Wolfenstein: The Old Blood Review

Richard Walker

Wolfenstein: The New Order was a barnstorming comeback for the Wolfenstein series, proving that sometimes a reboot is just what the doctor ordered for an ailing franchise. Now MachineGames continues its fine work with Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a standalone prequel set shortly before The New Order's opening prologue in the trenches, circa 1946.

Except this time around, things are a little different. For starters, the tone adopts a more pulpy, B-movie tack, although there's still plenty of room for BJ Blazkowicz to reflect on his past and what not, with a gruff monologue here and there. Essentially, MachineGames picks up where it left off in The Old Blood, with beefy weaponry, moments of genuine tension, and a practically non-stop army of Nazis to riddle with bullets. It's more of the same, but immensely welcome nonetheless.

Getting this close to a shotgun trooper: unwise.

As before, one of the strongest and most infinitely enjoyable aspects of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is its combat. Following a somewhat shaky opening, wherein you're shorn of your guns and forced to fend for yourself with a metal pipe – against hulking Super Soldiers, no less – The Old Blood really starts to fire on all cylinders. But newcomers to the series may find themselves turned off by the game's early stealth sections.

Persevere, however, and The Old Blood turns out to be every bit as engaging as The New Order was, flinging memorable set-pieces your way at every turn, as you infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein, and subsequently explore the nearby town of Wulfburg. The game is split into two distinctive halves, with the first part mostly taking place within the eponymous castle, while the second explores the Nazi's fascination with the occult, as the insane Helga von Schabbs unearths an ancient evil that serves as a great excuse to bust some Nazi zombie heads.

Yes, there are Nazi zombies in The Old Blood, and amazingly, they don't feel hackneyed or needlessly shoehorned into the game for the sheer hell of it. Like your common or garden Nazi, the zombified variety are just as fun to shoot or smash with BJ's versatile pipe.

Stove in several zombie heads, and you'll unlock the Tough Skin perk, making you less susceptible to damaging attacks from the undead. This is just one of the new perks available to unlock in The Old Blood, encouraging you to play the game in a variety of ways, whether it's stealthily taking out Commanders before they can call for reinforcements or dispatching enemies using specific weapons. It's like The New Order again in that respect, and it still works beautifully, enabling you to enhance Blazko's abilities by completing various objectives.

The new weapons are suitably hefty, with the Kampfpistole in particular proving invaluable for crowd control, especially once the undead rear their ugly heads. But it's the Schockhammer shotgun that proves to be the most devastating (as is the sawn-off), able to tear through flesh like a hot knife through butter. Again, it's the sense of impact Wolfenstein's weapons convey that makes the game so damn gratifying, as enemies react to every bullet you pound into their flesh, with limbs, heads and torsos erupting in bursts of blood and viscera.

If stealth is more your thing, then the pipe, knife and silenced pistol all provide plenty of scope to avoid combat in come scenarios, but most of the time, you'll find yourself longing to either snipe enemies with Blazko's scoped Bombenschuss rifle, or wading in with dual-wielded assault rifles or shotguns. Bottom line: murdering your foes in The Old Blood is utterly sublime, whether you're taking a quiet approach or going in loud, guns blazing.

The Schockhammer shotgun is a fantastic weapon.

It's not just combat that's hefty in The Old Blood. The game itself is pretty meaty package, especially for a budget-priced standalone title. When we were told that there'd be a good 6-8 hours of gameplay, we had no idea that there would be additional replay value with collectibles to unearth, a Wolfenstein 3D nightmare to discover and play in each of the game's eight chapters, and a selection of separate challenges to unlock and tackle from the main menu, complete with leaderboards. Challenges give The Old Blood legs, enabling you to keep going back to beat yours or your friends' high scores.

There's an achievement attached to each of the Challenges too, so you'll need to obtain a score worthy of a gold medal on every single one if you want all 1000G. The rest are devoted to story progression, collectibles, completing nightmares and unlocking perks, as well as going back and taking a different path (there's another binary choice to be made at a certain juncture in The Old Blood) in order to nab every last achievement. Completing the list won't be a simple jaunt. There's loads to do, with a good spread across the whole lot.

Still the ever-loving unstoppable mass of muscle with a heart, BJ Blazkowicz takes a hell of a lot of punishment in The Old Blood, and keeps on going. With an evocative setting, fantastically evil protagonists in the form of Rudi Jäger and his dog Greta, and the nefarious Helga von Schabbs, who can't help herself in digging up lost 'treasure', you'll want to keep going too. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is enormous fun that's more than worth the paltry asking price. There's no excuse not to pick it up, ja?

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

Another Nazi-blasting triumph, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is the perfect companion piece to The New Order, and proof positive that MachineGames knows exactly what it's doing with the series. The Old Blood is more of the same, which is certainly no bad thing.

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Wonderful weapon audio that rattles your skull, and some great musical cues, like the little Indiana Jone-esque flute noodles that pop up once you enter the crypts. Superb.


Still as superlative to look at as The New Order was, The Old Blood is incredibly atmospheric, with the dusty confines of Castle Wolfenstein, the town of Wulfburg and the subterranean tunnels all dripping with detail.


In terms of feedback and sheer strength of its core shooting mechanics, MachineGames' Wolfenstein is unmatched. Hands down, it's one of the best shooters money can buy.


Given the price, The Old Blood represents amazing value, with a decently proportioned story, a challenges mode, Wolfenstein 3D nightmare stages and more besides.


An enjoyable list with more perks to pursue and new challenges to beat. Not the most creative list, it nevertheless has a good spread and some interesting tasks to complete.

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