'Wolfenstein: The Old Blood' Explores The Moments Before 'The New Order'

May 13, 2015

In 2014, Bethesda Softworks and MachineGames successfully righted the course one of gaming's most important franchises, Wolfenstein, with the release of the series' current-gen reboot, Wolfenstein: The New Order. This release gave series' hero, William "B.J." Blazkowicz, a new life, both figuratively and literally, in a game that was in serious contention for game of the year. Just about 365 days later, Bethesda and MachineGames are at it again, by building out B.J. Blazkowicz's backstory with an extensive, stand-alone, downloadable adventure, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. This unique experience gives players a taste of the world of Wolfenstein, while introducing a new story that helps build out the overall adventure that is The New Order.

Developer: MachineGames
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

It's the same team that brought you The New Order, so what could possibly go wrong? No, seriously, what could go wrong here? MachineGames and Bethesda clearly proved that they could bring a franchise that everyone had written off back from the dead, and do it in style. Development on The Old Blood started shortly after the release of the original, and comes with the polish that more development time can provide.

Set just prior to the events of The New Order, The Old Blood is broken up into two major parts, and once again gives players the opportunity to take up arms as one of video games' most famous nazi killers, B.J. Blazkowicz, as he tries to find the location of General Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse. As The Old Blood kicks off, Blazkowicz has set off to infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein in search of a folder with intel on General Deathshead, but he, of course, meets with a bit of resistance. The game really picks up with Blazkowicz's escape from the castle, and his attempt to complete his mission objective. Unfortuatly, a few things (mostly nazi's and their dogs) stand in his way, so players must help him course correct while the world falls apart around him, and some of the occult research that was taking place at the castle, headed up by Nazi archaeologist, Helga Von Schabbs, spills over into the real world. Players must use their skills in a range of different scenarios, from sneaking through corridors undetected, to full on firefights that fans of the series should be very familiar with.

Bethesda is doing something very interesting with The Old Blood and releasing this lengthy story as a stand alone piece of downloadable content on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PCs. So, whether you played The New Order or not, for a minimal cost (and quite a bit of hard drive space), players can jump into the well-worn boots of B.J. Blazkowicz and see just what kind of world the Wolfenstein series has evolved into.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is an outstanding demonstration of what development teams can, and should be doing, with their AAA releases. Instead of offering season passes, or piecemeal DLC, releasing something like The Old Blood, that builds on the story and game engine that was crafted for The New Order, helps to satiate fans of the original release while potentially enticing new ones since no prior knowledge of the game is needed. The Old Blood is an extensive, action-packed release that is well worth the $20 pricetag, and it reinforces just how good of job MachineGames did with their reboot of this important franchise. With call-backs to the original Wolfenstein 3D in every level, The Old Blood is casting a broad net on old and new fans of the franchises, and ultimately should win over anyone that gets caught up in this twisted tale of Nazis investigating the occult.