If you didn’t think you could get enough WWII, Nazi-killing action then you may want to take a look at Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. This standalone, singleplayer expansion is a prequel to developer Machine Game’s previous game, Wolfenstein: The New Order. This game was very well received despite it’s singleplayer only experience because it did this element so well there was no need for a multiplayer element to weigh it down. Now Machine Games have returned with The Old Blood and we can see how far it furthers the experience.
Similar to other “expandalones” like Far Cry: Blood Dragon and The Last of Us: Left Behind, The Old Blood takes the groundwork laid by the original game and tries to shine it in a different light. Rather than doing something like Blood Dragon by turning it up to 11, this feels like another few levels in The New Order than anything else. That’s not a bad thing however as I loved The New Order so it was back to the basics of Nazi killing with BJ’s new trusty pipe.
The Old Blood follows William “BJ” Blazkowicz on a never ending crusade to defeat waves of evil Nazis and obtain a specific file from a head honcho over in Castle Wolfenstein dubbed “Helga Von Schabbs.” It’s back to basics with old BJ and his trusty arsenal of pistols, rifles and dual wield-able shotguns. With these options in mind you are able to take multiple strategies through the levels. Whether you want to take it slow and steady or go in guns blazing, The Old Blood will take that into account and provide you with a fun experience.
I do feel like the game was meant to be played as a run and gun shooter rather than the stealthy route that I chose. The stealth system, while there, didn’t really feel rewarding when taking out a floor of guys one by one. This was due to the fact that the guards wouldn’t realise that their comrades had fallen around them, even at times walking nonchalantly as I just missed that perfect headshot. It’s the little things that can sometimes break the experience for me so instead I switched to my shotgun and never looked back.
On the other hand, when I did go in guns blazing I had a lot better experience. The muscle powered Rambo style shooter loves to be hilariously dumb, throwing in one liners as you plow through enemies with you shotguns. But when you think that this is another dumb shooter the game turns around and brings in a touching moment between characters or a new set piece for you to gaze upon.
One of the problems with Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is that you don’t really get to explore the set pieces that are shown to you. Most of the time you will be traipsing from corridor to corridor looking for a vent that will conveniently move you to another set of corridors and enemies. While there are exceptions to this with various secret areas to find and the occasional open area, usually you are running through a house with only one exit.
There is a mild sense of repetitiveness that comes with The Old Blood. While the first few times you encounter the same enemies are interesting and challenging you soon realise that the repetitiveness gets to you. I guess that’s to be expected from a expansion to the original Wolfenstein but it does feel like more of the same. It feels like the start of the game overstays it welcome as you explore Castle Wolfenstein for what seems like hours before heading somewhere different compared to the original where you were taken to many more interesting locales. No space adventuring here unfortunately.
I found myself enjoying the interactions with the big bad bosses more than the actual main characters. They seems more fleshed out and actually have a back-story that would prove interesting if you were able to dive into it. The limited interaction time spent on them was either met with hilarious dialogue responses or an intense situation where you didn’t what was going to happen next. On the flip side the friendly characters (with the exception of the drunk guy that stumbles around the latter half of the map) all seem very one dimensional in comparison.
Before purchasing The Old Blood you need to ask yourself, “Do I want to play more Wolfenstein?” and if the answer is yes then this will be a great experience. A good few hours of mindlessly mowing down Nazis while dual wielding weapons is just what I want in this game and boy does it deliver. I never found The Old Blood to be boring and even while using stealth this game can make you feel excited. While it’s not as deep as its predecessor, this game has enough going for it to keep players completely engaged for the 5 hour campaign.
Rating: 8/10 Hot dogs