Hands On With Wolfenstein!

I got to play the game for Xbox 360 this morning and I loved it. My history with the Wolfenstein franchise goes all the way back to when I was 14 and hoping that my parents wouldn’t be awakened by the cries of “Halt, Commenzie” emanating from my Apple IIe. The game has changed a lot over the years, but it’s still every bit as fun. This version draws heavily on the 1992 Wolfenstein 3D for look and feel.


Basically, it’s the old stop the evil Nazis story. You know, everyone loves killing Nazis. You play the same character as usual, BJ TK. These evil Nazis have harnessed some negative energy known as the Veil from another dimension and are using it to further their nefarious plans. In addition to the “normal” Nazis, there are supernatural ones like the assassin (hard to kill, comes right at you), the scribe (reincarnates the fallen Nazis), the shifter, and the altered (a big ugly dope).


The big twist involves Veil powers. These are sort of like supernatural powers. You access them using the D-pad. Down turns on Sight which allows you to see enemies in the dark and see hidden pathways, like where to smash through a wall. Pushing the d-pad to the left enters “Mire” which slows down time for everyone around you. Pushing up turns on your “shield”, a barrier around you that protects you from damage. You can Veil energy through a variety of means, mostly when you suction it from objects in the environment.


There’s an upgrade system that revolves around finding treasure like hidden bags of gold. They you can use the gold to upgrade your powers and/or weapons. There are the usual MP-40, MP-43 type WWII era weapons and then there are some kick-ass futuristic weapons like the TK which I used to blow enemies to bits. BTW, in case I haven’t made this clear, this is a violent, gory game that lives up to what you’d expect from our friends at iD.


The combination of the super weapons and Veil powers make it pretty interesting. I was able to do things like kick open a door, chuck a grenade at the first wave of attackers, turn on my shield, watch them get shredded, then drop my shield, turn on mire, and shoot the survivors dead. All of that took place in about 15 frenetic seconds.

There was talk of an online deathmatch mode, but nothing definite was said. There will be no co-op story mode.

The environment, overall, is very large. You’re in Isenstadt City, a fictitious city in Germany. There are different groups such as the Kreisau or Resistance. Each group gives you different missions and the game itself is loosely structured to get you from mission to mission with some breaks for exploration in between. Between missions you get a fairly open environment where you can play on the roofs and in the sewers.


One very cool aspect of game play is the ability to change difficulty level on the fly.

Wolfenstein 3D is currently available on Xbox Live and PSN. If you win that then you get 1000 gold to use when you play the new Wolfenstein.

The game is scheduled to ship on August 4, 2009 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. If you enjoy some fine FPS action, then I encourage you to get it.

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