Wolfenstein: The New Order can mostly be considered a first person shooter, we say mostly as it does have some added gameplay mechanics that a lot of FPSs do not contain. One of the largest differences is that they’ve gone back to their roots, as you no longer have a health bar that generates from almost dead to full life if you hide behind cover and wait several seconds. Sure your health may regenerate a little bit, but it will only go to the nearest multiple of 20. So if you have 83 health, the most it will bump itself back up to is 100 over a short period of time. The only way to get your health back up to its full amount is through health packs (or sometimes food, like dog food). Just because you are at your maximum health, with 100 being the default starting amount, does not mean that it cannot go higher. You can actually ‘overcharge’ your health. What this means is your health will go up to however high the health packs will bring it; your health meter will slowly degenerate over time until it returns to your maximum amount of health. This is rather handy when you are in a boss fight, or fighting large groups of enemies on harder difficulties as it can give you an extra ‘leg’ up in the situation as once your armour is drained, you namely have what health you have left to rely upon to make it through the fight.
If you are worried that you only have a health bar, the armour bar makes its return too. It is treated slightly different though, it does not regenerate, and has a fixed maximum amount you can have, 100. You cannot equip more armour than that, you cannot overcharge your armour.
Have you ever felt like that you wished there was more ‘realism’ in a shooter game without it completely ruining the game? Well Wolfeinstein: The New Order can deliver on some of those desires, you do not just randomly pick up ammo if you run over an enemy’s corpse/gun, weapon/ammo locker, etc. Instead, you must actually interact with the item in order to pick it up. We enjoyed this as it gives the player more of a responsibility to refill their ammo when they spot some rather than the game saying, ‘Here you go, we’ve topped you back up.’ It makes you more aware of how much ammo you have and penalizes you if you have tunnel vision advancing in longer fights where you’ll go over the corpses of some of your kills and not automatically pick up the ammo/armour.
Another aspect of it not being a normal shooter is there is something called Perks. The Perks system involves perks that can unlock different bonuses that are permanent for whenever you play a chapter/rest of the game that ‘save’ on account. Make a new save account and those perks are no longer unlocked for that save account.
Perks are broken down into four main categories; Stealth, Tactical, Assault, and Demolition. We’ll give you an example using the Stealth Tree as this usually involves anything to do with killing an enemy without anyone else being aware of it, including the intended target. If you stealth kill enough Commanders the reward is points of interests, either collectibles or missions objectives, will appear on your map. This is useful if you are completionist and want to find out where every single collectible is. Some perks have multiple tiers, whereas if you unlock the first tier, then the second tier you will need to work on gets a bonus. The downside to the tier system is that you don’t always know what the bonus or requirements of that next tier is until you unlock it. As you know us, we don’t tend to let you know about every little item in a spec or perk tree as we let you discover it yourself, though we will list off a few of the ones we chose to complete. In the Demolition tree, there is a perk where if you kill a certain amount of Commanders or standard units with a grenade, your maximum capacity is increased. Another is that if you kill enough armoured enemies, you will take less damage from explosive weapons. The perks are rather handy provided you plan to play through the game multiple times, especially on harder difficulties as this can make the game slightly less difficult in certain situations.
We’ll outline the two different main paths (or time lines) the game has when we jump to the story section, though based on this choice you will be limited to what ‘unlocking’ method you can perform. With this limitation you cannot explore every little nook and cranny of the game on one playthrough, as certain objects can only be unlocked one of two possible ways. The first of which is lock-picking, allowing you to get into areas that are locked by simple locks that require a key. The other way involves hot wiring locks that are electrical. In both cases, there is a small ‘mini-game’ that you must perform correctly in order to unlock the lock. You are quickly taught it the first time you encounter the type of lock you’ll be able to unlock later, though if you ignore it or stumble through it without learning it, we found the game never gives you a chance in a less ‘stressful’ environment to go over what you had learned in case you somehow pulled it off the first time without knowing what you were doing. This happened to us with hot wiring, requiring us to take some time to learn the mechanic properly on a door later. Not that we want a game to hold our hand, but if you introduce to us to a gameplay mechanic that we’ll be relying on to complete the game, don’t do it when it’s in a high stress situation where you feel you are ‘rushed’ to get it done before you get killed. Most locks needing to be unlocked do not have this stress time limit so we’re not sure why the first time you learn it they did this.