Wolfenstein: The New Order is a 2014 action-adventure first-person shooter video game developed by MachineGames and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released on 20 May 2014 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The game is the seventh main entry in the Wolfenstein series, set in an alternate history 1960s Europe where the Nazis won the Second World War. The story follows war veteran William “B.J.” Blazkowicz and his efforts to stop the Nazis from ruling over the world.
The game is played from a first-person perspective and most of its levels are navigated on foot. The story is arranged in chapters, which players complete in order to progress. A morality choice in the prologue alters the game’s storyline; some characters and small plot points are replaced throughout the two timelines. The game features a variety of weapons, most of which can be dual wielded.
As ever in a Wolfenstein game, you play BJ Blaskowicz, a rather meat-headed, gung-ho US Marine type. The action starts in 1946, with the Allies on the brink of defeat, with Blaskowicz and various American and British colleagues launching a last-gasp raid on the stronghold of General Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse. It all goes horribly awry, leaving Blaskowicz with a terrible moral dilemma and a head full of shrapnel. Fast-forward to 1960, when Blaskowicz regains consciousness in a Polish insane asylum, to find a world thoroughly cowed by the Nazis. He sets about redressing the balance through the only means he knows – mass slaughter via heavy weaponry.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is a resounding success. It’s a joyous, preposterous romp which sucks you in and takes you on a thoroughly enjoyable, surprisingly well-paced journey. Along the way, it even manages to hammer home the big advantage games have over films: that they can take “What if?” scenarios and explore them over a considerably longer period of time than two piffling hours.
The New Order is set in an alternate universe where Nazi Germany have managed to deploy advanced technologies, enabling them to turn the tide against the Allies and ultimately win World War II. Its storyline is loosely connected to 2009’s Wolfenstein and features returning characters Kreisau Circle leader Caroline Becker and SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse, the nemesis of series protagonist, U.S. special forces operative Captain William “B.J.” Blazkowicz. The New Order has a branching narrative: during the prologue chapter, Deathshead forces Blazkowicz to decide the fate of one of his comrades. The player’s choice as Blazkowicz will create two timeline versions of the game’s storyline, where alternate characters are established as replacements for characters who otherwise would have significant roles in the plot.
In July 1946, Blazkowicz and his comrades take part in an air raid against a fortress and weapons laboratory run by Deathshead but are captured and brought to a human experimentation laboratory. Blazkowicz escapes from the laboratory’s emergency incinerator, although he is severely injured. He is admitted to a Polish psychiatric asylum where he remains in a catatonic state. In 1960, the Nazi regime orders the asylum to be “shut down” and executes Anya’s parents when they resist. Blazkowicz awakens from his vegetative state and eliminates the extermination squad before escaping with Anya. Blazkowicz and Anya drive to her grandparents’ farm, where they inform him that the Nazis had defeated the United States in 1948 and that the members of the ensuing anti-Nazi Resistance have been captured. Blazkowicz interrogates a captured officer from the asylum, learning that the top members of the Resistance are imprisoned in Berlin’s Eisenwald Prison.
Anya’s grandparents smuggle her and Blazkowicz through a checkpoint in Stettin before they travel to Berlin. During the train ride, Blazkowicz encounters Frau Engel for the first time and him and Anya start a romantic relationship. When they arrive, Anya helps Blazkowicz break into Eisenwald Prison, where he rescues the person he spared fourteen years prior (Fergus or Wyatt) and finds that the Resistance movement is led by Caroline, who was left paralyzed due to an incident at Isenstadt in 2009’s Wolfenstein.
The Resistance executes an attack on a Nazi research facility in London, bombing their operations base, and stealing secret documents and prototype stealth helicopters. The documents reveal the Nazis are relying on reverse-engineered technology derived from the Da’at Yichud, which created such inventions as energy weapons, computer artificial intelligence, and super concrete; however, it is revealed that someone is tampering with the super concrete’s formula, making it susceptible to mold deterioration. The Resistance discovers a match with Set, who is imprisoned in Camp Belica. Blazkowicz agrees to go undercover inside Camp Belica and meets Set, who tells him that the Nazis have co-opted Da’at Yichud technology to mass-produce and control robots, and offers to help the Resistance in return for the destruction of the camp. Blazkowicz finds a battery for a device that controls Camp Belica’s robots, which he and Set then use to incapacitate Engel, destroy the camp, and liberate its prisoners.
Set reveals that the Nazis’ discovery of one of the Da’at Yichud caches, which included advanced technology centuries ahead of its time, allowed Germany to surpass the Allies in military might. Set agrees to assist the Resistance by revealing the location of one such cache but states that the Resistance requires a U-boat to access it. Blazkowicz obtains a U-boat but discovers that it is the flagship of the Nazis’ submarine fleet, and is equipped with a cannon designed to fire nuclear warheads, which requires keycodes from the Nazi lunar research facility to operate. Blazkowicz uses the Spindly Torque—a Da’at Yichud spherical device capable of destroying super concrete—to steal the identity of a Nazi lunar scientist and infiltrate the Lunar Base. He succeeds at obtaining the keycodes, but upon returning to Earth, he discovers that Engel has mounted an assault on the Resistance base, capturing some of its members on behalf of Deathshead
The Resistance use the Spindly Torque to break open Deathshead’s compound. After liberating the compound’s captives, Blazkowicz travels to the top of the tower, where Deathshead’s workshop is located. Inside, Deathshead reveals to Blazkowicz that he possesses the preserved brain of the soldier Blazkowicz chose to die, putting it in a robot. The robot comes alive and assaults Blazkowicz, who defeats it, destroys the brain, and puts his friend to rest. Commandeering a larger robot mecha, Deathshead attacks Blazkowicz, who gets the upper hand and destroys the robot. He drags Deathshead out of the wreckage and attacks him, who pulls out and arms a grenade which kills himself and gravely wounds Blazkowicz. As he crawls towards a window, Blazkowicz mentally recites “The New Colossus” as he watches the Resistance survivors board a helicopter. Believing they have reached safety, Blazkowicz gives instructions to fire the nuclear cannon. After the credits, a helicopter is heard approaching.
WHAT MAKES THE GAME TICK
The Wolfenstein games have always played fast and loose with history, but The New Order takes the series to a logical conclusion: what if the Nazis had won World War II? Wars are often fought over conflicting viewpoints, opposite goals, and a muddy sense of what’s right and wrong, but when it came to the Third Reich, the world saw the face of actual evil through its Master Race propaganda, expansionist military campaigns, and systematic extermination of millions upon millions of people. Both a continuation and a reboot of the series, The New Order ditches the paranormal elements seen in previous games and focuses on a retro-futuristic alternate reality 1960.
The main Nazi antagonists are all terrifying creations, frequently verging on psychotic and are in no way sympathetic to the darkest chapter in Germany’s history, but are occasionally played for laughs to ill effect. Previous games in the series were dark, but the combination of next-generation visuals, a BBFC 18 rating and an unflinching cut-scene camera mean this absolutely isn’t a game for the faint of heart. These moments are few and far between, thankfully, letting players concentrate on the action.
The plot is exciting and full of unexpected twists, insane bouts of violence and even some hardcore sex scenes between William and Anya. Combat is made more dynamic by a heavy emphasis on stealth, which is both a blessing and a curse in The New Order. Slinking around wide-open maps and linear corridors — knife in hand — is satisfying, especially when you score a stealthy kill with a slash or toss of your blade or the shot of a silenced pistol. I also enjoyed the inclusion of special enemies with the ability to call endless reinforcements if you’re spotted. By finding and killing them in secret, you can mitigate the challenges presented by specific areas while illuminating the locations of secret items on your map (like gold, Enigma codes, and letters).
The alternate reality setting adds a welcome breath of fresh air to the Wolfenstein series, which was struggling to stay relevant in a market saturated with modern warfare shooters. Moving the action only slightly into the future has helped keep the game rooted within the series, but expands the gameplay, gunplay and storyline enough to entertain anyone that’s tired of World War 2.
Nazi Soldier/Deathshead Commando
The standard Nazi rank-and-file are encountered in vast quantities by the player throughout the game. Individually, they are easy to deal with. They can be easily evaded by Blazkowicz going stealthy, and can be taken out fairly easily by Throwing Knives or several pistol shots. Individually they are also fairly weak: even when alerted to his presence, a single soldier is almost always no match for Blazkowicz. All variants of the Soldier encountered throughout the game are mere reskins of each other and behave just the same way- down to individual stats. This may produce interesting scenes where a cloth-uniformed Luftwaffe soldier will take as many 7.92mm bullets as a heavily-armored Nazi regular to kill.
They behave like regular Soldier, although they have better stats and are thus more difficult to deal with. Taking them on must be done carefully, especially on higher difficulties. If the assault rifle is not enough to cope with them, upgraded Laserkraftwerk is a solid choice.
Nazi Super Soldaten
The Supersoldat 46 is a newer breed of 2m to 2.4m tall super soldiers engineered by General Deathshead himself. The results of Deathshead’s inhuman experiments are tied to his desire to combine man and machine. The Supersoldat 46 is an early attempt by Deathshead to create a supersoldier using degenerated soldiers and cybernetics technology.
They are created from human subjects. After going through a chemical therapy, their bodies are surgically enhanced with steel and cybernetics and encased in bullet-proof armor. To purify the human subject’s killer instinct, the brain is degenerated into a more primitive state, making them erratic and extremely violent. Regardless, these troops are shown to take orders without question from Deathshead and other Nazi officials and fight together with other soldiers.
The Supersoldaten 60 are a refined version of the original model. A new and improved armored enforcer who wield an MG60 and wears a face mask resembling a Greek statue. This enemy shouldn’t be taken lightly. Notably, the 1960 Supersoldat is also created on the Moon – they can be seen suspended unarmored and unconscious in tubes of yellow liquid throughout the lunar base. The 1960 Supersoldat has extremely high damage resistance against bullet weaponry, requiring almost 300 rounds of assault rifle fire to bring one down. Energy weapons or explosives such as the Laserkraftwerk, the plasma rifle variant of the AR Marksman, the rocket launcher, or their own MG 60s are much more effective against them, though they still require many hits to kill due to their very high health.
Fire Troopers (German: Feuersoldaten) are enemies who first appear in Wolfenstein: The New Order. They share some similarity to Deathshead’s Commandos and the Rocket Trooper due to having bulky armour. By the end of World War II the Third Reich became the absolute leader in military technology. Some research included making a new type of deep ocean scuba-diving suit and equipment for frogmen of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy). With new advanced equipment, Kriegsmarine frogmen are used to guard deep sea facilities and offer fleet protection. These heavily-armored frogmen are also employed as security guards for dealing with high-risk situations. Because their suits provide them protection against environmental hazards including radiation, they also often have a secondary role as first responders to radiation leaks and other nuclear related accidents occurring on naval vessels and facilities.
Fire Troopers can be a problem when not prepared to deal with them. At close range, the shotgun is the best weapon to use against them. At medium range, some Tesla grenades and the Assault Rifle will do the trick. At the longest ranges, try to use the Marksman rifle or the laser to take shots at them. When dealing with them, make sure you have substantial health and armor, as they drain away quickly at close range. However, if the player is partially concealed in cover, the spread of their shotgun shrapnel means that most of the incoming damage will be blocked by the cover.
Rocket Troopers (German: Raketensoldaten) are new enemies who appear in Wolfenstein: The New Order. They are like the Fire Trooper heavily armored and heavily armed. Rocket Troopers will constantly fire rockets at long ranges, but at closer ranges, they will fire their assault rifles. While heavily armed and armored, Rocket Troopers are vulnerable to heavy weapons. A direct rocket hit can take them out in one blow although in some cases 2 rocket hits are needed. The rockets are easily dodged as long as the player has the Rocket Trooper in sight; keep a distance from them because the bullets are much harder to avoid than rockets.
Nazi Heavy Robot
Heavy Robots (German: Schwerer Roboter) are large mechs used by the Nazis in the 1960s to suppress all uprising attempts after their victory of World War II. The game describes the robots as such; these are military grade robots, the state-of-the-art in the field of advanced mechanized unit design. These bad boys carry Super laser cannons and have a protective layer of hard steel. Only two are ever seen in the game. The first one is encountered at the end of the mission London Nautica, acting as a boss. The second appears near the end of the Lunar Base, blowing up a part of the tram the player is escaping on thus disabling it, forcing the player to continue on foot. This one cannot be fought.
The Heavy Robot in the London Nautica is armed with two attacks; laser cannons and EMP grenades. Upon detection, the Heavy Robot will fire a barrage of heavy laser fire at B.J before firing an EMP blast almost immediately after. These lasers do relatively high damage on harder difficulties, so it is advised to take cover. EMP grenades have an approximately 5 second charge time before exploding, damaging the player and draining the Laserkraftwerk. Making contact with the grenade itself before explosion can also damage the player. The EMP grenades are primarily used for flushing B.J out of cover and are proven to be quite annoying if the player sticks to one of the side rooms in the arena. The robot appears to have no resistance to Tesla Grenades, which will deactivate the robot for a while if it is caught in a Tesla Grenade’s AoE.
Kampfhunde are armored and genetically (later in addition mechanically) augmented German Shepherds employed by the Nazi military as a type of attack canine. Armed with bodily augments and sharp teeth, they are fast on their feet and can close the distance between them and a detected player fairly quickly.
While pre-1960 models of the Kampfhund are regular dogs with simple alterations performed on them, the 1960 variant is nearly 100% mechanical save for the brain which is encased in an exoskeleton.
The Panzerhund was one of the first prototype robots to come out of General Deathshead’s workshop. According to a newspaper article found in-game, it was first deployed on the Eastern Front, creating chaos along the Russian ranks as it tore through the battlefield.
Initially despite the introduction of the Panzerhund, the most common German canine unit to be seen on the battlefield in the Western theaters during the late 40s was the Kampfhund; the Panzerhunde encountered in 1946 by B.J. Blazkowicz appeared during the crash landing upon the beaches of Deathshead’s Compound, before he and the other remaining Allied troops scaled the castle walls. Despite their appearance and apparent invulnerability to most attacks, they are taken out by B.J. using an anti-aircraft gun.
The Panzerhund 1960 is the evolution of the first prototypes and production model created by General Deathshead during the war. As envisioned by the General in one of his fevered visionary dreams, it is a super-efficient murder machine encased in titanium steel armor and fitted with bone-crushing metal jaws that can cut through the thickest of body armor. The new, far more deadly Panzerhund can be seen several times during the campaign, each time posing a lethal threat to the player. A 1960s Panzerhund requires far more firepower to bring it down than its 1940s counterpart.
The London Monitor (German: Das Auge von London, lit. The Eye of London) is a colossal robot designed by the Nazis to police the city of London. The London Monitor was created in response to the urban unrest in London caused by British resistance fighters in the so-called August Uprising of 1951. After crushing the uprising, the machine became a weapon of terror and symbol of Nazi dominion; any brave Londoners who dared to fight the Nazi riot control troops and survived no doubt met their end at the hands of the robot’s extensive arsenal. A news article found in the London Nautica suggests that the mere presence of the Monitor is sufficient to disperse a riot, though this could be hyperbolic propaganda to whitewash the regime’s use of the machine to massacre dissidents.
As a counter-insurgency and riot control unit the London Monitor’s arsenal is varied but generally oriented towards taking on large numbers of light infantry in an urban setting. The engine compartment in the lower part of its body mounts three sponsons or ball turrets facing in different directions, each housing a trio of machine guns. The hatch on the bottom face of the engine/turret area is surrounded by three flamethrowers to restrict hostile access to its engines. Heavier weapons are mounted in the head/turret on top of the body: the red cyclopean eye on the front of the turret is actually the focusing lens for an energy weapon which must be charged for several seconds before firing, and two pylons on either side of the turret each mount three multi-tube missile launchers.
The Prototype Robot (German: Prototype-Roboter), also called “Machine Man (German: Maschinenmensch)” by Deathshead, is the penultimate boss of Wolfenstein: The New Order. It is operated by the disembodied brain of either Probst Wyatt or Fergus Reid, depending on who B.J. Blazkowicz chose for Deathshead to vivisect at the end of the intro level.
After the reveal, it will steal the player’s weapons when they open the door leading to the roof, and equip itself with the LKW. During the fight, it must be defeated using the Tesla grenades found in the nearby crates to temporarily disable it, allowing Blazkowicz time to remove the brain from the robot. Following the battle, Wyatt/Fergus apologizes to Blazkowicz for attacking him and asks Blazkowicz to kill him. Blazkowicz tearfully obliges his request by destroying his brain, ending his suffering.
Knife (The New Order)
The Knife is the only melee weapon used by B.J. Blazkowicz in the game Wolfenstein: The New Order. It is the only non-firing weapon usable by the player in the game. The knife is capable of full out stabbing during combat and silent take downs during stealth. During both situations, the ability to throw knives is unlocked after performing a number of takedowns, and unlocking more throwing knives to carry requires a set amount of throwing knife kills. Most enemies can be killed with a single hit with a knife. They can be picked up from the corpses of enemies who have been killed by them.
Like its predecessor, the Handgun 1960 is the standard-issue sidearm frequently used by Nazi commanders. It boasts a relatively high damage per shot for a light weapon and is capable of killing most standard enemies with a single headshot, or around 3 to 5 bodyshots depending on the difficulty. The pistol is also highly accurate even when dual-wielded or hip-fired with a very narrow bullet spread, though its ironsights are flat and somewhat awkward to use in low-light conditions.
The improved pistol packs twice the amount of shots per magazine compared to its predecessor and comes with a handy 3-round burst mode makes it much more competent in a shootout, though the repeated shots also generate a fair amount of recoil.
It is the standard-issue primary weapon of the Allied Forces in 1946 and the first weapon given to the player. The SMG is similar to the M1928A1 Thompson Submachine Gun, with a compensator, lighter hammer drill, shorter barrel and a simplified M1 Thompson iron sight. The Submachine Gun is a fast-firing weapon with a large magazine size and low overall recoil, making it useful when engaging multiple enemies up close or for sniping. Ammunition for this weapon is very easy to find due to it sharing the same pickup type as the Handgun 1946, though firing it wildly would still result in shortage.
Although handy to have, the Submachine Gun is quickly supplanted by the vastly more useful Assault Rifle 1946, which can be picked up from the first enemy soldier encountered. Compared to its replacement the Submachine Gun is substantially weaker, harder to get ammo for and cannot be dual-wielded.
Assault Rifle 1946
The Assault Rifle 1946 (German: Sturmgewehr 1946) is a weapon in Wolfenstein: The New Order. It is the staple weapon of the Nazi infantry during the game’s prologue and the first production assault rifle to ever be introduced in the world and weapon industry in this timeline.
The weapon itself has a slight resemblance to the real life StG 44. It has quite the punch, with a moderate rate of fire. And although BJ appears to wield it with ease, it is quite heavy and your speed is dramatically lowered when two are wielded at once. If the player wields two Sturmgewehr 46 it makes up for the slow rate of fire, and it increases the damage output by a factor of two.
Assault Rifle 1960
The Assault Rifle 1960 is designed to be a fully automatic weapon that is more versatile and robust than its 1946 variant. The weapon fires faster and also has significantly less recoil than the earlier model and allows for much more accurate shooting. The 1960 variant retains the ability to be dual-wielded.
An underbarrel drum-fed semi-automatic micro rocket launcher replaces the rifle’s selective fire functionality, though also allowing it to act as a heavy-hitter to use against larger enemies such as the Super Soldier and various robots.
The AR Marksman is a select-fire rifle issued to elite Nazi personnel in 1960. Visually, it resembles the standard Assault Rifle 1960, though internally it is fundamentally different, and uses an additionally unusual form of ammunition. While in its default configuration, the AR Marksman fires high-caliber rounds semi-automatically while the weapon’s barrel is at full extent and the scope is available for use. As a marksman rifle, this weapon is the best ranged choice in The New Order, despite the rather low scope magnification by sniper standards. A direct headshot is often enough to kill any standard enemy instantly. When upgraded, the weapon can also be switched to become a fully-automatic plasma rifle. Ammunition for the weapon is rare during the game so use sparingly.
The Automatic Shotgun isn’t introduced until 1960 and is issued to Guards and Heavy soldiers. The weapon cannot be found until B.J. Blazkowicz breaks into Eisenwald Prison in order to save members of the Kreisau Circle. The Automatic Shotgun boasts a heavy damage rating per shot, capable of killing most standard enemies with a single click of the trigger, and quickly felling the sturdier ones within a few seconds of automatic fire.
Machine Gun 1960
The MG-60 (MaschinenGewehr 1960) or Machine Gun 1960 is a energy-based turret armament designed and used by the Nazis during 1960. The Machine Gun 1960 is a directed-energy weapon that feeds on electricity, thus in theory it can be fired indefinitely even on mobile mode, as long as you can find Charging Station to recharge its battery periodically. Like its 1946 predecessor, the player can use it as a fixed emplacement or unmount it for mobile heavy firepower.
MG-60’s high firepower allows the player wielding it to easily tear apart groups of ordinary soldiers and Heavy Soldiers in moments. However, the player will be exposed to enemy fire and the player is burdened by MG-60’s mass, preventing the player from executing hit-and-run tactic asides from popping in and out of one piece of reliable cover. However, against larger enemies like Supersoldaten and Guard Robots, spraying fire at them is quite ineffective. Instead, it requires the player to concentrate damage on a body part (recommended to aim at the head or chest) until a piece of metal armor plating is torn away, and then fire at the exposed section that is revealed.
These are standard-issue German hand grenades that can be collected from fallen enemies or from preset locations on the map.
A hand grenade with a high explosive EMP charge for taking out multiple enemies and creating diversions. Its magnetically charged casing will stick to nearby mechanical enemies and temporarily disable them. Remember to stay out of the grenade’s blast range.
The Laser Cutter (German: Laserschneider) is a weapon found outside Eisenwald Prison, and is essential to navigating the interior of the prison facility. It is primarily used to cut through fences and chains, but can serve as a very low damage weapon in emergencies. A secondary firing mode can be acquired within Einsenwald Prison (not unlocked until player gets to the next chapter), which is that the Laser Cutter gains the ability to shoot high powered energy blasts.
The LaserKraftWerk, ger. Licht Amplifikation durch die stimulierte Emission von Radiation KraftWerk; (LKW for short; lit. “Laser Power Plant”) is a powerful laser weapon prototype developed (possibly reverse-engineered from Da’at Yichud technology) by the Nazis in 1960.
The weapon has two functions, one similar to the laser cutter, and the other a pure laser weapon that can harm enemies. Functions can be swapped the same way that weapon ammunition is swapped. The energy attacks from the heavy robotic enemies act as an EMP and drain the battery from this weapon, making it useless unless B.J. recharges the weapon. Both laser cutter and laser rifle function can cut through chains, but the latter will attract attention from the enemy.
The weapon will become more and more useful after the upgrades are found – the LaserKraftWerk looks clumsy but it is an effective ranged backup weapon once the player runs short of ammo for other weapons.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is still one of my favorite first-person shooters having grown up playing Wolfenstein 3D. This first-person shooter demands all your attention and captivates you while you play and leaves you with a high, hours after you have stopped playing.