Wolfenstein Review

World War II resumes as Raven Software drags the mighty Wolfenstein franchise from its crypt. We go for the headshot.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, September 8, 2009

You couldn’t ask for a more appropriate candidate than Wolfenstein for first videogamesdaily review ever (cue flying champagne cork). The Wolfenstein series was to the emergence of our favourite genre what certain apples are to the Book of Genesis, for starters, and this iteration comes care of Raven Software, the venerable gun-cradlers behind such classic shooters as HeXen, Soldier of Fortune and Jedi Knight II.

Most importantly of all, though, returning frontman ‘B.J.’ Blazkowicz has to be one of the butt-ugliest bundles of polygons ever rendered. What better way to reinforce your love for the first person viewpoint than lacing yourself into the boots of Daniel Baldwin’s reptilian half-brother? If this were a third-person game, I’d have phoned an exorcist halfway through the tutorial mission.

Regrettably, B.J.’s letterbox mouth and caterpillar eyebrows aren’t the only things the new Wolfenstein has against it. Derivative to the core, this goose-stepping paranormal blaster settles comfortably in behind such second tier releases as F.E.A.R. 2 and Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. It’s no pea-shooter, but it’s a fair way from a BFG.

Halfway through, the game tries its hand at a haunted hospital sequence.

Halfway through, the game tries its hand at a haunted hospital sequence.

The Nazis are up to their accustomed evil shenanigans. This time they’re trying to ease wartime energy shortages by burrowing into something called the Black Sun, a bottle-green alternate dimension stocked to the rafters with demons and rechargeable batteries. Who will thwart such dastardly machinations? Special Agent B.J. Blazkowicz of course, but as the game begins he’s busy getting shot full of holes on a German missile ship in the English Channel.

Luckily enough, an ancient ‘Thule’ medallion B.J. pinched from the officer’s deck turns out to be endowed with bullet-blocking, Nazi-evaporating powers, and a brisk boat ride or two later the lad’s on his way to the fictional Polish city of Isenstadt to straighten everybody out.

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