By William Chandler
Reviewed on PC using an Xbox 360 Controller
I’m not sure whether this was addressed pre-release or not, but as someone that has played a great many of the previous titles in the Wolfenstein franchise, it certainly appeared as though The New Order was going to be a reboot. Pretty much every aspect of the 2009 Wolfenstein release by Raven Software has been shed, including the occult aspects, the trans-dimensional medallion, and especially the fact that Deathshead’s army appeared to be left in a state of crippling defeat at the end of that game. So, I went into Wolfenstein: The New Order expecting an absurd, alternate history reboot of an ancient and storied over-the-top action franchise. And I mostly got that. However, there is an overwhelming sense of strangeness and intrigue to the entire game that exists in the forefront of your mind long enough to mask many of the game’s issues for several hours into its surprisingly lengthy campaign.
Since I’ve already mentioned it, let’s go ahead and deal with this oddity up front. This game, while masquerading as one, is not actually a reboot. At least, not really. A vast majority of the events from the previous games go unmentioned aside from in the most vague sense. Deathshead returns, of course, and BJ mentions in a monologue that he should have killed him when he had the chance, no doubt a reference to the events of the last game, but it does not become wholly apparent until a character present in 2009’s Wolfenstein returns as a major character a few hours into The New Order. Of course, none of this is really a problem. Without having played the previous title, one would never even know about this fact, so it really doesn’t even matter. That said, throughout the campaign I was expecting a reveal that would tie the game to its occult roots, however, that never really happened. Instead, the game chose to stick to a more pseudo-scientific approach to all of its unnatural technological advancements, which is sort of preferable. It just makes no sense that the Nazis would abandon a cultural obsession that seemed to be quite ingrained in them in the past. You’d also think that they would want to use any and all advantages that they could in order to ensure total victory, but fuck it, man, I’m tired of nitpicking.