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Wednesday | August 12, 2020
Wolfenstein (2009) – Xbox 360

Wolfenstein (2009) – Xbox 360


Wolfenstein is a name that is instantly recognizable amongst the gaming community and the forthcoming release has been one of the most hotly awaited this year. It is hard to believe that Wolfenstein 3d was released 17 years ago and was one of the key founding titles which brought first person shooters to the masses. Can developer Raven Software bring enough of a fresh slant to the Nazi shooter to make it a viable purchase in 2009?

You take control of B.J. Blazkowicz as he battles to stop the Third Reich german forces from developing a Black Sun energy based object into a superweapon. You are posted to the city of Isenstadt, right in the middle of hostile Germany. It is up to you and a local resistance group to stop the Nazi’s from gaining world domination.

Unlike the original Wolfenstein this isn’t a purely scripted first person shooter as the developers have integrated a city level environment which you use as a launching hub for the various missions. You can interact with various contacts to get tasks which direct you to the specific mission start points. After you complete the mission you return to the hub to start the process all over again.

In theory this hub system sounds like a great idea and while it adds a little something more to the process rather than just running down level and level in reality there is not much of a need for it. The Cityscape is very small and running from contact to contact only takes a few seconds and after a while it becomes more of a chore than something immersive and entertaining. Exploring the area won’t take long either and it seems rather pointless as the compass points in exactly the direction you need to travel anyway.

Some of the concepts seem rather similar to the latest Red Faction game because you complete missions for specific groups and then follow up by going to another group of people to complete those missions. This negates any feeling of an open world complete with free choices but it seems rather a moot point because this is meant to be Wolfenstein not Farcry!

Wolfenstein was always a game founded in magical, dark elements and this one is no exception. This time it is a magical amulet which gives the wearer (you) special powers. There is a bullet time option, a shield penetrating ability, a shield mode and a Veil Sight ability which lets you highlight weak spots on enemies as well as travel to an alternative dimension to get past some physical objects in the ‘real’ world. You can use these quite regularly as they are regained from many Black Sun recharge areas throughout the game.

Fighting in Wolfenstein is good fun because there is a lot of debris and shattered objects after a heavy firefight which makes everything look very realistic. Certainly it isn’t a fully interactive environment because you can not blow up buildings and major constructions, but the aftermath of gunfire is clearly apparent. Thankfully the developers offer a lot of weaponry which ranges from the usual rifles and SMG’s to the more high end particle guns which means you can dispose of the bad guys in a variety of spine tingling ways.

Weapons can be upgraded with the gold you collect on your travels and some of these upgrades are substantial – from accuracy to ammo clips and even the range.

Graphically the game is good with a very strong art style and some great use of textures on the environments. The city looks effective but the best settings appear when outside the confines of the city walls. The underground facility was one of my personal favourites due to the intense atmosphere it presented with the various sections inside. The engine pales in comparison with the Gears Of War engine but it is effective enough to set the tone for the Wolfenstein world. On an audio level the game is very strong as there are a wealth of ambient sound effects and gun sounds which work extremely well.

The single player campaign lasted for around 7 hours for me which is a reasonable amount of time in the gaming world today (although not massively impressive for the money). When you finish this you can always head into the multiplayer world which is somewhat graphically stripped down when compared to the single player experience. The Multiplayer aspect is decent but it failed to impressed me significantly as I think the whole concept is somewhat dated with support for only 12 players. I had a lot more fun with previous online experiences, especially with the Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory modification. This is not to say the game is bad in multiplayer but with only three modes it is a little limited in nature. Team Deathmatch is self explanatory and the Objective mode asks a team to complete a task while the other squad attempts to stop them. Stopwatch means that both teams take turns in an objectively based level and times have to be beaten. In practice there are no real penalties for getting wiped out as the respawn times are very short.

The 2009 version of Wolfenstein is fun, rather short lived and a little dated. Raven Software have created a solid game which unfortunately is a victim of the fact that it has been released in a very tough marketplace, with competition from very capable shooters such as Call Of Duty: World At War. I lost interest after a few hours of online gaming and the single player was beaten in a couple of days. Recommended, but a slightly disappointing release.


Shooting Nazi german soldiers is still fun and a trip down memory lane.
Effective and well detailed, but a little bland in today’s environment.
Very impressive effects and ambient noises.
7-8 hours single player and a little limited in multiplayer.

A decent outing which will sell on the basis of the name alone. Otherwise a little forgettable.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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