An old classic gets an added dimension
Remakes, along with 'reboots' and ‘reimaginings’, are all the rage these days and the latest in line for the modern makeover treatment is Wolfenstein, the forefather of all first-person shooters.
Given that fact that the original Wolfenstein 3D game was released way back in 1992 and effectively invented an entire genre single-handed, a revisit to Wolfenstein is probably easier to justify than most – although it could be argued that 2001’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein already achieved this with some success.
For those unfamiliar with Wolfenstein’s premise, the game takes place in a fictionalised version of World War II Germany, where US special agent BJ Blazkowicz finds himself up against a group of Nazi soldiers who have been busy meddling in the dark arts.
The new game takes a slightly different angle on the story but, after a couple of initial levels that are relatively realistic in terms of the types of enemies and weaponry you encounter, things quickly take a more fantastical turn.
In 2009, Wolfenstein's main new hook is The Veil. It’s basically an alternative dimension that can be accessed through a magical artefact – a medallion that is gradually upgraded with various powers as the game progresses. While within The Veil, your hero gains unique advantages, such as the ability to move faster than his enemies, see in the dark or discover secrets that are invisible in ‘normal’ mode. BJ can slip in and out of The Veil at will, but requires energy to do so. This starts to run out as long as BJ remains in the spirit plane but can be topped up by sucking in Veil juice from various deposits found throughout the levels.
Indeed, Wolfenstein brings remarkably little to an already fairly crowded table and, in terms of gameplay, it doesn’t particularly improve on either Wolfenstein’s 2001 sequel or even the 15-year-old original.
As well as slightly dated visuals, single players will have to put up with frequent frustrating sections and recurring cheap deaths. The game’s cheerfully tongue-in-cheek tone and lively multiplayer help to make up for it, though.
PEGI age rating: 18+
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