At QuakeCon 2013 I got to spend some time on the newest Wolfenstein game being developed by Machine Games. It is basically a complete re-imagining/reboot of the series, but fear not for it remains true to the Wolfenstein nature with a little more seriousness thrown in there giving it more of a storyline. In the game you’ll actually be playing as two different characters, but for the demo you play as BJ Blazkowicz.
The demo starts out with you scaling the wall of a Nazi compound. You’ll be able to fire your weapon one handed and take down the enemies peering out of the windows all while maneuvering side to side to avoid fire. Once inside you’ll have the opportunity to take a stealthy approach or a much more violent approach and go guns blazing. The stealthy option is quite difficult to execute properly as there are quite a bit of guards around, but all you need to do is get up close to them and do a quick knife to the throat and they’re out cold. However, if you aren’t close enough then the knife will only slash them and not kill them and will alert the guy and the rest of the guards. There isn’t any indication button for a stealth kill so sometimes it can be hard to judge. Guns blazing isn’t really any easier though, because unless you’re by cover then you’re a really easy target to hit. It doesn’t help that most covers are destructible and if you stay hidden for too long you’ll probably be killed. It works both ways though so if they’re hiding behind destructible cover you can just shoot long enough and you’ll eventually be hitting them.
They kept the secret rooms and loot to find throughout the levels and even find hidden items as well. If you’ve played Wolfenstein 3D then you’ll be able to notice those hidden items easier than the rest as the first one in the game is a golden chalice like the ones you find in the Wolfenstein 3D. Secret rooms will have a couple items such as health and ammo and maybe even treasure and will always put you back in the level without making you miss anything so take your chances and explore a little bit. You also have the ability to find health or armor upgrade in the levels as well and then you’ll get an extra 10 points respectively added on. One thing that I noticed as well was that I encountered a lot of cut scenes in the game. Which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s a different approach for a Wolfenstein game which is known for the action. It definitely gives you a break from the action, but sometimes took me out of the immersion. Also the dialogue spoken in the game itself seems somewhat out of place, and it took me a while to realize, but most of what BJ says is really just thoughts to himself. This might be a result of what happens in the demo or possibly just because the developers wanted the players to know what he thought. When Leo, another member of GNN, asked a Machine Games employee about it they explained that they wanted the dialogue to be like it was in Wolfenstein 3D. Which is pretty obvious with the dry voice acting and cheesy dialogue.
You’ll have to explore the castle type building and search for your object and once you defeat a mech guy, you’ll encounter Deathshead, the main villain in the game, and then you’ll have to escape the compound. Trapped in a room where the Nazis incinerate their experiments, you were forced to lockpick a mechanism that controlled this window that you needed to get through in order to escape alive and by using the thumbsticks I had match up an inner and outer ring by adjusting the positions of the thumbsticks to successfully pick the lock. Once I broke out of the compound you jump out of the window and some metal shrapnel manages to cut your head leaving you helplessly floating in the water. After I wake up I found myself in a psych ward that the Nazis’ visited regularly to get patients for experiments and such. BJ is left seemingly paralyzed and mentally unstable after the prior incident and many months or even years might have passed while you are in the psych ward. The head nurse took care of me and she becomes the love interest for Blazkowicz and when the Nazis’ take her, you kinda get a little pissed off and take them all down to get her back. You work your way through the psych ward down to a courtyard to get her back only to find her knocked out. Once the enemies are defeated you rescue her and that concludes the demo.
Like I mentioned earlier you will have the option of going through with stealth or with brute force. While stealth may take longer, it usually involves much less bullets in your face. I want to note that for a stealth kill you don’t even have to be crouched when you approach them. Just don’t get in their line of sight and they won’t see you. If you found yourself surrounded you might want to dual wield your weapon so that you unleash a barrage of bullets on the enemies. You’ll sacrifice a lot of accuracy, but sometimes you just need to shoot in a general direction and take some guys out. The dual wield function worked out well and from what I saw every weapon can be dual wielded.
That was just the press demo I got to play, I also got a chance to play the demo on the floor which was more action based. This one started off with you entering another Nazi compound and after your driver blows up himself, along with part of the building, you’ll then have to dodge a giant robotic dog and use a laser cutting device to get into the building. To cut objects with the laser you’ll actually have to make a shape that you want to be cut out and if it isn’t big enough then you’ll have to cut another whole. I found this to be a little bit tedious, but an interesting concept. Once inside the compound you fight off some Nazi mechs and Nazi soldiers and find yourself entering this planetarium which made you fight off some soldiers while climbing to the top. If you play through the level I suggest using the shotgun or dual shotguns as they deal a tremendous amount of damage and they’ll be using that on you anyways. Also use the shotgun to take down the flying robots as they move quickly and a couple rounds of the shotgun can take them down easily.
Now the next part is very well the most difficult part of the demo as it is the final section I got to play before it cut back to menu. You arrive in this hangar with 3 helicopters with 2 laser turrets each and a room full of soldiers and a couple of mechs roaming around. I found it easiest to run in and grab a turret and gun every down, but if I used one turret long enough I will find myself being attack from behind by other enemies so make sure you move around. Once you defeat these enemies the boss appears which is a huge mech that seems to have a gauss cannon equipped and can toss it’s plasma type grenade across the map accurately. If hit by either of these you’ll take massive amounts of damage and sometimes even be tossed into the air in which the fall will kill you instead of the enemy. Now I was doing this on Uber difficulty and tried everything to take him down. Used the laser turrets mostly and even dual shotguns and dual assault rifles and I kept getting owned every time. Well… I tried something stupid thinking it wouldn’t work and almost gave up all hope. I got on the floor behind a pillar in which the mech could shoot at me, but never manage to hit me and I used a single pistol and shot his arms and legs and managed to kill him within 3 clips and under a minute. Never underestimate the power of a pistol in Wolfenstein.
That concludes my hands-on time with Wolfenstein and it left me wanting to play more and kill more Nazis with my arsenal of weapons. Hopefully I’ll acquire some interesting weapons in the actual game and while doing so I might even get attached to the characters in the game. They wanted a focus of a more action/adventure versus a straight up first person shooter. They’re giving a face and feelings to BJ this time around and I’m intrigued to see where they take this. Expect Wolfenstein to be landing in Spring 2014 on PS3 & PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One, and PC.