Game review: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood - prequel with zombies added
Last year's Wolfenstein: The New Order was a genuine surprise. The game didn't break the FPS mould, but ticked all the boxes we were looking for, paying tribute to the classic 1990s shooter while boasting the nostalgia factor through a wonderfully familiar alternate-reality world.
Engaging, hat-tipping revisionist story? Yup. Beautifully horrific steampunk world full of swastikas and steel-toed soldiers? You bet. Awesome what-if Nazi tech featuring laser rifles and metal dogs? It's like they took our childhood 16-bit dreams and turned them into next-gen reality - which makes The Old Blood a suitable name for its quick-in-the-build follow-up.
Both a prequel and an expansion pack, although also available as a standalone for the PS4, Xbox One and PC, the game never strays too far from the original. Combat is amplified, stealth is heightened and the now-requisite zombie addition is fulfilled.
The game's six-hour campaign starts off slowly - the opening Castle Wolfenstein chapters are a bit weak. But once players escape and the face-offs kick in, Old Blood hits its stride. There are two ways to take down the Nazi scum: take the stealth approach or go in guns blazing with the help of new weaponry. Both are surprisingly satisfying.
The tension is high as you creep around switching off power supplies and taking down patrolling guards. And the combat is big on mindless action, a quickened pace seeing you armed with room-clearing grenades, pistols and the like, and dishing it out against evil SS members and their undead brethren.
As one may expect from a fairly rushed standalone expansion, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood has its drawbacks. Last time we were given a tale of pure sci-fi pulp, but the story here isn't nearly as smooth.
Serious monologues by villains descend into hilarity with questionable humour, and the laughs starts to creep into the gameplay when the zombies make their last-act appearance in the final third of the game. One minute you're challenged with quick-thinking Gestapo officers, the next you're battling the undead.
It's not exactly a progression, but it doesn't really matter because The Old Blood comes off as the ideal expansion. Extra missions, more weapons, a quicker pace and plenty of stealthy breaks when we need it. A welcome return to Castle Wolfenstein.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood Bethesda