ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Hands-on with the latest next-gen chapter in the old school series that started it all

For many gamers, Wolfenstein 3D was the first great shooter they played. Now, Raven Software’s working on a new Wolfenstein title, the latest next-gen chapter for the series that started it all. But will this modern Wolfenstein really offer fans anything new besides nostalgic memories of the original? The question only begs more questions:

Is it fun?
Will Mecha-Hitler finally make his big comeback?
How many Nazis does it take to screw in a light bulb?
And just how much does a can of soda cost at Raven’s office?

We took our queries straight to the developer’s headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. The answers: Yes, no, twelve, and zero. That’s right. The soda machines at Raven spit out drinks for free. With all that pop flowing like wine, it seems that immediate access to a steady flow of caffeine and sugar have helped the team come up with some exciting additions for a Wolfenstein comeback.

Above: Seriously, they’re free

The game takes place after the events in Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Heinrich Himmler’s plans to create an army of undead slaves have failed. But the Germans are still looking for new ways to ruin the world with their occult powers and our hero, BJ Blazkowicz is sent to investigate.

Your first mission sends you to a train station in the city of Eisenstadt to investigate enemy activity and search for clues about a mysterious medallion you stole in the game’s opening cutscene. Blazkowicz is still a man of few words and lets his bullets do the talking as he methodically works his way through the station, taking out enemy soldiers and sabotaging their equipment along the way.

The visuals aren’t revolutionary, but they are impressive. Little details - like the propaganda posters that overlook floors smeared with the blood of your victims and effects like the drops of water that slide down the screen when you’re crawling through a sewer - make a big difference.

Above: Don’t expect Wolfenstein to be another run-of-the-mill WWII shooter

The action is solid and features everything you’d expect from a shooter set in World War II. You’ll cook grenades and lob them at enemies behind cover, snipe foes from a distance, mow down squads with a machine gun, and rifle-butt anyone dumb enough to invade your personal space.

But it doesn’t take long for Wolfenstein to remind us that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill WWII game. “It’s set in World War II, but it’s really a science-fiction game… Wolfenstein has this cool history of dark science and occult – and we really wanted to push that,” explains Eric Beissman, creative director at Raven Software. No kidding. Suddenly, there’s a loud explosion and all the enemies in the train station start floating in the air. It’s ragdoll comedy at its best. There’s no time to wonder why gravity decided to take the day off, so we start shooting down our helpless targets as they flop about.

We recommend