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Wolfenstein Review

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Developer: id Software Publisher: Activision
Release Date: August 18, 2009 Available On: PS3 and Xbox 360

Gamers returned to Castle Wolfenstein and haven’t been back since 2003. The much anticipated sequel was co-developed by id and Raven Software for release on the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 the same week as Tarantino’s Wolfenstein inspired movie – Inglourious Basterds. How does this next-gen offering stand up to the franchise’s past glory?

The game is broken up into a single-player campaign that is the average length of most shooters and an online multi-player element. You play as an American special agent named B.J. Blazkowicz who gets tasked with disrupting Nazi activities in the small town of Isenstadt. Throughout the course of the game you uncover a conspiracy by the Germans to end World War II and will develop powers of your own.

The main gimmick of Wolfenstein are the four powers you acquire throughout the game. You will start off with something called Veil shortly after the game starts. Basically it gives you a slight speed boost and reveals things in the environment that might otherwise go unnoticed. You can even use Veil to go through hidden walls. The power you use is limited and must be replenished in pools of this super natural energy source. Other powers include an ability to slow time, block bullets and do extra damage to enemies.

Of course B.J. is not the only one that can use these powers. There are also a number of enemies throughout Isenstadt and the surrounding locations that have special abilities. Some of them are invisible to the eye, others can shield themselves, other Nazis and throw a sort of fireball at you. Then of course there are the bosses which vary from gigantic monster-like creatures to super strong members of the SS. Some of the “experimental” monsters look a lot like the Chimera from Resistance.

The game itself is a fairly decent length, similar to something like BioShock. The missions themselves tend to not take very long. Some can last less than ten minutes while others may take up to forty minutes. I would say I spent about ten hours total playing through and beating the game on the normal difficulty setting. The developers made Wolfenstein quite a bit different from Return to Castle Wolfenstein in how you actually reach those missions. Wolfenstein has a Grand Theft Auto-esque open world to it – although not nearly as broad with virtually no opportunities for side missions. You do get to roam the streets of Isenstadt freely and make your way to each mission however you please.

There are also a number of collectibles that you can find scattered throughout the world such as gold, intelligence and tomes. These all play a different role as well since you will need them to upgrade your weapons and powers. The game warns you early on that you can not upgrade everything, so you will need to choose which guns you want to upgrade and what to upgrade on the gun. You can buy a sniper scope, more ammo space and improvements in lethality, among other things. Some of the weapons that you will find along the way include a gun that can vaporize humans, along with an electricity gun.

Unfortunately, Wolfenstein suffers from a number of technical issues. I came across several invisible walls while playing the game. Characters don’t even look at you when they talk. Melee takes a good three hits (only one if you hit them in the back) but can miss sometimes and cause you to die. The multi-player largely fails to stand out from other superior shooters like Killzone 2, Call of Duty 4 and the like. The servers run extremely slowly with the game lagging as a result.

Fans of the Wolfenstein franchise will find a lot to love, but also a lot to dislike in the latest version of the game. While the storyline is sufficient and the game a relatively long experience, the multi-player is plagued by inconsistent servers and technical glitches during gameplay. The game just fails to convince me that it is worthy of a $60 investment. I can easily see you renting Wolfenstein for a weekend from Blockbuster or adding it to your Gamefly que. Just be sure to pass the checkout lane at Target or wait for the price to drop to something more reasonable for a shooter with horrible multi-player options.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 7.5 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review