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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.

wolfenstein new order primary

Let's go over what Wolfenstein: The New Order is not. It's not a twitch shooter, so fans of classic Wolfenstein beware. It's also not really a modern shooter. It's also not a World War II shooter, at least for 90 percent of the game. It's also not a game that cares one damn instant whether you think the gaming medium needs to strive towards "art."

Here's what is it is: Glorious. Utterly glorious. Summer's right around the corner, and The New Order could not come at a better time. I'm in the mood for explosions, and Wolfenstein has that in spades.

Call me Billy
Wolfenstein: The New Order throws you back in the well-worn shoes of one William "B.J." Blazkowicz. Blazkowicz is looking good, considering that in video games terms he is ancient. Twenty-two years on and the poor guy's still stuck fighting Nazis.

The game opens with BJ and the boys making one last assault against General Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse's compound—cut off the head of the snake, and all that. And, because it's Wolfenstein, Strasse's compound is a gigantic castle. And there are so many explosions.

Unfortunately, in the midst of a daring escape our lovable protagonist takes a big ol' hunk of shrapnel right to his brain bucket and plummets into the ocean. He spends the next fourteen years in a coma, and upon waking finds that the war's over—but the Nazis won.

Wait, did I say won? I meant took over the entire world. Britain fell in 1946. Then America surrendered in 1948 after Hitler dropped a nuclear bomb on Manhattan and vaporized it. If you've ever read Philip K. Dick's Man in the High Castle (or, seriously, any other alternate World War II history) then you've got a good idea of what to expect.

Nazis all over the world doesn't sit well with Mr. "my-blood-is-made-from-apple-pie" Blazkowicz, and with the help of a few friends he sets out to dismantle the Nazi regime and restore those proud Stars and Stripes to their rightful place as a global superpower.

There's your premise. Wolfenstein: The New Order is dumb, and it revels in its dumbness.

Take, for instance, this sequence. BJ and an old friend are slowly lifting off in a helicopter. He asks her how she survived, all those years ago. She's a paraplegic now, but otherwise seems no worse for the wear. She explains what happened. Then, BJ says "Sorry about your legs," to which she responds, "Don't be. I'd forgotten how to fly," and the helicopter rockets up into the sky and chugging guitar riffs kick in and oh my god I think I just heard a bald eagle cry somewhere outside my window.


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