August 29, 2009

Wolfenstein Review for the Playstation 3

Erik Kubik Says At some point or another in our lives, all of us have played the original Wolfenstein 3D on one of the many systems for which it was released. That was 1992, today is 2009 and once again Id and Raven have given us another Wolfenstein. You’ll do one thing in this game: kill Nazis.

The year is 1943 and B.J. Blazkowicz is back to stop the Nazis from harnessing a powerful force known as the “Black Sun.” Wolfenstein has some tough shoes to fill. The game comes out behind such popular games as Call of Duty World at War, Bioshock, and 2001’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein. With the Wolfenstein franchise’s track record, gamers should expect new and interesting game play, well developed multiplayer, and a game that fits well into the next generation of fps’.

There is some truth behind that last statement. Graphically, Wolfenstein looks amazing, easily one of the best games I’ve seen to date on the Playstation 3. The textures are fantastic. Water droplets from streams and sewers splash up and obscure BJ’s vision. Combine this with great lighting effects, detailed character models, and flashy effects from the occult powers and it is easy to see where a good portion of the development went; although later in the game I noticed a few of the character models had issues with the textures of their faces and clothing.

Game play is action based; forget the puzzles and the COD-style, squad-based missions against overwhelming odds. It’s just you, as the NPC’s do little to help you fight and are simply there to provide the mission and plot updates. As I quickly found out, if you shoot fast enough you don’t need to be stealthy or try to seek cover. As you progress through the game, keep an eye out for secret stashes of gold and Intel, a staple part of the Wolfenstein series. The gold allows you to upgrade and customize your weapons, improving accuracy, damage, range, and clip size. You can also improve your supernatural powers. Want some real fun? Try stopping “all time” and blasting your enemies with an MP40 submachine gun from across the map. As mentioned earlier, the Intel helps the story move along.

One creative tactic Wolfenstein employs to distinguish itself in an over-saturated market is the in-game missions, which revolve around a central town-like hub. While you’re between missions, you can upgrade your weapons, talk to repetitive NPCs and kill ever-evolving Nazi patrols. Most of the time, you do not have to do missions in a linear form. The bad news is, as you travel from one part of town to the next, it can become repetitive with slow load times and stale Nazi patrols.

For the most part, the in-game weapons are the standard fare of other fps games. There are
grenades, rifles, flame throwers, etc. Weapons like the Particle Cannon and Telsa Cannon keep the rest of the weapons from becoming boring. The supernatural powers you receive are abilities to aid you. You can shield yourself, slow down time, enhance your bullets, and strengthen your vision. Originally, the powers felt cheap and gimmicky, but as the story progresses and the enemies become more powerful, the ability to shield yourself and shoot through their cover does come in handy. Killing enemies is rewarding, as they groan and gurgle when stabbed or shot, and burst in showers of blood when explosives are applied.

My least favorite aspect of the game was the multiplayer. Featuring three games modes, Team Deathmatch, Objective, and Stopwatch, and several upgrades, one would think Id was following on the Return to Castle Wolfenstein Enemy Territory’s success. Not so much, the multiplayer games are tough to find and when you do have an opportunity to play, the lag-filled game play and crummy maps leave much to be desired.

When all is said and done Wolfenstein is an above average fps. It has good graphics. The game features some new ideas. It has an exciting, gore-filled game play that lasts around 10 hours. The stale multiplayer and the bugs hinder the game from becoming great. My recommendation is to play a demo first, then make your decision.