New Game+: The successful blend of stealth and action

October 3, 2014


A recent trend in the industry, specifically in action games, has been masterfully blending action and stealth to make for an excellent combo. Titles like Crysis, Metro: Last Light and even Dishonored have managed to make both play styles feel just right. No matter what your preference is, you’ll most likely find something to like about these titles. The recently released Wolfenstein: The New Order might be the best example, providing you with only a few options but polishing those options up to a mirror sheen.

There is a lot to like about the new Wolfenstein, from the incredible presentation to the remarkable story that manages to balance dark humor and serious scenarios more delicately than you might expect. The one thing that most took me by surprise is how much it relies on stealth. When you think Wolfenstein, you think of a first-person shooter that focuses entirely on mowing down as many enemies as possible before continuing to the next enemy. The New Order certainly has those elements; it would be weird to play a stealth-only Wolfenstein game, but it never forces you to play it one particular way.


With some small exceptions, you can run through most of the levels in The New Order without once performing a stealth kill. If you want to dual wield shotguns from start to finish, the game completely understands (and encourages) it. However, it initially presents many of these moments as stealth opportunities. Arm yourself with your trusty knife (or silenced pistol) and go to town; as long as you are careful, you never once have to use a heavy weapon.

You might be asking yourself: why play a Wolfenstein game this way? Stealth doesn’t feel like it belongs in a franchise that so heavily focuses on gunplay. This is why The New Order is a surprisingly fresh take on a series that didn’t really need to be revived to begin with. It features the most impressive and satisfying shooting mechanics in any Wolfenstein game, yet I was often drawn to its approach to stealth. It’s partially because of my affinity for the genre, sure, but I would never find myself relying on it if it never worked.

This is why The New Order works so well: you can play the game one way exclusively, but when you blend the two together as well as it does, you get a remarkable mix of genres that bests even the likes of Dishonored or the Hitman series. Those titles are primarily stealth-focused, but they allow you to fight back if necessary. Despite that, when you’re thrown into more action-heavy situations, it isn’t nearly as fun as it should be. Wolfenstein, on the other hand, makes getting caught almost pleasurable. You don’t want to get caught, but once you do, the adrenaline rush begins. You know full well you are equipped to take on whatever they can throw at you.


If you approach The New Order one way or another, you’ll most likely have a fun time. However, if you play your cards right, you’ll be able to experience the best of both worlds and most likely enjoy the game much more as a result. I never thought I would say this about a Wolfenstein game, but hey, the team at Machine Games managed to breathe new life into a series I never knew I wanted to see return in the best way possible. I can only hope this trend continues for many years to come.