One of the most anticipated PC games of the year, Wolfenstein was expected to revolutionize the first person shooting genre just like its predecessors did. Carrying such a difficult task, Rave Software, the developers of the game, did their best and actually managed to deliver a really high quality, must own product – even though not as “revolutionary” as the fans would’ve wanted.
The story puts you in the shoes of the series’ star, William “B.J.” Blazkowicz, who this time has to travel to Isenstadt in Germany and find out what plans Hitler has now to conquer the world. It is already known that it has to do with the occult, but you must get all the details and, of course, stop everything from happening.
The entire story unfolds in an apparent open-world setting, with the player being allowed to swap from one active mission to another, while being allowed to roam freely through Isenstadt, searching for Black Markets to upgrade the weapons or hidden spots to grab some extra money. However, even though you will have a huge feeling of freedom, the game still is quite linear and even with lots of scripted events, but overall the action is so intense and everything moves so fast tat you won’t really have time to suffer because of that.
The most important addition to Wolfenstein is probably the introduction of the Thule Medallion, a powerful artifact that allows you to travel into a parallel world, the Veil, and take advantage of its amazing powers. Along the way, you will unlock four different uses of the Veil: the Veil Sight, a night-vision like element that highlights enemies’ weak spots, uncovers hidden doors or access ways and grants you some extra speed; the Mire is the classic bullet time; the Shield is the obvious “invincible for a short time” type of super-power; and the Empower – a very cool power that grants you special abilities, like very accurate shooting that’s best suited for those enemies who have made a habit out of dodging your bullets! Add to these powers some extra upgrade options, and you’ll understand that the Thule Medallion is a really handy gadget introduced in the game by the Raven team.
And the upgrades are not limited to the Veil powers! You can find various Black Markets in Isenstadt that offer upgrades for your weapons and grenades, but all of them follow almost the same route: silencers, bigger magazines or better aiming. However, the nice thing is that you’ll never afford to purchase all the upgrades, so it would be best to plan ahead. And, for God’s sake, just spend those $2,500 and buy the sniper scope – it will be really, really useful!
The actual combat in Wolfenstein is really cool, actually, even though the normal level of difficulty is what other games consider to be “easy” (so if you are a FPS fan, don’t even try playing on anything but the last level of difficulty!). The enemies have a pretty solid AI, even though their actions sometimes are plain stupid. For example, there is a mission at a farm early in the game where I have destroyed ALL the attacking Nazis without moving from my spot, at the end of a hallway that only had a one-way access. All the enemies tried to run towards me (and not even all at once!), even though the pile of bodies was getting bigger and bigger!
However, such demonstrations of stupidity won’t happen to often and you’ll see the enemies trying to flank you, trying to offer support fire and usually making your life as a hero pretty damn challenging!
The boss encounters are also pretty well done – even though probably a bit too simple and monotonous, especially thanks to the Veil Sight which tells you exactly where their weak spots are, taking away that pleasure of finding them for your own. But since nobody likes to waste time, it might be considered a good thing, especially with the really tough ones, like General Zeta himself.
The overall length of the single player campaign in Wolfenstein is somewhere at about 8-10 hours (which is very short), but the multiplayer experience is meant to add much more gameplay hours to it. Unfortunately, the multiplayer is strangely poor: with only three modes, the classic deathmatch, the “invasion” type (where one team has to complete a series of objectives while the other one tries to stop that) and the Stopwatch mode where the team which completes the objectives in the shortest period of time wins… as I was saying, with just these three modes and nothing actually exciting and revolutionary, many of you will consider Wolfenstein’s multiplayer disappointing. It is not done badly, nor it has any major flaws I can outline, but it leaves you with the impression that something better could’ve and should’ve been done.
Visually, Wolfenstein is a true eye candy that isn’t a huge resource eater if you can lower your display settings a bit, and the sound aspect is also quite well done, with both the voice acting and the sound effects being top notch.
Although short and a bit too easy, Wolfenstein is the game we were expecting to play, a title that adds just enough new elements to the franchise and definitely keeps us asking for more. Wolfenstein is intense and fast paced, it has a great story to give some sense to the frantic bullet blasting and it is, to put it short, a really awesome first person shooter. It could’ve been better – there’s no doubt about that – but what it delivers right now is value for your money.
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