Today’s piece comes courtesy of a good friend who let me watch while they played. As such, this isn’t super in-depth, but I’m putting down everything I can recall. Minor story spoilers ahead.
So, Nazis won the war, and things got ugly. Not a new premise. And the last Wolfenstein entry was an average-at-best shooter. But now we’ve got a studio working under Bethesda making it, so here’s hoping for a good entry in the series.
You play as William Blazkowicz , a war hero that is nearly killed trying to raid a Nazi stronghold at the start of the game. They are gunning for “Deathshead,” the lovely gentlemen who is responsible for the Nazi army’s technological advantage. Seeing as this is the mission that starts the game, you can guess how that goes. He takes some shrapnel to the back of the head in a desperate escape, and is left unable to do much as an insane asylum shelters him for the next fourteen years. Meanwhile, the Nazis steamroll pretty much everything, and he is assumed dead. He finally gets in shape to fight right as they come to close down the asylum, killing anyone who tries to make a fuss of it. From there, he works to find allies and try and turn the tide.
The main character… is kinda dull. Between the stereotypical macho-man appearance (granted, that’s how he looks in the original games too), vague plot threads about revenge on Deathshead, and other factors… his story just didn’t engage me. His love interest, Anya, was more interesting, as the game gives her more back-story and a legitimate reason for falling in love with the main character. Or at least I thought so. It’s better than the “your character loves this person, moving on” angle that other games take.
I’ll admit, when the first thing that happened was a turret section that was rendered unplayable by a piece of downed fighter clipping into the gunner’s seat, I was worried. Overall, the game is fairly good (from what I saw), but that is a horrible first impression. I know it’s Bethesda, and they have a terrible record when it comes to bugs, but come on.
The game is a first-person shooter, but with enough bits added on to keep it more engaging than, say, Call of Duty. You pick up armor pieces and health to keep going, but you’ll regenerate the last 20 points to make sure you can’t get completely stuck. There are officers that will call for reinforcements until you eliminate them. You can choose to dual wield whenever you have two of the same weapon, and you’re not limited to two firearms at all times. There are also perks that are unlocked by completing relevant challenges, which are split between four or five different lists and organized by playstyle. My friend got a bunch of stealth perks, one of which let her throw knives around. Another from the assault path gave her a higher maximum health. It’s good to see a shooter game that rewards the player for however they decide to engage the enemy.
I only saw about half the weapons, and they were passable, nothing more. They were mostly standard fare, including knives, assault rifles, and a cutting torch that is mainly for opening doors and making holes in fences. Maybe there are some more inventive designs further along, but this isn’t say, Resistance, where each gun has a quirky mechanic to use.
The game has good work put into the graphics, but not consistently. Some of the objects in the safe house that Will finds have painfully bad textures. I normally don’t mind a game with less than stellar graphics, but it just feels sloppy to have such care put into weapon and enemy designs, and have it share the same game with a badly blurred painting. Speaking of enemy designs, the Nazis have troopers with power packs, armored attack dogs, completely mechanical, much bigger dogs, and combat robots. I found them visually pleasing and dangerous at the same time.
Overall, I’d say it is good, but I don’t know if it’s worth the $60 to me personally. Hopefully this helps you decide, one way or another.