Remember Wolfenstein 3D? id Software's pixelated romp through Nazi Germany helped establish the first-person shooter (FPS) genre as the behemoth it is today, and now it's back in a brand new incarnation for 2014.
Wolfenstein: The New Order, developed by Swedish studio MachineGames and published by Bethesda Softworks, follows series protagonist BJ Blazkowicz as he fights Nazis in an alternate reality. Instead of losing WWII, the Nazis were triumphant. The new Wolfenstein takes place in 1960, when the Nazis have established global domination—and also built gigantic robots.
The New Order's gameplay also feels like an alternate reality: it's a mixture of old-school and new-style gameplay. During an intense shootout, don't expect to duck for cover and gain all your health back. That new-age mechanic, popularized in games like Halo and Call of Duty, is nowhere to be found. Instead, you must rely on finding health packs and armor to stay alive, in a world of destructible environments and advanced enemy AI.
While I only played a fraction of MachineGames' newest shooter, I enjoyed what I saw. A technologically-advanced Nazi dystopia is an intriguing setting, and representatives said the focus of the game is on telling a single-player story experience. No multiplayer modes were made, which may hurt The New Order's longevity.
Gamers don't have much longer to wait for Wolfenstein: The New Order, which releases on May 20 for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC. As a bonus incentive, Bethesda reps told me all pre-orders guarantee you a spot in the upcoming Doom beta.