With the entire world under Nazi rule, BJ Blazkowicz is back and here to kick some ass!
Since the 2014 release of The New Order, the Wolfenstein series has seen a dramatic shift in its settings. Out with the supernatural elements and castle settings, the post WWII vision of Nazis taking over the world has been a bold and rewarding move on Machine Games’ part. Not only has this allowed for the series to break away from its fairly mediocre sequels, but it has also opened the doors to experiment with crazy ideas and provide their take on a dystopian Nazi rule.
For instance, what if the pop culture phase of ‘The British Invasion’ was taken over by Germans? What kind of music would we be listening to?
Or better yet, what if the Nazis were able to develop spaceships? What would happen if Nazis managed to develop a nuke before the United States?
While these ideas are rather unsettling, there is a bizarre balance with The New Colossus. Combining elements of seriousness and absurdity, Wolfenstein II is a title that embraces the silliness that comes out of video games and provides a compelling narrative to tie it all together.
Continuing on from the events of The New Order, players will once again assume the role of William Joseph Blazkowicz. After narrowly surviving, players will wake up from a coma six months after the battle with Deathshead. With your body broken and Nazis invading your ship, players will find themselves in the most bizarre circumstance in video game history – mowing down Nazis in the comfort of a wheelchair.
After a thrilling introduction, players will then spend their time traveling across the United States. From there they will meet up with local resistance, ignite a revolution and rise up against the Nazi occupation. While I won’t spoil too much of the plot, I will say that in regards to the massive moral choice of deciding the fate between Fergus and Wyatt can be carried over.
Out with the modern, and back to the roots!
If there was one thing that I loved about both Wolfenstein: The New Order and Doom (2016), it was the abandonment of cover based shooters and the return of classic run-and-gun action.
Instead of relying heavily on players to replenish their health by hiding, Machine Games has designed Wolfenstein in a way that mixes this element along with Doom’s frantic in-your-face combat.
For instance, while it is true that the game does replenish some of your health over time, keep note it isn’t much health. As such, the game encourages players to do one of two things: run out and mow down as many nazis to find whatever health boosts are nearby, or eliminate whoever is nearby and steal whatever pieces of armour they have on them.
What’s great about this game is that Machine Games has once again given players the option to play as either one of two things, run in guns blazing and be as crazy as possible, or sneak in stealthy, and silently take down your foes without raising an alarm.
While the game doesn’t punish players for going either route, there are of course benefits and faults on both ends. For instance, if you go in guns blazing, you’ll definitely be having a load of fun running as a mobile tank and tearing down Nazis with your arsenal. But of course, this will mean raising the alarm and alerting enemies to your presence.
Going the stealthy route will encourage you to explore the map, find and pick up additional ammunition along the way, and conserve your health and armour for the later enemies. However, this will mean a lot of trial and error in finding the right path, and extending the playtime on certain missions.
From Nazi androids to giant robot dogs, Wolfenstein II is just as insane as ever!
Much like the first game, Wolfenstein II once again provides a variety of insane enemies for players to battle against. While the standard Nazi storm-trooper is a common enemy throughout, players will sometimes battle against cyborgs, androids, hulking mechs and giant robotic hounds.
While a lot of these enemy types were introduced to both The New Order and The Old Blood, players with a keen eye for detail will notice subtle changes in both the design of these enemies and the additional perks added to them.
For instance, with Super Soldiers (giant nazi cyborgs) once again making an appearance to the series, players should be able to notice a change in both the face masks and enlarged backpack on them. While the previous versions were slow, this time these robotic monstrosities can charge at players with their rocket backpack. This means that players hoping to keep their distance should expect at any point for the tables to turn.
Outside of the main story, the fight doesn’t just end there!
After completing the main story, players will have the option to take up some additional side missions that will get you assassinating secret Nazi Ubercommanders in previous explored missions.
However, in order to unlock these missions, players will need to make sure that they’re taking out Nazi commanders. Throughout the main story, these commanders will be carrying out secret enigma codes in which BJ can crack into back at his motherbase. Once players gather enough, they can use a computer to crack into these codes and uncover the locations where they’ll be hiding out in.
Not only do these missions provide additional play time, but it also allows for players to backtrack certain areas and find hidden collectables that they might’ve missed. For instance, in one part of the game, there is a character called Max Haus – an intellectually disabled man with the mind of child. As well as finding hidden vinyls and documents surrounding the game’s narrative, players can also go on a hunt to find Max some toys for his collection.
While this may sound incredibly silly (because it is), I’ll be honest, I’ve spent a good amount of my time visiting different states (even traveling to bloody Venus!) in order to find these toys.
Just like the previous release, The New Colossus has a habit of switching between pre-rendered cut-scenes and going back to the in-game engine. Much like the previous game, I feel as though there are a number occasions in which some scenes end rather abruptly, and don’t transition over well. I feel as if this could’ve been avoided if they perhaps ditched the black borders within these cutscenes, or allowed at least a second or two for the scene to fade to black.
As well as this, I have one gripe with the collectables, in particular the hidden Vinyl tracks. While their takes on Nazi versions of the Beach Boys, Elvis and the Beatles was something I really liked listening to, I feel that having these tracks playing in the background would’ve been awesome to have.
For instance, this song in particular would’ve made some of the combat areas a million times more epic if I was able to have it play in the background. Sadly, the only way I could have it play is if I decide to play it on the menu screen, or have my iPod ready.
In addition to this, as much as I enjoyed the campaign and story, I feel as though the ending was rather anticlimactic, and that their ending song (an abysmal screamo cover of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ from Twisted Sisters) was an awful selection. Personally, I feel as if they could’ve done with either the original, or used one of the many awesome tracks that they have.
Stupid, awesome, idiotic, action-packed, silly and incredible – these are all adjectives that perfectly summarise my experience with Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Level designs are large and fun to explore, and combat is balanced in both its challenge and fun.
While the ending may leave some fans wanting more, Wolfenstein II is still a great sequel.