There have been 11 total games bearing the Wolfenstein name, and this is the third one in this particular series. I have no idea why some dingbat decided to name it “Wolfenstein II”. You might argue that we’re doing a Grand Theft Auto kinda deal where some titles count and others don’t, except in the case of GTA, the ones that count don’t get subtitles.
Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned (2009)
Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony (2009)
Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
The ones with numbers are usually major generational landmarks with new graphics engines and gameplay systems, while the ones with subtitles generally stick with the same engine and focus on gameplay refinement and experimentation. It’s an unusual numbering system, but it works.
Having said that, I have no idea what Wolfenstein is doing. Since the reboot, the games have been titled:
Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014)
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (2015)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017)
Anyway. I liked the last couple of Wolfenstein games, but this time around I am not having fun.
The biggest problem is the overall performance of the game. It’s a nightmare. The framerate is wildly uneven. I don’t mean it wavers between 60fps and 50fps. I mean is shoots up to 100Assuming you have it uncapped, which I did for a while during my testing., then down to 5, then holds around 40, then down again. The framerate dips when you’re moving your camera around and there are a handful of guys onscreen, which incidentally is when you’re really keen to aim at things properly. The way this game handles mouse input is highly dependent on framerate, which means all this variation makes a mess out of aiming. I’ll just about have a guy lined up, but suddenly my framerate dips and I’m turning in dreamlike slowness. I’ll move the mouse faster to compensate. Then the frame drop is over and the framerate shoots back up and suddenly I’ve spun around in a circle. This feels awful.
I’ve spent a lot of time tweaking the graphics options, but lots of settings require you to restart the game and there’s a ton of unskippable splash screens, company logos, safety warnings, and legal disclaimers you have to sit through every time you do this.
I’m using an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780. That’s four years old. Maybe you want to argue that I’m too far out of date and I need to upgrade. That’s fine. I know I’m behind the curve. But look, we understand that we need new hardware to support new visuals, and this game is nothing special in terms of visuals. The last game was dandy. This one looks about the same but demands drastically more horsepower. Even when I turn the visuals down to complete garbage levels so the game looks like something from 2003, I still get horrible stuttering at the worst moments. Upgrading might fix the problem, but something is clearly wrong with their engine.
To be clear: I am above the minimum requirements, so I don’t think I’m being unreasonable to expect a playable experienceYes, I tried the beta that came out yesterday. It killed my framerate. Rather than jumping up and down between 60 and 15, it just stayed at 8.. And surprise momentary dips to 5fps in the middle of a gunfight is not playable.
The glitches don’t help. Sometimes the entire right third of the screen will be covered in black. For me it happens when entering and exiting vehicles. Loading a save doesn’t fix it. Exiting to the main menu doesn’t fix it. So far the only solution is to exit the game entirely and endure another round of unskippable logos.
I also have a problem where my video capture software can’t get images from the game. The game disables Steam overlay, so I can’t use the Steam screenshot feature either. The only way I could get screens would be to use the built-in Windows system where I hit Print Screen, Alt-tab out of the game, paste the captured image into my editing software, crop out the unwanted stuff from my secondary monitorWindows Prt Scr captures your entire multi-monitor setup., save the image, and return to the game. And no, I’m not doing that. I don’t know what the developers did to mess this upSome people have suggested the problem is Vulkan., but I’ve got literally hundreds of other games on Steam and none of them have this problem.
Anyway, that explains why this post doesn’t have any screenshots. Sorry.
And finally, the overall design seems off. Way too many areas had me running around an empty battlefield after a fight, looking for the exit. For a fast-paced game like this I’d expect the level design to draw you through an area with clear markers, environmental breadcrumbs, lighting cues, or other guides. My goal will be something like “Find the control room” in a building made entirely of hallways and things that look like control rooms. Inaccessible doors will often look identical to usable doors, so you have to try every stupid door to figure out which one is the path to the next batch of murders.
On top of this, the story is really bugging me. See, for the last couple of games, our hero BJ has been terrorized by Frau Engel. She shows up in a cutscene, does something horrible, and cackles over your first-person camera. It’s pretty heavy-handed and maybe these scenes drag on too long, but these are the kinds of over-the-top villains you need in a game like this. Overall, Engel is a pretty good villain.
My problem is that in this game BJ has a wife who is 8 months pregnant. The only thing in the entire world he fears is having something bad happen to her, and yet he keeps dragging her along on missions with him, Gordon-and-Alyx style. Like, she’s getting into gunfights. I’ve been around pregnant women before. They move slow, they’re in pain all the time, and they need to pee every 15 minutes. Our heroes have a base full of capable, eager, able-bodied people, and he brings this slow, vulnerable person who is the center of his universe. This is such a monumentally stupid and nonsensical move that I just can’t believe in this world anymore. I realize that this is a world of space Nazi super science and robot attack dogs, but I still expect characters to remain true to themselves and behave in coherent ways.
If nothing else, can we at least get an occasional line of dialog to justify why he keeps doing this obviously moronic thing? It’s like Superman always carrying around a chunk of kryptonite in a lead jar with a dodgy lid that pops off at inopportune moments. I haven’t reached the point in the story where the wife gets captured by Engel and menaced / tortured / killedThis world can get pretty dark and gruesome at times. / mind controlled as a result, but I’m willing to bet it happens and I’m really not looking forward to sitting through it.
To top things off, I think I’m stuck. Anya (the wife) told me to destroy a fan. It’s one of those two-meter videogame fans where you disable it so the blades stop spinning and you can pass. Except, the fan had already stopped spinning when she said this. It wasn’t destroyed, but it also wasn’t spinning. I passed through, completed my goals on the other side, and my journal updated telling me to leave. But my waypoint marker is still pointing at the fan. I’ve shot it, hit it with melee, hit the use button, zapped it with the laser cutter, and threw grenades at it. Nothing worked. The quest log says “”Exit the Munin control center”, which I’ve already done. I don’t know where to go or what it wants from me.
There’s no way to restart a mission or chapter, so I don’t know. The game uses checkpoints, but it doesn’t give landmark saves at the start of a mission. My last manual save was four hours ago. I’m really not eager to repeat the last four hours just to get back here.
So yeah. Not having a good time. There are things to like here, but I’m losing sight of them in the annoyances and headaches.
Totally unrelated bit of completely random trivia: This game is published by Bethesda.
 Assuming you have it uncapped, which I did for a while during my testing.
 Yes, I tried the beta that came out yesterday. It killed my framerate. Rather than jumping up and down between 60 and 15, it just stayed at 8.
 Windows Prt Scr captures your entire multi-monitor setup.
 Some people have suggested the problem is Vulkan.
 This world can get pretty dark and gruesome at times.
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