Wolfenstein: The New Order is not the quick six to-eight-hour long first-person shooter that’s become so common in recent years. MachineGames built a hefty 15-hour story with plenty of replay value for this latest revival of B.J. Blazkowicz. The New Order is deep, with multiple approaches to most situations in a way that supports multiple play styles. Are you sneaky? Loud? Explosive? The gang’s all here.
That kind of complexity means there’s a bit of a learning curve. It’s nothing a seasoned gamer couldn’t handle, but we’ve got some tips for surviving your early hours in the oppressive 1960s Nazi regime and for getting the most out of your play.
For more on Wolfenstein: The New Order, check out our review.
Double up your arsenal
Wolfenstein: The New Order brings a lot of familiar guns to the mix, but here’s the thing: You can dual wield almost all of them. You can bring up a radial weapon wheel at any time (hold R1 on a PlayStation 4 controller) to pick and choose which weapon you want — note, however, that it doesn’t pause the game — but you can also press up on the D-pad to swap dual-wield on and off for whichever weapon you have equipped.
Dual-wielding sacrifices iron sights in exchange for twice the stopping power, with controls for each hand mapped to the controller’s two triggers. Some make more sense than others. It’s not very useful to double up on the semi-automatic Marksman rifle, for example. Same goes for pistols. Twin assault rifles and shotguns, on the other hand, are deadly. Very handy for quickly dispatching the slow-moving, heavily armored Nazis that start showing up in the latter half of the game.
Be sure to stock up on throwing knives whenever you can. Even if you’re not taking a stealthy approach to the game, throwing knives are one of the most powerful weapons you’ll find. They’re a one-shot kill on most enemies, though take note: Thrown knives are affected by gravity. You’ll have to aim higher than your intended target (distance depending). Once you get to the hideout, roughly midway through the game, there’s a box on the top level with an infinite supply of knives and a bullseye target where you can practice.
Also keep an eye out for turrets. You can commandeer these fixed emplacements whenever you find them, but you can also rip the turret off its mount and lumber around with it. This isn’t a weapon that ends up in your inventory, however. It’s too big for that. You can reload an emptied turret gun that you’re carrying by attaching it to an empty mount. It’s best to take note of these when you see them and then scurry back to grab them when heavier enemies start showing up.
For the most part, your weapons reset with each new level according to the demands of the story. Replacement gear is found easily enough (thanks to MachineGames’ thoughtful design), but keep an eye out at the start of every chapter if you want to quickly re-up your arsenal. Also watch for weapon upgrades, collectible items that look like rectangular boxes. These are unique items that improve your weapons across the entire game, usually with a secondary fire mode (the pistol’s silencer or the assault rifle’s grenade launcher, for example) that is turned on/off by pressing right on the D-pad.
The Laserkraftwerk is technically one of your weapons, but it’s so unlike anything else in B.J.’s arsenal that it deserves a separate explanation. When you first grab this thing, it’s little more than a glorified cutting torch. You’ll use it to slice through fences… and that’s pretty much the extent of it. Over time, you’ll come across upgrades that transform this workman’s tool into a sci-fi-worthy Wunderwaffe.
The powered up Laserkraftwerk is a force to be reckoned with, and one that’s worth leaning on heavily as a late-game strategy. Unlike most weapons, which require ammo, the LKW needs to be recharged at one of the increasingly abundant battery stations affixed to walls. Just look for a yellow fixture, or a bright yellow light, and interact with it to recharge the weapon.
Whatever your play style is, take note of every battery recharge station you can find later on in the game. Think of these as defensible locations that you can operate from when enemies swarm in larger numbers. The souped up, fully charged LKW fitted with projectile fire (a can’t-miss upgrade in the campaign) and a target scope can pick apart even the heavily armored Nazis with one or two shots.
Being a better B.J. Blazkowicz
Wolftenstein: The New Order features unlockable Perks that reward players for sticking to a particular style of play. The more you work to be stealthy, the more you’ll unlock skills that help you do just that. Simple.
Perks break down across four categories: Stealth, Tactical, Assault, and Demolition. You’ll likely unlock Perks in all of these categories by simply proceeding through the game, but it’s a good idea to browse through the list to get a sense of what you’d like to unlock and what’s involved in unlocking it.
Note that any unlocked Perks apply to your entire profile. If you finish the game and then decide to play it again, or even just return to earlier chapters in search of collectibles, any boosts you’ve unlocked stay with you.
As far as the categories go, it’s all fairly self-explanatory. Stealth Perks reinforce sneaky play, perfect for those that like to stab necks and operate as silent Nazi killers. Tactical is general-purpose combat, for people that embrace traditional FPS concepts like lining up headshots, firing from behind cover, and the like. Assault favors players that subscribe to a “go big or go home” philosophy; dual-wielding and big guns. Finally, Demolition is for explosion-happy grenade tossers.
Whatever your play style is, there’s a few Perks that are worth going after simply because they’re helpful and take such little effort:
- Scout I (Stealth tree): Just stealth kill a Commander, the guys that call in reinforcements. The game basically gift-wraps the first few, so just get it done and never worry about it again. While the Scout I Perk isn’t the most useful — you get more intel on your map — you need to unlock it if you want to unlock anything else on the Stealth tree… which you do.
- Knife throwing (Stealth tree): Another one that the early game gift-wraps for the patient player. We’ve already discussed the deadliness of throwing knives in Wolfenstein: The New Order. To unlock this ability, simply perform five silent takedowns. Easily obtainable in the first chapter.
- Deadeye (Tactical tree): Much like Scout I, Deadeye is required to unlock anything else in the Tactical tree. It’s also really helpful, as it increases headshot damage when aiming down a weapon’s sights. Unlock it by scoring three headshots with the assault rifle and one headshot with the handgun.
- Quick regeneration (Tactical tree): You want this. It makes your health regenerate more quickly. You’ll need health packs regardless, since B.J. only recharges health to 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 when it falls below those levels. But the faster you recharge to whatever your current max is, the longer it’ll take for more enemy fire to knock down your rechargeable health even lower. Getting this Perk takes a little preparation, but it’s easy. You simply need to overcharge your health to 200. Find a whole bunch of health packs when you’re at max health and use them all as quickly as you can.
- Quick reload (Tactical tree): This one takes longer than the others to unlock, but it’s very easy to obtain. To increase the reload speed of all your weapons, you need to score 100 kills with the assault rifle, 50 kills with the handgun, and 25 kills with the Marksman. Just keep track of your progress and put those weapons to work whenever you can. Particularly the Marksman, since it’s much rarer than the other two.
- Double reload (Assault tree): Increases your dual-wield reload speed and unlocks access to the rest of the Perks in the Assault tree. Score 10 dual-wield kills, and this one’s yours. Note, however, that this tree as a whole is less useful unless you plan to rely on dual-wielding, LKW, and turret weapons.
- Throwback (Demolition tree): Kill two enemies with one grenade and you’ll unlock the ability to throw enemy grenades back when they land at your feet. As with the other first Perks in each tree, you’ll also open up access to the rest of the Demolition tree.
- Grenade pouch + (Demolition tree): All you need is 10 grenade kills and you’ll be able to carry one more grenade than you could before. The Tesla Grenade is very useful against armored and robotic enemies later in the game, so being able to have more in your inventory is a big help.
Look close at the New Order
As anyone who is familiar with the original Wolfenstein 3D will tell you, exploration is a big part of the game. Secret rooms, tucked away weapons, treasure … there’s all manner of cool stuff to be found. The New Order is no different. Explore as much as you can. Keep an eye out for those weapon upgrade boxes especially, since they’re unique items just like any other collectible.
Stealth-focused players especially should proceed cautiously and look out for vents, fences, and other barriers that crawlspaces may be hidden behind. Most every arena-style encounter in Wolfenstein: The New Order can be systemically taken apart, one neck stab and silenced headshot at a time, provided you find the sneak-friendly routes. Look under stairs, in shadowy corners, and anywhere else that could easily be overlooked. Also watch for pickup prompts; some secret doors only open when you collect a random item and insert it in a specific location.
The LKW’s laser-cutter mode is your friend, especially after it’s upgraded. Watch for fences and (post-upgrade) watch for grey grates in walls and, sometimes, crates. You can often cut through these to find an assortment of helpful resources. Also make sure to break any wooden crate you see, for the same reason. There’s plenty of ammo and armor to go around in Wolfenstein: The New Order, you just have to take the time to look for it.
(Images © Bethesda Softworks LLC)