AN old FPS favourite returns to the fray
Game review: Wolfenstein Old Blood
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / PC
ONE of the pleasant surprises in last year’s gamut of releases was Wolfenstein: The New Order. Expectations for the reboot of the much-loved but outdated first person shooter were not high, but developer Machine Games reinvigorated the franchise with an exhilarating and - yes, whisper it - thoughtful update that stayed true to its bloodied roots while introducing fine ideas such as a passive perk system.
A year on, the Swedish firm has returned with another worthy addition to the goried canon starring Captain B.J Blazkowicz. While The New Order was concerned with an alternative post-war Europe where the Third Reich had triumphed, Old Blood returns to the imposing, doom-laden Castle Wolfenstein where it all began. Ostensibly a prequel, the storyline is once more involving, but those looking to jump straight into the meaty FPS action will not be disappointed.
At heart this is a gloriously old school shooter
At its heart, Old Blood is a gloriously old school shooter with a frantic pace and weapons that feel distinct and destructive. The shotgun in particular is a devastating ally and in true overblown fashion, dual wielding makes a return. Interspersed among the mayhem, Machine Games throw in stealth sections. Yes, the dreaded S word - but it works well and should you wish to go in all guns blazing, that is just as valid an option to sneaking around the castle’s shadowy nooks.
Further nostalgic treats lie in store, not least the return of the eerie, supernatural elements that set Wolfenstein apart from its competitors in the 1990s. A section which pits you against a horde of Nazi zombies combines the fast-paced action with survival horror elements and feels like a classic ID Software experience. The zombie genre may be overexposed at present, but Old Blood keep it snappy and all about the gunplay.
This is a more linear game than The New Order but it packs punch
Compared with The New Order, Old Blood is a relatively short affair - the campaign can be blitzed through in around seven hours - and its level design and narrative is considerably more linear. But given the budget price and the level of affection and care that has gone into its creation, it deserves to stand alone as a fine Wolfenstein title. After years in the shadows, Blazkowicz has come out all guns blazing; let us hope the next installment is not far off.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Don’t ignore the trusty pipe. It is a very effective melee weapon and allows you to clamber up hard to reach places.
Get the ammunition perk as soon as you can. This increased the bullets you pick up by 20% each time.
If you’re looking for collectibles during your playthrough, be sure to use the eagle eyed perk as this will make the job considerably easier.