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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Activision

Developer

Gray Matter

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q2 2003

 

 

- Nice level design

- Good audio

- Hidden areas

 

 

- Plain visuals

- Dumb enemies

- The action isn't very engaging

- No multi-player

 

 

Review: Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC)

Review: Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War (Xbox)

 

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Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Operation Resurrection

Score: 6.7/10

With the excellent run the Wolfenstein series has been making over the last couple of years with initial PC reincarnation of the classic, and the more recent Xbox game, I was really looking forward to checking out Operation Ressurection (OC).  Boy were my hopes dashed.  While the single player game is certainly function with a nice atmosphere, reasonably clever enemies, and great level design well suited for heated fire fights, the developers seem to have forgotten one of the most important features necessary for a first person shooter: making a multi-player mode.  The actual missions of the game are fine and dandy, and players will certainly be kept busy, but the utter lack of anything competitive against a real person is a huge disappointment.  

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The settings for the game look decent with crisp imagery for the buildings with their often poorly lit, providing an appropriately spooky, foreboding atmosphere for the game.  In the grand scheme of things, OC doesnít hold a flame to its brothers on the PC and Xbox, and even compared to other PS2 titles, this game is by no means a front runner for a graphics of the year award.  This is largely due to the very plain look of the enemies youíll come across in the game.  Their character models look like theyíre just there to fill space to players have something to aim at.  There just isnít any sharp, detailed artistic merit to how the various Nazis and beasts from the nether regions look.  They just have a very function, but underwhelming style to them.

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Canceling out much of the graphical woes of OC is the audio in the game.  With decent music, good voice acting, and very helpful sound cues, the aural experience here is very good.  As is the case with a lot of games with guards on duty, as you creep up on them youíll get to eavesdrop on their conversations.  There isnít too much hilarity to be had, but you do get useful tidbits on what to expect from the level.  And overall the voice acting in the game is fairly good, with little in the way of poorly written lines or actors that just shouldnít be there in the 

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first place.  The music is well done, with moody tracks the change with the intensity of whatís happening on-screen, dutifully performing itís role of adding dramatic flair to the title.  Most importantly are the audio cues of OC, as players will have to sneak around sometimes in order to more affectively take out enemies.  The footfalls of enemies, reloading of weapons, over heard conversations, and countless other subtle sonic clues of an enemyís presence considerably help with the immersive qualities of the game.

What really carries OC is the setup of the levels.  The way the corridors, various chambers, and secret nooks are laid out, thereís a very nice flow to the whole thing, that is very nice to navigate.  On top of this is that there are hidden areas that can be discovered.  When you find them you are rewarded points that can be accumulated and used to purchase enhancements to your stats as the game progresses.

But after this itís all downhill for OC.  The enemies are reasonably tactical, having the good sense to try and keep cover under fire, but there are plenty who just go in like a glutton for punishment, making them easy to pump full of lead.  Overall the action feels like ďfirst person shooters by numbersĒ, as the game just goes through the paces throwing enemies at you while including the seemingly requisite stealth options that are so popular these days.  You really start to feel like a rat in a maze as the missions mount, just doing what youíve done in so many FPS titles before.  Even compared to other incarnations of Return to Wolfenstein on the market, OC just doesnít stack up.  What absolutely kills it though is the lack of a multi-player mode.  Itís the lifeís blood of the genre, with its incredibly entertaining competitive qualities.  Thereís no online mode, nor is there even a split screen two-player mode in the game.  Itís completely unacceptable that such an integral facet of FPS games is absent here.

Really, OC is a stripped down husk of what the other Wolfenstein titles available are.  While the level design is nice, and thereís some good audio features, overall the title just fails to engage the gamer nearly as much as many of itís competitors, or itís bigger brothers do.

Mr. Nash

July 13, 2003

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