The long-awaited continuation of American super-agent William “B.J.” Blazkowicz’s foray deep into enemy territory has finally arrived, and it’s dripping with old-school throwbacks and occult investigations. Can it stand its ground in the heavily entrenched frontlines of first person shooters? Let’s have a look…
It’s 1943; the fictional German town of Isenstadt is under SS rule. The locals have had enough and a rebellion has broken out, but there’s a deeper darkness lurking here. SS occupation brings with it a plethora of occult experimentation and, with that, the perfect cue for B.J. to kick some Third Reich ass before they get too ahead of themselves.
Thankfully, he’s not alone. A number of rebel cells have bloomed out of the chaos, each with their own speciality and approach to the war. Some will ensure that the black market is sufficiently well-stocked, others are fighting the Nazis on the meta-physical frontlines, and others are splintered across the town, hoping they’ll survive long enough to see the next dawn. The result is the open-ended town of Isenstadt, around which you’ll travel in search of your next mission giver, secret cache of ammunition, or sneaky back-entrance to your mission waypoint. It’s a great system that lends itself to exploration; you’ll be surprised at just how much time you spend searching the alleyways for hidden secrets or Nazi hangouts.
To accomplish his objectives, B.J. has no qualms about fighting fire with fire; or, in this case, freaky occult magic with more freaky occult magic, and big weapons… and probably uncomfortably large testicles. You’ll employ the use of The Veil, a nearby alternate reality that allows B.J. to move faster, deflect incoming projectiles, walk through walls, pierce armour, slow down time, and much more. In this regard, Wolfenstein feels a little like a combination of Prey and Crysis. As you discover additional abilities (all of which are customisable with unlockable upgrades), you’ll find yourself mixing your powers to suit each situation, quickly changing between them and developing some potentially deep strategies.
This is Wolfenstein, however, a series synonymous with lots of indiscriminate shooting of bad guys, and there’s plenty here for those who instead prefer the “run in guns-blazing while screaming obscenities” kind of strategy. Your first few hours of gameplay will see you using standard weapons like the trusty MP40, MP43, and KAR 98K, but soon enough you’ll get a chance to use more exotic tools of destruction, like the Particle Cannon and (my personal favourite) the Tesla Cannon. Like the Veil powers, each weapon is customisable. Most upgrades are visible on the weapon (hello Bioshock) and they allow you to further tailor your experience to your style of play. Fancy yourself a covert sniper? Pimp out your KAR with a scope, silencer and rifling for improved accuracy. Enjoy shooting explosive projectiles at people? Of course you do – who wouldn’t? Fit your Panzerfaust with heat-seeking missiles and a magazine loader for semi-automatic killing sprees.