Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of my favorite games from 2014. It had satisfying combat, smooth gameplay, and as a big surprise, a great story. It had its few problems. Some mechanics weren’t that great to use, like knife throwing, but everyone was surprised about how good this game was. When there was word of a stand-alone expansion that was a prequel, excitement was in the air. Luckily, this stand-alone expansion is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it also loses one of the major elements that made the main game such a treat. You had better read on to see what I mean.
The game’s story has you playing as William B.J. Blazkowicz, once again voiced by Brian Bloom. He is sent on a mission to investigate the famous iconic location of the franchise, Castle Wolfenstein in order to steal some documents of some kind of ancient weapon the Nazis are trying to dig up. Of course, things don’t go as planned, and you will have to deal with a tough Nazi torturer named Rudi Jäger and his higher-up, Helga Von Schabbs. The story has a more drive-thru-theater-style story that you see in very grindhouse-oriented films. It’s fun, but this is where one of the major roadblocks ends up hurting Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. Before we get to that, let’s talk about gameplay and graphics first.
If you love first-person shooters done in the same style of Wolfenstein: The New Order, well, you will love Wolfenstein: The Old Blood then, since it’s basically the same first-person shooter. You have your mixture of going in guns blazing and stealth action. A lot of the elements from the first game, like the side objective of killing the Nazi commanders so they don’t call in reinforcements are in this game. One of the biggest mechanics that is introduced into The Old Blood is your new main melee weapon, a pipe. You can single wield or duel wield the pipe in combat. You can also climb certain walls with the pipe. Once again, using the weapons both long-range and melee are really satisfying. You also don’t get held back by realism with the two-gun limit that holds back many games of today. I am in a world of Nazis, robotic super soldiers, and zombies; let me carry as many weapons as I can! The player can also obtain customizable parts for their guns, like a sniper scope, a rocket launcher to attach to their assault rifle, and so on. Just like The New Order, The Old Blood has no multiplayer, but it does have collectable gold, which gives the game some replay value for completionist. Once you beat the main game and want some more activities, The Old Blood does have a challenge mode where you compete in different challenges.
The graphical quality is quite good. It’s on par with The New Order, which is kind of a bummer if you were expecting the current gen-only release of The Old Blood to take full advantage of the stronger consoles. However, more importantly, the game ran smoothly, and the controls were tighter than before. I did see a few funny physics on the dead bodies, but no serious glitches. The music is on par with The New Order’s soundtrack. There are a lot of great German songs and typical action-oriented music.
So, I said back in the early part of the review that I had some issues with the game. I do, and it’s a darn shame these had to be issues. The biggest problem that looms over Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is the story. I know the developers said out loud that the game was meant to be a slightly goofier grindhouse film-style story, but that doesn’t excuse you for having forgettable characters. I don’t remember any of the main characters that were in the game besides the main hero, Blazkowicz. Even the villain, who was interesting since she was a female Nazi who had polio and was in her 50s-60s in age, wasn’t that memorable compared to the main villains from The New Order. Due to the characters not leaving an impact on me, their deaths didn’t have much impact on me as a player. I didn’t even feel sad when a few characters I knew about were axed off in some rather terrible ways. I didn’t care that I could deliver the last shot on the main antagonist, since it felt so sudden, and Blazkowicz didn’t really react to that. It really does bring the game down since there was no emotional investment with the characters around you. Sure, the game is still a lot of fun to play through, since it balances out the stealth (except for a very stealth-focused area early on)/action sequences, but one of the best elements from The New Order was that we got to know the characters, and once they died off, I felt that emotional impact when you hear that someone close to you died off in the story.
Overall, I really like The Old Blood. While the story is nothing new or interesting, the experience is still a lot of fun. Now comes the hard part. Do I fully recommend getting The Old Blood at full price? Yes and No. Yes, if you have played The New Order and want more first-person shooting action. If you have not played The New Order, then I would recommend checking out The New Order first before The Old Blood just so you can hopefully see where I am coming from. It’s a great game, but I feel like this game and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon share the same issue with it being good, but not as amazing as their big-budget counterpart. Still, if you want to check out a standalone experience of what was quite possibly the best shooter of 2014, then by all means, buy The Old Blood.
This game gets an 8 out of 10