Where does one start when reviewing a game with the title of Wolfenstein?
Does one have to remind everybody out there that Wolfenstein 3D back in 1992 – yes I know, time goes back that long – is the grand-daddy of all FPS games, a game that started a whole new genre? Or does one just judge this game’s merits on its own as just another FPS to grace these modern times of our? Or at least what was modern times in 2009.
The answer is quite obvious, both.
You take on the role of BJ – really, id Software, BJ? jeez – Blazkowicz on his one-man crusade against Nazi scum, preferably the paranormal variety. Why not name the guy WJJ or some other random acronym? I mean, the name is fine, but all and all, we are talking here about a character that stood the test of time, and had some pretty epic adventures up until now. Stick to Blazkowicz!
During the rather well made intro scene where BJ is on a Nazi ship preparing to royally fuck it up, we’re introduced to the paranormal component of this game with the help of a medallion which BJ is in possession of from… somewhere or someone – didn’t pay enough attention. So anyway, ship goes boom, BJ escapes via conveniently-situated-ready-to-take-off-plane and we’re treated to a second cut-scene where we get our mission and we’re off to the generically named town of Isenstadt to kill Nazis, look for bags of gold, find books and Third Reich paperwork – paperwork has never been so important.
Right then, Weapons.
The new Wolfenstein maintains the tradition of the insanely strong man with the ability to somehow modify the normal physical rules of space allowing him to lug around more weapons and ammo than a platoon.
Maybe he has an invisible bottomless backpack with him at all times, but even in that case all that crap would weigh so much… unless of course, we’re talking about a magical invisible bottomless backpack which annuls some other basic laws of physics as well…
You get all the basic types of weapons, your basic long ranged machine gun, short-to-medium range machine gun, rocket launcher, flamethrower, sniper rifle and grenades. Interesting enough you don’t have a pistol or a melee weapon however, you can use all your weapons to melee down enemies if it comes down to it.
Then there are the special paranormal weapons, the Particle Cannon, Tesla Gun and Leichenfaust, which are insanely fun to use and look cool; especially he Particle Cannon and the Leichenfaust which have the habit of dissolving your target in a very neat way.
One of the good features of the game is the fact that once you get a weapon you’ll be able to purchase several different upgrades for each of them however, the availability of these upgrades is directly dependent on what missions you finish, how many Intel documents you find – the upper mentioned paperwork – and of course, on the amount of money you have. In regards to that last point, the game is quick to point out during loading screens that there are more upgrades in the game than there’s money so it’s a good idea to think twice before purchasing an upgrade since money isn’t exactly easy to find, you have to do a bit of exploring if you wish to find most of it.
This leads me to yet another good feature of the game, the fact that you can choose in which order to do the missions, also there are two factions in the game so that helps to diversify the gameplay a bit, as well as offer a bit of replay value.
Since I’m talking about the good features of the game, it’s worth mentioning that while travelling through the city of Isenstadt during the game enemy soldiers will randomly spawn in various parts of it and usually you’ll have to fight your way through them several times. I personally found this to be a good addition since the town is continually occupied, it only makes sense that they’d bring in replacements. Also as you complete more and more missions for the Resistance faction you’ll start seeing Resistance fighters on the streets fighting alongside you, granted they’re rather useless but it’s the intention that counts.
By the time you’re half-way through the game you unlock all the four abilities that the medallion offers. These allow you to access the inter-dimensional Veil which separates the normal world from the Black Sun dimension. These abilities will allow you to move faster than normal and see your enemies in the dark, empower your weapons to do extra damage, create a force field around you which protects you from damage and finally, give you the ability to slow down time – oh Bullet Time, will you ever leave us?
The abilities can also be upgraded but they depend on you finding some Tomes throughout the game, as well as having money. The game does a good job of explaining all the things that the medallion does, it’s mostly supposed to look spiffy and give the game that extra thing to try and separate it from the flock.
Graphics wise it’s good, the weapons look nice, the environments are decent and the explosions are especially nice to watch for.
There isn’t much to be said about the AI though, and the boss fights aren’t especially difficult nor original, I do have to give some props to the great voice acting the game sports and also to the final boss who is a throwback to the Mecha-Hitler of old.
It’s a decent game, which should not be missed if you’re a FPS fan and which will be at least mildly entertaining if you’re not one, definitely worth a try.
Let me know your thoughts on Wolfenstein (2009), if you’ve already played, or in case you haven’t I hope the article made you interested in trying it.
See ya next time, again in the past.
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