posted 9/9/2009 by Nathan Murray
other articles by Nathan Murray
One Page Platforms: 360
The Nazi may have their uber soldiers but BJ isn’t without some nifty powers himself. During the initial investigation of the town BJ finds another medallion and discovers how to control the powers it posses. As you advance through the game more powers are added(for a total of 4) which can also be upgraded at the black market. These upgrades are unlocked by finding bits of intelligence scattered around the levels as well as tomes. Using the medallion transports BJ to the veil, the dimensional pocket just between our own and the black sun dimension. While in the veil BJ will move faster, gain super powered sight, slow down time, super charge the equipped weapon, or raise a shield of veil energy to block projectiles. Each of these powers is mapped to the D-pad which means they are somewhat impractical to use during combat. Using the veil powers isn’t a challenge during slow minded AI opponents but having to stop moving long enough to access those powers during an online match is risky at best.

The super Nazi are the real stars of the show here. Invisible assassins, mindless carnal sniffers, super fast and shield using psychics, plasma cannon wielding heavily armored soldiers, and the undead energy saturated skeleton Nazis are all out to give BJ a bad day. With the occasional boss fight, these were the encounters I always looked forward to since I could put away my rifle and pull out the big weapons. Energy burst and flew everywhere, explosions rocked the ground, and space time itself threatened to breakdown. During these epic battles one of two things would happen; I would be dead in 10 seconds and have to restart at a check point or I would win in 20 seconds. In the end Wolfenstein is like a bad lover, they make you put up with all their boring everyday crappy, and when you do finally get to the good stuff it doesn’t last long enough to be satisfying.

Conveniently, everyone speaks in English with some sort of accent, except BJ, so all the dialog felt a little awkward to listen to. This constant use of English was occasionally broken up by a few German words here or there. I guess the development team couldn’t afford to hire translators to take the English script and translate it into German. Then again Wolfenstein isn’t really trying too hard to be authentic. The weapons and grenades explode with deadly sound and the energy weapons are particularly satisfying in their snap crackle pop of exploding vaporizing discharges. Mean while a generic track of action movie music plays in the background, which adds intensity and a sense of urgency to fights.

Achievement hunters out there should not expect any easy points. Play through the game will get you a couple hundred but the majority of the achievements are online multiplayer  or are ridiculous hard i.e. finish the game without dying more than 3 times, and take a lot of time and effort to achieve. The Online multiplayer has three modes, a progressive unlock system based on a cash for kills system, and is filled with lag and FAIL. Anyone with a little bit of patience can find some frantic frustrating fun in Wolfenstein multiplayer. Anyone with Halo 3 or Call of Duty 4 won’t touch this with a ten foot pole.

With 10% of Wolfenstein consisting of great explosive action and 90% made up of long treks over the bodies of Nazi soldiers just to kill more Nazi soldiers that look exactly the same, its hard for me to recommend this game to anyone. As far as WW II shooters go, I would put this one somewhere in between Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway and Turning Point Fall of Liberty. Even the veil powers have been done before in games like Prey and TimeShift. I guess if your feeling nostalgic for older Wolfenstein titles you could check this one out but this mix bag of generic FPS fare won’t appeal to anyone else.

The a franchise that should die or at least die on consoles. The Wolfenstein franchise was what everyone else mimicked and now it's just a shadow of it's past glory. For a game with roots in some of the greats of the past its sad but not surprising that Wolfenstein is nothing but a generic FPS with nothing particularly unique to offer.

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