Early on in Wolfeinstein: The New Order it decides to offer two separate but mostly similar timelines that affects a few aspects of the game, such as the aforementioned unlocking method, along with if you can upgrade your health or increase armour pickup. You cannot do both of those upgrades on the same timeline, as only one timeline offers one or the other. They do each have a unique character with their own personality that you chat with from time to time in the cut scenes, but aside from that (and the character you save) the main storyline is exactly the same.
We start in the prologue, as the game tells it is 1946, with the allies desperately trying to end the war against the Nazis that they have been progressively losing. This is due to the Nazis’ advanced technology, most of which is provided to them by their Chief Scientist Deathhead. The Allies’ plan to find and capture or kill Deathhead in order to cripple the war effort and stop the Nazis from having that technological advantage that gives them a leg up in the war. You play as Captain William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, the main antagonist from the previous games (whether they tie in to them or not), who is part of the operation to locate and stop Deathhead at his compound/castle. As like most stories, the plan goes to hell in a hand basket early on. With the plane you are on getting shot down, and your assault of the castle having to be improvised from the original plan. Eventually, with what remains of your team, you corner Deathhead, to only be captured instead. You are then given a decision; do you choose the veteran to live and let the private be chosen for Deathheath’s experiments, or vice versa. The one you do not choose, well we’ll let you find out what their ultimate fate is rather than spoiling it. This decision will determine what timeline you are put into, where the veteran one gives you hotwiring and the private gives you lock picking. You and the rest of the survivors are left to try to find a way out of an active crematorium, using that new unlocking ability in a ‘stressful’ and time limited environment. As you jump out of the window you are hit with shrapnel, falling into the water, floating away from the castle as the introduction credits roll.
You are eventually found and taken to a mental institution where you watch the world pass you by for fourteen years, an almost catatonic state. You only regain control of your body at the sight of the medical staff being killed in front of you, namely when they try to kill you. Now we have no problems with the extreme event in front of you allowing you to regain control of your body, but there is no way that there is no negative effects of you being in a catatonic state sitting in a wheel chair for those fourteen years. After you escape the mental hospital you go on a journey to fight against the Nazis the only way you know how, with guns and explosions. Unfortunately the game jumps from one scene to another, spending not as much time as we would like on plot or even in the environment, making us wonder why the game is so large if we only visit some of these places for a short period of time. Another head scratcher that came up in the game is if you had subtitles enabled for “Foreign Only” so that you can understand what the Nazis are saying in German, any non-American sounding English speaker will have subtitles appear. We’re not kidding, the British veteran as an example has subtitles pop up for when he’s speaking English and he’s not the only one.