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Before The New Order, BJ had another mission.

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    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

    Rating: 3.5 – Good

    Before The New Order, BJ had another mission.

    Wolfenstein The New Order took the gaming world by complete surprise in 2014 with its great gameplay and compelling story about the Nazis winning WWII and taking over the world. The New Order completely revived the Wolfenstein franchise after a series of mediocre entries and help maintain that the single player shooters were still viable in the era of multiplayer dominance.

    After the massive success of TNO, Machinegames went to work on a prequel which became known as The Old Blood. The story of TOB takes place in Austria circa March 1946. BJ Blazkowicz must infiltrate the infamous Castle Wolfenstein to collect information on the location of the compound of the mastermind behind the Nazi war machine, General Dethshead. The operation takes a turn for the worse and BJ must stop the commander of the castle, Helga von Schabbs, from uncovering something not quite natural in the underground tombs of the area.

    If you played TNO then you know how to play TOB, as the controls and gameplay are identical. You run, shoot, take cover, and other actions just like before. There are some new weapons this go around like a pistol that fires a rocket like bullet and a pipe for climbing walls and melee combat. Mowing down Nazis is still fun and the perk system from TNO returns to give the player more incentive to play differently in order to become even stronger.

    However, the perks do not carry over on a new play through unlike in TNO. Unlocked collectables do carryover but not perks so if you want them again you have to earn them again. If you already the got the perk trophies in one playthrough, you can just ignore them the second time though. Personally though I find not letting perks to carryover to be a self inflicted flaw especially it was fun to not to have to worry about them once you unlocked them in TNO.

    The story is more reminiscent of Return To Castle Wolfenstein and 2009 Wolfenstein with elements of horror and the occult mixed with the modern inner monologues that BJ has during the game. The best way I can describe TNO is Machinegames giving their take on the Wolfenstein games of the past. Even though the story is an homage to classic Wolfenstein, the plot is nothing near the emotional level of TNO. Its good but if you are expecting the same masterful story as TNO, you will be disappointed. Where TNO had a powerful and thrilling look at the world under the Nazi jackboot with alternate history elements, TOB feels more like your run of the mill B-movie about Nazis and/or the undead. TOB does have a choice element like TNO, but it has nowhere near the weight and consequences of TNO. It also doesn’t help that choice is near the end of the game whereas in TNO the choice was very early in-game and effected a lot in that overall story. Still the choices do give a trophy so it does at least encourage replays like TNO.

    All the collectables like gold and letters return to give the player more incentive to complete the game fully. Another interesting return are the nightmare levels where BJ can find a bed, fall asleep, and wake up in classic Wolfenstein 3D levels. Unlike TNO which only had one level and used the nightmare as more of a easter egg/novelty, TOB has a different level for each stage as well as trophies for beating the levels. Also new are challenge missions, which are just levels from the game but with a point system added to test the player and their willingness to get the high score.

    The expansion is only 8 chapters but the game doesn’t feel short and you do get your moneys worth especially if you get the game at a bargain price.

    Pros:
    The excellent gameplay returns from TNO and still very fun.
    The story is a good homage to older Wolfenstein games.
    The nightmare stages and challenges give the player more to do in and out of the game.

    Cons:
    While a good homage to classic Wolfenstein, the story is still nowhere near the level of TNO.
    The perks you unlocked do not carryover on each play through unlike in TNO.
    The Old Blood villains have nothing on Frau Engel and Dethshead.
    The choice aspect feels shoehorned in and barely effects the game.
    Some of the perks take some grinding especially the most useful one (being able to see the collectables).
    If you loved the alternate history aspect of TNO, the more occult themed story of TOB may disappoint you.
    It is quite large for an expansion at near 50 GBs, so those with net limitations should be wary.

    Conclusion: If you loved TNO, you will enjoy TOB, even though overall it is a much lesser experience. For a cheap price like 10 dollars or under its a really good time. However if you want more of the deep story that made The New Order great, you are probably better off waiting for The New Colossus. If you ever wanted to see what would happen if Machinegames made a game based on classic Wolfenstein then this game is for you. It’s not as good as TNO, but The Old Blood is another fun mission that is worth accepting.

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