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Can Wolfenstein’s ‘New Order’ Resurrect Old School FPS?

The New Order looks old school to me.

That's what has me so interested. Not that the advancements made in FPS over the years haven't been terrific, but when you start to mentally classify the really good ones like Bioshock as something else then you know run of the mill FPS gaming is in a bit of a jam gameplay-wise.

As such I find myself in a tight spot. On the one hand I've been a little critical of the mindless action in modern FPS, but on the other hand old school games from the same genre could be considered quite a bit more mindless. Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, they weren't exactly thought provoking titles. However a person ought to note that we didn't have an indicator telling us exactly what to do, never ending health, and the inability to fall off ledges back then either.

Watching some of the gameplay for the new Wolfenstein has me reminiscing about the good old days of FPS where they hand you a gun, stick you in a level and let you figure out what to do. It is largely mindless fun, I mean take a look at the video below. You are a total bullet sponge; the developers aren't aiming for reality based warfare here. I hope there's a market for that because the straight up war games just aren't as interesting as they were when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare first hit the scene. Since then I've really gotten tired of hiding behind cars and pretending my squad mates are helping so that I can walk to the next indicator on my radar. Just let me figure a few things out for myself between point A and B, save the world by myself, and not be hampered by some multiplayer mode I never plan to touch (there isn't one). B.J. Blazkowicz may be the hero we need to accomplish this mission.

After having gone back to Doom 3 with the BFG edition I realized why the genre hasn't topped my list in years, the last generation of FPS have made me stupid. In a room where they showed me a ledge and a controllable robotic arm it never occurred to me to turn the arm on, jump onto it in time, then ride it to the ledge. Why? Because no modern game would expect you to figure that out, it is so simple that it is complex. I stood there like a knob using the arm to put some canisters into some slots in the back wall (as if that mattered). A modern game would just place a marker where you need to go and have you press Triangle to do the action. That's the kind of mindlessness I can't get behind. Running headlong into a gaggle of Nazis while dual-wielding machine guns? That I can do.

Now don't get me wrong, we mustn't go too far back in time. Duke Nukem Forever was way too old school. We shouldn't ditch all the advancements that have been made. There needs to be some kind of successful fusion done. I think the health system in The New Order will work well. You'll have segments of health that can regenerate but when the full segment is lost it will have to be replenished with a health pack. I'll rejoice if I find out I can hold more than two weapons at a time. Yeah I've got an old school itch that needs scratching. On that point, a comment made by Gamesradar back in August has my hopes up:

"The New Order could be the most genuine, most satisfying follow-up the original games have ever had. It looks, sounds and feels completely modern, but the staunch dedication to creating fast, smooth, brutal fun on a moment-to-moment basis resurrects Wolfenstein’s spirit as efficiently as its occult Nazis resurrect their own dead."

What do you think of the direction of the upcoming entry? Promising return to FPS roots or another generic shooter?