There can be only one best Wolfenstein game. Since the franchise’s debut in 1981, the Wolfenstein series has graced our gaming platforms for over forty years. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true! In honor of that legacy, we’re going to list some of the best Wolfenstein games and the worst. That’s right: it’s the Wolfenstein games ranked.
The series has had its ups and downs over the years. We’ll chronicle all of it, from the humble beginnings, revolutionary breakthroughs, and incredible moments. As always with these lists, we use a combination of critical reception, fan response, and personal opinion.
You may agree with the list; you might disagree. Either way, keep the conversation going in the comments below.
Beyond Castle Wolfenstein is sadly the worst of the Wolfenstein Games
The original Castle Wolfenstein is a breakthrough title that helped influence modern-day FPS games. Its sequel, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, earns the dubious honor of being the worst game on our Wolfenstein games ranked list.
Beyond Castle Wolfenstein shares a little too much in common with its predecessor. There isn’t much advancement in gameplay, visuals, or tech. The biggest critique of the first game, slow load times, isn’t addressed.
There are still a lot of good ideas in the 1984 game, but it doesn’t do enough to warrant playing over the original.
Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny Can’t Escape the Shadows of one of the best Wolfenstein Games
Like the previously mentioned Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, Spear of Destiny follows the footsteps of one of the best Wolfenstein games. Also, like Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, it doesn’t do enough to escape its shadow.
Spear of Destiny is more Wolfenstein 3D. On the one hand, that’s a good thing; Wolfenstein 3D is great! On the other hand, there’s not enough here to justify playing it.
There’s no doubting that this is an expansion pack through and through, but the biggest critique is that Spear of Destiny doesn’t bring anything to the table that warrants its existence. Are we able to play more of Wolfenstein 3D? Yes, and that’s fantastic. Did we need this, though? Absolutely not.
That’s why Spear of Destiny is near the bottom of our list of Wolfenstein games ranked.
Wolfenstein (2009) is a very forgettable Wolfenstein game
Next on our list of Wolfenstein games ranked is the title often regarded as the black sheep of the franchise.
2009’s Wolfenstein is the first release following the success of both Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Enemy Territory. Technically, it is a fully functional video game that incorporates elements of the Wolfenstein franchise. Beyond that, however, it’s one of the most forgettable games I’ve ever played.
Average is the best way to describe the game. It is definitely not the best Wolfenstein game, but it’s also not the worst. A bland, ho-hum adventure that tries to ride on the coattails of its predecessors.
There’s a reason why Wolfenstein laid dormant for so long before mixing up the formula.
Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot is the First Modern Release on our List of Wolfenstein Games Ranked
The first modern release on our list of the best Wolfenstein games is Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, the 2019 virtual reality game.
Cyberpilot is an adequate experience that doubles as virtual reality tech and a genuine Wolfenstein experience. Releasing alongside the co-op-focused Wolfenstein: Youngblood, it gives players another story and vantage point in the Wolfenstein franchise.
Beyond that, there isn’t much to Cyberpilot. It comes in, understands its assignment, and gets out. It’s not the best Wolfenstein game, but not the worst, either.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is an enjoyable enough cooperative experience but fails in comparison to the best Wolfenstein games
Speaking of Youngblood, the 2019 co-op shooter from MachineGames and Arkane Studios is another expansion of the Wolfenstein series. It stars Jessie and Zofia Blazkowicz and follows their adventures as they aid the Resistance.
Youngblood offers a better experience and story than Cyberpilot but still falls short compared to other Wolfenstein games ranked on our list. It’s a very competent shooter with great gunplay and a different take than the mainline franchise.
Despite this, there isn’t enough to push things over the top.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is the perfect type of game you used to rent from Blockbuster to enjoy on a rainy weekend. Beyond that, however, your mileage will vary.
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood Offers More of What We Loved from The New Order
On the plus side, The Old Blood offers more of the same gameplay style as Wolfenstein: The New Order. On the other side, like other expansions, it doesn’t do enough to warrant its existence. Having said that, Old Blood is easily the best of the expansions/spin-off releases the franchise has seen.
The one thing Old Blood has going for it is that it respects your time. Those looking for a quick “in and out” type shooter will be pleased here. The action and stealth sequences work well together as MachineGames provides a well-balanced gameplay design.
Acting as a prologue to The New Order, the story had the potential to delve further into the events leading to the original game. Sadly, Old Blood leans a little too hard into the B-movie camp. The result is a narrative that’s, at best, just okay.
Wolfenstein RPG is, Surprisngly, one of the best Wolfenstein Games
Hey, remember DOOM RPG? It was an FPS DOOM game that played like an RPG for mobile platforms. Best of all, it wasn’t half bad. Naturally, id Software decides the most logical thing to do next is to give Wolfenstein RPG treatment.
Like DOOM RPG, Wolfenstein RPG is a solid and enjoyable mobile experience. It captures the heart of the Wolfenstein franchise in a method more suitable for the mobile platform.
What’s truly remarkable is that id Software doesn’t lose focus on the heart of the Wolfenstein series. It would have been easy to reskin DOOM RPG and sell it anew. Instead, this adventure of B.J. Blazkowicz is one worth taking.
Wolfenstein RPG deserves its place alongside some of the best Wolfenstein games.
Castle Wolfenstein, the First Wolfenstein Game, Is High Up on our List of Wolfenstein Games Ranked
The only thing holding Castle Wolfstein from ranking alongside the best Wolfenstein games is the tech. Releasing in 1981 causes some obvious limitations. Despite this, Castle Wolfenstein offers an incredibly exciting and innovative experience.
Attempting to escape Castle Wolfenstein is an absolute thrill ride from start to finish. There’s a reason why so many later releases took inspiration. Castle Wolfenstein is arguably ahead of its time.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, the tech truly holds the game back. Awkward quirks of gaming in 1981, bugs, and incredibly long load times don’t always lead to a pleasant experience.
Could a modern reimagining help make Castle Wolfenstein the best Wolfenstein game ever? It’s possible; the original is that good and only held back by the problems and issues of its era, which are inexcusable today.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a Return to Form for the Franchise
For nearly a decade, the Wolfenstein franchise laid dormant. Enter 2001’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein, one of the best Wolfenstein games ever.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein takes heavy inspiration from the original Castle Wolfenstein titles. It also blends some more modern design choices beyond the FPS genre. The balance of a serious storyline with some more lightheartedness and fiction serves the single player well.
Where Return to Castle Wolfenstein truly shines is multiplayer. The class-based shooter design and gameplay are ahead both ahead of their time as well as offer a great alternative to the arena-based deathmatch shooters that dominated the marketplace.
The game’s multiplayer is so good that they went on to release a freeware multiplayer-only expansion of it. We’ll discuss that on our list of Wolfenstein games ranked soon, don’t worry.
Wolfenstein 3D Invented the First-Person Shooter Genre
There is no FPS genre without Wolfenstein 3D.
Wolfenstein 3D earns its near top spot on our Wolfenstein games ranked list not just by helping to usher in a new genre of gaming. It backs up the birth of the first-person shooter with fast-paced action and exploration.
Venturing through Castle Wolfenstein feels like traversing through a labyrinth, yet it never feels cumbersome or aggravating. Secrets are waiting to be discovered, as there are plenty of Nazis for you to mow down.
This combination of action and adventure helps push it to a new level of gaming. While DOOM may have grabbed the spotlight, Wolfenstein 3D laid the framework.
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is One of the Best Multiplayer Shooters Ever Made
Enemy Territory was originally planned as a full expansion to Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Eventually, it was made a 100% free multiplayer-only release—no free-to-play shenanigans. No microtransactions. Good old-fashioned freeware.
It is one of the best FPS games of all time and one of the best Wolfenstein games ever.
Whether we’re talking map design, class balance, or exciting objectives, Enemy Territory nails it. Firefights combine fast-paced, brutal action with slower, more methodical, and tactical moments. It’s a wonderful give and take between two teams that don’t solely rely on a player’s skill. Everyone has a role and a job, and you must cooperate to achieve victory.
The game is once again free to download as well. Don’t miss out on one of the best multiplayer shooters ever made.
Wolfenstein: The New Order Brings Wolfenstein into the Modern Day of Gaming
2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order zigs when everyone else zags. In an era where cover-based or setpiece shooters dominate, The New Order isn’t afraid to kick things back to the genre’s roots. The result is one of the best Wolfenstein games of all time and a job well done under new publisher Bethesda.
New Order balances storytelling and pacing extraordinarily well. The constant set pieces of a shooter like Call of Duty are replaced with old-school exploration, acquiring power-ups, and using the best guns imagination can design.
Removing climactic set pieces and cover-based shooting adds more tension and danger to the game. You don’t feel like an unstoppable killing machine where the game will never let you die. Instead, you’re a powerful yet mortal soldier attempting to topple the alternate-reality Nazi regime.
Ironically, history would end up repeating itself. Even though id Software no longer handles the Wolfenstein franchise (MachineGames does), the decision to make New Order an old-school FPS shooter carries over to 2016’s DOOM. Both franchises are better off for it.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is the Best Wolfenstein game
Topping our list of Wolfenstein games ranked is the most recent mainline entry.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus perfects the foundation of its predecessor while simultaneously expanding upon it. New Colossus demonstrates a level of confidence few other games do.
MachineGames doubles down on everything that works from the original. Gameplay, level design, and weapon arsenal are better than ever. The game’s story and characters are well grounded, and the game knows that it shouldn’t always be taken seriously.
New Colossus is one of the few times Wolfenstein has followed a revolutionary title with something even better. This game knows you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it’s best to refine it. That’s why it’s the best Wolfenstein game.
Wrapping up our list of best Wolfenstein games
How did we do? Did we get it right, or did we mess up somewhere? What would your list of Wolfenstein games ranked look like?
Personally, if we’re talking my personal opinion strictly, it’s Enemy Territory and then everything else.
Be sure to keep the conversation going in the comments below!