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Score: 89%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Raven
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

No matter when you started gaming in your life, you have heard of or crossed paths with one version or another of Wolfenstein. This game reminded me that, a long time ago (and I feel it was a million years ago), Apple Computers used to have games. I am admittedly, old enough to have an Apple II to play Wolfenstein 3D on. Soapboxes aside, the newest chapter, simply named Wolfenstein, is meant to take place after Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which, well, was the sequel to Wolfenstein 3D. Considering the 17 years between the first FPS title and this one, there are probably only a few that will have followed the entire lineage of the game. But those who have, or even those picking up Wolfenstein for the first time, will not be disappointed at all with the wait.

The game's graphics and rendering are very well done for the actual gameplay. There are places where the dressings for the world are a bit random and out of place. Areas such as the hospital, that are riddled with beer bottles and sledgehammers. But unless you are looking to pick these types of things out, then you will never notice through all of the action going on. One of the issues with trying to make everything so detailed is that sometimes the animations cannot keep up with the graphics. So even though the look of the game is beautiful, the cut scene animations, of which there were a lot, all had robotic hand syndrome and the "My head is bobbing so you know I am talking" acting method.

The sound and Foley sound effects are very well done. You depend on the quality and the accuracy of the sound to know when enemies are approaching. I dare say this is one of the few games I have nothing but great things to say about the sound quality. This includes the weaponry effects, voice acting, and musical scoring. Every detail felt polished.


The original main storyline for the Wolfenstein series, as I remember it, was that Nazis are bad and they do bad things. Not a huge deviation here in Wolfenstein. They are an easy enemy as Nazis were a fairly universal evil to deal with. Take Nazis and add in the pursuit of world domination through the occult and you get this nice, blurry line between facts from WWII and the fiction of possible success. This has provided compelling, imaginative, and interesting game material for the franchise.

You will once again don your moniker as William "B.J." Blazkowicz to take on the Nazis. You will also find an old nemesis has returned with Wilhelm "Deathshead" Strasse reinstating his Übersoldat program. This time, instead of genetic and surgical experimentation, you will have to deal with the discovery of the Veil device and the dimensional powers they refer to as the Black Sun.

When it comes to firepower, there is no shortage here. You do have the standard fare of historically accurate weapons. All of these weapons are actually German specific, so you are making use of whatever you pick up as you go. You have your MP43, KAR 98, MP40, Panzershreck, and Flammenwerfer, all of which are accurate to a point. After the standard weapons come the cool toys. There is the Veil Beam Weapon that will pack a huge punch much like the Ghost Busters' pack. The Tesla Cannon will shoot a massive bolt of continuous beams of electricity at your target, stunning them, then electrocuting them. The Leichenfaust packs a massive punch, and even disrupts gravity in the area for a bit.

The weapons are definitely the toys to play with, but you are also empowered with very special and dangerous tools. The Veil device or amulet adds four powers to be called when needed. The first is Veil Sight. Triggering this will allow you to see enemies more clearly and move faster. It will also allow you to see hidden passages where you can pass through some walls and climb others. I loved the detail that if you are inside of a wall and turn off Veil Sight, it will kill you. Not inside of the hidden area, mind you, but where the wall actually is. Next was Mire. This slowed down time and allowed you to pick off enemies or retreat, if needed. The third power of Shield would be there to protect you for a short time when needed. Lastly was Enrage, which would allow you to deal more damage and penetrate other Veil shield devices to hit what was hidden behind them.

The multiplayer aspect of the game is entertaining, but is not nearly as robust as Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. I am afraid the multiplayer aspect may be relegated to Pick Up Groups and office rivalries, instead of the intense competitive play I would have hoped for.


After 9 long hours into Wolfenstein, I was 70 something percent through the game when I hit a roadblock. This is not a common thing for me. Sure, I have hit snags in gameplay before. Some of these snags have even forced me to look up the answer online. But even on Normal, I have been stumped on how to complete my current mission. Either I all of the sudden stink at FPS's, the mission is just that challenging, or I am not given enough information to understand the task. Well, I hope it is not the first. It is indeed a very challenging game at any setting. And, there are scraps of information gained from each of the failed attempts to defeat the enemy. Either way, I am frustrated. As for the previously mentioned settings, there are four levels of difficulty to start from. These are Easy, Normal, Hard, and Uber. I praise the man who can actually pull off the Uber. I refuse on principle to look this issue up, because admittedly it isn't an obscure puzzle that has been tossed into the game. I just can't kill the targets fast enough to understand how to complete the mission. I will get it, though. Good luck on your end.

Game Mechanics:

At first, I was a little put off by seeing the exact same maps and enemies as you constantly made your way back through the Midtown section of Isenstadt. I understand why you would do this design-wise, but I would have expected there to be a more sensible form of escalation. Basically, as you encounter new enemies in missions, they are magically added to the baddies that would be after you in the repeated streets of Midtown. I was glad to see very diversified portaling throughout the missions. If you don't know what that is, it is just a tool that prevents the engine from drawing all of a map at one time. It allows it to be sectioned off until you enter these air lock-like zones. This saves time, memory, and processor space. In space games, you may see the same bulkhead over and over again. Here, it was different looking rooms, most of the time. Well, most of the times you were not going through the same areas, that is. I did like how maneuverable all areas were. Even though the "to and fro" of the main areas were repetitive, they were diverse. I did not experience that claustrophobic feeling that plagues many FPS's.

The game had very little to offer in the way of "new and innovative." That may sound like a dig, but it really isn't. What they lacked in innovation, they more than made up for in rock solid gameplay. I bragged on the sound aspect before, but it is important to the immersion and cohesion in a game. It is a great mix of intense, gung-ho battle mixed with strategic positioning and patience.

The game was a rock solid showing for the series. It was exactly what I expected for an FPS with a history such as this. The story was clearly driven from A to B, but it was entertaining, and may I dare say just plain fun to play. The new weapons, the mission re-playability, and difficulty all made for a truly entertaining game experience.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:

Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz, or an AMD Athlon 64 3400+ processor, 1 GB RAM, 256 MB Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT, or ATI Radeon X800 graphics card. 8 GB (plus an additional 800 MB for the Windows swap file), the Windows XP or Windows Vista, DirectX 9.0c, DVD-ROM, 100-percent DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card, broadband connection for the multiplayer portion.

Test System:

Dell XPS DXP061, XP Pro, Intel Core 2 Quad, 2GB Ram, Gforce 8800GTX

Related Links:

Windows Hearts of Iron III Nintendo Wii Brave: A Warrior's Tale

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated