Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War
Europe, 1943. The Nazis' research on the occult yields an unstoppable army of zombies, gun-toting robo-hounds, and lightning-handed priests wearing stylish velvet clothes. But undead soldiers can't mend the chink in the Nazis' Aryan armor-ein Amerikaner with a surfeit of moxie can bring down the whole shebang. Like Wolfenstein 3D (PC), its old school namesake, Tides challenges players with enemies' toughness and sheer numbers rather than clever artificial intelligence. Be prepared for lots of trial and error. The story is compelling, but it's not actually intergrated into gameplay. You need to read your journal to figure out where you are, what you're doing, and why you're throwing so many damn switches. Still, aside from some frustarating moments, the single-player campaign is well-paced and entertaining. But Tides is even better with a partner. In Cooperative mode, progress comes at a steady clip and with fewer do-overs. Different play styles are an advantage. And if you think hooking up with one comrade is fun, try blasting with 15 real people - Tides is an absolute blast on Xbox Live. Team members of all four classes must coordinate their efforts to succeed in the superb objective-based scenarious. If any element is lacking (e.g., no lietenant, poor communication), you'll lose and deserve it. But when your team comes together, victory is sweet..
Don’t fret if you prefer your shooters on the serious side - Tides isn’t all mecha-Nazis and walking cadavers. The forces you’ll face in its excellent online mode are firmly rooted in reality. And fighting on these richly detailed multiplayer maps makes it all worthwhile. An amphibious assault on a fortified seawall is infinitely more engrossing against live targets. When a silent slug hurls your squadmate into the concertina wire, you lament his loss - and feel perversely satisfied when you incinerate the responsible sniper. Add objectives that elevate matches above banal blood-baths, like seizing Nazi strongholds and extracting encrypted documents, and you’ve got a game that is, at least in part, better than Halo.
Despite its occasionally confusing level layouts (you’ll often wander around looking for newly opened doors), single-player Tides offers a rock-solid game of good ol’ fashioned Nazi-killin’: satisfying weapons, natural - and very customizable-controls, and objectives that make your straightforward tasks (often just “find the switch”) somehow seem more exciting. But we all agree that what elevates this Wolf above the FPS pack is its online aspect. The different playable characters and match types give multiplayer a unique emphasis on teamwork that’s a perfect match for Xbox Live's voice-chat capability. Sure, I wish the graphics were a bit more detailed, but I’m having too much fun storming Nazi beach strongholds to really care.
Download Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP