Wolfenstein the Old Blood REVIEW – B.J. Blazkowicz returns
olfenstein: The Old Blood is a prequel to last years Wolfenstein: The New Order. It is set in 1946 and the Nazis are on the brink of winning World War II. Once again, B.J. Blazkowicz has to put in the work and the one-liners. Presented in two parts, Wolfenstein: TOB “Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves” has you break into Castle Wolfenstein in an attempt to steal the coordinates from General Deathshead’s compound.
Part 2, “The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs”, brings you to the city of Wulfburg. The hunt for the coordinates leads him to an obsessed Nazi archaeologist who is exhuming mysterious artifacts that hold a dark and ancient power.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a standalone DLC, that is also released as a physical copy and doesn’t require last years, The New Order. In an age where almost every big release wants you to put down money before you even played the main content this is a breath of fresh air.
Familiar, but not the same
While the game clearly wants to hit some of the notes that made The New Order a fun experience, it is very noticeable that this is not just a reskin, but a new chapter, packed in a more condensed game embracing what worked before. The stealth gameplay makes a return, giving you the option to sneak around makes using tunnels and hidden areas or use the silencer on the pistol. Certain perks that you can obtain encourage you to play the game differently. For example, one perk requires you to kill 20 commanders silently and shows you all collectibles of the game if you complete it. The Heavy Machinegun Perk on the other hand will let you pick up a machinegun and carry it in your inventory after you killed 200 enemies with the MG42.
Dual wielding your rifle or shotgun is just a blast and brings out the wonderfully gory bloodfest that doesn’t hold back one bit. The gameplay contrast also carries over to the story that can be serious and touching, or crazy and dumb. The Old Blood makes all this work perfectly.
Dual wielding rampage, or enjoying a fresh breeze of silent takedown
The game has 5 difficulty settings that will greatly determine how long it will take you to complete the game. At about 5 hours on medium, it has a good length an introduces you to memorable bosses, baddies and some exciting set-pieces.
After completing a chapter, you unlock a challenge map that is set in that chapter. You can go up against waves of enemies and test your skills to earn medals.
Combat is well done again, with a solid cover mechanic and good controls that roll of the screen with smooth 60 fps. Enemies still throw grenades across the map and hit your hiding spot perfectly every time. You won’t run into this problem often because it’s mostly guns blazing anyway, but the few times you are sitting behind cover thinking about your next move just to be surprised by an explosive present, are pretty annoying. The game also has a strange way of handling incoming melee’s. If you get hit, you are pushed a few steps in that direction, which is especially irritating if an enemy sneaks up behind you in mid-combat and pushes you around while you are trying to aim.
Fun doesn’t require gore, but it helps
The game looks and runs solid at 60 fps. The gore from shooting an enemy seems to have gotten special attention since you can see open wounds and missing limbs in painstaking detail, or a cloud of red if you use the Kampfpistole. On the other side i wondered how explosions still can look this poor on the new gen. Maybe next gen we get explosions right. Let’s hope.
All in all, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a great game. If you played The New Order, you’ll feel right at home. Newcomers also profit from the prequel format and can jump right from The Old Blood to The New Order and can play all events in the right order.
Strong characters and story variety make a great reason to replay the story. Challenge mode and a whole bunch of easter eggs also add to an already great package. Graphics don’t make much of a noticeable step forward but the game runs smooth and and has a great presentation. Some enemy behaviour is a bit irritating at times but highly depend on your playstyle and won’t diminish the great experience a bit.