The developers who cut their teeth with the cult hits The Chronicles of Riddick and The Darkness were back under a new banner and a new studio to present to E3 2013 attendees their new game Wolfenstein: The New Order, the latest entry into a seminal FPS gaming franchise.
In this new entry to the classic series star William "B.J." Blazkowicz has awakened from a mysterious 14-year-long coma to an alternate 1960 where the Nazis won World War II thanks to some mysteriously acquired advanced technology and now dominate the planet. Not having any of that (and not afraid to say so with some hilariously over the top one-liners), BJ aims to spark a resistance movement mainly by annihilating everything in his path.
In the video presentation before the hands-on demo, BJ aims his way across Germany in disguise with a female co-conspirator. Aboard a train, he is cornered by a sinister middle-aged female Nazi Commander and her much younger male 'associate.' She wants to test a disguised BJ to see if he is a 'pure Aryan' under the threat of death. She shows him a series of pictures and asks him how he feels about each, all while leaving a loaded pistol temptingly close to him. It’s a creepy and tense situation to see in a game like this and the realistic-looking cackling Nazi commander is unsettling at the very least. Passing the test, BJ returns to his cabin to find much more welcoming female company.
The demo video then switches to the action, a raid on a Strait of Gibraltar-spanning bridge has resulted in a train wreak and BJ must make his way along it. Apart from the rampant Nazi killing in this section that includes things like conventional and energy weapons plus dual wielding, perhaps the game's signature item was displayed, a cutting laser. This beam weapon was deployed frequently to cut BJ a path though the wreckage, and to open up locked doors and hidden paths.
When the game was made available for hands-on play, the scene was a shattered spaceport. The controls feel instantly natural to any experienced player, though there was some necessary instruction with the game's leaning mechanic. This move allows you to stick to a spot behind cover (though it should be noted that a lot of cover is destructible, perhaps more easily with the aforementioned laser) and move part of yourself out of cover either to the left or right or even over the wall in front of you, as seen in many modern first person shooters. After using this system to take down a malfunctioning sentry robot, you then get to lay into Nazi troops en masse as you make your way though the spaceport.
Notably, the game uses a 'classic' style heath and armor system, requiring you to find heath kits and armor packs/suits to keep you going rather than the currently trendy 'walk it off' system. Also it wouldn't be a “Starbreeze” game without some of their signature visual flair. To that end, the world of Wolfenstein: The New Order has a real techno-Third Reich aesthetic: towering structures in imposing blacks and grays punctuated by the sharply contrasting red of the infamous Nazi flag.
Wolfenstein: The New Order will let you get back to killing Nazis like a good FPS should late this year on PC, the PS3, PS4 and the Xbox 360, Xbox One.