I finally managed to get a copy of Raven Software's Wolfenstein at a price it seemed to be worth, about $18. I've played a bit so far, and I think my sense of its value proposition has dropped a little. First, the story is pretty throw away. Boiled down to its essentials, it goes something like this: The War Bosses: "The Krauts have gotten ahold of some wicked bad supernatural technology, so go kill 'em, B.J. Blazkowicz!" B.J. Blazkowicz: "Not a problem." So, you mainly kill everyone/everything in your path, and collect the goodie at the end of the battle, becoming ever more badass; repeat (presumably) until the game is over. Second, in what seems like a nod to "modern" gaming, Raven structured the missions around the fictional town of Isenstadt (read: hub world). You return to its cramped alleyways between each mission, and slog pointlessly through mobs of Nazis until you reach the next area of interest. I have to say, for as much as I like shooting glowin' occult Nazis, the slog is starting to wear on me a bit. The flip side of this is that once you're out of the town, the actual missions are generally enjoyable, so I'm going to play again this weekend and see if I can wring a little more fun out of it before selling it on craigslist.
I bought Chime this a.m., and I'll certainly be getting some of that in over the weekend. It's a music/puzzle game available on Xbox Live Arcade where the music gets better as you puzzle better. So far it's quite lovely, and a large chunk of the very reasonable $5 cost goes to the Starlight Children's Foundation, and Save the Children. For all you non-Xbox folks, it's going to be released on Steam for PC on September 6th. No word yet on the price, but the charitable donations will continue, so do your part to save some kids and you'll get a very cool game in the bargain.