Game On!: Wolfenstein

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's a dangerous proposition to revisit the franchise that basically created the entire first-person shooter genre. By the end, the latest title in the classic Wolfenstein series feels like a very generic copy of the original games' formula rather than a true sequel to the series.

Mention Wolfenstein 3D to longtime gamers and they'll recall tales of running through corridors shooting Nazi soldiers, fighting zombie SS troops and the climactic encounter with Mecha-Hitler - moments in time captured when gaming on the PC was the norm and players didn't have a plethora of generic clones to choose from.

Advance the timeline 10 years to Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and you have the title that truly brought this landmark game into the modern era of the first-person shooter. In a market just discovering the wonders and power of modern graphics, this game was notable for its atmospheric Bavarian environments and creepy Nazi experiments.

Now we have Raven software's latest title, Wolfenstein, and it feels a bit like more of the same. The iconic hero B.J. Blazkowicz returns to fight the evil Third Reich in yet another Bavarian setting, as they raise Nazi zombies and take a side trip to an ethereal otherworld to summon demonic powers.

The addition of magical amulets and a more open-world style gives a new sense of freedom, but unfortunately the game feels like Call of Duty: World at War meets Clive Barker's Undying.

There's no story continuation from the earlier games - B.J. has to discover the evil plot and shoot a lot of evil German troops, and eventually a few rejects from another popular series, Doom, show up to spoil the show. The story is interesting, but in a market flooded by World War II shooters, it really fails to stand out.

The game offers a number of multiplayer modes, but unfortunately they also feel fairly standard in their approach. The usual game modes are included, along with a pair of six-vs.-six team games that try to capitalize on the fun of magic-wielding zombie Nazis by enabling powers for each class of character.

At its core, Wolfenstein has what should be a surefire combination for success - Nazis, zombies and a one-man army saving humanity. Maybe the formula is just a little overused these days, because nostalgia alone can't make up for the generic feel of this title.


System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Players: 1 (Up to 12 online)

Price: $60 ($50 for PC)

Rated: T for Teen

Who Should Buy it?: Undead Nazi hunters

GameOn! Grade: C