Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood - Thoughts

There's been a lot of games released last year that have been given life again in 2015. Dark Souls II saw an upgrade in Scholar of the First Sin (which allowed me to experience its exquisite DLC kingdoms), Shovel Knight got its Plague of Shadows addition, and even Destiny saw a face lift with The Taken King. The only one I feel like (briefly) covering is Wolfenstein's standalone expansion, The Old Blood. Here we head back in time to storm the eponymous Castle Wolfenstein; jumping back into BJ's shoes for some bombastic shootouts made me realize why it's one of my favorite FPSs of all time.

Gone from The New Order is its emotional story-driven pacing—BJ is given a job to do and spends little time futzing about. Where the original game had an ebb and flow to its narrative, The Old Blood is predominantly anchored to action, featuring a huge amount of open playgrounds for you to sneak and/or shoot through. There are some clever alternative scenarios here and there, like the stealthy opening and tense moments where you're deprived of your weapons, but for the most part the sound of muzzle fire will be the score to your slaughter symphony. The action takes a questionable turn at the second act of the game, where combat becomes a bit slower and less frantic, but the first act (and its climax) provide unabashed Wolfenstein mayhem. Dual wielding auto-shotguns and watching my foes turn into crimson mist has been the most fun I've had with a gun since using the alternate fire on Half-Life 2's pulse rifle.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has one goal—take The New Order's scrumptious gameplay and serve it to you on bigger and more elaborate dishes. My only disappointment is that it feels hollow without BJ's chatter, the experience not nearly as impactful as its predecessor (the "inhale" stuff and Rudi's tirade during his fight were the only evocative parts to me). However the game doesn't seek to replace The New Order but rather expand it, offering more situations to try out your improv firearm skills and crack some Nazi skulls. It's fun and bloody excursion that continues to showcase MachineGames' mastery.

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