The Old Blood does get off to a little bit of a ropey start mind. After a short cut scene explaining the mission, you’re soon captured and thrown in jail. Then it’s forced stealth time!
With nothing but a pipe for defence it’s time to sneak around, taking out hulking, mechanical Nazis where one misstep can result in you getting shot to pieces. It’s a dreadful start to the game and may even put some people off. The best thing about The New Order was the way it integrated stealth, but didn’t require it. Get seen and it’s time to grab your weapons and go in all guns blazing. Something that’s almost impossible in the opening situation our hero B.J Blazkowicz finds himself in. These giant robot Nazis are able to shred you to pieces easily, and if you haven’t already dispatched one and taken their gun then it feels like it’s literally impossible.
Manage to make your way through this however and the gameplay that made The New Order such a surprise soon appears. The game almost feeling like it’s split into combat arenas. As you progress you’ll come to areas with enemies patrolling. It’s always advisable to use stealth initially, as there are a couple of enemies that call in reinforcements if you get spotted. Unlike the first section, get spotted and you can fall back on the shoot everything that moves tactic. Sometimes it’s actually more enjoyable, because the weapons are just a delight.
The shooting feels so tight and responsive that when stealth fails you won’t bemoan your clumsiness, you’ll just shrug, grab your machine gun and kill everyone. With The Old Blood there are some new weapons to play with, such as a pipe that can create some gruesome looking melee kills, bolt action rifle and a new type of shotgun.
As for new enemy types, there are a number of tougher ones you’ll face. One type in particular ventures a little closer into spoiler territory. Although these were shown briefly in trailers, I won’t go into too much detail in case you want to go in pure. Let me just say, they add a different dynamic to how you approach the combat.
With a whole host of new additions it’s understandable why this has been positioned almost as a whole new game. There are challenge arenas that are unlocked as you play through the game and there’s even sections where B.J can go to sleep and you end up playing Wolfenstein 3D, albeit with The Old Blood’s protagonist model.
It’s no surprise that it pays homage to its roots (posters from the original game and even a Doom character toy can be seen), because deep down the game as a whole feels very old fashioned. There’s none of the hide behind cover until all the red blood disappears from the screen. This game is all about armour and health packs. Although it does recharge up to intervals (25%, 50% etc), it does mean you’re a lot more conscious about your health situation. Firefights at times descending into panic as you’re foraging for whatever health, armour and bullets you can grab from the battlefield.
If for some reason you never opted for The New Order then this could be the perfect introduction. Opening chapter aside, The Old Blood is just as good as its predecessor with excellent combat, nice visuals and an intriguing story. Then when you’re finished, buy The New Order as well, because it’s great.