Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Operation Resurrection
By: Matt C. on June 18, 2003
I'm not here to give a history lesson, but as you probably know, Wolfenstein 3D is the grandfather of all the FPS titles we love to play to this day. More than one year ago, the long awaited update to Wolfenstein 3D, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, was finally released on the PC and it instantly became a worthy sequel due to its class-based online gameplay. You could be a medic, soldier, engineer, and all that other good stuff. A single player mode was available, but it was merely average compared to the online features.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what the PlayStation 2 version is composed of -- the ho-hum single player mode. Despite strong Network Adaptor sales, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Operation Resurrection offers absolutely no online options whatsoever. Hell, this package doesn't even include splitscreen, LAN, or i.Link multiplayer features. BOO!
Once you get over the lack of multiplayer goodness, you have no choice but to dive into Operation Resurrection's one player missions, which are below PS2 FPS standards. To be fair, the single-player campaign is very long and it has its moments, but there are still flaws to be found. For starters, one problem I have is that some levels, such as the tomb and underground stages, play too much like Quake II. You run around dark corridors, killing mostly demons and some Nazis; and hitting switches/buttons until you reach the end of the level. Very boring.
Luckily, the missions that are similar to the ones found in Medal of Honor: Frontline require more planning and stealth, which I found to be quite fun (while it lasts). These stages are usually wide-open (and void of those damn switches), so there are plenty of opportunities to bust out one of two available sniper rifles and take down Nazis from afar. Or if you are indoors, you can sneak up behind soldiers and silently kill them with your knife. Still, the gameplay is a little too mindless in my opinion, so even these Medal of Honor type levels eventually start to wear thin. A co-op mode would have been nice -- or even more computer controlled Allied soldiers could have really added to the overall experience.
As for the enemy AI, it is usually fairly good. For instance, enemies typically wait for you to come to them, rather than the other way around. But if they have a powerful weapon, they won't be afraid to chase after you. They also do a good job of running away and hiding when a grenade is tossed or when they are taking incoming fire. Also, if a solider catches a glimpse of you, he will approach your location to investigate. If you manage to hide, the solider will shrug and go back to his position. On some occasions though, enemies won't even notice fallen comrades that are right next to them. As a result, they stand around like nothing happened.
In Wolfenstein 3D, collecting treasure simply boosted your score, but in Operation Resurrection, it enables you to beef up your maximum health, armor, or ammo capacity. You can also use it "purchase" more health drinks and such. Its not exactly unique, but this is still a welcome addition to the game.
It's also worth mentioning that Operation Resurrection has a massive arsenal of some sweet weapons. In the later missions, you'll get several types of real-life Allied and Axis pistols, machine guns, sniper rifles, and grenades -- all at once. Its cool to carry around all these weapons, but scrolling through all of them just to reach a specific gun can be a chore. Its not a big deal though.
Controls in a PS2 FPS is always a big deal due to the lack of mouse and keyboard, but Operation Resurrection manages to excel in this area. The game has a subtle auto lock-on feature, which allows you to strafe and fire around your opponent to a certain degree, so aiming with the Dual Shock 2 is rarely a problem. I also found aiming with the sniper rifle to be super easy as well, because the sensitivity of the analog stick is dead-on in my opinion. The button configuration is fully customizable too.
From a visual standpoint, Operation Resurrection is a decent looking game. It looks worse than the PC and Xbox counterparts, but it still manages to hold its own with good textures and character models. The snow levels look like crap though. They almost appear to have been ripped from a PS One title. And despite having graphics that couldn't possibly push the PS2 to its limits, the game tends to slowdown in some areas.
As previously stated, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Operation Resurrection provides a nice and long single-player experience, but the game is ultimately hurt by the missing multiplayer options from the Xbox and PC versions. With SOCOM, TimeSplitters 2, and Medal of Honor: Frontline already available for the PS2, I honestly see no reason at all to purchase Operation Resurrection for $50, or even $40. I know some people will love this game because of its simple nature and hordes of cool weapons, but I found the entire package to be rushed and forgetable. Definetely a good rental once you get past the first batch of Quake II inspired levels, but that's about it.