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Wolfenstein review

Can the latest Wolfy live up to the series that gave birth to the FPS?

I just want to kick online ass

So Wolfenstein's single-player is overall a fun experience. The progression to increasingly outlandish weapons, enemies, and surroundings works to hold interest. The guns are spectacular, even in their mechanical simplicity. The graphics aren't impressive, but they get the job done well enough. For the 8-10 hour campaign, we were caught up in the story and the world it takes place in. For many shooter fans, though, multiplayer is crucial, if not the main draw.

Wolfenstein's multiplayer didn't impress us. Game types are the typical deathmatch and objective-based play, and if you played Return to Castle Wolfenstein, the class system will be familiar – it's nearly identical - this time with classes condensed to three: Engineer, Medic, and Soldier. The weapons are also fairly limited for obvious balance reasons, but the selection makes multiplayer mostly no different from any other WWII shooter.

The now-standard system of earning upgrades as you compete will make the dedicated and hardcore players happy, although it makes the barrier to entry higher than it needs to be, since newbies will be playing opponents that are not only more experienced, but also wielding better weaponry. It also seems to be a fairly slow progression, as the upgrades are expensive from a beginner's viewpoint.

We only got a few hours to play multiplayer, and we also sucked, getting our ass handed to us. It was hard to tell how much of the ass-handing came from superior skill and how much came from equipment. Once the majority of the population has upgrades, skill will be the only factor, but regardless, it's not friendly to newbies. We used to play a lot of multiplayer in Return to Castle Wolfenstein, so it's possible that with time the latest iteration would grow on us, but frankly we don't feel compelled at all to play it more. We won't be surprised if the multiplayer community becomes full and happy, however.

Is it better than…

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Not quite. WaW is prettier and has considerably more polish all-around. It also nails raw excitement with its scripted events in a way that Wolfenstein can't match. However, Wolfenstein brings its supernatural component, making it more than just another WWII shooter. For those that like more imagination and less realism, Wolfy may be the better choice.

Resistance 2 (opens in new tab)?
Hmmm, nope, misses the mark here, too. Both feature WWII-ish settings infringed upon by fantastical elements. Resistance features more interesting weaponry in their tactical applications, although Wolfy wins out in sheer fun-feedback. Resistance also brings much more imaginative scenery in its Chimera-tech areas.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein?
Perhaps it's unfair to compare new Wolfy to such an old game, but come on, it's the sequel. New Wolfy has way better weapons, and the free-roaming hub world will feel more advanced to some, but might not matter to others. The multiplayer is basically the same, but it felt fresher back in Return's heyday. So is Wolfy a worthy successor? For pure fun, definitely.

Just for you, Metacritic!

Spot-on Wolfenstein atmosphere combines with gleefully vicious weaponry to serve up a tasty smoothie of good old-fashioned Nazi-frying. It lacks in the new idea department, but it has fun aplenty.

Aug 18, 2009

More info

DescriptionWolfenstein is nothing groundbreaking, but there are still plenty of Nazi fodder to elimate with some incredibly satisfying weapons.
Platform"PS3","PC","Xbox 360"
US censor rating"Mature","Mature","Mature"
UK censor rating"Rating Pending","Rating Pending","Rating Pending"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
My new approach to play all games on Hard mode straight off the bat has proven satisfying. Sure there is some frustration, but I've decided it's the lesser of two evils when weighed against the boredom of easiness that Normal difficulty has become in the era of casual gaming.