Gameplay impressionsWhat do we like?
Wolfenstein is a throwback to the days of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. By that we mean that the core gameplay and design has hardly changed at all. If you enjoyed blowing Nazis to pieces back then, chances are that you’ll have a relatively good time playing this latest iteration. The gameplay has an old-school, arcade-paced feel to it and the option of being able to sprint gives it that bit of extra zip.
There’s a decent array of beefy weaponry on offer too and each one feels unique to shoot and handles well; burning enemies to death with the flamethrower is particularly good fun. The standard first-person shooter gameplay is made more exciting by the addition of the three sci-fi weapons and some enjoyable veil powers. Combining veil powers is a particular highlight, for example, we enjoyed charging full pelt at a group of Nazis with our shield switch on and our bullets at full damage. We could easily penetrate their shields without the fear of getting hit ourselves. There's plenty of variety to be had out of switching weapons and utilising the upgrades.
Indeed, the upgrades that you can buy for the standard weapons and veil powers, which include scopes, bayonets and grenade launchers, add a extra dimension to the run-and-gun gameplay and give you more than enough reason to go hunting for gold. Enemy A.I. is impressive and theres a nice range of enemies and supernatural monsters to hunt down, from heavy troopers to Elite Guards to Assassin's. There's also some over-the-top, grotesque and amusing limb-breaking fatalities to enjoy.
Collecting items, such as magical books, intelligence and gold has been an enjoyable feature of past Wolfenstein games and it’s just as much fun here, plus it gives the game added replay value. Furthermore, earning gold feels worthwhile because there are some excellent upgrades to buy that do improve the overall experience. Though Wolfenstein starts off slowly and unimpressively, the gameplay builds in momentum and challenge as you unlock more powers and gain more wealth. Despite Wolfenstein being a fairly run-of-the-mill shooter in terms of mechanics and game design, like Return to Castle Wolfenstein, there's something intensely satisfying about killing Nazis.
What don't we like?
Visually, Wolfenstein is hit and miss. The cut-scenes look good, but generally the locations lack the polish of other top tier titles. The filter effect in particular, used when activating Veil Sight renders everything in a crude green/blue colour, which is particularly off-putting.
Wolfenstein at no point tries to innovate. Instead, it uses the existing gameplay and design template that made the series a success in the first place and then adds features that have been borrowed from other games. The veil powers are a welcome inclusion, but the new "open-world" hub area where you pick up missions is a half-hearted effort. The town of Isenstadt is an extremely bland and barren environment so it becomes a real chore having to move from 'A' to 'B' visiting NPCs and fighting roaming Nazi thugs along the way. The area is also quite small and can be explored relatively quickly, so there's no real point going back and forward to this hub. Sure you can pick and choose the missions you want to do, but the poorly designed town doesn't disguise the fact that the main missions are stiflingly linear.
Multiplayer is extremely disappointing. We expected big things, but there's not much to it at all. Aside from lag issues, which may be patched in the future, multiplayer mainly consists of 12 people darting around like soldiers on amphetamines trying to kill each other, if they'll keep still for long enough. Out of the three game modes, it seems that most people are jumping into Team Deathmatch modes rather than the objective-based games, so there's little variety to the gameplay. Sure, it's a blast for a short time, but it doesn't really feel like a team game at all. Teams aren't balanced and we've found that if we're losing early on then some of our team-mates will just quit, making the whole experience pointless. It's every man for himself.
Wolfenstein’s biggest problem is that its online component, where we thought the game would really excel, just doesn’t cut the mustard. The single-player campaign, on the other-hand, gets the basics right and does get more compelling and immersive the further you progress. Indeed, Wofenstein fans will find some solace by the fact that, in many ways, it stays true to its predecessor and captures that fun run-and-gun element. In truth though, there are too many other shooters out there that have done it better. Wolfenstein is a bog-standard, slightly above-average first-person shooter that ultimately fails to live up its glittering legacy.
Final Score: 6.5/10