The Wolfenstein franchise takes great pride in allowing video game fans everywhere the chance to annihilate Nazi scum with all sorts of real-life and fictional weaponry. Our ranking of every mainline entry so far may evoke memories of murdering Mecha-Hitler or staying up late with friends to play one more match of Enemy Territory. Keep in mind that the two titles released in the early ’80s, Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, have not been included, as they have nothing to do with B.J. Blazkowicz. The franchise’s mobile spin-off, Wolfenstein RPG, is also not included in this list of the best Wolfenstein games.
Best Wolfenstein Games, Ranked | 8. Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny
Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny isn’t memorable. While it maintains the thrilling action its predecessor is known for, it doesn’t offer any noticeable improvements outside of higher enemy counts. Floor designs feel haphazard and it’s easy to fall prey to goons lurking in unseen corners. Fans may grow tired of encountering the same foes over and over again, especially considering how they’re identical to those found in Wolfenstein 3D. Spear of Destiny feels more like an expansion than a sequel and is ultimately the most forgettable entry the franchise has to offer.
Best Wolfenstein Games, Ranked | 7. Wolfenstein
The Wolfenstein reboot released in 2009 fails to tap into the franchise’s interesting lore. It’s a generic first-person shooter that doesn’t offer anything new as far as gameplay is concerned, though the Thule Medallion’s ability to temporarily halt time and send out energy blasts is fun to use on occasion. The title becomes too easy toward later sections and switching to hard mode renders it unplayable due to incredibly difficult boss fights. Its multiplayer component also lacks inspiration and can be buggy at times. It’s no surprise that the game wasn’t well-received by fans and sold only 100,000 copies during its first month on the market.
Best Wolfenstein Games, Ranked | 6. Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Similarly to 2009’s Wolfenstein, Return to Castle Wolfenstein doesn’t offer anything unique. Thankfully, it does build upon the franchise’s fantastical elements by introducing fans to powerful ancient Dark Knights and menacing cyborg X-Creatures as they travel around the world to take down Hitler and the Nazi SS Paranormal Division. Environments are more varied here than they are in other entries, as players will fight through catacombs, laboratories, and grassy fields to interrupt cultist ceremonies and halt magical resurrections. Though Return to Castle Wolfenstein‘s gameplay isn’t special, it does attempt to shake up the formula with its strange characters and well-designed set pieces.
Best Wolfenstein Games, Ranked | 5. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood may not offer a captivating narrative, but its gameplay is reckless and fun. It’s best enjoyed by fans who love jumping straight to the action, as it gives them an opportunity to dual wield rifles and bludgeon enemies to death with pipes right away. There’s hardly any reprieve in between heavy gunfire and melee combat, as even the game’s stealth sequences are filled with Nazi patrols. The slightest mistake could quickly turn a covert operation into a small-scale war. Challenge Arenas add more madness, as players can fight through waves of foes in order to secure bronze, silver, or gold trophies. The Old Blood may not have the same heart as The New Order or The New Colossus, but it does have plenty of gore.
Best Wolfenstein Games, Ranked | 4. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus attempts to further flesh out Blazkowicz’s backstory after the events of The New Order. It succeeds for the most part thanks to convincing motion capture performances, excellent voice acting, and some truly unforgettable. The New Colossus also preserves The Old Blood‘s frantic gameplay well and offers memorable set pieces to enjoy across iconic American locations like Washington D.C., New Orleans, and New York City. Unfortunately, despite it feeling like a blockbuster movie, the title doesn’t quite live up to the surprise of its predecessor. It’s a great sequel, even it doesn’t evolve the franchise in a meaningful way.
Best Wolfenstein Games, Ranked | 3. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
The best part about the multiplayer-only Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is its community. Fans have crafted countless custom maps and mods for the title since developer Splash Damage released its source code 15 years ago. It’s no wonder why people continue to play the game today, as its three-on-three and six-on-six battles emphasize teamwork above lone-wolf strategies. Matches typically task the offense with completing objectives while the defense attempts to thwart their plans. Long respawn times and unique class abilities add a degree of complexity to the experience and make combatants think both on and off the battlefield. Enemy Territory may look dated by today’s standards, but its deep and satisfying gameplay is worth looking into by modern audiences.
Best Wolfenstein Games, Ranked | 2. Wolfenstein: The New Order
Wolfenstein: The New Order injected new life into the franchise when it launched in 2014. B.J. Blazkowicz’s characterization as a down-to-earth (albeit trigger-happy) soldier is filled with emotion as he struggles to come to terms with his failure to stop the Nazis from seizing control over the entire world. It’s interesting to see how the characters he befriends on his journey encourage him to continue. At the same time, fans are constantly reminded that the odds are stacked against them, especially as the difficulty ramps up toward the end of the title. Some minor gameplay annoyances, like manually picking up ammo, don’t significantly detract from this welcome take on one of gaming’s most celebrated mascots.
Best Wolfenstein Games, Ranked | 1. Wolfenstein 3D
Developer id Software changed the gaming landscape with Wolfenstein 3D. Fast-paced and violent, the title purposefully restricts the player’s point of view to amp up the tension. As fans try to navigate their way through corridors, Nazi soldiers, dogs, and supernatural creatures unexpectedly appear from hidden doorways to keep them on their toes. Of course, who can forget their first encounter with the ruthless Mecha-Hitler? Wolfenstein 3D is simply a classic, as traces of it can be found in most popular first-person shooters today.
Wolfenstein Youngblood may provide even more fantastical ways to kill when it releases for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on July 26. Taking down waves of Nazi scum with a cooperative partner may prove to be just as fun as annihilating foes solo. Fans won’t have to wait long to find out where the game fits in their personal ranking of the series. Until then, let’s all try our best to avoid Nazis in real life.