21st Aug 2009 | 17:00
Goodness knows what Raven have spent the past three years doing, but surely this utterly banal shooter isn't it. What, it is? Cripes. Actually, Wolfie deserves a bit better than that disdainful brush-off. Only a little bit though. Let's rewind a little. As Id's immortal-hero-with sexuallysuggestive- initials BJ Blazkowicz, you're once again roped into an alternative WWII where the blasted Bosche have uncovered a window into a supernatural realm known as the Veil.
Before you get to wade through that particular sea of mediocrity though, you'll meet a bunch of heroic German Resistance types with comedy accents 'Allo 'Allo's Herr Flick himself would be proud of, before being introduced to the blasty mechanics via a train yard shootout that later takes a mightily cool turn for the bizarre.
Up to that point, we'd actually pondered aloud whether this was going to confound all expectations and turn out to be rather... swish. Trouble is, by blowing its supernatural load so early, BJ's hurried and clichéd inauguration into the mysteries of the Veil forty-five minutes or so later fails to resonate in the way that it perhaps should, instead dissolving painfully into 'this power lets you see an enemy's weak spot' or 'this power lets you slow time so you can dodge a sub-Indiana Jones trap'.
Even the filter effect whenever you enter the netherworld is a letdown, the sub-Bioshock spooky baddies and cheesily obvious gameplay facets even more so. And it only gets worse from there.
VEILED THREAT As a WWII shooter to trump the likes of Medal of Honor, Wolfenstein ironically shows promise. The authentic olde weapons all feel weighty, environments go to hell in pleasingly destructive fashion and dying Nazis sport a range of hideous fatalities (catch a Jerry in the neck or face with a swathe of bullets and you might even catch yourself grimacing in sympathy).
We also like the swapping out of explosive barrels with gooey ones that play havoc with gravity in a localised area when detonated, but it's a rare thumbs-up in a sea of middle fingers. Ultimately, Wolfenstein brings very few genuinely novel ideas to the FPS table, unforgivable given both the lengthy development time and the legacy of the IP. It's not terrible by any stretch but it is utterly forgettable and, even though its belated release comes at a time when most shooters have packed their bags and headed for the safety of 2010, simply doesn't pack near enough pizzazz to stand out from the throng. Fans of BJs everywhere wail as one as another once-proud franchise bites the dust.