Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (reviewed)
Publisher(s): Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: May 5, 2015
The premise of The Old Blood serves as a prequel to MachineGames 2014 hit, Wolfenstein: The New Order. And while the previous title rejoined us with the American bad-ass, BJ Blazkowicz, there wasn’t any back story as to how Germany became the super power that it was or what the hell was going on. This however is why we now have The Old Blood. This is where we’re going to get some answers, oh and get familiar with BJ and his Nazi-destroying tactics all over again. And just like last time, the story is actually pretty engaging and you’ll meet some interesting characters who you’ll interact with along the way, both friend and foe.
And yes, this a standalone title, meaning that you don’t need or are forced to have a copy of Wolfenstein: The New Order. But if you skipped out on that title, I’ll merely recommended that you check it out. Well, after playing The Old Blood first.
Fun and frantic combat, just how I like it
The gunplay in this game, while familiar to MachineGames first attempt with Wolfenstein: The New Order, feels a notch higher. The gun sounds are varied ,satisfying, and just give you that whole “I’m a bad ass” feeling. Given what level of difficulty you set the game to, you’ll be draw head first into many a fire fight, all with a smile on your face I might add. And just as The New Order, many of your advanced weapons still have an alternative function you can switch to by pressing the “X” on your keyboard.
Of course if you prefer to attempt to sneak around then you can do that and it’s actually encouraged at times, especially when you find yourself in a room with more people than you wish to fight it out with. Stealthy gameplay will also allow you to take out certain enemies who will sound alarms if you’re not careful. Remember, alarms are loud and will bring a literally endless way of enemies unless you take out the person who is causing the alarm.
However what turned out to be one of my favorite items / weapons in the game, is the addition of the pipe. Yep, a pipe. Found early on in the game, the pipe several many purposes; from letting you climb walls, smashing weak walls and even use in combat by dual wielding it or extending it into a rather large melee weapon. It’s so much to use in combat, especially when you’re having an intense firefight and then you run out of ammo. Well you can just run in, smash the enemy with the pipe and sit back and watch the animation as it completes.
I’ll also point out that the enemy variations in the game are plentiful and they’re not dumb. I’ve encountered many a time where they were hunting me down and ended up flanking me, which resulted more deaths that I’d like to admit. Still I’m happy to see that we’re getting smarter enemies in game vs having a massacre everytime we point our weapons at the baddies.
More optimization please
Thankful this time around, MachineGames as done some much needed optimization to the latest Wolfenstein entry. While TNO ran ok, it had it’s fair share of issues on mid-range and high-end PCs and settings had to be changed to get an acceptable frame-rate. Not this time it would seem as I was able to run the game at 2560×1440 with most of the settings maxed, with the exception of the reflections which I disabled.
While the game does look similar to TNO, that doesn’t mean the visuals are outdated. It’s still very detailed and you can tell that MachineGames as put in some work to make this a even better attempt and it definitely shows. There are still jaggies that can be seen from time to time but that’s a compromise you’ll have to make if your CPU and GPU aren’t up handling the Antialiasing, which does go all the way up to 32X. Sadly you don’t get the option to self which type of Antialiasing you want and from my testing, upping the in-game Antialiasing has a huge performance hit.
However I must point out that this game does not support Nvidia’s SLI or AMD’s crossfire. Bethesda has stated in the past that they didn’t care for it then in TNO and the same can be said for TOB. Initially I was bummed out about it but when I found out after some tweaking that we got a better optimized games, my fears were put to rest. So for those who wanted SLI or Crossfire to work, don’t blame MachineGames, point that anger over at Bethesda.
More bang for your buck
For those expecting a really short game, I mean c’mon, it’s only $20. How much game time are we expecting here? 1 hour? 2 hours? How about at a solid 5 hours of gameplay for the original campaign, that’s not even mentioning the challenge modes. I kid you not, this game is longer than most games at that the same price point with eight chapters and two different story-lines to blast or sneak through.
And even after you’ve beaten the game, there’s always those challenges to go back and play. Or you could go back and try to get an 100% completion rate by trying to find all of the hidden items; letters, gold, art and characters that are littered throughout each level. Can you find them all?
Least I forget the secrets found in this game. There are many secret areas as well as items in TOB, such as the rocket launcher from ID Software’s Quake, a plush Cacodemon from Doom to name a few. There are also several mini-games that take place in a areas that resemble the original Wolfenstein 3D, where you’ll have to track down a key to leave the level… or die. There are tons more to find, most you’ll find during your first play through of the game.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a experience that should not be missed by fans of the genre, especially by fans of The New Order. The fact that is also a standalone title for just $20 is should be more than enough to entice anyone to gve this game a try.
MachineGames has done it again!
MachineGames as another hit on their hands and have created yet another fantastic journey into the world of Wolfenstein. For $20 bucks you’ll be engrossed in fun filled fire fights, raise all hell throughout Castle Wolfenstein and become the hero that BJ Blazkowicz is.
As long as ID software and Bethesda keep allowing MachineGames to handle the Wolfenstein titles, then the game is is capable and safe hands. I can’t wait to see what they do next time with the license.
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