Death of the Critic

The Backlog - Wolfenstein: The New Order

Written By: CJ Streetman


It’s way too easy to fall way too far behind on games. They simply ask for too much of your time and money to be able to keep up with all the ones that look interesting. Thankfully, almost entirely due to online sales, eventually you’re able to get most games for a five dollar bill and an afternoon of free time.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is about 10 hours of ups and downs.

I’ve been wanting to play
Wolfenstein: The New Order since its initial release, and as many complaints as I’ve had about the experience, I genuinely enjoyed my time with the game.

For every small moment that works perfectly, there’s another that leaves you banging on your desk in frustration. For the most part, this applies to every aspect of the game: story, level design, combat, stealth. All the biggest things that can be, and frankly need to be, discussed about the problems and successes of
Wolfenstein boil down to one simple thing. Choice.


When you have choices,
The New Order truly shines. Every area where you have the option of your playstyle, which is primarily just either going loud or stealthily slitting throats, are a joy to play. There’s no frustration when the stealth system seems lacking because it simply means switching to the terrific gunplay. The satisfaction of killing Nazi captains without the squad noticing so that you can open fire on them with no chance for reinforcements coming is tremendous. Equally satisfying is barging into a room with a shotgun that fires bouncing pellets and shredding everyone in the room no matter where they’re hiding. The one weakness of these sections is that it seems impossible to return to stealth once your cover has been blown. While this makes sense, it would be nice to be able to freely switch between styles.

When you don’t have choices, however, the game is a bit of a slog. These situations range from being instantly spotted by enemies who never could have seen you at the start of a situation to being stuck trying to use the spotty stealth to get past overly difficult fights you clearly aren’t supposed to be having. The most common instance of this, however, are boss fights. Boss fights, especially on "I Am Death Incarnate" and "Über" difficulties inevitably become a game of memorizing where health pickups are and hiding behind cover to make your health regenerate before you pop a couple of shots off on a giant, robotic, bullet-sponge of an enemy.


Spoilers ahead for a major moment in the story:

There is, however, one stand out level of the game that genuinely belongs in the short list of “greatest missions of all time,” alongside “A Paragon of Her Kind” and “Three Leaf Clover”. This mission is the “Gibraltar Bridge”. The “Gibraltar Bridge” is a level designed to make you consider the morality of your own actions throughout the game, and damn does it do it well. Regardless of whether you agree with the statements that it pushes you toward, I personally don’t, the execution of this level is tremendous.

“Gibraltar Bridge” opens up with you dropping a WMD onto a bridge used by both civilians and Nazi officials to stop a train carrying a Nazi scientist. For the first moment in the game, BJ doesn’t seem confident he’s doing the right thing, and this is immediately followed by your comrade telling you that you’re just doing what you were made to do. What follows is a surprisingly somber level, and this conflict of morality is communicated even on the most core of gameplay levels.

You traverse the results of the absolute devastation you dropped on these people, the majority of the enemies you encounter in the first half of the level either wounded or helping their wounded, and you’re almost always firing down onto enemies. The newspaper clippings found in this level, which throughout the game have all been terrifying horror stories of the Nazi regime, are about the scientific advancements the Nazi scientists have accomplished. These range from the Sahara being green and farmable to clean water throughout Africa to a nearly 100% drop in mortality in some African countries from before the Nazi regime took over. Finally, there is an absolute abundance of ammunition and health. It feels as though you’re being equipped for massive fights that simply never come. Even on the harder difficulties, this level is remarkably easy given that it is in the latter half of the game.

All of these factors come together to make it truly feel like you dropped a bomb on an existing level of the game. While the game itself is worthwhile, “Gibraltar Bridge” should make this an unskippable title.



CJ Streetman is the Managing Editor at Byte BSU and a contributing editor for Death of the Critic. Their professional pursuits include counseling, games journalism, and poetry.

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