Wolfenstein: The New Order Preview: Winning a Losing Fight
Nobody Hates Nazis Like BJ Hates Nazis
The fight through the hospital is typical of The New Order’s shooter fare — there are more alternate paths to discover and more Nazis to blast as BJ works to save Anya, a youngish nurse and the only other survivor of the attack. Players are also treated to more horror as soldiers gun down hapless patients and staff.
The level culminates in a big fight in the hospital’s front courtyard as troops toss Anya into the trunk of a car, and we get another sense of how things have progressed in the intervening years. The Nazi war machine now includes flying robots and big troop carrier trucks powered by strange exotic substances. Of course, BJ’s preternatural fighting prowess has him emerging victorious and rescuing Anya, and the pair abscond with a captured Nazi commander to the woman’s grandparents’ house.
Between the hospital and the next level are another few long story moments in which BJ gets the lowdown of what has happened. Germany used atomic bombs on the U.S. and won the war. What small resistance there is has been broken. The Nazis now control the world. All of it carries an oppressed, defeatist air, even as BJ dedicates himself to finding the remnants of the war effort and rejoining the fight.
Before figuring out his next move, BJ heads to the farmhouse’s basement, where the Nazi commander has been tied to a chair. There, as the soldier pleads and bargains with, and then threatens, BJ, players are tasked with slowly wandering the room, looking for a few key items: a pair of goggles, a work apron, and a giant chainsaw.
The whole thing proceeds in silence from BJ’s standpoint, and it gives the impression of a seething undercurrent of anger in the character. This isn’t just a guy who fights Nazi soldiers and battles their oppression — he hates Nazis with an incredible passion. That hatred becomes apparent in every bit of interior monologue, every action, every gung-ho firefight and shrugged-off bullet wound. It recasts lines we saw in previous previews, like the one BJ utters upon discovering the Nazi lunar landing museum piece (“Fuck you, moon”), and takes them out of the realm of goofy and into the realm of personal pain.
We’ve seen a bit of BJ’s character already in previous previews, but there’s even more on display here, and with more context. Often BJ talks to himself, delivering his whispered thoughts to the player in a thoughtful, almost lyrical way — and always tinged in sadness and pain.
Though the chainsaw torture treatment plays out off-scene, BJ uses the information derived from it to head for a train that will take Anya and him the city where resistance fighters are held. The final level is a Nazi travel checkpoint; upon their arrival, BJ is tasked with popping out of his hiding place with Anya in the back of her grandparents’ truck to clear the way of opposition.
Like the other levels, this one again allows for multiple paths of approach. BJ can fight his way right up the dirt road and through the Nazi encampment, or use broken drain tunnels nearby to sneak into the facility and carefully lay waste while remaining hidden. One building offers the ability to climb up onto its rooftop, drop into the top floor, and assassinate a commander in a radio room. There’s also a sniper rifle to be discovered nearby, and grenades and turrets scattered about — basically, again, your style of play dictates the experience.
The last battle takes on a different tenor, a pair of huge robots wielding energy weapons attack BJ. Destroying them is a mix of strategy and brute force — nearby turrets help with that, but choice shots to the robots’ optics temporarily stagger them, and handy EMP grenades from the area can also buy BJ some time. In the end, though, it mostly amounts to tagging the enemies in the eyeballs a few times in order to get into a good position, and then pouring on turret fire until both enemies are scrapped.