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Old 09-01-2009, 06:23 AM   #1
AgtFox
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[360/PS3/PC] Wolfenstein Review

Wolfenstein Review

Title: Wolfenstein
Platform: 360/PS3/PC
Developer: Raven Software
Publisher: Activision/id Software
ESRB: Mature
MSRP: $59.99 (360/PS3), $49.99 (PC)
Editor: Loren 'AgtFox' Halek

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What's Hot: Enjoyable in the nostalgic way as a direct sequel to Return to Castle Wolfenstein; nice level design, corridors and all; later fictional weapons are awesome; Objective multiplayer keeps your interest

What's Not: Gameplay will seem antiquated when compared to modern day FPS games; story is okay; difficulty really ramps up near the end; multiplayer outside of Objective game type not a great experience
The granddaddy of the FPS genre is back for another go around. It’s been eight years since the last Wolfenstein game came out, the critically lauded Return to Castle Wolfenstein. This new game, simply called Wolfenstein, starts up right after the events of that game. B.J. Blaskowicz, whose nickname never gets old, is back for another round with the Nazis, this time taking up residence in the fictional German town of Isenstadt. Here they believe is the center where they can harness the power of another dimension, called the Black Sun, and use its powers to overtake their enemies. B.J.’s job as an OSA agent is to stop their plans at all cost.

He quickly finds two resistance groups to the Nazi occupation of Isenstadt in the Kreisau Circle, making a return from the last game, and the Golden Dawn faction. The former does more physical work at actually getting the Nazis out of the town, while the latter is researching the Thule civilization and the medallion that supposedly connects to the Black Sun and getting it before the Nazis do. Early on B.J. finds one of the Thule medallions and is given the power to enter “the Veil”, tapping into the Black Sun dimension. This allows him to move quickly and see enemies as well as weak points better than with normal sight for a certain amount of time. This is just one of four powers you receive in the game that is tied to the medallion. Later on you acquire Mire to slow down time, Shield for obvious use, and Empower that allows you to shoot your weapons through shields as well as give your power to your ammo. Each of the four powers is engaged via the d-pad, one direction for each one. You can only use one at a time, so be prepared to switch on a dime at times.


The Thune medallion powers are the biggest difference between the previous one. The gameplay, for the most part, is similar. As I was playing through the single-player story, I was always thinking how playing it was like playing the original Call of Duty with a compass and golden star at the top showing me where to go. Then I remembered that both the original Call of Duty and its sequel were built on the id Tech 3 engine much like Return to Castle Wolfenstein was. Although this new game is built on the id Tech 4 engine, there are a lot of similarities to those early games. Unfortunately, we’re now in 2009 and although this is a competent sequel to RtCW, the simple fact is the game probably won’t be appealing to anyone looking for something new or exciting in the FPS genre. Instead this game will remind you of the influential FPS games from the early days of the genre and is obviously for those, like me, that have been following the series since it exploded onto the scene in 1992 with Wolfenstein 3D. It ends up being a hard game to review on a general level because it fits so well into my nostalgia space, but will probably not be enjoyed by people that haven’t played games almost a decade (or more) old.

The single-player portion of the game, developed by Raven Software, took me about 8-9 hours to beat. The in-game timer says roughly six hours, but I died plenty of times, especially towards the end and I don’t think the timer continues on through respawns. The difficulty certainly ramps up as new enemies are introduced such as the Veil Assassin, the Scribes, the Sniffers, and the Despoileds (dead Nazis resurrected as even stronger Veil-powered enemies). Luckily each of these upper tier enemies, except the Sniffers who attack in packs, is acknowledged by an audio clue so you know who you’re facing and can act accordingly with weapons and Veil powers. Usually you’ll want to whip out more sophisticated and powerful weapons like the Tesla Gun, the Leichenfaust 44, or the Particle Cannon to name a few. It makes the battles with the bigger baddies that much easier.


The weapons and Veil powers can also be upgraded by finding a Black Market location. There you can purchase upgrades like silencers, energy boosters, etc. or each weapon and/or Veil power with the money you’ve received from finishing missions and finding gold in each section of the game. One of the short loading screens loves to point out that you’ll never have enough money to upgrade everything and that is certainly true. So, you have to decide how you’re going to upgrade your weapons so that you have a variety of more powerful weapons to choose from. I will warn you that during the last sections of the game you’ll likely run out of ammo on some weapons, so be sure to save your favorite weapons as long as you can. They are nice enough to tell you this is the last Black Market you will see, so upgrade then (there is one more ammo dump at the very end, but only specific weapons have ammo at that spot). I didn’t have the use of my favorite weapon (the Kar98 rifle that is a good sniper weapon) at the very end of the game, but I was able to get through it. It was harrowing for a while, but I started to use the powerful weapons in short burst in order to conserve ammo for them.

Speaking of the end, the last boss is a major pain in the ass. It is a three stage heavyweight battle where the character uses the same Veil powers you have. It took me a lot of restarts to finish the last boss and I took a couple breaks to clear my mind of the anger towards not being able to move on. The good news is that there are checkpoints, but you have to make it through each section of the battle in order to be able to restart in the next section. There was also one point late in the game where I hit a checkpoint and a Veil Assassin, who can cloak themselves, came right up on me and killed me as the game was saving. My respawn hit at the same spot and I died a couple more times before I was able to maneuver and beat the enemy. I thought for sure I might be caught in an endless loop of no return, but I got out of it. Without a manual save system, you could get caught in a bad situation…so be warned.

The multiplayer section of the game, considered the best part of Return to Castle Wolfenstein actually fares not so well in the hands of Endrant Studios. You can choose between three classes: Engineer, Medic and Soldier. Each one has a special Veil power that you can use, but first you have to play a while and accumulate money for killing people in order to unlock upgrades. Team Deathmatch, Objective and Stopwatch game types are available. The most interesting one is the Objective type as you take part in the Resistance trying to defeat the Axis or playing as the Axis trying to stop the Resistance. Each of the 8 maps has two or more objectives for the Resistance to complete.


The multiplayer part is capped at 12 people (6 vs. 6) and you’ll immediately see why. The graphics that are crisp on the Raven developed single-player side are now fuzzy on the multiplayer side. I only spent a little time in the multiplayer playing some Team Deathmatch and two Objective games. The latter game type is fun, but the experience versus the single-player portion or other multiplayer games simply won’t keep you interested for long. This is most unfortunate because this game could have thrived much like its predecessor did in the multiplayer arena.

Wolfenstein is an above average game and one that will probably be more enjoyed by fans of the series than someone looking for something new in the FPS genre. This game doesn’t do anything special, but it certainly has a Jack of all trades feel to it since it is a rather polished experience. The story won’t win any awards, but it along with the gameplay should keep you entertained for 6-8 hours. It’s unfortunate that the multiplayer doesn’t pan out as well as Return to Castle Wolfenstein, but it just highlights the fact that this game is better off being rented than purchased. If it had come out a few years ago this game may have been a hot item, but when compared to other FPS games of today it just can’t stack up..

Score: 3.5 out of 5 CoGs


Loren says, ”Rent this game, especially if you’ve played the previous ones. I can’t see you getting $60 out of it unfortunately. I enjoyed the game for what it is: a nostalgic look back at the FPS genre of yesteryear. Hopefully id will be able to do something with the property now that it is taken internally.”

*Note - Review based upon the 360 version of game
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:32 AM   #2
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Kind of glad I skipped this one now.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:37 AM   #3
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Kind of glad I skipped this one now.
It isn't a bad game, it just comes out at a time where its gameplay machinations are past its time when compared to others in its genre. It does very much take you back to the 2 previous games though and in that it succeeds magnificently.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:52 AM   #4
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this is definately a rent. the mp is terrible, though the single player is redeeming. i quit playing when you fight basically the same boss twice. fun single player game, even as ridiculous as it was. But not worth $60.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:59 AM   #5
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will wait for the inevitable plummet in price. (to 20-15 or so)
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:02 AM   #6
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I just finished this on PC. I really enjoyed it - old school.
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:19 AM   #7
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I just finished this on PC. I really enjoyed it - old school.
Exactly, i liked this game a lot and played it from beginning to end. A lot more than I could say for Crysis/Far Cry 2. It wasn't terrible looking, it had the look, the feel like your mouse that you've been using for years. The 'powers' were fun and they made it look great despite the game obviously not being the best looking game in comparison to what i mentioned.

I really wish they played around more with the factions and made it so you wanted to work for them towards some sort of 'reward' or goal of some kind beyond money, weapon or power upgrades. The game would have been that much more fun if they had bigger side stories with climaxes of their own let alone build player relationship with the character so we even gave a shit when that thing happens.
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:29 AM   #8
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Yeah, all FPS get picked up at about $10-15 for me. Sometimes $20. I blow through them too fast for me to pay any more than that.

It looks up my alley, can't wait to pick it up cheap. Plus, it's Activision, so I don't really want to support them anyway.
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:45 AM   #9
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I'm waiting for it to drop to ~$25, I really enjoyed RtCW on the original XBOX, I have a feeling I'll enjoy this just as much.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:17 AM   #10
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i'll put it on my "buy if i'm bored and it's on a steam sale" list
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:39 AM   #11
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i'll put it on my "buy if i'm bored and it's on a steam sale" list
I'm with the fish.
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Old 09-01-2009, 11:50 AM   #12
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I'm with the fish.
Yeah, end all be all, this game's a rent and beat. I wouldn't advise paying 59.99 for it at all. If you're looking for a fun first person shooter that has tight controls, tight game play that keeps you interested and having fun, this is that game. It doesn't have a very long life span but it's fun for the time that you do play it.
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:38 AM   #13
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Yeah, end all be all, this game's a rent and beat. I wouldn't advise paying 59.99 for it at all. If you're looking for a fun first person shooter that has tight controls, tight game play that keeps you interested and having fun, this is that game. It doesn't have a very long life span but it's fun for the time that you do play it.
Correct. It's a great game for a rental. We beat it and felt like we got away with a good steal at rental price. But if we had purchased it...for say 20-25 we would have felt a bit dumb after we were done.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:20 AM   #14
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A better review than the ridiculously praising one at CaG. The multiplayer is beyond terrible, the single is OK at best, and it has horrible game killing bugs, as in you can get into a state where your console locks up EVERY TIME you try to create or access your save file, even if you delete it! It's a gamer profile corruption and well documented. Buyer BEWARE. Did I mention the achievememts are really bad and almost 100% multiplayer? Oh, and they fired the whole multiplayer development team, so kiss patches goodbye. This game was DOA. I personally gave it a 1/5. By comparison, I gave Batman AA and Shadow Complex a 5/5.
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:24 PM   #15
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I was waiting til it's a $15 bargain bin title.
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