|System: PC, PS4, Xbox One*|
|Pub: Bethesda Softworks|
|Release: May 5, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
by Jason Messer
I’m sure this comes as no surprise to many of you, but there isn’t exactly a shortage of first-person shooters available in 2015. The market is so saturated (some might even suggest over- saturated), it’s easy for new FPS titles to get lost in the shuffle. Lucky for The Old Blood, it has a legendary franchise to prop it up. Few shooters carry the clout the Wolfenstein series does, with its roots stretching all the way back to the early ‘80s on the Apple II.
But it takes more than just a killer reputation to build a great experience, so does The Old Blood deserve to bear the Wolfenstein moniker? The short answer is yes. While you could technically just flip to the score at this point, allow me to break down what is so great about this DLC, which proves big things really do come in small packages. All told, this experience can be blown through in one evening, clocking in at somewhere around six or seven hours playtime (providing you amp up the difficulty and don’t repeatedly need to respawn).
The prologue starts off hot and heavy with undercover agent B.J. (insert immature giggle here) Blazkowicz and his partner infiltrating Castle Wolfenstein in order to steal secret documents that directly tie to events seen in future titles (or I suppose that would be previous titles since this is a prequel, after all). Things quickly turn south as and your partner are immediately captured and thrown into holding cells. This is where the gameplay takes a huge left-turn. Up ‘till this point, things have been pretty typical of what you’d expect. Storm the room. Shoot the Nazis. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Not to make that sound like a bad thing. In fact, it’s all kinds of fun. The DLC plays much in the same way as The New Order did, which is to say fun and smooth, so there's no need to mess with success.
The problem is, the fast-paced action immediately grinds to a halt with a stealthy trek through the prison as you attempt escape. While I really enjoy these types of missions typically, after a bit they did become somewhat repetitive. If you’re seen, you’re pretty much guaranteed a restart from the last checkpoint (since you’ll be tasked with fighting off Nazi juggernauts armed with machine guns while toting nothing but an old rusty pipe). And I’m not exaggerating, that’s literally your only weapon at times. If you set off an alarm, reinforcements will come and up the challenge. But most people will likely chose to just forego the stealthy approach and simply attempt to mow their way through the waves of Nazi forces. At least, this was my approach in most cases.
Speaking of weapons, you’ll find no shortage of variety early on. Not only can you perform instant kills via the takedown command, but guns like the Shockhammer provide a fun revamping of your standard old-school shooting action. Personally, I found the assault rifles to be most useful, and yes that’s plural. The ability to dual-wield not only feels awesome in your hands, but comes in extremely handy when clearing a room full of Nazi pigs who are shooting at you from all sides. My only complaint was how easily you run out of ammo. You can’t really hump the trigger in this game, as burst firing will help conserve your supply. Usually most enemies are cut down with a few well placed hits anyway, so players won’t find this much of an adjustment if they’ve played previous Wolfensteins. Just ensure your aim is on-point and you’ll be fine.