Wolfenstein: The Old Blood does little in changing its formula from The New Order with an approach that is greatly appreciated. The Old Blood is a prequel, leading up to the events of The New Order, yet it brings back that classic approach to the Wolfenstein lore. Basically after enough Nazi scum have been exterminated BJ once again finds himself squaring off against some form of the supernatural, due to the power driven ambitions of the Nazi’s. The tale never gets old and bridging it together with The New Order makes this one a bright spot in the Wolfenstein series.
This prequel is experienced in two parts told across nine chapters, in and around the infamous Castle Wolfenstein. As The Old Blood takes shape players are once again on a mission of infiltration and stealth. However, like with all BJ Blazkowicz missions, things go boom real fast, you end with an eye-opener of fire-power and pulling the trigger feels intoxicating and The Old Blood is no exception.
The Old Blood takes place in an alternate history of 1946 where we find BJ and Agent One (Wesley) on a mission to obtain the top secret folder containing the location of General Strasse (Deathshead as he is famously known) from Nazi archaeologist Helga Von Schabbs.
When the plan becomes foiled Wesley and BJ are separated and for the moment trapped in a foreboding part of Castle Wolfenstein, held captive by the sadistic dog trainer lieutenant Rudi Jager, who on occasions enjoys torturing captured soldiers by feeding them to his savage canine.
Giving players the options of stealth or going guns blazing as you progress from chapter to chapter, gameplay is predicated on BJ or the players ability to take out the given locales roaming captains who are tasked with setting off the alarm which is on their person at the first sight of a threat. If players want to remain incognito while dispatching Nazi’s with out the whole place going bonkers with what sometimes seems like an endless supply of Nazi’s, again taking out the alarm instigators is a must. However, sometimes due to your acquisition of some nasty firepower, testing your quick-twitch trigger skills while constantly moving out of harms ways or in order to gain the kill advantage, charging with brass-balls bravado can be a serious rush. Both option are great, but only one is more of a sure way of survival if attempting to take on the games more challenging difficulties.
Once BJ escapes Castle Wolfenstein, BJ eventually finds himself on the outskirts of the castle in a small neighboring village called Paderborn. Here BJ meets up with German resistance leader Kessler who is accompanied by Annette. After risking his life to save their skin from a brutal Nazi attack, BJ along with Kessler and Annettte escape to the village of Wulfburg. Here our crippled Nazi archaeologist Helga is conducting an excavation attempt for a hidden underground vault, containing knowledge previously possessed by King Otto I, who Helga believes she has some form of relation to.
Though The New Blood doesn’t possess the level of character development as The New Order due to its size and scope, developer MachineGames does a handsome job lending back story knowledge to the NPC’s you come across. More insight into these characters past are found in written letters found through the levels which supports for some their abusive nature, their desire to help those in distress as well as their determination to be renown. Taking the stealth approach also allows for players to learn more about key characters by listening to the chatter from Nazi soldiers.
Again, if you had the privilege of playing The New Order, very little has changed from the UI and gameplay. The health is once again split into two sections (health/armor) with levels filled like a candy store full of health packs and armor. The same goes with ammo for your varied arsenal.
BJ is brutal because he has to be, with MachineGames bringing back his unique way with less words and more carnage. Now equipped with a detachable pipe for the entire ride, melee attack are quite expressive, though the standard knife takedown is smoother taking less time. In combat, the flexible cover system is back allowing BJ to lean around, over, and under cover giving BJ the tactical advantage.
When it comes to weapons the wheel option make a return as players can quickly tap the button for their preferred secondary weapon or open up their weapon wheel and pre-select their new weapon of choice. Though it requires great accuracy in the heat of the action, the Bombenschuss, bolt-action rifle has to be my personal favorite. Upon finding the attachable scope, placing Nazi’s in the cross-hairs watching their heads explode with a well placed shot never gets old. As of this writing which is my second play-through, my weapon wheel possesses a handgun, dual-wielding handguns, assault rifle 46-T, dual-wielding assault rifle 46-T’s, Bombenschuss, Schockhammer, dual-wielding Schockhammers, Sawed-off shotgun and the Kompfpistol (grenade pistol-very handing when in a tight spot). Along with a handy knife and detachable pipe. Gatling guns can still be detached from turrets, but you cannot run while carrying them.
BJ is once again the cool and calm soldier of fortune whom you can’t help but admire. Fighting through impossible odds in the name of liberty with no shirt on I might add is just too cool. I’m sure MachineGames was all laughs when designing a particular cut-scene; BJ reaches OSA operative Pippa (codenamed Agent Two) and you realize BJ has been shirtless the whole time and in order to execute the next objective BJ must leave Pippa with all of his guns. Watching BJ drop gun after gun into this chest is hilarious! Of course you ask yourself how in the world is he carrying all this gear, yet it doesn’t matter, you like it and you appreciate MachineGames for it.
While I decided against explaining other fine details of the experience, once you jump into the action you’ll just get it. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is increasingly fun and exciting as you draw closer to the games conclusion. This is a well told short story leading up to main course of The New Order.
For only $20 The Old Blood is a must-buy good time behind the barrel as BJ Blazkowicz