There are a few moments like this that stand out in my mind. Another crucial one, for me, involves a black woman casually breastfeeding her child while talking about the fragility of testicles -- it's a refreshing, diverse and audacious scene unlike any I've encountered in an AAA video game.
This is the heart of Wolfenstein, for me: The story. The people. The world. Not the actual shooting, which I actually have a few problems with.
Timothy J. Seppala
Really? I don't mind the shooting. And I like how the game makes it clear that you should take out the ranking officers first so they can't raise the alarm and make life living hell. It's a stark contrast to Doom, where you had to figure out the best tactics for taking out hellspawn yourself. Sometimes I need explicit instructions.
Sure, the now-standard "left trigger to lock on, right trigger to shoot" thing is a little overzealous, but it keeps the firefights going at a brisk pace. Plus, it means I'm able to get to the next story sequence faster. And speaking of story, Wolfenstein II's is heavy right from the get-go. Moments after cowering in a closet as young BJ during a flashback sequence, helplessly watching his racist dad abuse his mom, I was a paralyzed witness to the diabolical Frau Engel decapitating beloved comrades. That's all within the first hour.
When I played it at E3, it was clear BJ was broken both mentally and physically after years of fighting Nazis. But in context, it's much more than a cheap character trait. Instead, it's a driving force for the entire narrative. Plenty of FPS-protagonists talk to themselves (and the player), but BJ isn't cracking catchphrases like Duke Nukem. No, he's wearily reminding himself that he's fighting for a reason, pushing himself through unimaginable horrors because he's going to be a father. The thought of his family is the light at the end of the tunnel for him.
I also thought about Doom a lot while playing this game but in a very different way. I actually think Wolfenstein II could learn a lot from Doom, at least when it comes to movement and HUD layout.
In Wolfenstein, I find it extremely difficult to know where enemy fire is coming from; the lean mechanic is unwieldy and, quite frankly, I never use it; and thanks to a split health and armor system, I never know how many more bullets I can actually take. Blazkowicz feels like an underpowered glass cannon at times -- especially when I'm dying on the same level over and over and over again. At least load times are fairly brisk.
Maybe I'm just really bad at shooting in this game. There were moments I turned down my difficulty (I'm playing on Do or die, the medium-hard setting for "the experienced gamer"), something I'm generally loath to do. Honestly, I'm surprised to hear you haven't had any similar issues, Tim! I wonder if I'm approaching the entire game the wrong way -- running in wildly like it's Doom, rather than strategizing before attacking like Wolfenstein seems to want.