Last May, Sweden based development studio MachineGames introduced themselves to the world by releasing a brand new entry in the highly popular Wolfenstein series. Wolfenstein: The New Order proved to be a fantastic first-person shooter that surprised many and reinvigorated the genre by providing a framework for how every shooter today should be made.
Almost one full year later, they are back at it again with a lengthy standalone expansion for those who simply can’t get enough of William “B.J” Blazkowicz and his Nazi killing escapades. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a fun addition to the series and an absolute must play for both new and old fans of the franchise. Here are a few more reasons why this title may be right for you.
The Old Blood takes place in 1946 and revolves around Blazkowicz’s attempt at stopping the Nazis from winning World War II by attacking them deep within the federal state of Bavaria. This standalone prequel is broken up into two parts that span across eight chapters and offers 6-7 hours of gameplay. Part one is titled Rudi Jager and the Den of Wolves and showcases our hero returning to Castle Wolfenstein to steal information on Deathshead’s compound and confront a crazed prison warden with a score to settle. Part two is titled The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs and has Blazkowicz investigating the city of Wulfburg and a Nazi archaeologist to uncover the truth behind her dangerous experiments.
From a narrative standpoint, both parts are fun to playthrough, but also feel slightly disjointed from one another. In The Den of Wolves, the atmosphere and vibe is pretty much similar to what you would experience in a series of levels from The New Order. However, The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs is vastly different thanks in part to Nazi zombies and other supernatural elements taking center stage to intensify the overall experience. Trying to make sense of how both of these parts work together would definitely make you head hurt and it honestly feels like zombies were only added to the game to cater to fans of the popular trend.
One of the other gripes I had with the storyline lies in the fact that some of the newly introduced characters are more or less developed than others. An example of a decently developed character lies in antagonist Rudi Jager because he is portrayed as a man who loves his dog and quickly sets his sights on Blazkowicz after his pet is killed. An example of a poorly developed character would be O.S.A. Operative Pippa who is an ally of our hero but dies almost as quickly as she is introduced. I fully understand that this game has to remain focused on B.J., but it definitely was disappointing not being able to spend time with and dissect some of these new allies.
On a more positive note, The Old Blood does feature a few new weapons to help you decimate your adversaries on the battlefield. The Bombenschuss is a bolt-action sniper rifle that is ideal for taking out soldiers from a distance. The Shockhammer is a powerful 12-gauge shotgun that is the predecessor to shotgun used in The New Order. The Kampfpistol is a single-fire rocket launcher that completely obliterates any soldier that it comes into contact with. Of all the weapons described above, the most lethal one has to be a pipe that is also used to climb walls. Having all of these weapons at your disposal in the game adds to the fun factor and keeps the experience immersive from start to finish.
Fans who have had a chance to play The New Order can also expect this game to have the same level of detail in graphics, sound quality, and enemy AI difficulty. The Old Blood runs at full 1080p and 60fps on both the PS4 and Xbox One. A few new adversaries are also sprinkled throughout this title, along with a returning Panzerhund that you are tasked with taking down for the very first time. Last but certainly not least, there are 16 new perks, 8 challenge maps, 8 nightmare levels, and 50 achievements/ 51 trophies to unlock. All of this adds up to an incredible amount of content that easily justifies the $19.99 price tag attached to it.
As an overall package, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a great standalone expansion and worthy addition to any diehard first-person shooter fan’s library. While the story may not be as awesome or coherent as The New Order, the core gameplay is still fun and addictive enough to keep you busy for hours and days on end. MachineGames have proven that they know how to make a shooter and their future only looks brighter from here on out.
This review was based on a review copy of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood for the PlayStation 4 provided by Bethesda.