|System: PC, PS4, Xbox One*|
|Pub: Bethesda Softworks|
|Release: May 5, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
The Old Blood looks and sounds like a next-gen shooter. From the first moments I set foot inside the castle, I was immersed. Most games these days really try to lean toward a cinematic feel, and this title is no exception. If I had to compare it to anything, I’d call it one part Inglourious Basterds and two parts Raiders of the Lost Ark. This is due to the significant paranormal aspect to the storyline (with the Nazis again poking around in the supernatural realm in an attempt to bring their plans for world conquest to fruition). Not that they’re far off, mind you, as in this alternate timeline we find World War 2 did not end in the way present history remembers. Exploring the caves under the castle and finding the tombs of several knights buried within the catacombs absolutely SCREAMED Indiana Jones to me (which again…not a bad thing at all in my book). There were some cut scenes which seemed kind of unnecessary, as they would switch over to a fully CG-rendered animation of a pulley lowering and a gate opening when this really could have been accomplished in real-time within the game engine. However, the important story related sections themselves are well voiced and well written. On more than once occasion I felt myself leaning on the edge of my seat in suspense.
I’m not going to complain about the actual length of the title. With it being DLC, that would be unfair. It’s supposed to be supplementary and moderately priced, so in that regard it gets a pass. I do think it’s important to mention that those looking for a complete breath of fresh air might be a little disappointed. The Old Blood acts as a direct extension of The New Order. The DLC itself is divided into two not-so-distinct halves that do little to mix up the formula. The first is the Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves section, followed by the The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs (after you are ferried down the river by your contact). Unfortunately, the second part is just more of the same. It doesn’t really look to reinvent the wheel, which I suppose is too much to ask for from a simple expansion. I had just hoped for a little bit of a change up by this point, which never really came. The climbing mechanic utilizing the pipe is unique and a big part of how you traverse the environment, but again, nothing ground breaking.
The takeaway from Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is simple. If you’re a fan of series to begin with (meaning you probably already played The New Order) than you’re going to enjoy this title by default. I don’t want this review to simply preach to the choir, so I’d like to appeal to those casual FPS fans that many not be as familiar with the license. To them I say, give it a try. The story is more or less self-contained, which means the previous titles are not really a prerequisite. It’s a solid shooter which can easily fill that weekend itch if you need something to play off the cuff. It will also tickle the fancy of my fellow history buffs, as the alternate timeline brings a “what if” spin on a dark piece of our past. It’s these elements of realism which ground us where other sci-fi shooters such as Destiny or Halo can’t. Plus the paranormal angle gives it a nice fantasy flare to offset the gritty, dark tone.
Bottom line: the price point is right, the DLC is solid and you could do a lot worse with your gaming dollars than Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. I doubt anyone will walk away from this experience feeling anything less than satisfied. I know I certainly was.
Date: May 6, 2015