Wolfenstein The Old Blood puts players back in control of the Nazi killing specialist BJ Blazkowicz and the events that lead up to the 2014 hit, The New Order. Is this $20 standalone worth it for fans of the ‘Stein’? Read on to find out!
Developer: Machine Games
Format: Xbox one
Release Date: May 5th, 2015
“What’s that? Kill as many Nazis as I can?”
The Old Blood brings back all of the key elements that made The New Order so great: funny dialog, classic Wolfenstein missions, and superior shooting mechanics. At the start of the campaign you soon find yourself escaping a Nazi prison and this is where you first get introduced to the trusty lead pipe. Yes it may sound ridiculous, but from this point on you will be using that lead pipe for the rest of the game. It reminded me of the Gravity Gun in Half Life 2, a weapon that is very versatile and one that you will be using throughout the entire game. You can use it to swing for the fences as melee weapon, or take it apart for quick dual-wielding melee slashes. Not only that but BJ also uses it to climb rock walls, press switches that are out of reach, pull down hatches, pry open doors, and of course brutalize Nazis with viscous takedowns.
But enough of the lead pipe, The Old Blood really shines when you get a few guns in your hands. All of the great weapons from The New Order make a return and dual-wielding two assault rifles or shotguns still feels amazing as ever. I liken the gunplay in Wolfenstein to the combat of the Arkham Series. No matter what else is going on in the game, you can rely on rock solid shooting mechanics that feel very rewarding. Stealth is always an option as well. There are various sections of gameplay that allow players to take a sneaky approach and silently kill, or sneak past, enemies.
In terms of replayability, The Old Blood gives players the option of choosing from five difficulties from the easiest “Can I Play Daddy?” to the hardest “Uber”. A new feature to The Old Blood are the challenge maps. The challenge maps are sections from the campaign that you play through again but now have a score associated with every kill. Headshots and combo kills earn extra points and players can keep attempting for higher scores to receive medals. To receive Gold and Uber Gold medals, players have to play these challenges on the “I am death incarnate” or “Uber” difficulties which can be pretty tough.
Although it is a prequel, I couldn’t even tell you what the story is in The Old Blood. The game focuses on gameplay more than story with over an hour of gameplay for every one minute cutscene. The cutscenes don’t even include BJ, but instead focus on the other characters that you’re dealing with. The mission hubs from The New Order, where players could search for collectibles and side missions, are removed from The Old Blood. But as a $20 standalone there is plenty of content here worth the asking price, story or not.
The Old Blood is a fantastic new slice of Machine Games re-imagining of the classic series. The shooting mechanics are superb and BJ is becoming an iconic Nazi killer. With five difficulties, ten challenge maps, collectibles, and 50 achievements/trophies, there is more than enough content packed in to The Old Blood to warrant its $20 price tag for old fans of the series and new. With only five months into the year, The Old Blood very well might be the best shooter of 2015 thus far.
+ Amazing shooting mechanics
+ Funny dialog
+ Challenge Maps
+ Classic Wolfenstein levels
– Minimal story
Score: 8.5/10 “Great”
What I Played: 16 hours total completing the campaign on Uber difficulty, five nightmare missions, obtaining Gold medals in all the challenge maps, and unlocking 40/50 achievements.