Return to Castle Wolfenstein was one of my all time favorite FPS games. When Wolfenstein was announced in 2005, I had very high hopes because it was being developed by Raven Software. I thought they did a great job with Quake 4, which I recently played, so things were looking up.
Having played it, I am not sure I am happy with the final product.
The story involves, the Nazi occult division on their quest for world domination, two factions that are out to stop them, a medallion which grants the person holding it some supernatural powers, set in the city of Isenstadt, in Germany.
The game has an open world design of sorts, but it's not very well done. It’s not a persistent open world like we see in S.T.A.L.K.E.R, but rather like the one in Far Cry 2. Everything from enemies to fuel barrels will respawn up on re-entering an area. This makes gameplay tedious because often times it is required to pass through certain areas repeatedly, and each time you encounter the same enemies. Other than padding the gameplay time, this does nothing to make the game better. I found it very boring.
Veil powers which are granted by the medallion, are fun to use. They are very similar to the abilities of the nanosuit from Crysis. It is sometimes possible to completely dominate enemies in certain situations with use of veil powers along with the very powerful weapons acquired later in the game. Combat benefits from this. Unlike the nanosuit in Crysis, veil powers can upgraded, which is an interesting addition.
While there are a lot of positive aspects such as visuals and sound, the gameplay has taken a step back. Manual/quick save and load are gone, the game uses a checkpoint system instead. I do not see any reason why a game like this on the PC needs to use a checkpoint save system. This is one of those unfortunate side effects of maintaining parity between platforms.
The boss fights at the end are a prime example of how not to design a game, at least for the PC. Given that there is no save feature, and the player has to defeat each boss multiple times just adds to the frustration. There was no fun to be had here for me.
Wolfenstein (2009) is not a bad game by any means. I did not enjoy it as much as the previous game. I do not mind recommending this to those that enjoy FPS games if they can find it for around $5.
Verdict - Wait for sale