Review: Wolfenstein: The New Order (BulletStein)

Wolfenstein: The new Order is Bulletstorm with Nazis. I spent some amount of time attempting to tie the two monikers together. My favorites are WolfenStorm, and BulletStein. Actually, I’ll be referring to W:TNO as BulletStein for the rest of this review. Seriously, look at the first promotional image. Is that from Bulletstorm or Wolfenstein? You can’t tell, and neither can I.

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Bulletstein stars an invincible GI Joe, William Blazkowicz, who gets his “brains scrambled” during a classified WW2 mission, and subsequently sleeps through the Nazi’s futuristic armies taking over the world.

14 years later, our protagonist wakes up to an alternate 1960s world where the Nazis rule everything, technology has progressed far beyond what it should have in “our” timeline, and people in comas don’t lose muscle mass. Nazis do explode into piles of meat when you shoot them however, so the bullet technology in this alternate reality must be in-SANE.

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Seriously though, 14 years in a coma and it seems like his only exercise was sponge baths with his future GF Anya. Oddly enough this is one of the things that bothered me about BulletStorm proper. The protagonist was set up to be a lazy outlaw. Why was he inhumanly strong? Perhaps the entire game is actually a coma dream. That would explain the numerous bugs we’ve come to expect from anything with the Bethesda name attached.

At any rate, there’s a lot to like in BulletStein.

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The story is quite mature in nature, especially for a series that at some points could have been summed up as “nazi killing simulator.” BulletStein touches on some fairly taboo issues such as rape, abortion, concentration camps, ethnic cleansing, etc. Somehow it’s all handled well, and I was eager to progress the storyline and find the little extras that unlock tidbits about the characters you interact with. No, that’s not in reference to the multiple (tasteful) sex scenes.

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The graphics range from “last generation” to “mildly current generation”, depending on what platform you’re playing on. I’m reviewing on my trusty ole PS3, which still holds up pretty well. There is one level where all consoles and PCs render the graphics equally, a throwback bonus level from the original Wolfenstein 3D. There are also a few mech/flying/swimming/alternate combat sections which help break up the (enjoyable) mountains of nazi killing.

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Like its predecessor Bulletstorm, BulletStein suffers from “gottagetasequalitis” and leaves the ending purposefully open ended to the detriment of a mostly excellent storyline. The good news is that the strong female protagonist (who has a very compelling backstory the game meters out to you in small doses) is an obvious choice to head up said sequel. A spiritual successor to NOLF? Please let it be so.

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At the end of the day, I found myself captured and compelled to play through a FPS purely on virtue of it’s enjoyable gameplay and compelling storyline. Twelve-ish hours in, I very much enjoyed the journey I took in this gorgeously realized alternate-timeline nazi killing simulator. A strong 86/100. If you’re budget conscious and missed the 30$ deal at Steam, I’d pass at the 60$ mark. Strongly consider at the 30$ mark though, and a must-buy at the inevitable 20$.

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