Wolfenstien is back. It looks better that ever. Since the last game in 1999, it has changed, but still stayed the same. It also lost something too. This is a game about reinventing some parts, and keeping the tired and true formula intact. The question is, can it capture its old flame?
You've Been Warned:
Before I get started reviewing the game, there was a problem starting the game. The game would not start. I would launch the game and it would crash. I checked the forums and found that updating the drivers would do the trick. It did. So to everyone reading this review, be sure to update your graphics drivers.
Gameplay and Design:
The gameplay is a bit of old school meets some elements of stealth gameplay. You have a choice (mostly) in either to go at it with guns blazing, or stealth. If you choose guns blazing, two guns in your hand. This is the old school way. Running around with two shotguns in your hands. When firing weapons it feels like they have weight every time you fire a weapon. Most enemies do not feel like a bullet sponge, that take a half a clip to kill. You can also be stealthy in this game. Crouching and coming up from behind and killing soldiers and dogs. You also have a silence pistol and throwing knives. You can play this game stealthy mostly. There are times where the game does not allow you to. There is an RPG or role-playing game element to the game. You certain criteria to meet to unlock throwing knives, to a quicker reload of your weapons. During the game you can also have a weapon/tool. This weapon can cut chains, fences, and some of the walls. Using this tool can help you find better routes. This weapon/tool is also upgradable throughout the game. Most weapons are upgradable too. The sniper rifle can turn into a laser weapon. The machine gun can also can have an attached missile launcher. There is a bit of nostalgia when you are at the resistance base and find a bed. This bed when moving your cross-hair over it, says, “Nightmare.” This then launches you into the original Wolfenstien. The gameplay and different ways to kill people is satisfying. The game is simple, but challenging enough so that you aren't frustrated and slamming you had in frustration, but not too easy that you feel godlike. You will not be disappointed taking out a few Nazi or the whole army.
The design for the most part does a great job with a delicate balance for allowing players to be stealthy or guns blazing and finding cover when needed. The developers implemented a lean mechanic in place, so you can take pop shots off the enemies. Unfortunately, there are times when the enemy AI is not intelligent. I've seen at times when the AI would just run back and further, but for the most part they were taking cover, and shooting back with good accuracy. There really was not one problem with finding some cover, or another around. This game is mostly a corridor shooter, but there are some open areas for players to have an opportunity to go guns blazing, or go the stealth route. Even though the corridor effect, did drive the story further, there were times exploration would have been beneficial.
Graphics and Sound:
Using the latest Id graphic engine all character models look detailed and the characters display emotions. The physics in the game were pretty stellar. When shooting your weapon the bullets would chip away. Everything looked crisp and clear. There were a few times there was some screen tearing. There were also some experiences in the game world not fully rendered in a couple of seconds. This was the same common problem that plagued Rage when it came out. I found it odd that the real slow down time was when Betheseda and Machine Games logos came up in the beginning of the game. This happened every time I played the game. I played at a high graphic level and rarely had slowed down or lag in the game. The sound in the game was great. The richoets from the bullets felt I was a part of the action. To the armored units, mechanical gears sounding realistic. Even the beginning sequence with the roaring sound of the plane The voice acting was very well done. It's slick and you feel you like you are connecting with the characters involved.
The plot is very straightforward. You are an ex American soldier living, in a Nazi controlled world. You want to bring down “Death's Head” the main villain. BJ Blazkowicz is the hero from the first Wolfentstien game. There is a mixture of characters you meet along the journey to bring down this vast empire. The strong female proganonist/love interest. That helps you escape the hospital. The former general who is a woman. The writers took some liberties, but its not bad, just not fitting for how the time period would have been. However, it the characters were varied and interesting. They also had a couple, of a cougar and her cub. It was a strange, but entertaining to see the character interaction. The story takes you from storming the beaches of Normandy, to Berlin, even the moon! There is a moon base. It's like they took a lot of cues from the 1960s movies. My one grip is that there was a lot of exposition. It seemed half the dialogue was the main character speaking, and being philosophical. It's a common one man hero, but it serves this game well.
Is it Worth the Buy?
For the play test it took about 12 hours, or 3 to 4 nights to beat on a medium level. I would recommend this game to anyone that is working. It has a longer campaign than most first person shooter. However, there is no mutliplayer. The developer decided to focus on the campaign and decided against it. This is a game worth the 60 dollars. Even with the few graphical hitches and downloading the new graphics drivers, there will be a few things to be disappointed about. This is worth the 4 out of 5 stars. Any working man should get this game. It could take you a couple of weeks to beat it. So go find it on sale and have some fun shooting some Nazis.