Wolfenstein – Review (X360)

By Clinton “dreddsix6six” O’Shea

Overview

Ah, Wolfenstein, you pixelated, Nazi killing, corridor dwelling, FPS you.  Oh, wrong era?  Well, that might be so, but even the new Wolfenstein still retains a fair amount of the base elements that made the 1991 version genre defining.  So how does this 2009 version hold up?

Features and Game play

Not too badly.  It is still (in essence) a pixelated, Nazi killing, corridor dwelling, FPS.  Without being pixelated.  And without actually being in corridors.

So, in essence, it’s an Old-school shooter.  But it’s not.

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Now, if I seem a little confused, it’s because Wolfenstein, as a game is a little confused too.  It knows it’s an Old-school FPS.  It plays like an Old-school FPS.  And then as if to “get with the now” it says: “Here have a couple of open world style side missions.”  And then it goes all “Matrix” on your ass and adds some sci-fi/supernatural/occult abilities which includes a kind of “bullet time”.  WTF?

Although, as you play through it all, it just seems to work.  Not brilliantly, but it does.  Not that it’s mind blowingly forward thinking, it’s just entertaining mindless fun.

So what exactly is it about?  Well, you play BJ Blazkowicz (BJ to his friends…) sent to fight Nazis in an alternate view of World War II – one where the Nazis have access to monsters, supernatural abilities and zombie hybrids.  The story is progressed through side missions in the streets of Isenstadt, with main missions also taking place in the areas surrounding the city.  A major addition to the run of the mill gameplay is the addition of “Veil” powers.  These are given to you bit by bit after you discover an amulet, and the necessary crystals required to increase the abilities the amulet will bring to you.  Essentially, these allow you to see things the human eye can’t.  Slow time down.  Get a shield.  Shoot through a shield.  Not extremely original, but it does mean the game has more up its sleeve than just shooting things.  The amulet, along with all the weapons can be upgraded by collecting the gold left lying around (stupid Nazis) and using it to visit the Black Market.  In the end shoot the Nazis get the girl.  Sorry, no girl.  Shoot the Nazis save the world.

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So what about the Multiplayer then?  Must be great, I hear you say.  Uhm.  No.  It’s not really.  OK, maybe that’s more a fault of our “broadband”, but it lags.  Badly.  It reminds me of CoD:W@W, but with veil powers chucked in for good measure.  I’m sure on a decent 8meg line it would be an utter joy to play.  However, lying on the ground with my veil power active while waiting for a medic gave me time to make some coffee.  And drink it.

Bits I Loved

  • Mindless killing of “bad” guys is fun.
  • Veil abilities are fun at the beginning.
  • Not a totally ugly game.

Bits I Hated

  • Gets a little old two thirds of the way in.
  • Characters could do with a personality jolt.
  • Repetitive.

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Conclusion

To be honest, you might think I hated the game.  I didn’t actually.  It was quite fun.  Just don’t go expecting anything other than an Old-school mindless run and gun, and you will enjoy the 9 or so hours this game gives you.  In fact, it’s Wolfenstein, it invented mindless killing.

Link to site for more info, screen shots and videos: Wolfenstein

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About Zombie Dredd

Wannabe gaming journalist. Wannabe zombie. And sometimes clan leader of OAP. Clint O'Shea when in his human disguise.