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Review: Wolfenstein
by Matthew Meadows
28.9.09

Those of you who aren’t familiar with older video games may have never even heard of Wolfenstein before, allow me to educate you – Wolfenstein was one of the pioneers of the FPS genre that is... well it’s pretty darned popular, isn’t it? This game’s ancestor, Wolfenstein 3D (that ran on MS-DOS) may not look pretty to the eye, but its influence on modern gaming cannot be overstated. Such a shame is it then, that Wolfenstein does nearly nothing new for the ever so slowly stalling genre.

But hey, do you like shooting guns? At Nazis? Well then my friend, ignore the rambling diatribe above and go out and buy Wolfenstein. Yes, as you may have imagined this game is an incredibly competent first person shooter that makes good use of a very well made upgrade system and some cool magical powers.


Wolfenstein’s “plot” is little more than a flimsy premise to set you on your way to capping some olde-worlde skinheads. That isn’t necessarily bad, per-se, and didn’t really influence my enjoyment of the game; I mean, if you wanted a deep meaningful story... well, you probably shouldn’t be considering playing a game in which the main character is constantly addressed as ‘BJ’. Go to the German WWII town of Isenstadt and kill the leader of the ‘Nazi Paranormal Division’? Sure, why not. Use the magical crystals to walk through walls? Absolutely.

The game completely quashes any smouldering embers of narrative left by making every single German (that’s pretty much everyone in the game apart from ‘BJ’) have a terrible, terrible accent, that reminds me of some sort of semi-racist impression of a Nazi which your drunken uncle might impose upon you at a wedding. Then... well, towards the end, a character that is reasonably important in the grand scheme of things dies in a gunfight. This may sound reasonable, but the game presents this as some kind of huge calamity when you have talked to this character for literally at most; 2 minutes. It was at this point I realised Wolfenstein was awesome.


Sure, it has a terrible story, but you know what: Raven Software doesn’t give a damn, and neither should you. The shooting system is terrific, there are eight weapons in all that will absolutely quench your blood lust, and dude, when you shoot a Nazi’s head, it pops off like a coconut in a sideshow. Speaking of weapons, as I mentioned earlier, they are all super upgradable, to a point where at the end of the game I was completely unstoppable, mowing down Nazi’s with a super-charged laser cannon that leaves a smouldering pile of bones. During the course of the game you pick up four crystals, one that allows you to see things not visible in the real world, one that allows you to slow down time, one that deploys a bubble shield, and one that gives you extra damage power. However, these magical powers won’t last long - at most 15 seconds - meaning the fight isn’t too unbalanced.

It’s probably worth mentioning that Wolfenstein has a multiplayer component. The little I played of it (about 45 minutes in all) was really enough to prove to me that it was passable. There’s a Team Deathmatch and two objective based modes that really just add another bullet point on the back of the game’s box. However competent it is doesn’t really matter, however, as I’m willing to bet that within a couple of months the servers will be empty.


Wolfenstein isn’t pretty, it’s not got some new “cutting edge” art style, it wasn’t written by J.J. Abrams and its multiplayer is forgetable, so if you want any of those things, move along. However, if you like shooting then you’ll get a good solid 8+ hours out of this game that are incredibly enjoyable, even if only for low-brow thrills.


Matt

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- Matthew Meadows

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