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Wolfenstein: The New Order (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC) review: Just like with zombies, you don't ever get sick of killing Nazis

With just the right amount of brutality and craziness, Wolfenstein: The New Order is a genuine good-old Nazi-killing time.

Jeff Bakalar
Jeff Bakalar Editor at Large

Jeff is CNET Editor at Large and a host for CNET video. He's regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404 Show, which ran for 10 years. He's currently featured on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast podcast and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.

4 min read

Decades and decades removed from their time on this planet, the perception of Nazis has taken on a supernatural persona, sharing the same classification of monsters with the likes of zombies and orcs.


Wolfenstein: The New Order (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC)

The Good

The Bad

The Bottom Line

The most popular fantasizing of their existence in a videogame has to be 1992's Wolfenstein 3D, a first-person-shooter that wound up being a breakout hit for the shooter genre, making room for titles like Doom.

Wolfenstein 3D also helped popularize the notion of occultism and its connection to Nazis, which stems back to the '60s and '70s. Such an unspeakable evil easily lent itself to macabre science-fiction lore -- most recently seen in the campy dystopian flick, "Iron Sky."


That overwhelming sense of evil is revisited in Wolfenstein: The New Order, and it's the best game in the series since Wolfenstein 3D.

It's 1946 and you play as William "B.J." Blazkowicz (the same character from Wolfenstein 3D), a soldier who has teamed up with Allied forces set to storm the German shore. Only when they arrive, they quickly learn that the Nazis have secured some kind of other-worldly technology, the likes of which no one on Earth has ever seen.

During the raid, Blazkowicz is knocked unconscious, only to awake in 1960 to a world where the Nazis have not only won World War II, but have subsequently taken over the world and cast their cold, steel-and-concrete mark across the planet. Blazkowicz must now lead a resistance to overthrow an insurmountable enemy.


Check out GameSpot's coverage of Wolfenstein: The New Order

Wolfenstein: The New Order is an above-average and highly polished first-person shooter that oozes with atmosphere. With the Nazis in total power, the world is now a dark, industrial dystopia, which is convincingly portrayed by the team at MachineGames.

The game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second in 1080p on both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, with a noticeable decrease in graphics and performance on the older consoles.

I got a chance to go back and play The New Order on an Origin EON17-SLX. Sure, it's a high-end gaming laptop with an SLI GPU setup, but the machine handles The New Order in amazingly smooth fashion. If you're a PC gamer, this is a first-person-shooter than shines on the platform -- so if you've got the hardware, it's worth entertaining playing it with a mouse and keyboard.

There's a certain grindhouse veneer that The New Order is coated in, with its heavy-metal soundtrack and its overly punctuated and occasionally disturbing sound design. Blazkowicz might as well have dual shotguns surgically attached to his arms.


The New Order features a satisfying array of weapons, most of which can be dual-wielded. The first-person shooter is a mostly conventional experience, though there are a few interesting gameplay additions that spice up the linear chapter-based gameplay.

Controls felt ultra-responsive and tight -- just how you'd want them in a FPS. I didn't love the selection wheel, though; it just wasn't a reliable or quick enough way to swap weapons.

I didn't have much to complain about in terms of enemy AI; just don't expect much of a challenge below the middle-of-the-pack difficulty setting. There's not an overwhelming amount of enemy variety, but just like with zombies, you don't really ever get tired of killing Nazis.


The story is peppered with a healthy amount of interesting protagonists that you befriend along the way and a smattering of villains so inherently wicked and vicious you'll complete the campaign just to ensure their demises.

Speaking of the campaign, players are presented with a major plot decision during the prologue, one that decides their player's set of perks and the story arc for the rest of the game. These two timelines can each be individually pursued, and a respectable amount of secrets, Easter eggs, collectibles, and bonus game modes reinforce The New Order's replay value. It makes sense that there's this much to do (or redo), as there's no multiplayer mode.

Aside from a few minor aesthetic complaints (see weapon wheel) and a cheap death or two, Wolfenstein: The New Order is a genuine good time. It's just the right amount of brutal and crazy to shock the average player and challenge the hard-core shooter enthusiast at the same time.


CNET verdict: Highly recommended for FPS fans and others

Wolfenstein: The New Order is a surprisingly well-made first-person shooter that works on nearly every level. It's graphic, sometimes crass, but undoubtedly entertaining and well worth the price of admission. If you have the means, I recommend playing it on a next-generation console or gaming PC.

Check out GameSpot's coverage of Wolfenstein: The New Order

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