The original Wolfenstein 3D – released by iD Software in 1992 – was a critical and commercial hit, and is widely regarded as having helped popularise the first-person shooter genre on the PC.
Now, 22 years later, the latest iteration – Wolfenstein: The New Order, from MachineGames – is about to be released. The review embargo has lifted, so how does this new version compare to the classic, according to the critics?
The good news is that the reviews are roundly positive.
Rich Wordsworth at Now Gamer says the game has tightly-scripted action and is smart enough to pick gameplay elements from other successful series.
“Where Duke Nukem Forever looked like an anachronism, Wolfenstein: The New Order is close to a masterclass in how to bring a favourite old franchise back into the modern mainstream,” he says.
At The Guardian, Steve Boxer says the classic first-person shooter returns as a ludicrous fantasy, with Nazi soldiers piloting giant mechs through 1960s Europe.
“In its context, Wolfenstein: The New Order is a resounding success,” he says. “It’s a joyous, preposterous romp which sucks you in and takes you on a thoroughly enjoyable, surprisingly well-paced journey.”
He says that the generous story length makes a mockery of modern shooters such as Call of Duty, and while it’s decent graphically, it “doesn’t have that ground-breaking, next-gen feel that we’re still waiting for”.
Metro’s David Jenkins gives the game a score of 9/10 and says that The New Order is “the best Wolfenstein game ever made and one of the best single-player shooters for years, with a brave attempt to tackle serious issues and still have fun at the same time”.
At GameSpot, Daniel Hindes says Wolfenstein: The New Order is both a celebration of the Wolfenstein series and what feels like a fitting send-off for it.
“The New Order could be the last hurrah of [main character] William ‘BJ’ Blazkowicz, an outing which, for all its excess and bombast, is far from mindless.”
Not all reviews are overwhelmingly positive though. “It’s an interesting game,” says Paul Dean at Eurogamer. “And, while I don’t think there’s a lot to make it stand out, there is quite a lot to say about it.
Dean sums up his lengthy review thus: “Overall, it’s built on an impressive world but it doesn’t do enough with it, and as a result it’s curious, but hardly compelling.”
By Stuart O'Connor | May 20th, 2014