Wolfenstein: The New Order Preview - E3 2013
We get some fresh details and go hands-on with this FPS franchise reboot
Wolfenstein: The New Order hopes to reignite the series that was one of the first pioneers of the first-person shooter genre. The new reboot takes place in 1960 alternate history, after the Nazi’s have won World War II. Playing as B.J. Blazkowicz, players will launch a counter-offensive against the dictatorship of the Nazi regime that has conquered the globe. We had a chance to hear more about the game at E3 as well as go hands-on with a demo.
The creators of the New Order are MachineGames, a studio created by some former staff and founders of Starbreeze Studios that are best known for Riddick and The Darkness franchises. New Order will utilize id Tech 5 game engine, and promises to deliver an action adventure shooter that both reboots the franchise and keeps it true to the predecessors. Blazkowicz actually awakens after a 14 year coma, and realizes that WWII was lost, the world now having fallen under the oppression of the Nazi’s. His goal becomes to reignite the resistance and overthrow this regime.
In a short video demo, we find Blazkowicz on a train to Berlin, where we meet an evil woman (who’s German name we wouldn’t attempt to spell here), one of the antagonists in the story. She orders us to sit and play a game of cards with her. She taunts, and asks to point out what cards correspond to her word choices. She pulls a gun on the last question, and though we have a choice to reach for it, we continue to play and are free to go after the fun runs out. Having made it back to our train cabin safely, we get a quick look at Anya, an apparent love story of the game.
But that’s not what Wolfenstein is about, so the timeline jumps further into the game, after we’ve just derailed an enemy train. Using a cutting tool, we make our way down the collapsed train cars until encountering some enemies, which are quickly dispatched by powerful and futuristic looking weapons. The players will have to watch for their HP level, which doesn’t regenerate and can rise above 100 temporary as you find more health packs. You’ve also got a shield level, there is destructive cover, players can lean, and of course dual wield. All of these elements are demonstrated as we watch Blazkowicz put down various enemies while making his way across the collapsed train and subsequent bridge. After a while our demo ends as we’re nearly captured.
That wasn’t the end of the experience, however, as we also got to play the game though a different part of the story. Starting off in some ruins, we made our way to a clearing and through some building hallways, taking out enemies along the way. The firefights were intense and the gunplay felt great. In a large dome structure, we had to climb some stairs while eliminating enemies on the catwalks above, and then make a jump to reach another area, where we shot the lock and proceeded down an elevator shaft. To get up, we shot the counter-weights and propelled our elevator upwards to the lab.
In this lab we once again had to figure out how to reach the cutting gun contained inside a machine. Using some crates we climbed on the rafters and onto the machine, seeing an opening on its top. These are the kinds of environment exploration elements that are seldom used in modern shooters, and felt almost as enjoyable and interesting as those in Half Life 2, for example. Having obtained the cutting tool, we had to use it to make an opening in the wall and climb through to the next area, where more shootouts took place.
During our time with Wolfenstein: The New Order, it became increasingly clear that this should be an enjoyable shooter. It’s a title that tries to bring back a classic franchise, something that Wolfenstein from 2009 failed to do. The action felt great, the story doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the developers are certainly skilled at their craft. We’ll find out if the franchise is back to former glory when Wolfenstein: The New Order launches on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 this year; while also appearing on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later on.