Wolfenstein: The New Order PS4 Review
- Posted May 29th, 2014 at 11:25 EDT by Steven Williamson
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A triumphant return for the Wolfenstein series. Despite some lack-lustre boss battles, killing Nazis has never been so much fun.
- Great narrative, characters and voice-acting delivers an excellent production that engages throughout.
- Strong level design encourages tactical play. Switching between combat and stealth gives the game a nice pace.
- Meaty weapons, slick control scheme (including cover system) and impressive A.I. deliver an all-round challenging and immersive shooter.
- Boss battles lack originality.
- Being forced to pick up ammo and med-kits by constantly tapping Square gets a little annoying.
- A skill system with point assignment would have made more of an impact than a perk system that runs in the background and can easily be forgotten about
Consequently, there’s a ton of different ways to kill enemies and tackle each chapter, blasting heads clean off with the shotgun, stabbing Nazi scum through the neck with a stealth kill, or even just dual-wielding two assault rifles and blasting through a mound of Nazi bodies like John Rambo. It’s fast-paced (mentally so at times), explosive and a visual treat as limbs fly off bodies and Nazis squirm in pain. Blazkowicz is totally unforgiving in his destruction of any enemy that stands in his way, and after seeing the atrocities that the Nazis have got up to, we found ourselves taking great satisfaction from mowing them down through gritted teeth and switching up our combat tactics to test out what all the weapons had to offer.
Weapons feel meaty and death animations are suitably gory, but developer MachineGames also does well to rein things back a little in terms of tempo by giving players plenty of opportunity for tactical play. The cover system and level design helps in this respect, allowing players to systematically move between cover positions with the press of a button and pick off enemies rather than just wade in. When the game throws a mix of enemy types at you, such as flying robots, giant Mechas and plain foot-soldiers, it becomes extremely tactical as you switch between EMP grenades, quick shotgun bursts for close-quarters combat, or pick off headshots of enemies who might be perched high up on a balcony. The cover system becomes an integral part of the game, and it works extremely well in The New Order as you bob over cover spots, or take pot-shots around the side.
Stealth play also adds tactical variety. Sneaking through a Nazi compound trying to avoid tripping alarms, using the Laserkraftwerk to cut through fences and sneaking up behind a guard for a satisfying stealth kill is great fun. Indeed, the variety in level design keeps the action feeling fresh with the likes of tight, corridor or room-clearing battles giving way to open expanses that provide plenty of tactical opportunity and encourage exploration. With plenty of collectibles to search for, such as Nazi gold and enigma codes, or trying to seek out the secret location hidden in each chapter, there’s also decent replay value.
The New Order also does a good job at encouraging you to experiment with weapons and making you wary of just how much ammo you’re using. Such is the rate of ammo that you lose in a fire fight, you’ll find yourself constantly playing the game like a sniffer dog, with your nose to the ground searching for extra ammo and med-kits. It gets a little annoying at times having to constantly press the Square button to pick up ammo (it should have been automatic) but it does add to the tension as you’re forced to bring up the weapon wheel and switch arms fairly regularly to adapt to each situation, or the sudden loss of bullets.
An automatic perk system also runs in the background, unlocking extras such as extra magazine capacity, better armour and the ability to throw knives, but rather than assigning points to it, it adds perks based on your play-style. Though you can stop the game and head into the menu to see what you need to do to unlock each perk, it soon became a feature that we generally forgot about as it was just running in the background rather than being an integral part of the game. Perhaps if we could have assigned points ourselves it would have felt more meaningful, but as it stands it didn’t really seem to have much impact on the game.
The main disappointment in The New Order, however, are the boss battles and the mini-boss battles, which consist entirely of taking down giant Mechas. This largely involves just hiding out of the way or running around like a lunatic to avoid their gun-fire and then attacking them. Though there’s more tactics needed for the final boss battle, it also ends up being a little disappointing and lacking imagination, especially considering we’d had so much fun in the lead up to the big showdown.
Nevertheless, Wolfenstein: The New Order delivers an entertaining narrative, complete with a gutsy campaign that has left us eager for much more from the series. With boring boss battles being the main bone of contention (they constitute for probably less than 30 minutes of a pulsating, engaging 12-hour campaign), there’s little about Wolfenstein: The New Order not to like. Not only does it get that balance of storytelling, level design variety and immersive FPS gameplay spot-on, it does so with great style.----
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