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SummaryWolfenstein - new saga, familiar characters, fun gameplay.
The GoodThis review will focus only on the merits of the Xbox 360 console version of the game. I didn't play any multiplayer only because no one was playing. For historic interest see: http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/castle-wolfenstein-series by year.
I usually don't play my FPS games on a console, but I couldn't refuse a complete copy of Wolfenstein for $7 on x360 at the local video game shack. I was late to the party with the PC release (perhaps an annoying DRM routine) and missed the Steam version (no longer for sale). I started this game one night and found the experience compelling enough that I went on to finish it 100%. The reviews from the so-called professional game sites are a mixed lot and I would advise you avoid them all. Go in with a fresh perspective like I did and see the reviews after.
Let me get right to it. The story was fun to watch in the cutscenes and hear play out in dialog in-game. The characters were interesting with some homage here and there. The sound design was nice - especially the weapons. The graphics are sexy with some nice post processing effects. Load times were really fast and frame rates were high, even in intense firefights.
The veil powers with you medallion are fun and make later foes meat when combined with empower. Pro tip: Buy all the scopes and magazine capacity upgrades as soon as you can. Buy all the empower upgrades also. With scopes and empower, scribes, assassins, jetpack bombers, and tanks are no problem.
They also give you collectibles in the way of extra gold, intel, and tomes. Gold gives you bonus mission currency to spend for your weapon upgrades. Intel are some nice art work or story elements that add a bit of narrative texture. And Tomes, which look like Tomes Of Power from Heretic. Each collectible offers a bonus to your game if you collect them all. Don't worry about missing any of the collectibles though, at any point in the game you can go back and revisit any previous section of the game and keep looking for the ones you missed. Even retaining you upgraded inventory!
The BadSome cheesy dialog is delivered poorly in a couple places. The AI is reactive most of the time, using cover well and coordinating - although I did see a few instances of a small group tripping around too close to one another and getting stuck in animation loops. The physics system and objects thrown around are cool and cast nice shadows, but can become a problem in an explosive exchange around opening and closing doors. Boss and sub-boss fights are fun and tie later story elements together, but the last one is really over the top and ends suddenly.
The Bottom LineAt the end of the day it was fun blowing the Nazi forces up and into pieces. Being in BJ's boots felt like a high production sci-fi/action B-movie. There were some subtle side references to the older games too. If you're not too critical of your entertainment, I think Wolfenstein is worth playing.