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The 13 Wolfenstein Games Ranked Worst to Best

What do you think of when you hear “first-person shooter”? Call of DutyBattlefield? Maybe Apex LegendsDestiny, or even Doom?

How about Wolfenstein? Well, if it’s not the first thing that comes to mind, it really should be — without it, we likely wouldn’t have any of those other titles, not even the original Doom

Like our favorite heavy-metal fueled demon-busting shooter, Wolfenstein (where killin’ Nazis is your job) has had its up and downs. If this is your first time jumping into the series, you may be wondering: which Wolfenstein games should I play first?

Don’t worry — we here at High Ground Gaming are here to answer that question with our list of Wolfenstein games ranked.

The Best Wolfenstein Games Ranked From Worst to Best

Wolfenstein has been around for almost forty years. It’s defined and defied genre standards and has reinvented itself on more than one occasion. So, which Wolfenstein is the best? Let’s go through each one and find out.

13. Castle Wolfenstein

Castle Wolfenstein
  • Platforms: Apple II, MS-DOS, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64
  • Developer: Muse Software
  • Release Date: Sept 1981

First on our list of Wolfenstein games ranked is Castle Wolfenstein.

Before it became the FPS powerhouse that we all know and love, Wolfenstein was better known as a 2D action-adventure game. This stealth-focused outing is far more basic due to the limited memory of the Apple II and Commodore 64. Which, unfortunately, makes it feel incredibly dated.

However, you can still appreciate where this game ultimately led. The premise alone, which sees you infiltrate Castle Wolfenstein in search of secret WWII plans, would lay a permanent foundation for the series. It even influenced the layout and combat potential for what would become the action-stealth genre.

But all that said, this game is better to read about than play.

12. Beyond Castle Wolfenstein

Beyond Castle Wolfenstein
  • Platforms: Apple II, MS-DOS, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64
  • Developer: Muse Software
  • Release Date: June 1984

Like any good sequel, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein refines what came before while adding a handful of new features into the mix. It still retains the top-down 2D style and stealth-focused gameplay of the original, but with a few twists. Things are made far more complex by the ability to hide enemy bodies and a keycard checking system that can lead to immediate confrontation.

The story does throw in the goal of actually taking down Hitler directly, which would become a series mainstay moving forward. But aside from those few additions, everything else is basically the same. The level layouts, overall aesthetic, and combat controls are virtually unchanged. 

Much like its predecessor, this game is best appreciated from afar, rather than being played.

11. Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny

Wolfenstein 3D Spear of Destiny
  • Platforms: GNU/Linux, IBM PC compatible, DOS
  • Developer: id Software
  • Release Date: Sept 18, 1992

Spear of Destiny emerged out of the strange initial release cadence for Wolfenstein 3D. It was merely another chapter developed by id Software but handled by a different publisher. The core gameplay remains the same, and not even a few small tweaks in energy drops and graphical polish help this one stand out.

There’s a reason it’s often not included in any rereleases or bundled copies. It’s just too much of the same that isn’t quite as fun as the original.

10. Wolfenstein RPG

Wolfenstein RPG
  • Platforms: Java ME, BREW, iOS
  • Developer: id Software, Fountainhead Entertainment
  • Release Date: Sept 30, 2008

Experiments in adapting AAA franchises to mobile are incredibly hit or miss. For a game that came out before the popularization of smartphones, Wolfenstein RPG can’t quite stick the landing. 

It’s a strange game. In concept, the idea of a role-playing version of Wolfenstein sounds like it could work. But, just like Castle Wolfenstein, the platform it was developed for severely limits the potential. 

The gameplay is slow and static. The graphics are a strange departure from the established style in order to accommodate for far less computing power. Even the overall story becomes more tongue in cheek to very mixed results. It’s a fun idea that deserves revisiting, but the current iteration should be avoided.

9. Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot

Wolfenstein Cyber Pilot
  • Platforms: HTC Vive, PlayStation VR
  • Developer: MachineGames, Arkane Studios
  • Release Date: July 26, 2019

Next we have the first modern title on our list of Wolfenstein games ranked.

It’s difficult to directly reflect the action and consistency of a frantic FPS like Wolfenstein in the limited capacity that VR offers. Because of this, Cyberpilot‘s decision to have you take control of Nazi robots is a bold move.

Cyberpilot provides a very similar gameplay experience to the other MachineGames titles without falling into the trap of immediately feeling like a lesser experience. Yes, the actual game is relatively short, and there are far more limitations in place than in the semi-open world of the rebooted series. 

That said, it’s a fun title to jump into and test drive your headset. With a bit more polish, a sequel could genuinely be an innovative VR experience.

8. Wolfenstein (2009)

Wolfenstein (2009)
  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
  • Developer: Raven Software
  • Release Date: Aug 18, 2009

The only real benefit of the 2009 Wolfenstein reboot is that it served as somewhat of an audition for Raven Software to eventually take on Call of Duty. That’s essentially what this game is — a pared-down Call of Duty clone meant to bring the semi-dormant Wolfenstein franchise into the modern day. It’s not like we don’t already have plenty of those lying around, right? 

In truth, it’s really not a bad game. It’s just sort of meh compared to the games released around it and what would come after it in the series.

7. Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Wolfenstein Youngblood
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, Stadia
  • Developer: Machine Games, Arkane Studios
  • Release Date: July 26, 2019

It seemed that MachineGames could do no wrong. With a successful reboot and sequel under their belts, the anticipation for a third entry was (and still is) explosive. But with the announcement of Youngblood, a multiplayer GaaS spin-off, we were all left scratching our heads. 

On the surface, it seems like a fun side story. You get the chance to see the narrative future of the series and play cooperatively using the tight controls and gameplay loop of the previous titles.

All of that, unfortunately, falls very flat. The story is very limited, the gameplay feels hollow, and the mission structure is, quite frankly, boring. It can be fun to jump into for a few hours, but it’s not the most exciting game on our list of Wolfenstein games ranked.

You can check out our review here.

6. Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

Wolfenstein Enemy Territory
  • Platforms: Mac, PC
  • Developer: Splash Damage
  • Release Date: May 29, 2003

Not every spin-off is a miss, especially if it’s working off the solid foundations of the game before. That’s precisely the case with Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. Initially conceived as an add-on for Return to Castle Wolfenstein, it quickly spun out into its own unique adventure in the Wolfenstein series.

Rather than trying to shoehorn multiplayer into a single-player experience, Enemy Territory opted to go full Axis vs. Allies. It featured a relatively diverse set of six maps, character classes reminiscent of the original Team Fortress, and match styles reminiscent of CS:GO. All of this equated to a fun PVP shooter that had the benefit of being its own thing.

5. Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

Wolfenstein The Old Blood
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Developer: MachineGames
  • Release Date: July 21, 2015

The Old Blood is the purest version of MachineGames’ rebooted series — a short experience that pulls in the supernatural elements and Indiana Jones-esque nature of the original series. The story is somewhat of a departure from the grim setting found in The New Order, but it’s because of this that the gameplay truly shines.

This game is structured to cap off the reboot. The developers knew that most people would be jumping back into the series or trying it out for the first time, and they rewarded the renewed investment. Everything feels tougher, more imaginative, and truly tests your skills with a range of weapons. Sure, it feels like more of a classic throwback, but it’s an enjoyable sidestep in the main series.

4. Return to Castle Wolfenstein

Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, Mac, Linux
  • Developer: GrayMatter Interactive
  • Release Date: Nov 19, 2001

This was the game that almost relaunched the series. It works as a lighter version of what MachineGames would eventually create — in many ways, it was far ahead of its time. And after more than a decade of dormancy, it truly felt like the next step for the Wolfenstein franchise.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein looked gorgeous, played incredibly well, and found a new balance between sci-fi action and existential dread. This blend turned out to be the perfect transition for the series that unfortunately didn’t quite catch on at the time. Still, it’s fun to think of what could have been while having this game directly referenced in the timeline of the 2014 reboot.

3. Wolfenstein 3D

Wolfenstein 3D
  • Platforms: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Acorn Archimedes, MS-DOS, NEC PC-9801, Apple IIGS
  • Developer: id Software
  • Release Date: May 5, 1992

Perhaps the most iconic of the Wolfenstein games ranked is Wolfenstein 3D.

Wolfenstein 3D is really the game that started it all — the original first-person shooter and the start of B.J. Blazkowics’ journey of taking down Nazis. There’s a reason that interpretations of these classic levels are featured in the recent reboots, and in many ways, those brief excursions almost work better than the game itself.

It won’t blow your socks off, but it’s worth revisiting just to understand how we got where we are today.

2. Wolfenstein: The New Order

Wolfenstein The New Order
  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Developer: MachineGames
  • Release Date: May 20, 2014

The New Order saved the Wolfenstein series. It brought it back from the brink, honed in on what made the originals so beloved, and overhauled everything else. And at a time when bombastic first-person experiences were becoming scarce, The New Order kickstarted that craze once again too.

The most successful aspect of the MachineGames reboot is how quickly it established a tone while making the world feel compelling. B.J. is no longer a silent protagonist that just mows down Nazis. He now has dire choices to make with game-influencing consequences, as well as an internal monologue that explores his uncertainty and pain. It’s thought-provoking stuff that elevates this game beyond being just a shooter.

But this is a shooter, and oh boy, does it nail combat. It brings the classic format of Wolfenstein 3D and juices it up with upgrade mechanics, faster and more accurate gunplay, and a more nimble protagonist. So if you’re asking yourself what Wolfenstein games should I play? Start here.

1. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein II The New Colossus - #1 Wolfenstein Games Ranked
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: MachineGames
  • Release Date: Oct 27, 2017

Number one on our list of Wolfenstein games ranked? Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.

The New Colossus feels exactly like a successful sequel should. It expands on the original, throws in more curveballs regarding story and gameplay, and refines what came before. 

It’s not afraid to depower you, only to amp you up just a few missions later with new skills and combat methods. And it retains the dire atmosphere of The New Order while injecting more fantastical elements that allow the series to grow. Add in the non-linear mission structure, side quests, and more interactive hub world, and you have the best version of the Wolfenstein series so far.

The Grandfather of 3D Shooters

Wolfenstein set the standard for 3D first-person shooters. The funny thing is, it didn’t even start as an FPS — instead, it was a pair of stealth-action titles that originated the premise of an American soldier fighting through a Nazi base.

But it was the love of this setting that inspired the id Software team to create Wolfenstein 3D. The title with imaginative 2.5D graphical layout, fast-paced movement, twitchy shooting mechanics, and a wealth of secret areas that would come to define FPS. It elevated the genre, leading to a quick adoption that would almost bury the series.

Revitalizing a Legacy

The initial innovation of Wolfenstein 3D almost sunk the franchise. The features quickly became an expectation, and the Wolfenstein series would struggle to find its footing against more modern shooters. It just felt dated and out of sorts, with many games pursuing what seemed to be popular.

It wouldn’t be until MachineGames took on the series, where Wolfenstein would once again innovate. The storytelling, fun but dour tone, and elevation of the original shooting/movement mechanics were simply enlightening. It would once again blaze a trail for shooters to embrace even faster and more frantic gameplay.

It’s rare that a game franchise, especially one that kicked off the genre, survives. But time and time again, Wolfenstein has proven that it knows what needs to come next for the genre. It’s innovation wrapped in a familiar package, and without it, the FPS landscape wouldn’t be the same.

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Further Reading

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of Wolfenstein games ranked! Hopefully, we’ll have some next-gen Nazi-hunting action with Wolfenstein III sometime in the near future. But for now, hopefully, you’ve found the perfect game to tide you over. 

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