Eurogamer Expo 2013: Wolfenstein: The New Order Hands On

The Wolfenstein franchise is one that has never really been explored by me. Nazis, alternate history and the occult are interesting topics but still, for some reason Wolfenstein has always escaped my grasp and I even have 2001′s Return to Castle Wolfenstein and 2009′s Wolfenstein in my house so when I sat down to play it at this year’s Eurogamer Expo, I didn’t expect to come away this excited for the game.

The demo takes place after protagonist BJ Blazkowicz has helped a resistance movement blow up a Nazi science building. Surviving the initial attack, BJ infiltrates the building and as you might expect, runs into heavy gunfire and this is where the game really got my attention.

Wolfenstein’s gunplay is absolutely crazy, it’s frantic and it’s exciting. You get a series of weapons ranging from pistols to shotguns and you can wield two of each at the same time which makes for really messy confrontations. As you shoot everything to pieces, body parts fly everywhere, debris from the walls explode and by the time you’re done with them, the locations are absolutely destroyed. To add to this, the enemy AI is smart and will come at you from all angles which forces you to think on your feet and be dynamic in a battle. Sitting behind cover will only help you for so long. That said, running out in the open will make short work of you if you’re not careful. It’s a delicate mix which really made the game a joy to play.

Wolfenstein is also quite difficult which will put players in one of two camps. Old school fans will most likely love the challenge whereas newer fans may find it a turn off.

Along with great gunplay, cunning opponents and destructible environments, Wolfenstein looked wonderful. It’s a definite graphical upgrade from the last game which looked a bit flat. Despite being set in a dark, Nazi empire it’s kind of pretty in some ways and in addition, the game ran really, really well. I was playing on a high end PC so it was to be expected but all the same, there were no framerate or texture issues of any kind. It looked to be running in 60 frames and 1080p by the looks of things.

Wolfenstein: The New Order, unlike the previous games before, is being developed by Machine Games who are made up of former Starbreeze developers who are, if you don’t know, responsible for the two Riddick games and the two Darkness games and most recently, Payday 2. So they know their stuff. To add to this, Bethesda now owns Id Software, the creators of this franchise, and thus the IP, so you can already expect good things.

I was surprised by Wolfenstein. I expected it would find its audience but I really think this game, launching in 2014, will be a big surprise to everyone else as well. It’s definitely one to look forward to.

Wolfenstein: The New Order will release in 2014 on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.