Wolfenstein: The New Order is a big-budget game in a well-known Nazi-killing franchise. And this time, the game has a Quentin Tarantino-like story that will remind players of Inglourious Basterds. What’s not to like? Plenty, apparently.
So far, the critics are split on the title that debuts today. Some have riddled the game for its disjointed story and unremarkable gameplay while fans say it has some smart levels, interesting characters, and good shooting mechanics. The result is a middling score of 78 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic.
That tells us that the game probably isn’t going to be a blockbuster though it is possible that gamers will play it anyway for lack of other titles to buy. The average score could very well change as more media outlets weigh in.
If the game doesn’t sell well, it could put a hole in the ambitions of Bethesda Softworks (and Swedish developer Machine Games) to be a triple-A publisher, and it could bring more predictions of doom for the next-generation consoles, which are fighting against free-to-play mobile and online games. Wolfenstein debuts today on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Aside from Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, which debuts May 27, Wolfenstein was the big hope for retailers this month.
The story depicts American soldier B.J. Blazkowicz, who awakens from a coma in the 1960s to find that the Nazis won World War II and the world is now ruled by the German nationalists. That puts him in a bad mood, and he wreaks havoc against the Nazis.
The original Wolfenstein debuted in 1981, kicking off the first-person shooter genre. Id Software was the steward of the franchise, but after ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda, acquired id a few years ago, Wolfenstein became a Bethesda property. Machine Games took over and tried to meld the familiar Nazi shooting with more modern weaponry to spice things up. To make the alternate history of Nazi triumph more realistic, Machine Games created a faux Nazi record label with German-language renditions of ’60s tunes like “The House of the Rising Sun.”
But while the graphics are vivid, the 20-hour game didn’t impress GamesBeat’s reviewer, Evan Killham, who gave it a spot-on average score of 78. The $60 mature-rated title debuts today in North America, Europe, and Australia.
I got a good look at it a year ago but found it extremely difficult. The developers told me they were going to make it easier after the initial feedback. I’m going to play the game, but I can’t say that I’m really thrilled about it.