Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War

May 12, 2003

The much anticipated Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War
finally hit the console market. Many mouths have been salivating
over this game for years now and the loyal now have their prize.
I fondly remember the original Wolfenstein 3D game from way back
in the day. Back then it was easier to please me when it came to
video games, now its a hell of a lot harder. Along with everyone
else I was very excited about the release of RTCW, so much so I
was looking around for games to return so I could pick it up before
my paycheck hit my account. I can only imagine how I would be feeling
at this moment if I had paid for this game.

Here at Snackbar we give our honest opinion about the games we play
review. This game is so high profile that you may think we are on
crack (can you guess if I liked it yet?). Know that we have four
members that play and review games, and this one just happened to
land in my lap to review, so you get my side of the story.

By the way, I fucking hated this game. Allow me to explain.

When talking about the graphics in RTCW the word “underachieving”
comes to mind. With powerhouse ID behind the development of the
game you would think that presentation would be held to the highest
standards. While the game looks great, I just don’t see the Xbox
pushed any; hell the Xbox seemed pretty bored while running the
game. The environments were on par with any average game, not the
high profile game that ID brings to the table. The tombs, cities
and everything else was mediocre with pixelization showing up on
gates and walls from up close. The game ran at a smooth frame rate,
and then again I’m sure it was not pushed at all by rendering the
environments. Fog in the crypts looked like terrible; I mean I almost
lost it. I have seen some great fog rendered on games, but this
was just sad. I mean what the fuck is going on. By this time in
the game I am thinking to myself, “This cant be the right game”.
Some of you will be thinking the same. The guns look great; however
your little “boot” attack had my jaw dropped to the floor.
When looking at your co-op friend kick nothing happens to his character,
as in the kick is not a real animation! There are many things you
can break and smash around the level, but the breaking itself just
didn’t look right…something is very wrong here. The cut scenes
look good and character models in them are on par with some of the
best. When you find yourself looking at your teammate in co-op mode
you will think there is connection lag taking place. We are talking
major frame issues, it looks sad, and only adds to the stack of
issues this “High Profile” game has.

The games sound was great with the exception of one thing. Gunshots!
Coincidently you will be hearing mo
gunshots then anything else
in the game. The shots themselves sound muted and dull. The ambient
sounds are good; then again I didn’t notice them or not notice them,
which is not a bad thing. Voice-overs are crisp and at a good volume
and the enemy conversations are good as well. Note that this is
an FPS, so sound is not the foremost priority.

RTCW’s control is solid. Taking notes from the Halo handbook, the
movement/look/fire mechanics are all instinctual. The frame rate
is very solid with a “not too fast, but not too slow”
feel. The game helps you out via the use of icons, which I thought
was pretty cool. You will know whether or not you can bash something
by the icon represented on the screen, this will eliminate you trying
to smash everything in sight looking for that secret room that Wolfenstein
is famous for. The implementation of a quick turn would be nice,
then again that would require the extra step that ID seemed determined
to avoid.

The game’s challenge was decent with the default difficulty settings
in place. Most anyone can just pick up and start plugging some bad
guys full of lead, however to be a real man you must play on the
hardest mode. The harder modes are a total bitch. You will have
a hard time getting that head shot and the enemy will run and hide
behind crap whenever possible. You will be fired upon from all angles
and sometimes you won’t find out from where until you respawn about
three times.

We did not get a chance to play the Live version of the game. I
hear what sets this game apart from the others is the multiplayer.
I don’t want to bank on a game being cool because the multiplayer
version is fresh; I want to be able to enjoy the single player missions,
especially for a game like Wolfenstein. To be honest I was let down
tremendously. I knew this wouldn’t be Halo, but I was expecting
so much more. I wanted a good FPS game (which it is) but I was also
expecting something above par and it wasn’t delivered. I feel ID
let the ball drop right on my foot. I was so happy to bring the
game home than so pissed when I played it. The game has so many
small issues that drive me crazy. I’ll give the online game play
a try or two, but single player and co-op are terrible to the eyes
in all ways possible.

I am pretty upset right now. When asked if I like the game and
I say no people freak out. I suggest they look at the game itself
and ask themselves if this is what they wanted. I know deep down
you are disappointed as well. In my opinion I say don’t even fucking
bother with this game. It is total crap with too many small issues
to look past.

I will now go into my room where I will not be playing RTCW, only
sitting and waiting for Halo 2.