Flash forward to 2014 and a freshly revamped Wolfenstein returned to modern gaming with a corker of a game that we rated a respectable 3/5 score.
Well now we’re about to hit first-person gaming’s sweet spot again with the launch of three major shooters in the next couple of weeks.
Wolfenstein 2 fires the opening salvo and hopes to steal a march on next week’s Call of Duty: WW2 and mid-November Star Wars effort Battlefront 2.
And it does succeed in being an improvement on its predecessor.
This game’s shooter mechanics are top notch as you again assume the mantle of our favourite muscle-bound dudebro BJ as he takes on the Nazis straight after the previous game in a 60s-set timeline where the Germans won the war and conquered America.
That throws up quite the intriguing campaign as the story delves into serious subject matter for the first time, thing like racism, sexism and torture all feature heavily in this game.
One early cut-scene – and I’ll be careful not to spoil anything here – involves BJ being held down by baddies as sadistic Nazi commander Frau Engel tortures two of your buddies and kills one in an horrific way, blood everywhere and you a helpless eyewitness.
It’s strongly acted, deadly serious albeit cartoon violent and really pushes the Wolfenstein franchise into new territory it desperately needs to reinvent itself for today’s gaming world.
My problem with the campaign is that these sorts of violent and thought-provoking moments are interspersed with old-fashioned Wolfenstein scenes.
So one minute BJ is looking back at his past when his racist dad was beating on his Jewish mum and forcing him to shoot his beloved dog in tears, only then, just minutes later, he is trying to laser to death squads of Nazis without a care in the world.
That flip-flopping, between angst-ridden emotion and brainless kill-em-all action, left me wondering what the story really wanted to be.
It’s like the makers were torn between the game they really wanted to make and the duty to create a traditional Wolfenstein title that everyone will recognise from the past.
At its best, this game offers Bioshock style moments that really knock you off your feet, both visually and emotionally.
And I hope the final game in this trilogy truly builds on the great work here in exploring serious subject matter that elevates the series to a new level.
Sadly there’s no online multiplayer as the developers wanted to concentrate on making a “super immersive single-player experience”.
I fear the game will suffer longevity issues as soon as Call of Duty’s own WW2 game hits the shelves as that is so highly expected and gamers nowadays demand multiplayer suites in their shooter games as standard.
But Wolfenstein’s creators at MachineGames can be proud that they’ve build an immersive world here, one that looks beautifully crafted for HD screens despite its horrific backdrop.
The visuals shine on TV and there’s an excellent amount of detail to every shot, every nook and cranny of both America and the submarine base you’ll find yourself in quite a lot of the time.
The gameplay too is top notch. As good as any shooter out there and as addictive as it gets.
I suspect a lot of buyers will actually complete this game’s storyline in total because it’s that good that you won’t want to put it down.
Let’s hope then that this step in the right direction becomes the fully fledged Wolfenstein 3 it deserves to be next time.
One that focuses on a grounded, real human story, without so much of the old fashioned and over-the-top: “Lady… That the best you got? Then your best won’t do. You among wolves now. And these are our woods.”
And my God please give us a multiplayer because I’m certain that will elevate this franchise to a permanent stalwart on the consoles’ online marketplace.
- Amazing graphics
- Lack of online multiplayer means it has a shorter shelf life than rivals