Wolfenstein: The New Order was perhaps one of the best first-person shooters released in 2014, and it achieved this without a hint of co-op or multiplayer modes. That's right, The New Order proved that great games don't have to be everything to all players. Instead, they can be really great games that focus on doing one thing better than everyone else.
For Wolfenstein: The New Order, that one thing was its single-player campaign. Following the journey of William "B.J." Blazkowicz, players work to bring down the Nazi regime, only instead of the mid 1940s, it's set in 1960 and the Allies have lost the war. Under the thumb of a highly sophisticated military full of giant robots and futuristic weapons, the game unfolds over 16 chapters, most of which can be approached with a variety of methods, and offering numerous collectibles for those who are into such things.
Our time with Wolfenstein: The New Order was extensive, resulting in the Internet's best free guide to walk players through all that the game had to offer. What we enjoyed the most, however, was the incredible story, as well as the believable world that the developers at MachineGames were able to expertly craft. Lots of video games explore World War II and allow gamers to live out the fantasy of defeating the Nazis, but Wolfenstein manages to take players somewhere that is genuinely frightening to think about - what if we lost?
To peel back even more layers of this onion, the character development in The New Order is some of the best we’ve experienced. Whether it was the main protagonist, his love interest, Anya or just a member of the supporting cast, every one of them had a story that shaped their motivations and actions throughout the game. It's the care that was taken to fully develop each of them that helped drive up the intensity during the game's action sequences, as we genuinely found ourselves afraid of the possibility that our friends could get hurt, or even worse, killed.
That fear helps to motivate you to fight your hardest throughout each of the chapters, but it's with the gameplay that Wolfenstein again shines through as an example that other developers would be wise to strive for. Sure, the campaign is linear in the sense that it will generally end the same way for everyone (with a few minor exceptions), but how you choose to slaughter your foes is almost always left entirely up to your play style. There is no question that each chapter has a static beginning and end, but the journey that gets you there can change drastically from one player to another.
Not that you need the speech, but it seems that games these days are all about the wow factor. Bigger explosions, more guns, higher jumps, and so on and so forth. That's fine, and Wolfenstein has some very impressive, action-packed chapters, but it also has an incredible story, told by talented voice actors that make you care about the characters. Games like that are rare these days, and should be experienced and enjoyed by everyone.