Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, MachineGames returns

A side from a corridor shooter of rare intelligence, 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order was a gloriously inventive piece of science fiction. It’s rather a shock, then, to discover that the headline weapon in budget-priced mini-prequel Wolfenstein: The Old Blood isn’t a clockwork shotgun or other gizmo, but a piece of drainpipe. And yet, what a devilish little toy that drainpipe is. You can unscrew the top to create a pair of makeshift climbing axes that double as grisly rear execution implements. You can also zipline to safety using it, or lever open floor panels, and yes, you can flatten noses with the pipe in a pinch.

Is this a sly joke at the expense of comparatively humdrum shooters, in which dazzling gadgets never seem to materially alter how the game is played? Or has somebody at developer MachineGames been playing a lot of Condemned lately? Either way, The Old Blood looks like another satisfying back-to-basics bangfest. The first four missions see you scouring Castle Wolfenstein itself a teetering expanse of towers and giant cogwheels for the coordinates to General Deathshead’s compound (paving the way for The New Order’s opening mission). You can look forward to sniper duels between monorail cars and plenty of corner-to-corner blasting, plus exotic new breeds of Nazi to stomp.

The remaining missions unfold in nearby Wulfburg, the site of furtive Nazi archaeological digs and, it seems, no small amount of tetchy undead. Gameplay in and around the castle is a familiar mix of sniping from cover, crate smashing and full-throated dual-wielding, but perhaps the second half’s occult leanings will bring about a change of tactics. MachineGames’ knack for weaving familiar period details into what’s otherwise fantasy suggests that it could do great things with a horror scenario. Either way, we look forward to getting our paws on that pipe.
Has somebody at macHineGames been playing a lot of condemned lately?
Bolt On
The new bolt action rifle packs a wallop and comes with a fold-up scope. Best save it for those hectic rooftop shootouts the weapon’s rather unwieldy at close-quarters, and lacks rapid fire.

Mein Kampfpistol
This terrible toy fires an unguided rocket, a bit like the screamer from Bulletstorm. Good for clearing out chokepoints, but not guaranteed to shred people in heavy armour. Careful you aren’t caught in the blast.

Close Encounters
The old Blood’s second half pits you against a supernatural menace, buried beneath the city of Wulfburg. nature’s answer to such paranormal hazards is, of course, the sawed-off shotgun. You’ll need a hacksaw first, though.

Splinter Heil
In the fine tradition of solid snake, you can haul yourself halfway over a ledge and snipe with your pistol before clambering up. Use this tactic to ambush guards on walkways. Don’t forget the silencer.

Retro Roots
The old Blood takes place during World War 2, but tech from the ‘60s-set new order appears in a more primitive form. looks like those gigantic metal dogs haven’t been invented yet. We hope.

Release Date: 05 May 2015

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