Wolfenstein: The New Order stands tall as one of the biggest, most exciting surprises of 2014. Its take on alternate World War II history was both emotionally engaging and viscerally entertaining, a particularly rare feat for a resurrected franchise. Today, Wolfenstein publisher Bethesda is released Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – a smaller, standalone prequel – to Xbox One. Developed by Sweden-based MachineGames (the same studio behind The New Order), Wolfenstein: The Old Blood takes players back to 1946, with the Nazis on the brink of winning World War II.
The events take place before the rather disastrous raid on Deathshead’s compound, which comes at the beginning of The New Order. In a “hail Mary” attempt to stop the Nazi war machine in its tracks, protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz has been dispatched on a covert mission deep inside Bavaria. The first part of the game, entitled “Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves,” sees Blazkowicz busting back into the classic Castle Wolfenstein and going up against a crazy prison warden in order to discover the coordinates of General Deathshead’s compound.
Part two, “The Dark Secrets of Helga Von Schabbs,” brings Blazkowicz to the city of Wulfburg, where – according to Bethesda – an “obsessed Nazi archaeologist is exhuming mysterious artifacts that threaten to unleash a dark and ancient power.” Expect plenty of Nazis trying to kill you, paired with creepy occult forces and other horror elements.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood features plenty of new gameplay elements as well. One new feature the studio is Blazkowicz’s new pipe, which allows you to take down tougher soldiers with melee attacks, and also presents some new traversal options. In terms of weapons, there’s a new pistol (which looks completely insane, and not unlike a rocket launcher that fits in your pocket), along with a sawed-off shotgun and a bolt-action rifle.
To boot, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a standalone product on Xbox One. Much like the excellent Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, you won’t need to own the base game to play this installment, so this is the perfect entry point for anyone looking to dive back into this storied franchise. May is already a lot of bloody fun!