Wolfenstein is the latest release in the legendary Wolfenstein game series, is the game the best so far?
In Wolfenstein you play B.J. Blazkowicz, a highly decorated member of the office of Secret Actions(OSA).
You are sent on a special mission into the heart of the Reich to investigate evidence of the Nazi’s possession of a new and mysterious power.
While behind enemy lines, you discover they have done much more than develop a new weapon. The Nazis are harnessing the power of a dark parallel dimension called The Veil; in order to create a weapon of war-ending magnitude.
Move between the Nazi’s dark reality and yours as you command an enormous arsenal of Resistance and Axis Weapons. You can also turn to the Black Market for weapon upgrades, or unleash the Nazis own dark powers and perverted science against them with supernatural weapons and Veil-enhanced firepower.
This game is so unlike the classic Return to Castle Wolfenstein (RtCW), which I deem to be best among all the Wolfenstein series – with that I’m sure you already know that this latest release doesn’t come up tops. 🙁
Was it bad? No it wasn’t, I’m sure you saw the ratings meter up there on the title already.
The Wolfenstein series has always been very simple – enter, fight, finish! It’s always a linear path, there’s no need to figure out where things are and what’s needed.
The latest installment now feels like it’s trying to be other games. This one for example, felt like a less-realistic STALKER. WTH!?!?!
Yes, you need to spend time walking around from mission to mission, objectives to objectives (eg. meeting people), to visit placed for purchase and upgrades and so on. What? Purchases and upgrades? Yes, you get to buy ammunition and upgrades.
And walking around? It’s unlike before where it’s mission to mission to mission, this time you get to actually walk around the town of Isenstadt when you’re not on a mission. (Here am I, sight-seeing around what seemed to be a pleasant town.)
Basically the missions are on varying areas around the locale while the town is for you to meet contacts and go around loot hunting.
Wait, did someone say loot hunting? Yes, if not, where do you get money for the upgrade? Look at the cost! Tactical scope is $3000! And that’s not the only weapon in the game, everything (except for the grenades) has upgrade options. Upgrades are done by contacting the Black Market. 🙂
So in the Wolfenstein world, there’s plenty of gold lying around. Looks like the people in town and the Nazi army are really careless in taking care of their moolah.
Oh and I did mention MEETING people, I don’t recall doing that in previous Wolfenstein games. 🙁 So now it’s about meeting people such as the various factions or groups, in order to acquire intel and mission objectives.
What really made Wolfenstein different from the previous installments is that BJ is now more like a sorcerer than a regular battle-hardened military personnel. WTH again? Yes, it’s something like Prince of Persia and MORE.
Normally FPS games assign buttons 1 for knife, or if not a pistol. In Wolfenstein, keys 1 to 4 are set for the magical powers by default. Oddly, sniper rifle is on #5. I’m really not used to this, because in most games, sniper rifles come a little later and have buttons 1 to 5 for the common weapons. Well, good thing I get to reassign keys.
Now about the Veil – put it simple, something was discovered and you now have skills to view the surrounding through a different dimension to unveil things of another dimension that you could use for your advantage, such as exploding creatures or secret paths that allow you to climb the wall or walk through it, such paths lead to treasures or areas to complete your objective.
The veil also allows you other abilities like Veil Shield (shielding from attacks), Mire (slows down time) and Empower (makes your attacks more powerful).
The veil depends on energy, the more powers enabled the faster it drains. You can replenish the energy by using the Veil Sight to locate various spots of energy source.
Now, what didn’t I like about the game?
1. Save points. There’s no QUICK SAVE / QUICK LOAD option. It goes by save points but unlike games like Lost Planet where the save points are designated, the save points in Wolfenstein are unmarked. This is damn annoying since it saves game when my weapons aren’t fully loaded, so assuming I encounter death when I am battling with the level boss then I would have to return to the last save point, and reload all my weapons again. 🙁 How is this not annoying? Sometimes I forget to reload and entered the fray of combat to go “oh sheeeiiiiii……” and die, reload the game to reload the gun again. Aihh…….. oh and best part is if there’s a cinematic between the save point and the boss, you’ll see the cinematics again.
2. The user interface is pretty unfriendly, it feels like a console game. (Enter to select, ESC to cancel).
3. Travelling around is annoying. Not only time is spent on travelling, time is also spent on clearing enemies since they are respawned.
4. The game feels more scientific than supernatural, hence I felt that Wolfenstein is more action packed but far less spooky compared to RtCW.
5. Auto health recharging is so unrealistic, something like the one in Rainbow 6. I miss those days where I had to survive with 30 health against a superior enemy, it’s all about skills.
6. Continuing from point #5, BJ is now a sorcerer with weapons. 🙁
Graphics and Sound
The game was graphically beautiful, it’s not like STALKER or CRYSIS but it’s still beautiful.
It uses an older and less powerful 3D engine, I finished the entire game with a GTS250 graphic card. The graphic details were set to maximum at 1680×1050 resolution. I think it’s a FINE example of how games should be, they should all be made more playable and not the other way around.
I think it’s horrible if a game could only run well with a GTX295. (a good example is Crysis.)
If we go into details, the game actually uses far less polygons that I would expect from an FPS that’s released in 2009. Not that it’s a bad thing though, just thought I’d highlight this. Sacrificing polygons for framerate is good in my book.
The cinematics were alright, the sprite details are simplistic. For example, clothes remain still despite heavy winds – as if the clothes had some wired underlinings to keep it in place. 🙂
Sound wise it’s predictable, explosions are explosions, bullets are bullets, maimed soldiers screaming in agony are as it is. 🙂 Interestingly the developers have “mein laven!” in the game and even the GET PSYCHED words when loading, this certainly brought back memories of Wolfenstein 3D.
Anyway, here are some clips from the game.
Network / Online Gaming
3 game modes – Team Death Match, Stopwatch and Objective. TDM requires no explanation I believe. Stopwatch and Objective are basically the same thing, except that Stopwatch keeps track of the ticker and the team completing the objective fastest wins.
As to online gaming, it was laggy at best. I couldn’t frag properly. I don’t know, probably it’s due to our lousy connection in Malaysia PLUS with the fact that it’s holiday season. 🙁
I thought that the game was fun to play, as you can see from the video clips – the game is FULL OF ACTION! There were annoyances, such as the ones I listed out earlier but to rate this game LOW just because of that wouldn’t be fair since it is still a good game.
I just felt that it lost the Wolfenstein appeal. Wolfenstein has all the while being about a lone hero against the Nazi and now he suddenly has magical powers. Not only that, the game doesn’t spook me anymore.
I remember playing RtCW (goldfries.com wasn’t around then) and it was THE game where I could run into the crypt (I often dash into the scene of combat like what you saw on the video) and to hear the undead rising from the ground, and it was so creepy I turn-tailed 180 degrees and hope to see something not too difficult to handle.
I miss those times where I’m left with 30 health points and I hear that super-uber Nazi robot with rocket launcher and gattling gun waiting to shred me to pieces – now I call THAT exciting!
And lastly……… why WOLFENSTEIN? I finished the game and I didn’t hear Wolfenstein at all, not once. I heard Isenstadt so often, I think the game should’ve been name ISENSTADT! Serious! The game has lost the Wolfenstein feel, there’s suddenly the availability of powers. We could call it ISENSTADT and call the hero Brad Pitt for all I care and it’ll still work, no? 🙂
Is the game worthy of the Wolfenstein name? I don’t know the answer. All I know that the game is fun but with some matters I didn’t like. Giving it some other name would’ve been better since carrying the WOLFENSTEIN name also meant that more is expected from it.