Wolfenstein is a fairly standard run-and-gun FPS with an occult bent but it's a good diversion that keeps you entertained
I wonder what started first: Quentin Tarantino's pre-production on Inglourious Basterds or the development of Wolfenstein. From what I've seen of the trailers, Inglourious Basterds looks like a seriously unserious take on the fight against the Nazi empire and Wolfenstein navigates the same waters. Regardless, the timing is perfect since they're releasing in the same week and that's the kind of spontaneous synergy that marketing people have wet dreams about.
- It made me realise that I'm not as sick of WWII FPS games as I thought I was, the four powers are pretty useful
- Too much downtime between missions, in-game map sucks, multiplayer is underwhelming
Nazis... why did it have to be Nazis?! Wolfenstein probably won't make you forget about Modern Warfare or Halo 3 or Killzone 2 or whatever online FPS you're currently hooked on.
The Other Half Of This Amulet
Anyway, I won't mince words here: Wolfenstein is a fairly standard run-and-gun FPS with an occult bent but it's a good diversion that keeps you entertained. The main gimmick here is an amulet that confers one of four powers: the ability to step into a shadow dimension to see things you normally couldn't, the ability to slow down time, the ability to throw up a protective shield and the ability to supercharge your bullets. These powers give you a nice edge and a useful armoury of weapons, both traditional and super, rounds out your Nazi killing repertoire.
The game also has this weird mission structure that's a little non-linear. Instead of just going from one level to the next, you pop in to the HQ's of various factions-underground resistance, shadowy occult group-and get missions before heading out into the larger city. You enter the chosen area, do what you have to do then get the heck out. It's a nice change of pace but honestly, I felt like I spent too much time walking around inbetween missions. The in-game map also blows and the compass is spastic, so I did a ton of backtracking.
Go Where You Want To Go
But once you actually get into a firefight, the game delivers some good thrills. You can purchase various upgrades for your weapons and powers-you pick up hidden gold for cash and discover secret intel to unlock new upgrades-and after I got a scope and silencer for my Kar98, I became a Nazi sniping machine. The powers are really useful too and they can help turn a sticky situation into a walk in the park; I just wish activating them was easier. They're mapped to the directional pad and it's hard to reach them in the heat of battle because you have to take a thumb off the analog sticks, which is almost suicidal when you're under fire.
I'll probably go watch Inglourious Basterds in the theatre this weekend and while I like Tarantino, I'm not expecting an Oscar worthy movie. What I am expecting, though, is an enjoyable popcorn flick with some big explosions, a bunch of dead Nazis and some memorable one-liners. And that's exactly what you get from Wolfenstein. How's that for synergy?
Army of One
I also jumped online and played a couple of matches and found the experience to be a little underwhelming. I played a couple of rounds of Team Deathmatch and didn't see anything particularly mind blowing. I also noticed a lot of choppiness (probably lag due to the fact that I was playing gamers in the UK) and I don't know if I imagined this or what but the visual quality seemed less somehow. Anyway, the longer you play, the more abilities and upgrades you unlock and once you get the full complement of powers, I'm sure the experience gets better but the early going is rough as you'll get blasted by gamers who've been at it much longer than you have.
I did get to play some Objective maps which were far more interesting; this is the standard "one team defends, one team attacks" sort of deal, with staged objectives. The attacking team has to first build a thing that gives access to another thing that lets them take control of yet another thing and the defending team has to stop them. Again, it's nothing new but the weapons and powers are interesting enough that, if you put in the work, the reward is there. But it probably won't make you forget about Modern Warfare or Halo 3 or Killzone 2 or whatever online FPS you're currently hooked on.
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