Review: Wolfenstein

Raven Software, id Software, Pi Studios, and Endrant Studios add to the saga started with the “Granddaddy of First Person Shooters” with the 2009 release of Wolfenstein.

The effects on character models and weapons look amazing.

Wolfenstein continues of the story of B.J. Blazkowicz, a highly respected agent with the OSA during World War II on a mission to free the fictional city of Isenstadt from Nazi control.  The game plays much like many other FPS’, especially those set in WWII, but with a bit of a sci-fi twist.  Along with many real-world weapons, Blazkowicz also uses fictional weapons, such as the Tesla Canon that shoots out electrical balls and eliminates groups of enemies.  Blazkowicz is also aided by various groups fighting against the Nazis, for which the player can complete missions to gain new weapons, abilities, or money.  While this may seem interesting on paper it is not implemented well in the actual game.  The game never seems like anything but a generic WWII FPS, even with the fantastical weapons the game provides.

As with most current-generation games the first thing the player will notice is how good the game looks.  The facial features on even minor characters are quite good looking, and some of the more sci-fi weapons obliterate the Nazis with cringe-inducing attacks.  However, the amazing graphics are almost forgotten when the frame rate drops occur.  Some of them were so bad this reviewer had to look away for a few moments for fear of losing his ability to see.  The good thing is these moments are few, but bad enough to make some players just want to stop playing right then and there.

The game is set over the backdrop of the city of Isenstadt, which the player can explore at his or her leisure, finding secrets and new missions in the city.  The only problem is the use of the city as an open world device seems a bit forced.  The various groups could have easily been accessed by one hub sometimes getting from one group to another is more of a pain than it is worth.  There is no point in exploring the city except to find the various hidden gold or other secrets, but these should have just been put into the different levels of the game.  There are only a handful of times the use of the open world city is used in a mission, but none of them justify using the city throughout the entire game.

Nazis are ALWAYS angry!

Overall Wolfenstein is a mediocre WWII FPS with a sci-fi twist.  The idea sounds amazing on paper, but the graphical issues and annoyance of the open-world city may turn most gamers off.  This is especially dissapointing because the last game in the series, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, was incredibly innovative for its time.  Fans of the series will enjoy the game for its continuing adventures of B.J. Blazkowicz, while those unfamiliar with the series should just stick to the previous game for real introduction to the series.


  1. Not surprising really, the game uses the fossilised remains of the Doom3 engine, I’d be very surprised if that was able to achieve a satisfactory level of performance …

  2. If the game really wanted to stand out, they should have let you play as the mecha-Hitler from the original Wolfenstein. It could be both horrible and amazing at the same time.

  3. Wolfenstein was a fun game back in the day, not really looking forward to trying this game. The new ones just don’t appeal to me… maybe if it has a good multiplayer mode, but I dont have my hopes up. The originals were too good

  4. @NooB: You know, people said the same thing about the Tomb Raider series, and then they rebooted the series with Tomb Raider: Legend, and that turned out to be quite good. I think they just need to do the same with Wolfenstein if they want to keep the franchise going.

  5. What I mean is that pretty much everything that made Wolfenstein, Wolfenstein, has become outdated to the extent that the only remaining element of continuity within the series is the name, and the Nazi subject matter. Sure the series can be rebooted, but it’s just going to be a new game with the Wolfenstein name. Thus Wolfenstein’s time has passed, we aren’t going to sit down to a future Wolfenstein offering and say ‘wow this is just like it was during its glory days!’, because there is almost nothing to salvage from the old Wolfenstein games which can be applied to 21st centuary FPS’ (though I would like them to bring back the chicken drumstick health packs, the prisoners of Castle Wolfenstein must have been the best fed Jews in Europe!).