We have another video game review for you – a review of the most recent title in the Wolfenstein series. This time we have a bit of an added open world approach to the weird-science Nazi action. The question is, how well do the changes work out.

General Information

Title: Wolfenstein
Developer: Raven Soft
Publisher: Activision
Platforms: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), Playstation 3, PC

Release Date: August 18th, 2009
Genre: First Person Shooter

Available from Amazon.com

Premise

B.J. Blazkowitz, secret agent for the Office of Secret Actions, comes across a medallion with magical powers while thwarting a missile attack from the German warship Tirpitz on England during WWII. The investigation of the medallion and the Thule Society’s plans for it will take Blazkowitz deep into Fortress Europe.

High Points

Blazkowitz is extremely well characterized. Between the voice actor’s performance, the character’s animations, and the dialog, the character feels a lot like the kind of character played by Kurt Russell in the late 80s and early 90s. While the character doesn’t have any major degree of emotional range nor any particular back-story, by writing the character in this fashion, it gives the character a lot more life then he would if he was just square-jawed protagonist #43.

The missions themselves tend to be very well designed. They have an excellent transition over the course of the levels from the mundane to the gonzo. As an example, one of the levels starts out with the player sneaking through a farm occupied by Nazis, and seems rather mundane. Then you find the secret passage on the farm leading to the massive underground base with Nazi sorcerers controlling demon monkeys.

Low Points

The open world segments of the game are executed very poorly. While the game has three factions (the Black Market, the Resistance, and the Order of the Golden Dawn), only two have missions (the Resistance and the Golden Dawn), and of those the Golden Dawn only supplies one mission. Consequently, the open-world sections of the game seem to exist to pad out the game’s already short (10 hours) length.

Also, unfortunately, as this is a 2 year old game, very few people are playing this game online. As it is, none of the weird-science weapons from the single-player campaign (for example, the plasma cannon and Tesla Gun) carry over to the multiplayer as well, leaving the game with a multi-player experience that is rather tame by comparison to the Medal of Honor games.

Content Notes

There is minimal profanity, but when enemies in this game die, they die bloody. Limbs can be amputated by automatic weapons, and when you score a head-shot, the enemy’s head explodes into bloody chunks.

Scores

Originality: This is a sequel to Return of Castle Wolfenstein, and is part of a long running franchise, though it does include a few new game-play elements. 3 out of 6.

Story: The game’s story is more than a little bland – go to area, kill Nazis, occasionally kill Super-Science or Occult Nazis, repeat (occasionally before the area blows up around your ears). 3 out of 6.

Graphics: While this game isn’t gorgeous looking, it does still look good. Graphics flow smoothly, and I never found myself getting motion sick, which is a problem I occasionally have with FPS games with choppy graphics. 4 out of 6.

Sound: The quality of the game’s sound effects are very good, and the dialog performances in the game are generally fantastic, with a few shout-outs to earlier games as well (SS troopers crying out “Mein Lieben” when shot at). 4 out of 6

Playability: The game controls incredibly well, and the shooting in the game works very smoothly. Powers are easy to execute. 5 out of 6.

Immersion: The HUD is pretty minimal. While you can carry 8 weapons total, there’s an organic way to hot-key two of them, allowing you to quickly switch between two as need for fights, without having to constantly go through menus. 5 out of 6

Overall: This is a very entertaining, slightly gonzo FPS which treats its subject matter with the exact amount of seriousness it deserves. It’s not to straightforward about it, nor is it too over-the-top. Less Quentin Tarantino, more John Carpenter. 5 out of 6.

In Total Wolfenstein gets 29 out of 42.