Wolfenstein is a video game collaboration from id Software and Raven Software. The game has spent several years in development, and has faced certain expectations due to the quality of the older games. Wolfenstein beat my expectations when it comes to single player, but falls very short of meeting my multiplayer expectations.
B.J. Blazkowicz is back to once again conquer the Nazi regime. Along the way, B.J. encounters several Nazi generals, guards and experiments that are there to put an end to B.J’s rampage. The premise is that the Nazis have developed a dark force known as the “Black Sun” which threatens to make the Reich more powerful than ever imagined. B.J. must find and harness the power of the Veil in order to take the Nazis down.
Unique to this new Wolfenstein is the “HUB” world where B.J. travels to find missions and get information. It’s an interesting concept with flaky execution. All I usually found myself doing was following the marker to the next mission, because there isn’t anything worth exploring in this rather empty town.
Gameplay in Wolfenstein is akin to Call of Duty in a lot of ways. Sprinting makes its first appearance in the series, along with an upgrade system with many perks available for purchase. In each level, there are several collectables within them that, once picked up, allow you to purchase these upgrades. The upgrades can only be purchased at sections of the town called Black Markets. Each and every gun and veil power can be upgraded–provided you’ve got the dough to pony up. During my playthrough, I did not encounter enough gold to upgrade every weapon, but enough to upgrade quite a few of my guns.
The special weaponry found in Wolfenstein is what makes it stand out from the rest. The Veil allows B.J. to harness four special powers which include sight, slow-mo, shielding and empowering bullets. Each power can be combined with one another, but takes significantly more Veil power to maintain. Across each level are certain recharging spots that allow you to recharge the Veil. My favorite combination was the shield with empower. Not only did it make me practically invulnerable but it also made the enemies’ shields worthless. Along with the Veil, there are also plenty more weapons unique to Wolfenstein such as the Particle Cannon and Tesla Gun. These special weapons along with the Veil make Wolfenstein stand out a bit from the FPS crowd.
Although the weaponry and upgrades make for a unique experience, it’s not always a good one. Each level is exactly the same; go into the room, kill each enemy, throw a switch, advance. Throughout the 5-6 hour campaign, this is the bulk of the game. Thankfully, there are a few boss fights to offset the monotony and breathe life into the campaign. Each boss requires use of a Veil power and once you figure out which Veil power to use, the boss can be disposed of rather easily.
The multiplayer in Wolfenstein is what I was anticipating the most. As a big fan of Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War on the original Xbox, I expected this multiplayer mode to at least match it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t even come close. My favorite mode from the original game, elimination, is nowhere to be found and with it also went any kind of team strategy.
There is a three class system here featuring the engineer, medic, and soldier. Engineers’ main tasks are to complete objectives in objective modes along with handing out ammo, medics hand out health and can revive fallen teammates, while soldiers serve no special task but have access to a more diverse set of weapons. Each class can purchase upgrades just like in the singleplayer game. The Veil powers also make an appearance but in a limited capacity. As of posting time, the game also suffers from extreme lag along with a bug that erases player’s money without warning, requiring them to do all the work over again to obtain upgrades. I would have to say the multiplayer is not very well designed and combined with the bugs will not keep many people playing for long.
In the end, Wolfenstein could have been a good game. After enjoying all previous efforts in the series, it’s almost embarrassing to see this bare the name. The single player is at best unique and the multiplayer is just not good at all. If you’re a big Wolfenstein fan like myself, I can only recommend staying away as nothing but disappointment lies in this new Wolfenstein.