It’s time to return to a place you know all so well long before you got there.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is the prequel to the previous (and absolutely gorgeous) Wolfenstein: The New Order. Said to be originally designed as DLC for The New Order, but later polished and released as a standalone game, it is a roaring adventure that doesn’t leave anything out. While it is said to be a shorter experience than The New Order, it also comes in at £15.99, which is shy of the £29.99 RRP for The New Order, and I managed to get just over twenty hours out of the story. Which would put it at around half the time I spent playing the New Order. Overall, it won’t last as long- but it doesn’t lack secrets, collectibles, achievements, perks, and all sorts of other goodies.
The game starts with a rather standard prologue level which leads into the first of two stories, with each story lasting four chapters, where you will have to work towards different ends. There is a little more stealth than I remember in The New Order, however, the levels feel very unique, and they are fairly long if you explore and try to unlock as many things as possible.
It also features challenge maps which cover the various encounters you have throughout the prologue and eight story chapters. These combat maps test your skill at killing, surviving, using cover, breaking cover, and doing it as quickly as possible. When I finished the story at just over twenty hours (with all the collectibles) I still had the challenge maps left. So, there’s definitely more content when you’re done if you enjoy the combat in the newer Wolfenstein titles- and that’s really one of the highlights of the two.
The game progresses along a fairly unexpected path in places and gives slight hints towards things that will happen in The New Order (if you’ve already finished it) and in some cases the writing is fairly sad. Then again, you could hardly call either of the newer Wolfenstein titles jolly. Yet they do mix things up in this one. There are as many deaths related to the opposition as there are to indirect consequences of either the opposition, or the player, which make you think, and as always the voice acting is delivered in such a way that you can get attached to some of the characters quite quickly.
That said, it can be slightly disjointed if you’re expecting the fluid story progression from The New Order.
If you haven’t already played The New Order, and have both, then do start with this one- it will make you feel even more strongly about the events in The New Order. Unlike some prequels who throw names around, or painfully outline things, this is done with an amount of finesse. There are newly introduced characters and those little hints of the things you’ve done, the choices you’ve made, and who you saved and lost throughout the story. Some of the losses are almost unfair in their way.
Yet, that is the hallmark of what Machine Games is doing with the newer Wolfenstein titles in my opinion. It’s not just a mindless on the rails shooter. It’s something that you can enjoy, that you can experience, that will provoke an emotional response, and is a rarity in gaming in general.
It also leaves you on the edge for the conclusion of The New Order as while The Old Blood answers the question of where he came from, what is more important (to me) is where does he go next?
Have a nice weekend, all!