If you like The New Order then you'll love The Old Blood
SRP: £14.99It's barely been a year since MachineGames dropped their surprisingly entertaining, over the top, gore filled reboot of the Wolfenstein franchise. Rather than roll through the expected schedule of releasing DLC to capitalise on the success, all the extra content has been rolled into a standalone prequel which has been dubbed Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. A smart move; decoupling the new content from the main game allows those who missed out on last year's entry a cheap way to take a look, and possibly inspire a few new purchases and gives old fans the chance to return to the blood-filled well they enjoyed so much last time.
Return to the blood-filled wellIn my full review of the original game I concluded that "Machine Games concentrated on providing as much of a standard quality shooter as they could muster, with a lengthy campaign featuring an excellent cast and comic book levels of gore". Most of which still rings true here. BJ Blazkowicz once again stars in another first person thrill ride which has come full circle. After passing through the alternate history steampunk setting of the The New Order it comes back to rest in the familiar World War 2 setting the series is so well known for, and hits us straight in the nostalgia by taking us back to Castle Wolfenstein.
Still treading the line between cautious stealth and balls out shooting power fantasy, the gameplay entertains just as much this time round. Stealthily padding around and seeing how many you can kill before you trigger an alarm and start passing out bullets is still a well executed mechanic which remains fun. The most significant addition to the gameplay is a versatile set of pipes which can be used to scale walls, open doors and most importantly impale Nazis in some rather spectacular ways. The trademark gore returns with wince-inducing melee kills and enemies being gibbed with almost gleeful abandon. A few extra weapons come in handy with a new sniper rifle and a hand held grenade launcher proving particularly useful.
Hits us straight in the nostalgia by taking us back to Castle Wolfenstein
While almost every aspect of the Old Blood completely mirrors The New Order, the thing that stood out the most about last years game is curiously missing. The New Order was not only a enjoyable shooter but unexpectedly managed to deliver a cast of interesting and varied characters which ensured the moments between the action were often just as enjoyable. The Old Blood has fewer of these moments, there are some new characters and a few lingering scenes which show the same level of storytelling but they are sadly in much shorter supply.
The best character this time round is the environment, Castle Wolfenstein comes to life in the most spectacular fashion, it would have been incredibly easy for the several hours of shooting to homogenise into a series of grey corridors, but the artists do a good job of keeping the combat spaces interesting and the design of the areas appealing.
World at War...againYou might be familiar with the concept of Nazi zombies.
It helps that the campaign is split into two distinct parts, while each is roughly 4 hours long the second half is sufficiently different enough to cleanse your palate for another few hours of action. How they accomplish this may or may not appeal to you, the Nazis' interest with the occult is well documented, and if you have felt the "call" of another popular shooter you might be familiar with the concept of Nazi zombies. It is what it says on the tin, a welcome twist from your standard cover-hugging opponents and nice change of scenery as you fight your way through the decaying facility.
- Fun combat
- Great Value
- Excellent recreation of Castle Wolfenstein
- More combat focused
- Predictable Nazi Zombies
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood Xbox One ReviewIt's been just long enough for the memory of the New Order to fade that another taste of the excellent formula created by MachineGames is enjoyable to revisit. Although it misses some of the best narrative elements which made the original even more appealing, the solid combat underpins what continues to be an enjoyable experience.
At a bargain price and a decent playtime it's an easy sell to those who are familiar with the new Wolfenstein, and a good way to get introduced to it if you aren't.
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