Wolfenstein

Review

posted 9/9/2009 by Nathan Murray
other articles by Nathan Murray
One Page Platforms: 360
Wolfenstein has roots as far back as the Apple II and was originally a WWII stealth shooter hybrid that was revolutionary for it’s ability to produce sound effects. When id Software purchased the rights to the IP they transformed the 2D Castle Wolfenstein into Wolfenstein 3D, one of the first and most popular first person shooters ever created. Several sequels later and we now have Wolfenstein.  A  new Nazi supernatural threat looms and BJ Blazkowicz must piece together the mysterious of the fictional town Isenstadt. Staying true to its first person shooter roots, Wolfenstein doesn’t deliver any new and exciting gameplay but it does have a wacky and strange retelling of events in World War II that is pure Wolfenstein.

Despite the demise of Robo-Hitler, the Nazi war machine is going strong and BJ Blazkowicz, agent of the Office of Secret Action, has plenty of work to do. While on a mission to stop a Nazi destroyer from launching a missile attack on London, BJ finds a magic medallion. The OSA does some research on the medallion and evidence points to the Nazi occupied town of Isenstadt being the source of it’s origin. BJ is immediately sent to the town to investigate what is going on in the town and what the Nazi's are doing with the medallion.  This is where the plot usually stops in a Wolfenstein game. Instead of , say, contacting HQ and getting back up, BJ takes it upon himself to rid the town of Nazi soldiers and shut down the Third Reich’s attempts at siphoning magic energies from a parallel dimension to create super soldiers. There is a local resistance that doesn’t trust him and a group of Russians researching the Dark Sun dimension, the source of the magic energy, but their stories kind of fall flat in the face of OMG NAZI SUPERSOLIDER DIE DIE DIE type of action the Wolfenstein is packed with.

The Town of Isenstadt is a busy place. Not only is there the Nazi occupation to deal with but there’s an archeological dig, airport, warehouse, cannery, secret bases, and secret hideouts but there is also a giant Zeppelin hanging over the town. Wolfenstein runs the gauntlet of generic WW II shooter stages. The only objects in the environment that seem out of place are the pieces of advanced technology and mystical. The level design is varied enough that going from place to place doesn’t feel like a walk through endless corridors.

As with most World War II era shooters I took my normal approach to gameplay. Get the Kar 98k as soon as possible and rack up the headshots from a distance. Aside from the traditional German Nazi era weapons the MP40, potato mashers, MP43, Kar 98k, Flammenwerfer (flamethrower), and Panzershrek there are three super weapons that shoot various forms of blue light. The Tesla gun shots lighting at short distances, the particle cannon shots a steady blast of plasma energy that will literally melt faces, and the most impressive Leichenhaust 44 which is a magic energy cannon that fires blue energy orbs that explode on impact. While fun to use the ammo for these mega weapons is hard to come by out in the field and refilling the ammo at the black market can get very expensive very fast so unless you absolutely need them the more powerful cannons rarely get used. The best bang for your buck when making a purchase at the town’s black market is upgrades for your standard weapons so they have less recoil, more power, and better sights because these are the weapons you will be using the most. Gold is used to pay for these upgrades and this currency can be found scattered throughout the world with bonus gold being rewarded at the end of missions. I would have preferred a greater number of weapons rather than up grade options but then I guess there are only so many ways you can spray blue light at enemies.
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