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Raven Software



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08/18/09 Activision
(Add Date)
08/21/09 Activision

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Review: Wolfenstein

By ssj12 06th Sep 2009 | 2,974 views 

B.J. is back to stop the Nazis, again.

Wolfenstein is the second sequel to the great-grandfather of the FPS franchise. Without Wolfenstein 3D, the FPS franchise would probably be completely different or just not as successful as it is today. While speculating 'what ifs' is fine, what matters here is just how well does this new entry to the Wolfenstein franchise stack-up against the ever mounting competition and its roots. Raven Software, luckily, still knows what they are doing when it comes to games in this genre, and can still make William "B.J." Blazkowicz one of the greatest characters of all time.

While Wolfenstein isn't a direct sequel to Wolfenstein 3D, it does continue the story of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. After Blazkowicz thwarted Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse's Übersoldat Program at Castle Wolfenstein, he was assigned a mission to destroy a German warship before it launched missiles at the USA. Of course, BJ discovers an ancient artifact which could control the powers of the Black Sun Dimension, putting any hopes of a short reprieve to rest. William is sent to the German town of Isenstadt to begin his investigation and eventual battle to save the Earth from falling into the Third Reich's control.

This time around, Raven Software has decided to make Wolfenstein an FPS RPG instead of a standard FPS. This definitely changed the overall feel of the game, and extended the overall length by making the player have to find all the secrets of each mission in-order to afford weapons and ability upgrades. It has also allowed for side-missions and the new Veil power to fit the gameplay.

The controls in the game are very tight and responsive. Jumps can be easily managed, and controlling when you crouch or not is based on how fast you can hit the C key. Weapons aren't mapped to the number keys like most FPSs due to the Veil system. Numbers 1 - 4 control which power you choose to use; 1 allows for faster movement and better sight; 2 is Empower which increases damage and allows you to shoot through force-fields; 3 is an energy shield; 4 is time control, which slows down time to allow you to get through traps and slow down fast enemies. Each power is very useful when the time presents itself. The only time controls get wonky is during the final boss fight, but its intentional.

Gameplay is where Wolfenstein takes a slight hit. Other than the unique Veil system, this is nothing but a general FPS. Only major thing that differentiates this from traditional FPS would be that weapons and powers can be upgraded, and an RPG like mission structure. Missions are split into story and side-missions. The only thing that is majorly different between the two is length and goal. Typically, in side-missions you have to find something or kill someone. Story missions, as the name suggests, let you play through lengthy missions which end up with B.J. destroying an enemy base or killing a boss. The only main use for the side-missions is to earn money for upgrades and find the secret items. Both story and side missions have gold and intel to discover, but only story missions have tolems to find. After you beat the story once, you can play it again with four cheats that unlock; pumpkin heads; all weapons; all Veil powers; and infinite money. Unfortunately, there sometimes is a glitch where you will fall into an object you're standing on, but a simple jump or two will get you out.

The Veil System, powers that come from the Black Sun Dimension, comes into play right off the bat. It is used to find passageways and secret items, and as a weapon. Each power has its specific uses. There are traps and puzzles that each need a specific power in-order to navigate. The final boss specifically needs all the powers in the game inorder to beat. The Nazis also have technology that disables the Veil's powers. The area goes gray when you're around one of their Veil-negating lights. Simply shooting it destroys it and re-enables your abilities in the area.

The gameplay in multiplayer isn't much different than in traditional FPS's, other than the Veil system, and is extremely lacking. There are only three game modes. As expected, we get the standard Team Deathmatch. The other two are objective based game modes, Objective and Stopwatch, where one team attacks a target and the other defends or teams take turns at an objective trying to beat each other's best time. There are three classes in total to choose from; medic; engineer; and soldier. Each have virtually the same purchasable abilities and weapon upgrades. The only major difference is that each class has a additional holdable item to purchase. The medic and engineer also share the same two weapons, the MP40 and Kar98, while the soldier can use all five available weapons, including the flamethrower, rocket launcher and the MP43 .

In multiplayer, the Veil system is still used for quicker reaction time, but general powers are different and have to be unlocked. If you play as a medic you get a self-healing ability which will quickly give you a boost of much-needed heath. When playing as an engineer, you can move even faster. The soldier class has three Veil abilities to purchase. Each one makes his Veil Strike ability stronger and him immune to Veil strikes from others.

In singleplayer, the graphics are very nice. Details are rich and vibrant. Even wall textures aren't low-res. The engine used, ID Tech 4, has been used in other games since Doom 3, but Raven Software has done a nice job adding new features like soft shadowing and better lighting to make a vast improvement over previous games developed on this engine. Still, not all is well with the visuals. There are some random framerate drops, even with proper settings, in the caverns and final boss fight. When using your empowered ability, bullet holes flare in the walls, but they are very glitchy. They tend to flicker in and out, but sometimes they just appear as a normal bullet hole even if you haven't fired a single non-empowered bullet.

When it comes to the multiplayer, the graphics are a bit strange. There really doesn't seem to be many graphic settings, other than resolution, that really affect things. The graphics themselves are really nothing special. Details seem to take a hit and I don't understand why. You would figure the visual quality would be the same as the singe player mode even though they are separate applications. The only reason I can think of why there is a graphical drop is to reduce lag.

The overall presentation for Wolfenstein is pretty good. Everything in the story pieces together nicely. William "B.J." Blazkowicz is still Duke Nukem's rival in the race to be the most awesome thanks to great voice acting and character detail. He is like the James Bond of paranormal investigation and elimination. B.J. is pretty silent when it comes to combat, but his voice acting during Mission Complete screens and cut-scenes makes it clear he knows what needs to be done and that he has no problem wiping out a couple thousand Nazis in order to complete his mission. As stated above, the graphics are rich and detailed in the single player, but unfortunately lacking in multiplayer.

Wolfenstein has a pretty solid single player experience that gives players a reason to play through the harder difficulties. It is just plain fun. While it does have its downfalls it is easy to forget about them. The only thing that is unforgivable is the multiplayer experience. It's very lacking, which is sad for players who have played Return to Castle Wolfenstein or Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. At the end of the day we get a solid single player with poor multiplayer.

VGChartz Verdict


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Sales History

Total Sales
1 n/a n/a 161 40 201
2 n/a n/a 356 120 476
3 n/a n/a 294 100 394
4 n/a n/a 461 157 618
5 n/a n/a 496 168 664
6 n/a n/a 403 137 540
7 n/a n/a 512 174 686
8 n/a n/a 626 213 839
9 n/a n/a 815 276 1,091
10 n/a n/a 956 325 1,281

Opinion (4)

_mevildan posted 01/09/2009, 08:37
Campaign was good. MP not so much. ID Tech 4 upgrades made graphics pretty decent in the end. For me, a 7.5/10
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Katakis08 posted 30/08/2009, 01:20
great campaign, stunning graphics, much more story elements than the first part.
but: the multiplayer part is totally messed up. but MP hasn't be developed by Raven.
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Slimebeast posted 22/08/2009, 12:53
I'm 7% complete so far. I'm loving it. And I almost can't wait to go online.
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_mevildan posted 21/08/2009, 09:11
About 25% complete according to game save.
Way better than I expected so far.
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