Sprechen zie port?
Due to the current console generation's insistence on ports and multiplatform
releases, I've shot more Nazis in the past two months than all of the Allied Forces
in '44. So forgive me as I dispense with the pleasantries and illustrate in black
and white that not all things are created equal.
Tucked firmly under the GR microscope is Return To Castle Wolfenstein:
Operation Resurrection for PS2, a merely average fragfest paling miserably
next to its Xbox cousin, RTCW:
Tides Of War. This solely single-player romp is in dire need of some social
Wolfenstein series has a long history on the PC, with Wolfenstein
3D jump-starting the whole FPS genre. RTCW: Operation Resurrection
is the PS2 port of the Xbox's RTCW: Tides of War, which in turn is the
port of the the PC game of the same name (aside for the 'Tides of War' part).
Say that 10 times fast!
You again play as B.J. Blazkowicz, a US Army Ranger recruited by some higher-ups
to travel deep into Germany to stamp out some Nazi wackos who are attempting
to resurrect an ancient, dusty German sorcerer-wacko. You with me? Good! Needless
to say, their success could mean the end of the world as we know it, and no
one feels fine. Except for me, because I love shooting digital Nazis!
However, there aren't enough of the hateful little buggers toward the later
stages of the game, as you will discover while traversing level after level
(32 in all) blasting whatever is fool enough to try and stand in your way. This
is really the bulk of the game, with the plot unfolding through memos and other
pieces of info you acquire along the way.
Your opposition consists of various Nazi baddies with some decent albeit not
mind-bending AI. Nazis will duck for cover when shot at and pop their heads out
to lick off a few shots in retaliation before seeking that comfy hiding spot yet
Popping these guys is great, but as you descend deeper into the Castle you will
be annoyed by the ubiquitous zombie menace. I swear, these guys are getting more
and more work these days. I have nothing against the undead - apparently they
need to get paid, too - but with zombies comes mindless AI. Obviously they eat
brains for a reason; namely, the lack thereof.
Still, the action in Operation Resurrection is pretty good. Unfortunately,
the control is not quite as friendly as the Xbox version. The intensity of the
firefights is often missed or dulled because of unwarranted bad aim.
B.J. Blazkowicz does get his hands on a number of real life WWII weapons to
help stick the swastika where the sun don't shine. Nearly 20 shell-spitters
will please any trigger happy digital fragger. There are knives, handguns, semi
and fully automatic machine guns and hand grenades, both foreign and domestic.
You'll even find some dynamite, a flamethrower, a tesla cannon and other goodies.
Credit goes to the PS2 for better sound and effects than the Xbox, oddly enough. Explosions, machinery and the general sounds of war are more than adequate.
And strangely, Sony's version looks just as nice as Bill's. The game graphics are darker on the PS2, which might require you to readjust the Brightness setting on your TV, but after that things are fine. The textures are smooth and crisp, although they too are a bit dark and gloomy. I'm still sure this is intentional to keep in pace with the Dr. Frankenstein theme of doom and gloom. Nonetheless, it all comes together nicely with good character models and animations to add the coup de grace. Only the most scrutinizing eye could say which system shows finer graphic detail. To me, they're virtually neck-and-neck.
However, Operation Resurrection falls far, far short of its Xbox forbear
in one critical area. The praiseworthy online support that helped the Xbox edition
over the steep hill of monotony is as absent as a truant with a severe case
They didn't even include split-screen. In a last ditch grab for equality, Sony
has thrown in two extra single-player levels barely worth mentioning. When you
consider the limited replay value of the single-player Campaign, the lack of
any multiplayer support is a total killer.
What's left is just an average addition to your FPS library. Medal
of Honor, No One Lives Forever and
Red Faction II have traveled this road with
grace and style far beyond Operation Resurrection. The seasoned vet rents
before he buys.