridge the Nazi-filled bloodbaths with cutscenes alone, Wolfenstein gives players the opportunity to explore the resistance safe house.

Interacting with characters reveals backstories, artifacts of the game’s alternate history (of which there are two depending on a choice made early on), and opportunity to be part of the lives of survivors facing unbeatable odds. It’s here that Machine Games excels at storytelling. The moments between BJ and Anya (and even how he comes to know her in the first place) are the most important elements of the game. They give purpose to the fight for freedom, and weight to the risks taken in the name of liberation.

The narrative reaches its zenith approximately halfway through the game setting up a deft handoff to the action-oriented climax. If you’ve already played the game, I invite you to read an earlier piece that looks at the complexity hidden within one of the characters. And if you’ve not had the opportunity to enjoy Wolfenstein: The New Order, be sure to keep an ear open when you reach the sewers.

From the outside looking in, it’s easy to write off Wolfenstein: The New Order as another shooter in a crowded genre – and one that doesn’t keep up with the times. Ammo is collected with a button press, instead of by simply walking over it. Your armor is nonsensically cobbled together from scraps of robots and the 20 helmets you just found on a shelf. Hidden gold and other secrets speckle the levels. Instead of these elements feeling outdated, Machine Games has created the ultimate homage to the mechanics of the 1980s. 

Fight for the Top 50
Wolfenstein: The New Order is a straightforward shooter with extraordinary character development and storytelling. It shouldn’t be lost amidst more recent releases, and deserves to be recognized for successfully reinvigorating the franchise. Wade Wojcik is no stranger to shooters, though his passions typically have him gearing up in Mjolnir armor. I’m curious to see what he thinks of this more traditional experience. Wolfenstein: The New Order doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles of a Halo game (it doesn’t even have multiplayer). But what it does, it accomplishes with grace (and more than a little gore). I’m curious to see if Wade finds the same things to love in it that I did.

Wade was given one day to play Wolfenstein: The New Order. Come back tomorrow at 10 a.m. Central to read his impressions and see if it’ll get his support for Game Informer’s Top 50 Games of the Year.