A spear of destiny.
The rebirth of Wolfenstein by Machine Games was one of the biggest surprises of 2014. Growing up with the franchise I had long given up on someone being able to adapt B.J. Blazkowicz to the current generation. Just a short year later we are now treated with a follow-up to The New Order in the form of a downloadable prequel that takes place in the most infamous of locales, Castle Wolfenstein.
The Old Blood is the perfect example of how to capitalize on something, while also retaining the quality of the original. While it may only be $20 and available through digital download, this quasi-sequel packs more than enough content to satiate gamers’ hunger for more Wolfenstein.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
The Old Blood starts off with B.J. and his pal Wesley attempting to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein in search of the location of Deathshead’s compound. Along the way things go awry as they tend to do, and B.J. finds himself fighting through the halls of the famed locale. Again Machine Games has somehow managed to make interesting characters out of a mindless shooter. There is some fantastic dialogue, as well as plenty of humor. The grammar Nazi joke alone is worth the price of admission.
Shooting remains the core of The Old Blood, although there are stealth segments scattered throughout. Again, I am not a fan of sneaking around in a game with such spectacular shooting mechanics, but it is a decent change of pace. Shooting once again is sublime. The weapons feel fantastic, and the Swiss army approach of carrying a ton of them returns.
Probably the biggest new idea is the pipe. While it sounds inane, it actually plays a large role. It can be used as a melee weapon, as well as a way to knock down some walls. The biggest use though is the climbing. B.J. can scale walls by alternating the left and right triggers ala Ninja Gaiden-style. Like everything else Machine Games has done an excellent job of making it feel great. Wolfenstein just plays fantastically.
The classic nightmare levels also return, and there are more of them. Making my way through the blocky areas is a novel idea, but I feel like it is a bit overdone here. These old-school areas are nostalgic but also obtuse. Navigation is never apparent, and I spent more time searching for the keys in these levels, than playing the regular Old Blood levels. Still it is a cool semi-collectible for each chapter, and definitely a novel throwback to the classic game.
Visually Old Blood looks great. The real treat though is how fast it runs. The blazing speed of the game is impressive. It is yet another one of those games that makes my wife sick to watch. I love the innards of Castle Wolfenstein as well. So many little Easter Eggs tossed about from other titles. The throwback levels still look fantastic, in all their pixelated glory. This is one gorgeous game.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a fantastic follow-up to last year’s rebirth of the series. I hope a full-fledged sequel is in the works, but for now this definitely satisfies my hunger for more Blazkowicz. The campaign will run a little over five hours to complete, and for $20 that is certainly worth the price of admission.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.