Review: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

Editor’s Note, Nov. 15, 2018: The following review is posted for archival purposes only. It is shown in its original form, and may not meet our current editorial standards. Supplemental images or video cannot be displayed and are not included. Cover image is not from original article.

Platform Played: PC (Steam)
Time Taken: About 5 Hours
Modes Played: Main Story, “Challenges”

While The Old Blood brings back the addictive fast-paced, guns blazin’ gameplay that we saw in last year’s The New Order, The Old Blood’s story just doesn’t have the same hook The New Order did. 

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is the stand-alone expansion for last year’s Wolfenstein: The New Order. It takes place about 20 years prior to the events of The New Order, in an alternate-history universe in which the Nazi army is winning the war against the allied forces. You, of course, play as B.J. Blazkowicz, a U.S. military agent sent to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein and bring back documents holding the location to General Deathshead’s (Deathshead is the main antagonist in The New Order) compound. Things don’t quite go to plan, however, and you end up with some big-ass guns and a bunch of dead Nazis.

The gameplay in The Old Blood is action-packed and chaotic, much like The New Order, and if you enjoyed the combat in The New Order, you most certainly will in The Old Blood as well. Like The New Order, The Old Blood is very, very linear. You can almost see the path made out through the levels, and even in open areas it was pretty obvious where to go. If you’re looking for exploration, The Old Blood is not gonna do it for you. Instead The Old Blood focuses on it’s gun combat, which is perfect in it’s implementation. The A.I. is smart and tough, the cover mechanics and level design are well thought out, and the guns just feel good.

The expansion does feature new weapons, such as the kampfpistol, which is basically a pistol-sized grenade launcher, or the Bombenschuss, a semi auto rifle that has an attachable sniper scope, as well as many others. As well as new weapons, there are a few new enemies in The Old Blood, such as an early prototype Supersoldaten, which relies on a tethered electrical cable for power. None of the added weapons or enemies really change the overall feel of the game, but they are a nice addition to the expansion, and they help to differentiate The Old Blood with The New Order. Also new to the game is the “Challenges” mode, where you can fight hoards of Nazis in different parts of the map and try to earn a high score.

The story in The Old Blood is a pretty significant step down from The New Order. While The New Order made use of well directed cut scenes to help tell it’s  interesting story, The Old Blood tells it’s entire story from the first person perspective of  Blazkowicz, only incorporating third-person cut scenes in the first and last scenes. While this is not a bad way to present a game’s story (my favorite game of recent years, Bioshock Infinite, told it’s story entirely through the eyes of the main character, with zero cutscenes), I was disappointed that the game didn’t incorporate these cutscenes, because they were so well done in The New Order. On top of that, the story simply isn’t as interesting as The New Order’s. The plot was rushed and just didn’t have enough weight to it; it seemed like MachineGames was trying to tell a very long story in too short of time.

Overall, if you enjoyed The New Order last year and just want some more Wolfenstein combat, then you should probably pick up The Old Blood. If, however, you want an immersive, detailed, and drawn out story, perhaps you should skip The Old Blood and wait for the next full Wolfenstein game to come out. Personally, however, I think that $20 for a 5-8 hour Wolfenstein game, no matter the story,  is a pretty good deal.


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