Wolfenstein hasn’t been placed in the best of positions. It’s being released right before what many consider to be the start of the holiday rush of video games. Granted with all the delays it’s not as much a rush as a sort of fast walk, but there are a lot of quality titles coming out and this week (with Batman Arkham Asylum, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Dissidia Final Fantasy and Professor Layton getting things going) is the beginning of it all. So a lot of people will look at this and decide “I’ll hold off, there’s a lot of good stuff coming out.” I have to say, this is probably the wisest course of action.
I’m not saying that Wolfenstein is a bad game. There’s fun to be had here and the game is overall well made, it’s just hard to recommend going out and buying it. I’m actually struggling to even come up with things to say about it, so get ready because this could be my shortest review ever.
If you’re a fan of nazi killing, it's been a great couple of weeks. Between this game and the release of Inglorious Basterds there’s a whole lot of nazi killing going down. On that level, this is very satisfying. You spend a great deal of time just mowing down wave after wave of nazis, and well that’s about the game. It very much echoes Brad Pitt’s speech in Basterds “We’re going to be doing one thing and one thing only….killing nazis”.
Again it sounds like a complaint, but it really isn’t. In this game, you pretty much don’t want to be shooting anything else. If all of a sudden you had to fight bears….that would be strangely awesome. Ok so that was a bad example, but you see what I’m getting at here.
Thankfully the shooting mechanics are well done so shooting nazis is as fun as it should be. It’s very, VERY, Call of Duty-ish, but it worked there and it works here. There are a great deal of different weapons you can pick up, and each one of them is upgradeable, so you have plenty of options of how to destroy some nazis.
There is a lot of variety in the weapons and some are just a hell of a lot of fun to use. One of them allows you to vaporize nazis into nothing which never got old however often I did it. Breaking out the flamethrower is always good for some grisly fun as well. Overall the combat in the game works well, but it’s certainly nothing groundbreaking.
The big unique feature in the game is the veils, which actually aren’t all that unique now that I think about it. The idea here is that each veil gives you a special ability, all of which are also upgradeable. You have one that lets you see secret doorways, another that slows time (almost an FPS staple now it seems), one that puts a shield around you and the final one makes you stronger and able to shoot through enemy shields. It’s not really anything you haven’t seen before, but it’s presented well at least. The shield is my favourite because it comes with an upgrade that reflects bullets back at the enemies. I’ll tell you, walking into a room full of nazis, turning that shield on and watching them all just suddenly crumble makes you feel damn good about yourself. It really is too bad I got that upgrade so late in the game.
If you do enjoy the game then there is a TON of stuff to search for that really adds to the replay value. In each mission there’s gold to find in order to purchase more weapon upgrades, intel which provides further details into the story, and tomes, which….I forget. Something to do with the veils though. Either way there is a lot to find and many of these items are very well hidden, so it will take some time to find everything.
I didn’t get a chance to mess around with the online multiplayer a whole lot, but from what I did play the experience seemed to run smoothly, and it was never very hard to get into a populated match. The big problem seems to be how stripped down the multiplayer seems. There are only three different modes (Team Deathmatch, Objective and Stopwatch) and each one is pretty run of the mill. It works fine, but I don’t think this is going to have a loyal multiplayer following for too long, especially with ODST coming in just a few short weeks.
Wolfenstein is a fun game, it just doesn’t leave much of an impression. You’ll play it, enjoy it for the six to eight hours it lasts, and most likely move on. I can easily recommend a rental, but as I said I would be hesitant to say this is worth the money, especially considering the slew of good stuff coming in the upcoming months.