It’s World War II. The Nazis are researching occult objects to try and win the War and defeat the Allies in order to seize control of the world. B.J. Blazkowicz travels to Germany to put an end to the Nazi experimentation with the help of the Kreisau Circle, a group of rebels trying to protect their home of Isenstadt. ‚ B.J. discovers that the Nazis are digging for a medallion which will give them access to an alternate dimension. In order to prevent the Nazis from using the alternative dimension to their advantage, BJ must use the medallion’s power to fight the Nazis and their supernatural allies.
Developer: Raven Software
Aug. 18, 2009
Since “Inglourious Basterds” came out, there’s been a renewed interest in killing Nazis. But let’s face it: there are numerous games about killing Nazis. So luckily we have Wolfenstein to add a burst of creativity to the mix. Straight forward first person shooters can get a bit boring after a while, so the addition of the medallion helps with the game play. Initially, the game seems like a typical “stop the Nazis” shooter, with normal weapons and normal adversaries. As the game progresses, you gain more interesting science fiction based weapons (such as the particle cannon) while fighting more supernatural enemies, such as skeletal Nazis which shoot green flames.
The game play is pretty straight forward. The town of Isenstadt serves as a hub in between the main missions. You can purchase upgrades, ammo and weapons from the Black market with the gold found through the missions. While the main storyline only takes a few hours to complete, if you snoop around Isenstadt you can meet numerous characters who provide interesting side missions for B.J. as he continues his quest. Now, while fighting through the main campaign B.J. utilizes the medallion to use Veil powers. The Veil powers are incredibly useful, but aside from the times when the game requires you to use them you can make it through the game using only your weapons (on normal). The difficulty levels directly affect how often the Veil powers must be utilized. On the hardest level, the Veil powers must be used a lot if there is to be any chance of making through the levels alive. This prevents the Veil from being a gimmick on the hardest setting and helps it retain its necessity.
The overall visual appearance isn’t amazing, but it definitely fits well with the mood and plot. Compared to the original Wolfenstein and its sequels, this game has blown them all away graphics wise. While there are numerous games with better graphics and more fluid transitions between cinematic cut scenes, game play and Veil use, Wolfenstein’s graphics suit its content. The dark atmosphere is accentuated by the dark hues which are used in most levels and the soundtrack is decent. It leaves a bit to be desired, but is enough to get you in the mood to fight Nazis.
Once you complete the game, multiplayer expands the game play by allowing you to fight up to 12 players online. However, game play drastically changes once you enter multiplayer. Players can play as the Resistance or the Axis in one of three modes. Team Death match allows players to battle to the death and the team with the highest score at the end of the time period wins. Objectives mode requires Axis and Resistance to defend or destroy Nazis experiments respectively. Stopwatch mode forces players to complete objectives within a specific time limit. Throughout the multiplayer experience you can choose from three classes: Soldier, Medic and Engineer. With eight maps in the multiplayer mode, it allows for a varied experience. However, the quality of the graphics and experience itself suffer from a poorly strung together multiplayer. The Veil powers which make the campaign mode fun are severely toned down in multiplayer which takes away from the overall experience. After a couple of hours of online play, most people will probably stop playing since it’s just not that rewarding an experience.
When it comes down to it, Wolfenstein is a good game, but it doesn’t quite hit the level of epic-ness you want when killing Nazis. Don’t get me wrong, this game is an excellent sequel but as a standalone game it doesn’t quite stand up to other games. When I looked at Wolfenstein’s box art, my first impression was that it would be an epic realization of the Call of Duty: World at War zombie level. Unfortunately, my standards were not met in that department. The supernatural enemies are definitely a plus, but when faced with plain old Nazi troops, the game gets boring.
The biggest drawback of the experience was the fact that it takes a little while to grow on you. Instead of instantly being drawn in, the game play needs to be broken in like a pair of good jeans. However, this is pretty much resolved once you’re familiar with the controls and find the medallion to use the Veil powers. One drawback, which could also serve as an ingenious means of discouraging continued use, is the greenish hue of the Veil. Whenever I used it to excess, a part of my vision (and possibly soul) would crumble away into nothingness. Extended exposure would force me to rest my eyes with occasional breaks, which were a pain when fighting difficult enemies. ‚ These and the barely adequate online multiplayer bring the game down a bit.
Blast Factor: The verdict is this: while the game is good, and a worthy current-gen sequel, some parts shine better than others. If you are a fan of the original series, this game is definitely one you should pick up, even if the multiplayer kind of hurts the replay value a bit relative to other first-person shooters.
Wolfenstein is available for on the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3, and retails for $59.99. It is also available for PC.