Need something to get you through the doldrums of summer? Let B.J. Blazkowicz lead the charge.
The hero, who originally appeared in earlier Wolfenstein games before the series spun off in a new direction with Activision's 2009 effort, makes his grand return in the forthcoming Wolfenstein: The New Order. His timing is just about perfect, as Nazis took over an alternate future. Not only do they have an alarming amount of firepower and soldier muscle, but also heavy robotics working in their favor. In fact, in the opening minutes of our demo, we came face-to-face with a robotic dog that couldn't wait to tear us apart.
No matter, though – Blazkowicz is armed and ready with a variety of weapons, ranging from powerful assault rifles to turret cannons that can do a whole bunch of damage, even against stronger metal-bound enemies.
Wolfenstein: The New Order reverts to the classic style of shoot-em-up play that made the original games so wonderful. There are no gimmicks here, outside of a stage where you'll have to sit across from a curious Nazi general who introduces a lethal card game (basically, you go for the gun and could be killed, so stick with the cards). Instead, it's all about robust action, whether you're gunning down planes via turret on an old-school bomber or storming a stronghold and deactivating cannons so your troops can get by in one piece.
One great thing that hardcore shooting fans will enjoy about The New Order is Blazkowicz's requirement to run over soldiers to get more ammunition. Throughout our demo, we found ourselves running low on bullets, forcing us to improvise to get out of a situation. Between ducking behind cover, quickly striking a soldier with a melee attack and then grabbing his weapon to take out his cohorts, there's plenty of strategy.
In addition to extra bullets, you'll also want to take advantage of extra firepower. The turrets in particular are fantastic, as they unleash a horde of bullets upon enemies – even ones that scramble for cover behind metallic objects. You only have so many bullets to use, so you'll want to make every shot count.
You'll also need to keep a steady eye on your health. Like the classic Wolfenstein games of old, you have a health and armor meter that tick down every time you take damage. While this may throw off players used to the regenerating health method from the Call of Duty games, it's a wild hardcore element that will certainly keep you on your toes. Like bullets, you can find health packs in certain areas, along with new pieces of armor.
Perhaps the best thing going for Wolfenstein: The New Order is its no-nonsense approach to action. It's genuine to the series in every sense of the word, whether you're fighting Nazi jets while your bomber runs the risk of crashing, or trying to take down soldiers while avoiding the wrath of a stomping mech. The excitement ramped up throughout our demo, and there were new challenges introduced around every corner.
A particular part of the stage involved an upward climb on a prison wall. You'll hang onto a rope while slowly ascending the wall, shooting soldiers that peek their heads out. This was one of the better moments of the game, mainly because you have to continue concentrating fire on anyone that gets in your path, while not being distracted by the falling bodies of guys you wiped out.
One missing component from The New Order – and this may leave dedicated fans of the genre a bit sore – is multiplayer. The game is a single player effort, weaving an intricate story that pits Blazkowicz versus the Nazi armada. When asked about this, Bethesda reps explained that the journey is meant to be B.J.'s and B.J.'s alone, and that the multiplayer would unnecessarily weigh the game down.
It's a noticeable complaint, but a small one. The truth is, Wolfenstein: The New Order packs enough genuine action and excitement that it can coast by on its single-player content. The way the game changes with new challenges – managing a heavy turret, shooting your way past a field of renegade Nazi planes – while maintaining a solid 60 frames per second is amazing. You'll see for yourself when the game ships to stores on May 20th.
Be sure to check back for weapon tips and other advice that will help you take the fight to the Nazis.