I just finished the new Wolfenstein game a few minutes ago and figured I should write down some thoughts before I forget most of what happened. Not that it was necessarily a forgettable experience but I don’t always get to choose what information I retain. There were a lot of really cool parts to the game and overall I found it to be a pretty good for a FPS. I never actually played the original Wolfenstein so I imagine that all of the nostalgia and throwbacks are completely lost on someone like me. I should also mention that I played the Xbox One version, which supposedly looks the same as the PS4 game. Just throwing that out there.
Presentation, Story & Visuals, Etc.
The game begins with you on a plane that is under fire. You play as BJ Blazkowicz and are apart of a strike force that is raiding some Nazi-run location and trying to kill Deathshead, I think his name is. I wont go into any further spoilers other than to say that near the end of the first mission you are forced to make a decision that will put you in one of two timelines. So far I’ve only played through the game once so I don’t personally know how big a difference there is. I did search around and it seems that there is really only some minor changes and that the overall story is largely the same which really just makes it feel like a missed opportunity where they could have done something really interesting.
After the events of the first mission Blazkowicz is put into some kind of catatonic state and spends the next 13 years in an asylum. He is cared for by a lady named Anya, who seems to have a really creepy attachment to him, and only “wakes up” when he witnesses her life threatened. From there it’s several hours of killing off Future-Nazis and their crazy technology. After spending 13 years without moving he must have punched the concept of muscle atrophy in its metaphorical face since he is still totally jacked. The weirdest thing about the overall presentation of the game was its tone. I honestly could not tell if they were trying to be serious or if they were being silly on purpose. Blaskowicz is constantly muttering thoughts and musings through is teeth the entire time. Most of it all sounds serious until he says something like “You sent Nazis to the Moon? F#&^ you, Moon!”
Wolfenstein’s visuals aren’t bad overall. It’s doesn’t really seem to be doing much with the next gen systems, but it is a generation bridging game so that isn’t too surprising. The biggest problem with the visuals would have to be the textures. Many of them seem to be really low resolution and flat. I don’t recall having any other performance issues, though. I’m not great at telling the difference in framrate, but it seemed pretty good and stable.
Throughout Wolfenstein you will be running through levels, some quite large, and moving onto the next objective. The level design is mostly pretty linear but there are several instances I’ve found where you can take an alternate route to access an area, especially if you are going for more of a stealth approach. Sometimes you will enter areas with Nazi Officers which require that you take them out stealthily or else they will call in for reinforcements. Other than that the Nazi team roster consists of regular soldiers, shotgunners, rocketguys, attack dogs, robo attack dogs, metal suit guys, robot guys, an so on. Your typical Nazi armed forces.
There are 4 different upgrade trees which, if I can remember correctly, are: Stealth, Assault, Explosives(?), and… something else like assault. I’m drawing a blank here. Anyway, when you complete certain goals like “Get X Stealth kills” or “Get X Indirect kills with a dropped grenade” you get new bonuses. Sometimes, well mostly, it’s just passive bonuses but I think there are a few interesting ones like throwing knives. I think the tree I forgot had something to do with dual wielding, which is something you can totally do. Not a lot of games these days seem to offer than and it’s a real shame. As soon as you find another of the same weapon you can equip either one or two and go to town. I don’t think you can equip two different weapons, though. I tried to figure out if I could but so far it doesn’t look like it. I’m just fondly remembering holding a grenade launcher and RC-P90 in Goldeneye.
Most of the game will be standard FPS fare but there are a lot of really cool game moments. Most of them aren’t terribly long but they were some of the more memorable parts of the game. There’s one part of the game where you ride around in a little mech and shoot guys, drive a little submersible vehicle under water, walk on the ocean floor and even the moon! I like neat stuff like this and it kind of gave me a Red Faction 1 vibe, if that makes any sense.
In the end…
I liked Wolfenstein and enjoyed my time with it. It’s lengthier than your average FPS and I think the campaign is a good deal better than most other games where it seems like singleplayer is an afterthought. Each level has a bunch of stuff for you to collect if you are into that and there are several difficulty modes along with some special, hidden game modes. There is incentive to replay the game at least once which is more than can be said of a lot of other games.