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Wolfenstein: The New Order review: Nazis, robots, and gloriously dumb fun, oh my

Hayden Dingman | May 21, 2014
It doesn't play like Wolfenstein, and it barely feels like Wolfenstein, but maybe that's a good thing—this is the best entry the franchise has seen in years.

It's totally inane and yet you'll still feel proud every time you unlock some new dumb skill. Skills are split into four trees: Assault, Tactical, Demolition, and...Stealth? Really?

Yes, really. Are you ready for some heresy? Wolfenstein: The New Order is actually a ton of fun as a stealth game. Leading up to release Bethesda touted the two ways you could play—as a lock-n-load gunner or as a creep-through-shadows assassin. And I laughed.

Despite Wolfenstein's (very early) roots in the stealth genre, it's not exactly what the series is known for nowadays. Imagine my surprise when I realized I was stealthing through the game as much as possible, picking off baddies with my faithful throwing knives and silenced pistol. Wolfenstein lets you crouch-walk around environments, pick off a few strays, and maybe even nab a commander. Then when lead starts flying you calmly stow your knives away, pull outdual shotguns, and put the fear of Uncle Sam into a few dozen Nazis. And by "the fear of Uncle Sam" I mean you punch some holes through those Nazis with high-velocity metal.

It felt...well, a lot like the classic Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. There are even multiple levels that take place in prison, and these feel exactly like the Butcher Bay sequel I always wanted (sorry, Assault on Dark Athena). And then I looked up the developer, Machine Games, and it all made sense—some of the developers on the team are ex-Starbreeze. In other words, some of the team did work on Escape from Butcher Bay.

Bottom line
It's not Wolfenstein, but it so, so is. If you're only coming to Wolfenstein for an old-school, twitch-shooting experience, stay the hell away. This game is not the game you want. This game is Modern Warfare in a crazy Nazi Castle setting.

But oh wow. Forget Citizen Kane. This is the Torque of video games. If you're the type of person who quotes Schwarzenegger one-liners, finds something inherently funny about robot dogs, and (maybe) put Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon on your Game of the Year list last year, then yeah—you should pick up Wolfenstein: The New Order.

 

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