December 24, 2009

Agent Blazkowicz! Thank goodness you’re here!

It’s almost Christmas. I figured I needed something lightweight to play. Something mindless. Something where I could shoot tons and tons of Nazis without any problem. I ordered Gamefly to send me Wolfenstein, the new one for 360, to me for just this reason.

The game will knock you over with how mediocre it is. There is nothing particularly bad about this game. Nothing is broken. None of the combat scenarios are particularly awful. It’s a completely functional video game. You will pull the right trigger and shoot many people!

The main highlight of the game is the weapon upgrade system. A good weapon upgrade system is a lot of fun, and Wolfenstein is great for that. After every mission, I found myself going back to the Black Market to add more upgrades. They really do affect how the weapons work, too! It works really well.
However, since you have limited funds, and can only upgrade maybe 3 guns of the 8 you get, at most, you end up only upgrading the “normal” guns. Granted, those feel just fine, and I used the MP40, MP43 and Kar98k for the majority of the game. The Kar, especially, is awesome because it gets this incredibly over-powered bayonet upgrade, making it an obscenely deadly melee weapon. Enemies that took whole clips go down with one stab of the bayonet. It’s crazy. There are other guns, too, including some crazy space guns that shoot lightning and shit, but since normal enemies don’t carry them, and thus you only really find ammo for them every once and awhile, you’ll only really be pulling them out for bosses, if that, and they just aren’t worth upgrading.

Mr. Blazkowicz also gets this crazy magic medallion that gives him various Bullet Time effects. None of this is new or revolutionary, but having that extra set of options does make combat more enjoyable. One of the powers surrounds you with a shield for a short period of time, letting you run out and shoot at people. I eventually upgraded it so that the shield actually bounced bullets back at people shooting at me, and walking out in a huge crowd and having them mow themselves down was some of the most entertaining moments of the whole game.

Overall, though, as I said, there’s nothing particularly stand-out about the game. They obviously spent a lot of time on the multiplayer, for no apparent reason, because most of the achievements are for that. I didn’t even try it. Why would a game like this have multiplayer? It seems stupid. Still, it was exactly what I was looking for: a low stress shoot-em-up that wasn’t very long. It’s a perfect rental. Although, honestly, if you haven’t played Bound in Blood yet, that was a much better shooter in this vein. It had some intelligent story, and just felt a lot more polished and a lot more enjoyable. I’d go with that one first. But yeah, you could do worse than play this game for a weekend like I did. It’s pretty alright.

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