It's been a long time since we had a good Wolfenstein game. 2001's Return to Castle Wolfenstein and its expansion were shockingly good, but the 2009 reboot left a lot to be desired. Wolfenstein: The New Order is here to save the day. Developed by MachineGames with its roots in Starbreesze Studios (makers of the Riddick and Darkness games), The New Order is shooting for a mix of emotion and ridiculous B-movie humor.
Our demo began with a story-only segment, showing the interaction on a train between B.J. Blazkowicz and a Nazi named Frau Ingel. Ingel is pretty sadistic, testing Blazkowicz (who was undercover) on the validity of his Aryan heritage. Blazkowicz passes her test, and moves on to a cheesy B-movie romance scene with a girl in another cabin. This fit well with the tone of past Wolfenstein games.
The developers walked through a more standard linear FPS section, fighting through the wreckage of a train (maybe the same train?). The game plays like a pretty standard FPS, with just a bit more insanity on top of it. Blazkowicz will, for example, dual wield pretty much anything, including full shotguns. Enemies are a mix of Nazis and advanced cyborg creatures. The sci-fi future skin may make this look a bit different from the Wolfenstein of old, but it's still as ludicrous and unbelievable as ever.
We were allowed to play the game shortly after the developer demo, and I wasn't disappointed to find it plays very well, though I was a bit disappointed about the general lack of innovation. The game is perfectly competent in every way, and I had to smile while dual wielding shotguns, but it's not going to shock the shooter genre into change as some of the games of old did.
Enemies range from the standard meat to much more powerful armored foes and full mechs that take many bullets and/or heavy weapons. Turrets can be detached for use around a stage, and reattached to recharge. B.J.can also sprint and slide, letting him quickly take cover and escape tough situations.
Other than these abilities, The New Order is pretty much your standard FPS, but with plenty of snark and camp heaped on top for good measure. If you're hoping for any real evolution to the FPS genre, you'll have to find that elsewhere. It looks to be a game to anticipate for Wolfenstein fans, who can pick it up this holiday on Windows, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.