Another pictureless review. I’m sorry folks, I’m just a lazy s.o.b.
So, I purchased an Xbone on Friday 3rd after work whilst harassing the sales assistant just because I was feeling so inclined. The games I purchased with it were GTA V, Arkham Knight and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. And it’s the latter I’m going to review today.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood was originally intended to be two expansion packs to The New Order but as it is an 8th Gen exclusive, there was more than enough content to justify mashing the expansion packs together and releasing as a separate release. Fans of the series will realise that WTOB is actually something of a retelling of the first and second parts of Return to Castle Wolfenstein which was released on PC…ooh, 2001. Let’s say reimagined rather than retold as the story is quite different and fits in better with the story established by the New Order. 

Our hero BJ Blazkowicz has been sent to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein in an attempt to find the location of the compound of General Deathshead, the man principally responsible for the success of the Wehrmacht. It is believed that one of his underlings has the relevant information. Of course, Castle Wolfenstein is built near the town of Paderborn (I’ve been to the genuine Paderborn – trust me, it’s nothing like the game) which was at the centre of some weird hokey stuff a thousand years prior and rumour has it that Helga von Schabbs (formerly Helga von Bulöw in RTCW) is leading an archaeological expedition to try and find the secrets that her ancestor King Otto buried away.

The game has two chapters, four parts in each chapter and features the usual mix of action, exploration and stealth. In fact, you’re pretty much thrown in at the deep end straight away with a nasty claustrophobic battle (which almost led to the first throwing of the controller). Anyway, it’s not really a spoiler to say you’re captured, thrown into the dungeon and from there you have to escape armed with only a pipe to help you…to begin with. The Pipe is the first new feature of Wolfenstein and can be wielded as a club or as two separate sharp objects. It is also used to scale mouldy walls/porous surfaces. Other new weapons appear in the game which shake up the system of gameplay a little.

There are plenty of nods to the main game in this prequel as well as other nods to the Wolfenstein series. Perhaps one of the most welcome features is a return of the nightmare levels which throw the modern BJ into the original Wolfenstein game. Several stages have one and each takes you to a different stage in the first part of that classic. What’s more pertinent is the fact that these have a bit more use overall than a trip down memory lane. Also included are the range of upgrades achieved by performing specific actions within the game which are entirely at the player’s discretion how they are achieved.

Graphics: Pretty. The backgrounds in particular are beautifully renditioned as well as incredibly detailed whilst animations are lovely and smooth. Of particular note is the lip synching of characters when they are speaking which adds to the movie-like quality of the game. My only negative point is that the darker areas are a little too dark, but…

Sound: Once again, when graphics let the player down, the sound picks up and continuing the point made above, you’re sometimes forced to navigate on sounds alone. Given the “B-Movie” feel of the game, this really does work but would be frustrating in any other trip-A title. The music is scored well during the intensive firefights but otherwise the game plays quietly. The drunken singing in the tavern is of amusement…

Gameplay: Plays almost exactly the same as the original which always helps (i.e. not having to re-learn the control system). Enemies are clever though can be easily outwitted by the veteran gamer, the difficulty doesn’t massively increase throughout the game though the player isn’t handed as many favours to beat levels and the fact that you can play a level stealthily or noisily allows different styles to be mashed up nicely.

Lastability: Once it’s done, it’s kinda done. You might play through again to hoover up all the collectables or try the slightly different path progression (there’s one choice to make in the game to affect the outcome). But there are the challenge levels where the goal is to rack up points in certain areas which will allow for some replay. This gamer’s appetite was particularly whetted for more adventures as the world of Wolfenstein is very satisfying to explore.

Overall: First of all, the game is cheap. Even brand new it is cheap. The cost of an Xbone game is typically £50 for a new title and this is £15. There’s a helluva lot of features in this title which means loads of fun for a fraction of the cost of a brand new game. There’s plenty for n00bz as well as experienced players to enjoy. A bit short, possibly but for £15, I ain’t going to be complaining for long. Definitely a worthy title to have on your shelf, especially if you like your games distracting but not heavily involved. 

Bethesda, MOAR WOLFENSTEIN. Please.

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