BJ Sneakowicz: Wolfenstein’s Stealth Vs BANGTHOOMPSH

By Nathan Grayson on April 30th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Make so much as a peep and the barrels get it

There is stealth. In Wolfenstein: The New Order, which is, as you might have already guessed, a Wolfenstein game. That might strike you as strange, but a) the first games to bear the Wolfenstein name were actually stealth-focused, and b) I dunno, I mean this doesn’t look terrible. Just functional. Stealth is an option, if it’s up your gentle whisper of an alley. Blast-kowiczing your way through all that draws breath, however, looks a lot more fun.

So basically, you end up killing everyone either way in this particular situation. It’s just a matter of whether you want your bloodbath to run hot or cold.

Shooting is definitely the main course, though. It’s got crazy butt slides and alt-fire effects and people who explode like their flesh is a watermelon stuffed full of pop rocks. Stealth, meanwhile, looks basic and tepid. Knife a dude up close, knife a dude from far away, use your silenced pistol to down dudes from implausibly further away, etc.

The razor’s edge tension of good stealth just doesn’t seem to be there, especially given the awareness that you can go into Captain Commando McSlaughterOmelette mode at the drop of a hat. Maybe I’ll care if picking one path over another radically alters the story, but otherwise I can’t see why I’d want to daintily dab at my meal when nothing’s keeping me from digging in.

It’s been a long time since I played a build of this one, though, and stealth wasn’t really a factor in that demo. Maybe things are better than they seem. Wolfenstein: The New Order will be out on May 20th. Think you’ll give it a chance?

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75 Comments »

  1. zero says:

    It has been quite a while since I have lay waste to hordes of nazis. Too long, in fact. I am ready.

    • ThePCGamerSpy says:

      Was very cynical about this, but the more I see, the better it starts to look…

  2. InternetBatman says:

    I didn’t expect the Stan Lee cameo.

    • DrScuttles says:

      Vaguely related, I’d like to play a stealthy actioner where you yomp around performing flowing combos of (optionally) non-lethal combos like the bit at the start of Captain America 2 on the boat. The closest I can think of is the Batman games but it’s not quite there. Can’t help but think his shield could be a very fun videogame weapon, too.

      • soulblur says:

        “non-lethal combos like the bit at the start of Captain America 2 on the boat.”

        I think quite a few of those guys died. Not least of all, because he was knocking them off the side of a boat in the middle of an ocean. He just doesn’t shoot them. Usually.

        • DrScuttles says:

          Huh, that’s very likely actually. But I at least like the implication that while he’d probably rather not kill goons, he doesn’t have a problem with it. Never quite got Batman’s silly no-killing rule.

          • colw00t says:

            Cap generally tries to avoid murdering mooks if it’s at all possible, but if you attack him with a lethal weapon you’re generally out of luck. He doesn’t have a rock-solid rule like (modern) Batman does.

            Like all comic book characters, this characterization varies wildly from era to era and writer to writer. Captain America has had pseudo-pacifist phases, much like Batman once carried a revolver and quipped when he shot people.

      • Renegade says:

        I would say Dishonored fits the what you are looking for perfectly. Every enemy in the game including your main targets can be taken down with non-lethal options, while the blink ability lets you quickly jump around enemys without them realising whats happened.

        • SirBubbles says:

          Dishonoured came to mind for me, but also Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Has non-lethal weapons and up close and personal attacks. Both are a lot of fun in that context though.

      • sabasNL says:

        Stealth combos? I know Splinter Cell : Conviction has that a lot (Mark & Execute)

    • Geebs says:

      I didn’t expect the Stan Lee cameo.

      His chief weapon is predictability

  3. SuicideKing says:

    I just came here to say “Nice title, Nathan”.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Baron von Bangthoompsch was in fact a noted Prussian military strategist known for their fondness for aggressive frontal assaults.

      • notenome says:

        The fact that I googled this sais a lot about where I am in life at the momment.

        Also you are a dirty lier and a scoundrel.

        • Commander Gun says:

          I like your comment sir :)

        • Gap Gen says:

          Do you trust the internet? Wake up, sheep..erson?

          • Geebs says:

            PSA for anybody new to the internet; the plural of sheep-person is sheepersons. Thank you for your attention.

          • HiFiHair says:

            Edward Sheeperson was in fact a noted internet commentator known for their fondness of pluralisation, fact-checking and recursive references to fictional characters.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Sadly suffering from narcolepsy.

          • The Random One says:

            What is the female of sheeperson, shesheeperson? Or ewe’al?

          • Gap Gen says:

            Both sheep and person are genderless nouns, but for a eunuch the term is “wetherman”.

          • sabasNL says:

            I always thought it was “sheeple” or “sheeppersons”, not “sheepersons” because that’s easily confused with “shepersons” a.k.a. those of the other gender who shall not be named

  4. bstard says:

    Looks like a boring COD reenactment. But I’ll give it a chance: reading reviews after the 20th and checking some lets plays. I dont like RPS supporting this pre-order hyping tbh. I have the feeling this is gonna be another pre-order cash-in based one video’s, interviews about this next gen revolutionary AI and other bollocks.

    • GernauMorat says:

      Mate, RPS has been incredibly (and rightly) outspoken about not pre-ordering games. Not sure where you’re getting that impression from

      • bstard says:

        I’ll answer both you plebs with one pinky up: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/wolfenstein-the-new-order/, 11 articles on a game thats as renewing as the carpet of my grandma.

        Cod because, well, watch those gameplay video’s. It’s the same thing. Shooting up noobs, well nazi robots now, and some maps with a special thing. Shooting more robot pricks to be precise, only now with anti air guns or what they came up with? It’s nothing new. Nothing like the old RTCW’s. Nothing like a good game like Bioshock2. It’s the same taste, wrapped in some other coloured paper.

        • Stiletto says:

          Back to CoD with you, heretic!

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          MC MP Andrew Mitchell in the (second) house.

        • sabasNL says:

          How can you compare CoD (a shooter that mostly relies on multiplayer small-team small-map gamemodes and an on-rail campaign) to Wolfenstein: The New Order (a shooter that has no mutiplayer but does have a singleplayer campaign built out of levels where there’s semi-freedom to how you get your objectives done)?

          You could’ve compared it with Deus Ex, Battlefield, Dishonored, but CoD? I don’t see anything they share except for 1. They’re both FPSes 2. They both (used to) feature Nazis.

    • starmatt says:

      I don’t see why you would compare it to COD. The levels look much more open and the game is not nearly as serious. Or maybe all FPS look like COD to you.

    • HiFiHair says:

      Reminds me most of GoldenEye. Both the gun handling and the way it accommodates light stealth play.

  5. int says:

    German rockabilly? Yes. Yes.

  6. roryok says:

    I dunno, I mean this doesn’t look terrible

    It looks kind of terrible to me. But I guess my issue is with the setting of the game. Those weapons just look ridiculous – like something from Duke Nukem. Putting the silly on world war 2 just doesn’t feel right to me.

    What I’d like to see are some new approaches to the WW2 genre. Like maybe an open world RPG set in occupied Europe, or a refugee smuggling game, or an FPS where you play a veteran who has to relive old memories (Call of Juarez : Gunslinger style), or a game about OSS operatives doing actual stealth, or a game that combines a spitfire flight sim with some semblance of a story on the ground, or or or.

    The Breakout looked about a million times more interesting than this

    EDIT: The Saboteur was an open world RPG set in occupied Europe, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be another one

    • shinkshank says:

      Are you complaining about the next game in a series that prominently featured mecha hitler and nordic god zombies having ridiculous elements to it?

      We’ve had plenty of serious WW2 stuff already, and I think as far as straight shooters go, I think we can all agree that we’d more gladly enjoy some ridiculous and over the top instead of more grit and realizms.

      • roryok says:

        Are you complaining about the next game in a series that prominently featured mecha hitler and nordic god zombies having ridiculous elements to it?

        “I wish it was more realistic like previous Wolfenstein games” is what I didn’t say. But yes, in general I’m complaining that this game is a bit daft. What I also didn’t say (but meant to) was that Return to Castle Wolfenstein was one of the best WW2 FPSes I ever played, when it wasn’t being all daft with cyborg torsos chasing me around. The early plain-old WW2 levels were very memorable.

        We’ve had plenty of serious WW2 stuff already, and I think as far as straight shooters go, I think we can all agree that we’d more gladly enjoy some ridiculous and over the top instead of more grit and realizms.

        Did you just say “I think we can all agree” on the internet? I for one, do not agree. Over the top nonsense like this is not the only alternative to “grit and realizms”. It’s possible to have other types of games entirely

    • Turkey says:

      I bet there’s a nazi time machine or a dimension portal or something, and that’s why they have all the ridiculous stuff. So the twist will be that you thought you were playing a dumb videogame alternate history with crazy stuff, but in reality you were playing in a moderately realistic shooter that had been altered into a cartoonish nazi shooter by means of time travel.

      • LTK says:

        Or, you know, it’s just set a long time after WWII and Nazis conquered the world. I thought that was obvious by now.

        Oh, but Shadow beat me to it.

        • hotmaildidntwork says:

          The future! All the freedom of an alternate timeline, but with twice the legitness!

    • Shadow says:

      You guys are forgetting a kind of basic detail about this game. At least 90% of it is not set in World War II, but rather in an alternate 1960s where the world is dominated by the Third Reich. Yes, there’s a bit of wackiness in the design and the weapons, but considering it’s Wolfenstein, it’s not too ridiculous. To an unknowable extent, it’s an exaggerated extrapolation of the unrestricted German technological advancement we only saw hints of by the end of our WW2.

      Give the game some credit, folks. I think the setting and art design are very interesting, at least, and the Germanized 60s songs are just brilliant. Now, the gameplay shows some cracks every now and then, but I’ll keep an eye on this and see how it pans out in the end.

    • P.Funk says:

      I think people would take your point more seriously if you didn’t say something as daft as “Putting the silly on world war 2 just doesn’t feel right to me.” <— THAT is a daft comment. Putting the silly on WW2 is a tradition dating back to the days of WW2 veterans watching TV in the 60s. Hogan's Heroes anyone?

      What, are we supposed to feel bad about laughing at Nazis suddenly? Nazis are the ultimate villains and that means we can both fear them and laugh raucously at them. Mecha Hitler is a brilliant notion. Open world WW2 RPGs about refugee smuggling sounds about as interesting as a spreadsheet simulator focused on supply problems in the Rhur valley.

      Now an OSS stealth game, that'd be baws, though fuck the OSS, goddamned Americans can't be winning all the battles in WW2. MI5/MI6 pl0x. How about a domestic spy game set in London during the blitz? That'd be fun, but with the Brits being core characters there'd be plenty of joking and making light of things, which may or may not cater the super serious crowd who think that our lessons on shame over the Holocaust should forever create downcast eyes at the mention of anything after 1936.

    • sabasNL says:

      An open-world RPG in WW2 occupied Europe? Like, World of Warcraft, and you have to choose between siding with the Wehrmacht/Nazis or the Resistance? I don’t think the market is ready for that yet….

      (I’d be Luitenant Gruber from ‘Allo ‘Allo, could be fun I guess)

  7. HiFiHair says:

    I think it’s tricky (see: a bad idea) to make an unselfconscious, gratuitous World War 2 game these days. It was somehow less problematic when graphics were poorer, when the games business was less mature. But co-opting a grindhouse sensibility doesn’t seem enough to justify nostalgia for jackboots and Lugers anymore. For me at least. I know they’re pastiching World War 2 cinema more than they’re making a commentary on historic events. But it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Dems wacky German people with their national socialism and their war crimes. Blam blam blam. It really feels like now, 30 years after the original game, in the third major iteration of the series, that the subject matter says more about the authors and their emotional intelligence than it does about the setting.

    • Talksintext says:

      I think it looks like fun.

      Everything you said sarcastically sounds like fun.

      I don’t want every game to be the equivalent of Schindler’s List. Somehow, that game doesn’t sound like much fun. Actually, I would not play it. I doubt I’d play any “emotionally intelligent” game about WWII because like most conflicts, any attempt to “intelligently” or “sensitively” portray these conflicts *in a fun game* is going to be a lot worse than trying to portray them as blantantly ridiculously as possible (which emotionally distances one from the source, which is good when the source is so horrendous and the purpose is fun). I guess that game-in-development about the victims of war might be an exception, but only because it doesn’t look to be “fun” so much as a “sim”. Even then, its execution might end up making it far worse than a Wolfenstein or BF1942.

      Sometimes, I like to go blam blam blam with an obviously over-the-top villain caricature. It doesn’t prevent me from recognizing the reality of history any more than Monty Python and the Holy Grail made me suddenly think “wow, that was such an emotionally insipid stereotyping of Medieval life. Now people will mistakenly believe there were hand grenades in the 1200s, I have a bad taste in my mouth.”

      Actually, where’s the video game for THAT movie?

      • Dominare says:

        Where’s that game, you ask? Right here: http://www.amazon.com/Monty-Python-Quest-Holy-Grail/dp/B000067O93

        • HiFiHair says:

          Hey, I had that Monty Python game!

          @Talksintext: I’m all for games which are joyful and silly. I love the original Wolfenstein. But I think there’s something of the spirit of that game (and it’s free license to be irreverent about that particular time in recent history) which has been lost as production values have improved and a more fully realised narrative has been added into the mix. I feel like Serious Sam or Painkiller are more faithful and less thematically-problematic sequels to Wolfenstein than this is.

          Edit: Also, y’know, there’s no hard and fast rule for when’s too soon to be flip about recent history. But, to address your Monty Python remark, I think it’s safe to say everybody directly affected by suffering in the 6th century is dead, while there might still be some opportunity to cause upset if you’re tackling World War 2. That’s not to say I think you should censor anything which risks offence – I categorically believe the opposite. But if you’re going to offend people and not seem crass doing so you should have a pretty good artistic justification. So I’m fond of Inglorious Bastards for example – I thought it was smart.

          • P.Funk says:

            You should never need to have any excuse for offending anybody. If anything the thought of offending someone is a perfectly good justification for making something, more so than uniting people under a banner of mutual understanding.

    • P.Funk says:

      I grew up hearing stories about WW2 from my grandfather. I saw the whole emotional landscape of it, the warm humourous stories, the dark shadow of suffering in his eye when he talked about the dead, his thoughts on the SS when they came across the option to take them prisoner (guess what they did usually). Its not just a game to me, its not just some setting in a story, its very real to me.

      I happen to also have one of my earliest gaming memories as playing Wolfenstein 3D.

      Better graphics make this style of game in poor taste? Bugger that. Everyone seemed to love Inglourious Basterds, but we can’t love this? I mean, I thought Tarantino really made a mess of that film, but there was this pulp quality to it that I really enjoyed despite the 70% of the film I simply can’t rewatch. This game looks to be mostly pretty bland gameplay wise, but the cut scenes and the themes and the setting and the arch ridiculous yet evil Nazis with their 60s mecha stuff is delightful.

      I think people just get up in knots over nothing with this. Bad taste in your mouth? Why? Did the British comedy about the incompetent suicide bombers do the same?

      The only criticism I think this game should be getting is for how lackluster the combat is. The setting is the thing that’s going to save it.

      • The Random One says:

        Four Lions, wasn’t it? I have to watch that, sounded brilliant.

        I think it’s OK to be suspicious of this game, but frankly from all the trailers I have the very clear impression that the devs are super duper aware of what they’re dealing with it and are being very deliberate at making a fun weird campy meganazis story while also sometimes pushing you aside and saying “you know, these people we’re making fun of killed millions for absolute bullshit reasons” and sucker punching you in the kidneys. The trailers may be deceiving me but it appears to be smarter than Binfinite.

        • sabasNL says:

          Humour is one of the best ways to make something as tragic as the WW2 discussable. I think the developers have a lot of respect to both the real WW2 and the original Wolfenstein. They want to tell a serious story in a world that’s completely fiction, featuring what could have been in real life. Those aren’t the Wehrmacht or SS-soldiers you’re shooting in the game, those are fictional stereotypes. I for one love that this kind of humour returns to the gaming industry, as films like Inglorious Bastards have shown us it can be quite amusing. We’ve had enough WW2 drama, something Call of Duty and Medal of Honor realized a few years ago.

  8. XhomeB says:

    OK, that finally looks much better than previous trailers, gameplay doesn’t remind cutscene-ridden CoD anymore. Gunfights, duel-wielding in particular, seem very satisfying, I was also rather surprised by the accuracy of the Luger-esque pistol, if it’s indicative of gun accuracy in the game, I won’t ever have to use iron sights (which would be AWESOME, because I hate them).

    I like the fact stealth is an option, I recall some really great levels in Return to Castle Wolfenstein which either greatly rewarded silent approach or made it mandatory, I had a lot of fun playing through those.
    Level design seems to be rather open too, crossing fingers most of the maps in the game have been created with multiple path progression in mind.

  9. madeofsquares says:

    You can always tell when fps gameplay videos are being played with a pad by the way the view moves around. Not that I have anything against them of course, sure they work for some people, but I can’t aim for shit with a pad. Right tools, right job etc…

  10. Alexander says:

    Tactile or Tactical?

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think it’s the approach where the player gets to touch people. And then stab their leg so they fall over and you can stab their face.

      • HiFiHair says:

        lf only you could touch these creatures, then perhaps you could try and make friends with them, form alliances… Now, that would be interesting.

        • Gap Gen says:

          A soft touch in the dark. The commandant stares into your eyes, pools of white in the shadows. “Es ist… verboten,” he begins, but you put a finger to his lips. “Nein.” You kiss. And then you take out your knife and slice out his intestines.

  11. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    ‘Captain Commando McSlaughterOmelette’ I am so going to use that in future conversation.

  12. The Petulant Platypus says:

    Looking forward to this game, it’s blatantly over the top, enemies gib nicely and the guns are rather audacious. Also that trailer music is very suitable, fun stuff.

    Going to be nice to play a game where some moral agenda isn’t shoved down your throat every second (the extreme example being The Line’s white phosphorus section). It’s nice to have “guilt free” enemies as well – nazi robots, crazy nazi’s, evil nazi’s etc, guilt free as in you don’t feel bad blowing the legs off of a nazi robot.

  13. Gap Gen says:

    My favourite stealth anecdote was when we were playing Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (I think) co-op, and we dropped a body off a flight of stairs, only for someone below to shout “hey!” as the unconscious body of their colleague hit the floor in front of them.

  14. Dinjoralo says:

    I think stealth could be useful if the game ever gets redonkin’ hard. Stealth the really tough guys, and mow down the rest.

    • Gap Gen says:

      There’s the Deus Ex school of stealth, where you knock out a few guys, hide in a vent, and wait for the guards to forget there was a problem. Repeat.

      • HiFiHair says:

        There’s also the Jungle Strike school of stealth, where you land your RAH-66 Comanche helicopter at a jungle airfield and climb into a F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter. Then immediately crash into a tree. Repeat.

        • Gap Gen says:

          I liked the part in Operation Flashpoint where you were captured by the enemy and about to be executed, and were supposed to fight your way out and escape, then navigate back by the stars, but if you played it right, you could steal the helicopter that just landed in front of you and fly back to the American base.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            YES.

          • Hydrogene says:

            What operation Flashpoint mission was that? I don’t remember any escape mission in the single player campaigns. Sound fun!

  15. DizzyCriminal says:

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein had some really good stealth sections, particularly the mission where you infiltrate the outpost and get the ultra pimped out sniper.
    It may only be there in function and not extremely interesting, but it’s always nice to have the option to go quiet.

    • phanatic62 says:

      I love RtCW. Reading about this new game has made me want to go back and play that again. Regarding that stealth mission, wasn’t it an automatic failure if they set off the alarm? So the stealth was kind of forced upon you, rather than being much of a choice.

      I remember getting the Snooper rifle and never using it because I always thought there would be a time where I NEEDED it. At some point they just take it away from you, so use it while you have it!

      • XhomeB says:

        It was a mandatory stealth section, but a very satisfying and tense one.
        By the way, I really loved the “stealth in disguise” missions in MoH Allied Assault, too – changing clothes and acquiring papers necessary to proceed past checkpoints (Papieren, bitte!) was sooo fun. The only games which captured my imagination in a similar way were Commandos 2 when using a Spy and Death to Spies:Moment of Truth, a great Hitman-like WWII title.

  16. Frank says:

    By all means, make a “tactile” FPS!

  17. orshick says:

    I don’t know man, I wanna play the game because parts of it look really cool and I love the games these guys made in the past but parts of this really do look kind of abnoxious and I can’t see this game being anything but a disaster being sold for 60 bucks even on PC. Do they really expect the Wolfenstein name to draw a crowd in a market with much bigger block buster names selling at the same price?

  18. ffordesoon says:

    Now this looks more like the agreeably batshit Wolfenstein I’m into. More instagib grenades and wacky German renditions of 60′s standards, less executing mental patients and grim faux-serious narration, please.