Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review
I’m down with mowing down Nazis as much as the next guy, but I’ve never been a huge fan of the Wolfenstein series. To be fair, I’m not sure I’ve ever give the series a fair shake, so when the opportunity to review The New Colossus was presented to me, I figured, why not. I’m glad I did; despite a very bloody and violent story that picks up right after the end of Wolfenstein: The New Order, there is something incredibly satisfying of ridding a future United States from Nazi oppression, a current political discourse I’m unwilling to engage in now. But does this new chapter in the Wolfenstein series do enough, or is just more Nazi killing madness with no ultimate goal, outside of, well, killing Nazis?
Story is Deep
What I wasn’t expecting as I loaded up the first moments of The New Colossus was an engrossing story and engaging characters that I would actually care about past the first few cut scenes. In the aftermath of The New Order, you will play as a wheelchair bound BJ Blazkowicz rolling around a U-Boat, taking down zombies and engaging in personal discourse about his lot in life. New technology, however, quickly puts BJ back on his feet, but the signs of a tired and broken man remain. BJ is incredibly deep as a character, and as you move from the wheelchair to the armour suit, you find yourself constantly cheering him on, along with his companions.
All of the characters in The New Colossus bring something new to the table, and all have a fair amount of character progression you don’t normally find in 2017 video games, especially not first person shooter heavy titles. Yet somehow, the developers make it all work, blending their stories and personalities into the overall story, that makes you wish right away, “I really hope none of these people die.”
You ultimately will play Wolfenstein this way, looking out for those around you as much as yourself; even though you know the story is pre-scripted, any unfortunate event you encounter will tear at you just a bit. At the end of the day, however, you’ll remember one, certain fact: I’m here to kill Nazis, and that’s about it. Thankfully, on the flip side of things, the villains and enemies are equally as engaging, although instead of loving them, you despise them with every bone in your body, completely justifying the horrific and graphic violence that is ahead.
Gameplay is Top Notch
Developers today are too focused on adding as much as possible into their titles, which often results in a mixed bag of gameplay options, some of which stick and others that don’t. Wolfenstein has a fair amount of additional gameplay elements to pull you away from the action, but not too many as to confuse or distract you from the main objective.
The New Colossus will give you more than a few Nazis to occupy your time, so going in stealth like will probably be your best bet. Whether you choose to play a run-and-gun style game, or a more tactile and methodical experience, expect to die a fair amount: The New Colossus is a fairly difficult game, even with the myriad of weapon upgrades at your disposal.
The arsenal of weapons at your disposal isn’t that grand, but with options to customize each weapons in three ways, you can tailor a gun to your preference. Weapon upgrade kits are few and far between however, so don’t expect to upgrade everything in your arsenal by the time you finish this 14 hour campaign. Choosing which guns to enhance could be the difference between an easy or hard encounter in the future, so think wisely before investing in any one weapon.
Once you are armed, however, expect a very fluid and controllable combat experience. Dual wielding weapons is an absolute blast, and when you do eventually hit your target, be prepared for some great death scenes courtesy of Nazi soldiers and officers. The detail is so great, that enemies will even die a certain way, depending on where you shot them or sliced them. It’s not a necessary touch, but one that lets the players know that much care and time was put into this fantastic title.
Carried over from The New Order, The New Colossus brings back perks, which gives you boosts and enhancements based on how you’ve killed enemy soldiers, which rewards those with a mixed play style. These are not a must to complete the game, but do push you towards doing something you aren’t entirely comfortable with.
Beautifully Gloomy Environments
The detail in The New Colossus is fantastic, whether marching through Nazi parades during a warm, sunny day, or climbing around dreary U-Boats, army camps, and destroyed cities. Even at its gloomiest, this Wolfenstein title is one of the better looking games available on console right now. The term beautifully gloomy works so well here, and the developers should be praised for the level of detail they’ve brought to each environment.
Not only that, but rest of the game looks fantastic as well, from the body suites worn by friends and foes alike, to the fire pouring out of flamethrowers. No matter what the situation, I rarely noticed anything that seemed out of place in the environment I was exploring. From top to bottom, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is a fantastically presented experience worthy of major awards.
It’s only a 14 hour marathon to finish this latest entry in the Wolfenstein series, but the developers have provided a good amount of post game content to keep you engaged with the characters and environments. Even without it, though, The New Colossus is a gruesome experience justified by the end goal: to eliminate the Nazi threat from the Western World. The game doesn’t attempt to do too much, and what it does accomplish is done with supreme quality. Don’t look much further for a story driven, first person shooter experience this holiday season: Wolfenstein: The New Colossus has everything you need.