Jonathan Birkenstamm reviews Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, letting you know whether you should buy now, wait, or avoid the Nazi blaster.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus was released on October 27th, 2017 for PC, Xbox One, PS4 and early 2018 on the Nintendo Switch. Published by Bethesda Softworks and developed by MachineGames, Wolfenstein 2 is a direct sequel to 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Using the ID Tech 6 engine, which was used for 2016’s DOOM, Wolfenstein 2 looks damn gorgeous. During my playthrough, I didn’t run into any stutters, frame-rate drops, or slowness. Though it should be said that I have an above average PC that houses a GTX 1080 in it. But back in 2016, I did run DOOM on a GTX 770, and that game still looked and ran amazing on the hardware. I also noticed while playing Wolfenstein 2 that the game barely used my CPU. All the stress was on the GPU, which is what you want in a First-Person Shooter. Though some texture pop-ins during my playthrough did happen, they were rare and weren’t a major issue. The only issue I did seem to notice was when I tried to use my G-Sync 240Hz monitor without Vertical-Sync. During gameplay, the Frames-Per-Second were what I expected and the monitor did its job. But when the game went into the cutscenes the FPS shot up to over 600+ FPS and the screen tears showed up all over the place. This forced me to use Vertical-Sync in the options to stop the screen tears during the cutscenes. Not a huge deal breaker, but was very annoying.
In terms of story, Wolfenstein 2 picks up right after the first game’s ending. I don’t want to spoil any of the plots for those that haven’t played the first game. But I would highly recommend picking up and playing Wolfenstein: The New Order before jumping into the sequel. This would allow you to better know who the characters are and where the main antagonist came from. Wolfenstein 2 focuses a lot on the main protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz. They go into his childhood with his parents and how that background made him the man he is today. The story this time around touched the heartstrings a lot. MachineGames really focused on the campaign and it’s story in Wolfenstein 2, even if it gets crazy and bizarre at times. You can feel the struggles and loss the characters go through to rid the United States of the Nazi regime. The title of the game “The New Colossus” is a poem written by Emma Lazarus about the Statue of Liberty. I didn’t know this at first till I found out B.J. Blazkowicz recites the poem at the end of the first game, thus linking the meaning of the title of this sequel.
The sound effects in Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus are very well done. From the sounds of war to the shots of your weapons. Couldn’t find any complaints. Same went for the music and voice acting. Most specifically the man who played B.J. Blazkowicz. He delivered his lines very well, and at times during the heartfelt parts of the story, he almost got me in tears.
What about the meat and potatoes of Wolfenstein 2, the gameplay? I’d say just as you would expect. If you played the first game then this sequel is pretty much more of the same. Killing Nazis with dual wielding weapons and having a blast doing it. At your disposal are a number of weapons which you can combine with dual wielding. Want to use a machine gun and auto-Shot gun, you can do that. Of course dual wielding weapons will do massive damage, but it is balanced by also using twice as much ammo. You will run out quickly if you are always dual wielding weapons. I found it best to not do this unless you were up against bigger and tough enemies. The bigger Nazi soldiers are tougher to bring down, but they also carry the bigger weapons. These can’t be dual wielded and will cause B.J. to move slower while he is holding one. You can’t keep these weapons either. You have to either find them on mounts or take them from beaten super nazi soldiers. These bigger weapons can be recharged by stations through-out the level. So if you desired, you can carry the weapon with you and keep recharging it until the end of the level. But since they slow B.J. down, you will take more damage since it is harder to get out of the line of fire.
One of the new addition to the gameplay is melee instant kills. Kind of like in DOOM 2016. These are done with an ax which you can hold up to three of. The axes can be thrown as well, but I believe you will always have at least one to perform the melee kill. Another addition is upgrading your weapons. While playing Wolfenstein 2, you will come across upgrade kits found in secret areas. These will then allow you to upgrade the standard weapons by adding scopes, silencers, bigger magazines, more damage, etc. In addition to finding these upgrade kits in secret areas, they can also be earned. Some of the resistance fighters during the breaks between fighting Nazis will have little side missions for you to do. Completing these will net you an upgrade kit. So, exploring the areas while you are killing Nazis is a huge benefit than just running through the levels as quick as you can. The game also has somewhat of an end game. After the final act and the credits roll, the game isn’t over. You are then presented with the choice to continue playing by hunting down Nazi commanders in the USA. Finding their locations are done by enigma codes which you find during your campaign play through. I was very surprised by this and always wondered what those enigma codes were for.
Overall Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is a damn fun and entertaining game. A fine sequel to 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order. Though if you never played the first game, you will be a bit confused on what is going on and who these characters are. But it is still a top-notch First-Person Shooter with an interesting and crazy story-line that continues the series well.
I did run into a few issues, with the vertical-sync and my game crashing because of corrupt files during one of their updates. But other than that I didn’t really have too much to complain about. If you are looking for a damn good single-player campaign that will last you more then ten hours and doesn’t bombard you with loot-crates. Then I couldn’t recommend this game enough. Pick up the entire series, as they are all fine examples of First-Person Shooters done right without all the bullshit.
Final verdict: BUY