Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is a bloody downloadable first-person shooter set in an alternate world during the Second World War. Players take on the role of a U.S. Army veteran and use a variety of guns to fight Nazis obsessed with the occult as well as hordes of zombies. Blood and viscera litter the battlefield as players carve their way through thousands of enemies, frequently blowing off heads and sometimes even causing them to disintegrate in a red mist. Spoken dialogue and text notes contain strong language, including "f--k." Characters consume alcohol and appear drunk. This is a standalone expansion to Wolfenstein: The New Order; the original game is not necessary to play.
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What's it about?
WOLFENSTEIN: THE OLD BLOOD, a standalone expansion to Wolfenstein: The New Order, is set just before the events of the original game. Players once again step into the boots of series protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz as he infiltrates Castle Wolfenstein in search of a folder that contains the whereabouts of General William "Deathshead" Strasse, the villain of the base game. The eight-chapter adventure puts him on the trail of the castle's commander, Helga von Schabbs, an archaeologist obsessed with an occult secret buried deep beneath the keep's neighboring town. Players are placed in a first-person perspective and use a variety of fantastical World War II-era weapons -- such as a silenced pistol and an oversize shotgun -- to kill their foes. It's meant to recall shooters from decades past, thanks partially to a health and armor system that requires players to constantly scavenge the battlefield for medpacks, helmets, and bits of metal to stay healthy and protected. There's no multiplayer, but as players work through the campaign they will unlock "challenge" levels that can be played to earn points and climb online leaderboards.
Is it any good?
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood feels less like an expansion and more like a complete game by itself. Clocking in at around seven or eight hours, its campaign is nearly as long as those of many popular shooters and delivers a legitimately entertaining story complete with a very likable, wisecracking protagonist (when a companion asks B.J. why monster-like human enemies are attacking them, he responds matter-of-factly, "'Cause their brains got broke"). With dozens of collectibles, plenty of performance-enhancing perks to unlock, and bonus challenges to try once the campaign is over, there's plenty of value here.
That said, fans of the original may find the expansion a bit too familiar. It offers no apparent improvement in graphics, employs similarly styled maps that have a habit of making it difficult to figure out how to move forward, and sometimes fails to make the most of good opportunities -- such as a drivable mech late in the game that appears wonderfully powerful, but you never really do much with it. Still, the combat is solid, and dispatching endless waves of evil Nazis is about as guilt-free as shooters get. There are certainly worse ways older gamers who enjoy first-person shooters could spend $20.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. When playing a game like this do you have a stronger reaction to the intense violence at the start of the game as opposed to later on? If so, why do you think that might be? If not, why not?
Discuss the Second World War. What did Germany's Nazi party represent? What traits are shared between the Nazis of history and the Nazis who appear in this game? How are they different?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bethesda Softworks
- Release date: May 5, 2015
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.