The Wolfenstein series made a hugely triumphant return last May when Machine Games début effort was an incredibly well received and sold good numbers, it was great to see a classic franchise return in such a way that kept aspects of the “retro” design where it made sense whilst also feeling modern and relevant, it was a game I greatly enjoyed and immediately raised Machine Games to a top-tier developer status in my eyes.
A year on and they have been busy plugging away on a standalone two-part prequel The Old Blood and spoiler alert, its pretty awesome.
It’s in two parts because they are quite different, the first is very much more of the same from The New Order where you are infiltrating Castle Wolfenstein with very similar level design, enemies, choice of stealth or rambo play styles that really felt like an extension of what was released last year, I would also say it was my favourite of the two parts.
The second part was good but went down a bit of a different route in the second half when an accident in a dig site turns the nazi’s into zombies and I did feel a little it wasn’t as good for that reason, I enjoyed going stealthily through level, throwing knives and shooting nazis but I’ve played The Walking Dead, State of Decay and The Last of Us recently so I’m feeling a bit tired of the zombie/undead thing. It is definitely not a “bad” part of the game though, it’s still very good, there are some sections that allowed me to play regularly as I infiltrated and enemies turned into zombies as well as a few sections which were just filled with zombies too.
I mentioned earlier the retro design aspects and by that I mean mainly how you collect ammo and armour, you can overcharge them both and this constant scavenging makes it almost like a loot game which was an aspect of it I enjoyed a lot and not waiting only for big designated ammo and armour pick-ups I could grabs dropped helmets and the like as well as steal small amounts of enemy ammo and it felt like a nice part of the game that transitions well, it may not actually be such a retro thing but that is how it felt to me anyway.
There a lots of weapons, a handgun, assault right, two different types of shotgun (sawed off and another one which is tons better), heavy machine gun, grenade launcher and a rifle of which most can be dual wielded and all the weapons feel good to use and shoot nazi or zombie nazi scum with, the throwing knives and grenades are a couple of allies I’m particularly fond of too.
For me the best sort of game is one that lets me decide how to play, I often like to start with a stealth approach, using my silenced handguns to pick off a few enemies and commanders before I go loud to finish the rest off and the stealth side of the game is very well done, enemies are smart enough without being too smart and being hyper sensitive to movement to give me the freedom to take them down as I please, if it all goes wrong I quite enjoy going “loud” too, busting out my dual-wielded assault rifles and mowing down anything thats in my path.
Something I always like as upgrading weapons, a little progression system goes along way with me whether its via in-game currency (not micro transactions!) or collecting things and the Wolfenstein perk system is a nice little system for me to do that where it gives you a list to goals to complete and various rewards for doing them such as stealth kills, overcharge health to 200 points which increases your health, increasing clip sizes with getting a certain amount of kills with each weapon and that sort of thing, I just about managed to get through all the perks in The Old Blood in my playthrough but they encourage variety in weapon use which I like a lot.
Finally the game looks and runs as great the original did on Xbox One, it’s very details and looks great, the id Tech 5 engine runs at 60 frames per second it holds up great here, the move to next-gen and PC only development has been kind to the game and its nice that a game like this runs so well.
An extra part of the game which I liked is the challenge mode where you replay parts of the games and get scores for your actions, kills, stealth kills etc and these go towards leaderboardswhich are for friends and worldwide, they’re not the entire game but the most action packed bits which is a cool mode and a fun of playing the game without all the cut scenes and so on if that suits you better and at the end you get an overall score and medal depending on how you did.
Wolfenstein The Old Blood is more of the great game Machine Games released last year and that is all I wanted, the level design quality is retained with new areas even if they aren’t too far removed from the original games style, the story is good, giving you good direction for William J Blazkowicz’s actions as he fights against the Nazi scum and even though I enjoyed the last quarter of the game a little less with the changes that were made in enemies it is still a great overall package, very cheap with multiple difficulties, a challenge mode and certain worth playing.
It is well worth buying and if you do hopefully it will be obvious why I like the new series so much.
- Price: $19.99/£15.99
- Release Date: 5th May
- Formats: PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4
- Developer: Machine Games
- Publisher: Bethesda
- Visit: Website