Developer: Machine Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Windows
Were the worlds of film and computerised gaming to collide, Wolfenstein: The New Order and Inglourious Basterds would hook up in no time. Unlike QT’s alternative timeline, in which Lt. Aldo Raine and the scalping brigade eviscerate Hitler and the whole Nazi regime in a blaze of unassailable violence, Machine Games’ world is one in which the Nazis – with a little paranormal aid – have won the war and now rule the world. And the moon.
World Cup parties in Berlin were getting out of hand.
Prequels-ignorer The New Order may be an anomaly in that it is an FPS action-adventure without a multiplayer mode, but it really hits the spot after Titanfall’s online onslaught and it compensates by having a challenging, replayable and thoroughly satisfying storyline. Satisfying how? Well, you stab evil Nazis in their foreheads, that’s how. You (yes you, friend!) are William Blazko, a brick shithouse of an American soldier that’s sent down into a 14 year coma after failing to execute the allies’ desperate final offense on Germany in 1946. This last ditch attack makes for an explosively outstanding ninety minute intro, and the game doesn’t let up. Awaking in 1960 in an asylum in Reich-run Poland, Blazko resolves to kill every Aryan arsehole on the planet, a task made more difficult by the ancient power source the ‘Nazi scum’ have somehow got their mitts on, the same power which gave them the atom bomb and the army of massive robo-dogs they fetishize. It riffs on the same mythos of occult experimentalism explored by Marvel with their Hydra villains, and it’s so dastardly that it leaves no room for doubt: They must all die.
Nazis can be so mein, kampft they?
Depending on how naziphobic you are, you will find the level of Wolfenstein’s brutality somewhere between toe-curling and droolsome (guess how I feel about it) as you duff up every swastika sporting life form in sight across sixteen stunningly realised platform levels. Combat mechanics are The New Order’s best aspect; gearing up, reloading, dual wielding and back stabbing are all immensely pleasing. Scenarios can be different every time; in one play through, you might clear a moon base control room by sneaking about cutting throats and throwing knives; the next, you may cut a slice hole in a metal panel and lean around pot-shotting with a silenced pistol from cover; another time you could just toss a couple of tesla grenades into the fray before sprint-sliding into the middle of the crowd while giving it all four barrels of your two automatic shotguns. The tools at your disposal, and the gory, visceral results of their use are empowering to the extreme. Those more fastidious gamers can whittle away the early hours hunting down every health upgrade, shiny gold trinket and doodad hidden throughout the game, most of which enrich the experience of the Wolfenstein world in a meaningful way. For example, you may well stumble across a playable record by Die Käfur, a corrupted version of the Fab Four, now crooning about U-Boats instead of yellow submarines.
Ausch! I mean ‘Ouch!’ That’s what I meant.
If there’s one criticism of the game, it’s that it is a little too short. I’ve 100% completed it (the menu tells me this) and it only took three evenings and one morning session to do it – it’s 20 hours long, tops. This is not a serious fault though, because the storyline, the B-movie-esque caricatures and the awesomely detailed world are so devilishly enjoyable. Climb aboard this rip roaring Zeppelin. Kill some supernatural Nazis. It’s the reich thing to do.