You step into the shoes of BJ Blazkowicz, a chirpy super-American with the chiseled looks of an overweight Nathan Drake. Once again the Nazis are being general douchebags, digging up some bonkers historical element known as Black Sun Energy. For time purposes, let's just say that Wolfenstein is all about a sole American in World War II gaining access to mythical powers known as The Veil and using them to pop some heads.
Wolfenstein will take under 12 hours to blast through, but multiplayer and difficulty settings are included to keep you going.
Despite a whole host of issues, Wolfenstein nails one key element and that is the shooting. The controls have a subtle weightlessness to them making popping in and out of iron-sights a more arcade-like pleasure akin to Call Of Duty rather than the heavy slog of Killzone 2. It's subjective which type of gameplay you prefer, however it's undeniable that shooting enemies is a fun task in Wolfenstein. Their reactions are varied and satisfying, grabbing their throats if shot in the neck, or clutching their chest when a powerful ranged shot hits them in the heart. It's a fairly violent game, so expect some bloody reactions.
Playing on the sci-fi element, Wolfenstein incorporates some rather clever weaponry. It's here that Wolfenstein feels most like a game such as Resistance: Fall Of Man. Despite offering a largely historic arsenal, there are some deviations. The Particle Cannon for instance literally vaporises opponents, while another weapon electrocutes opponents.
Wolfenstein has some seriously odd design choices. Opting to scrap the usual linear fashion of games in its genre, Wolfenstein implements a main hub world where you gain access to mission objectives and are able to upgrade your weapons. The problem with that is, once you participate in a mission, you're sent to a completely linear environment; meaning that the hub world acts only as padding for a series of traditional mission types.
Wolfenstein falls into the archetypal path of having some pretty unoriginal super powers. Super powers are cool in games, if they feel fresh. Here you get a shield, the ability to shoot through enemy shields and the power to slow-down time. All of which are so generic, you'll have little reason to use them, especially when they're so unnecessary in the first place. Aside from boss fights, you can usually get by with your standard arsenal.
In many ways Wolfenstein's compass is a rather good idea. You're shown your main objective on the top of the screen and are able to find your way through the hub world easily because of it. However, when you embark on one of the game's linear missions, you'll find yourself going where the compass tells you and shooting everything in the way. This results in gameplay with no real aim. You'll never need to know what your objective is. You just run the way the compass tells you and shoot anything that gets in the way. It strips away any need for exploration, because you always know where you're going.
Aswell as slow loading times and compressed cut-scenes, Wolfenstein leaves a lot to be desired with its presentation. The game looks fine, but when standing next to Call Of Duty or Killzone 2, it looks flat and uninspired. The colour palette is drab, the levels are poorly detailed and the weapon models are rather bland (with the exception of the sci-fi weaponry). Some of the enemy character models are fairly well designed, but the game's design ultimately falls flat.
Wolfenstein has a complete multiplayer component that we'll cover in the near future.
Wolfenstein is an entirely competent yet woefully uninspired first person shooter. It's perfectly playable, but the Playstation 3 has much better to offer.