Wolfenstein: The New Order should be a solid hit for Bethesda this holiday season.
During E3 2013, I was actually given a chance to play Wolfenstein: The New Order after my 30 minute dose of The Elder Scrolls Online. I played it using an Xbox controller, but the game was actually running on a Revolt gaming PC. It was extremely fun to play to say the least, but I'm not sure at this point how it will stand out against other FPS titles on the market when it launches.
Prior to actual gameplay, Bethesda set the stage: it's the 1960s, and the German Nazi Global Empire currently rules the world thanks to defeating the allies in World War II using an atomic bomb. Because of this, history is altered in their favor, with the Nazis landing on the moon, serving as members of the Beatles, enslaving millions of people and so on.
The demo opened up showing that our hero of the original Wolfenstein, B.J. Blazkowicz, carrying a serving tray with cups of coffee. Previously he had awakened from a 14-year coma, so both he and the player enter this new universe together. At first it seemed like he was actually a waiter working on a Nazi passenger train, but eventually he returned to his room where he delivered a steaming cup to his female partner, Anya.
However prior to returning to his cabin, he was stopped by two Nazis siting in a booth, one of which is a female senior Nazi named Frau Engel. The male associate seated next to her, a very feminine kind of guy, obviously loves to kiss her ass. Engel commanded our hero to slide into the seat in front of her and be tested for what she described as "impurity".
Once seated, Engel then placed her gun on the table along with a set of photos. B.J. must choose between them although the real test is to see if he would pick up the gun and shoot her. Naturally he doesn't, choosing one of the photos instead. She laughed at his cowardice and pointed the gun in his face. Using his wit, he convinced both Nazis that he's pure blood, that he's not the enemy. After some convincing by her male colleague, Engle allowed B.J. to returb to his cabin.
The next demo actually showed gameplay, with B.J. making his way through a destroyed bridge using bullet-based and futuristic energy weapons we've seen to some degree in other shooters. This portion actually resides about three quarters of the way into the main campaign, so it's unclear if the wreckage is current, or something that transpired before the game itself. And unlike the first demo, we finally get a taste of the protagonist's personality, reminding me of Duke Nukem with all the wise-ass comments.
The actual playable demo I experienced after the briefing was an entirely different level, pitting the hero against the Nazis inside a building. The new Wolfenstein is pure action-packed shooter goodness for tank gamers and run-n-gun fanatics – there's no major stealth requirement here (although it helps in some circumstances). There are mechs to take down, turrets to control for eliminating waves of bad guys, and plenty of debris to hide behind and use as a shield. Standard stuff.
However I'm told that there will be plenty of story to engulf the player despite all the action, which in some aspects is a good thing, keeping the game from feeling too arcade-like in nature. There are also a number of scenarios that require the player to use his/her brain for puzzle solving. For instance, a player will need to use specific energy weapons that can cut through metal surfaces in order to progress through the level. These same weapons can be used against enemies, or to simply create new pathways in a level just for the heck of it.
Unfortunately, my time with Wolfenstein was short, but then again the game was also rather standard, so there's really not much more to elaborate on. If you're a big FPS fan, then you've been there and done it. It will definitely be a good, solid launch title for the new consoles, and will likely prove to be a big hit with PC gamers as well.
Wolfenstein: The New Order is slated to hit the Windows PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in Q4 2013.