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Tonally, Wolfenstein: The New Order is all over the place. Following on the franchise’s long-running idea that sees the Nazis win the war and consume planet Earth, you are, once again, B.J. Blazkowicz, who, in this instance, is the most stereotypical man in video game history.
If Bethesda had run with this idea – namely that Wolfenstein is as silly as its main character suggests – then the final outcome would’ve been far more enjoyable, topped off by ridiculous, deep-voiced one liners.
But it doesn’t. There are occasions where it plays up to this concept, but for most of its existence The New Order tries to push a harsh, ’emotionally’ hard-hitting tone. But then you get attacked by a robot dog. Or our hero ‘pounds’ (the term ‘making love’ would not suit here) his out-of-nowhere girlfriend. And visits the moon…
Thankfully, MachineGames ensures the outrageous nature is present where, arguably, it counts: when you’re gunning enemies down. Feeling very much like an FPS from yesteryear, limbs can be eradicated, heads popped, and bodies exploded into a crimson mess. Weapons, too, are equally as ludicrous, often receiving add-ons that exaggerate their potential power, or benefiting from the in-game perk system that rewards you for particular styles of play: the more you dual-wield, for example, the more that setup will improve.
Furthermore, its stealth sections boast a satisfying end should you be skilled enough to approach them successfully. The New Order’s claims of offering a choice wherever/whenever are a little audacious – killboxes are often designed with a particular offensive in mind – but the option, and awaiting sense of pride, is always there.
In short bursts, it’s everything you’d assume it would be, and if your expectations don’t go any further than that you won’t be disappointed. Ignore the (awful) narrative, shoot some fools and enjoy.
As a total package, though, Wolfenstein continually feels disjointed and doesn’t know exactly what it wants to be – the overall experience is jarring.
And the boss fights suck…
Version tested: PS4. Completed in 9 hours.