Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a first-person action shooter developed by MachineGames and published by Bethesda.

What would the world look like if Nazi Germany won World War II? Where would everyone be right now? According to Wolfenstein, it’d be full of gigantic robots, advanced weaponry, wild spaceships, and a world in deep trouble with no escape in sight. However, a revolution is brewing as you take control of William Joseph Blazkowicz. You’re on a mission to unravel the government that has caused you nothing but trouble for as long as you can remember. Lead a ragtag bunch of revolutionaries as you run around eviscerating Nazi’s, blowing holes in monstrous machines, and loudly reclaiming what was taken from you in one of the most satisfying first person shooters in years.

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Bizarre Charm

The New Colossus takes place directly after its predecessor, The New Order, as Blazkowicz is awakened to learn that his mission is far from over. The story is rather simple, with your objective to unravel what the Nazi’s have built up. However, there is so much to love in the dialogue between each of the characters. The strange charm and personality embedded in this title is surprising. A majority of the interactions are goofy as hell, but the characters retain their seriousness, creating quite the bizarre dynamic.

There’s a scene where Blazkowicz and a revolutionary are arguing about what they should do to properly ignite this revolution. During all of this, they’re angrily drinking an incredibly potent alcoholic beverage while being shot at by Nazi’s until Blazkowicz passes out. There’s also another scene where one of your fellow revolutionaries loses his robotic arm, and the story as to how he lost it perfectly encapsulates the goofiness this game is aiming for. The title also has quite the dark sense of humor, treating death and violence as lightly as possible, which is quite relieving considering the context of the series.

Even though the main story is pretty simple, how it goes about developing certain mini-stories is quite engaging. The flashbacks depicting Blazkowicz’s past and how this arc concludes is awesome, as it provides a connection to his character. I also adore how it doesn’t mindlessly villainize the antagonists. These characters genuinely think their beliefs are correct. They’re not just brainless bad guys who want to watch the world burn, they’re people with twisted minds, and The New Colossus shows us this wonderfully.

Run & Gun

The New Colossus has a heavy focus on fast paced action, and while there is a stealth option, most of the time you’ll be going off against twenty people at once, mowing them down with your machine-pistol. What’s incredibly engaging about this is the enemy types, weapon types, and how the perks function.

There are a series of weapons which can be upgraded, along with grenades, a hatchetwhich functions as both a melee and throwing weaponand a collection of heavy weapons which can be picked up from around the world. When it comes to the enemies, you’re either fighting regular Nazi’s, or some giant machine that thirsts for your blood.

While this may seem deep or complex, what’s fascinating about The New Colossus is how simple it is. The weapon and enemy systems resemble what you’d find from older action shooters. It’s not elaborate, but it’s not boring, either. Every single weapon is incredibly fun to use, and while each enemy type is basic, they’re tough to beat down. This creates quite a surprising level of accessibility, as it never stops the fluidity of the action. It doesn’t have the intention of sitting you there and make you contemplate how to build your character. It focuses on quick action, and it does this very well. This is especially evident with how it treats its perk system.

Passive Perks

There are twenty-four perks in the game, but you can’t exactly choose how to upgrade these perks. Depending on how you play, the game will automatically upgrade certain things for you. For example, if you love stealth killing Nazi’s, the game will slowly increase your movement speed while crouched. Additionally, if you enjoy dual-wielding, the game will increase how many clips you have before you reach max ammo. This all contributes to the idea that MachineGames wanted The New Colossus to be an endless bullet hell. They don’t want the player to waste time allocating perk points, they just want us to run and gun.

Difficulty

The Wolfenstein series is known for its large number of difficulty options, and this title is no different. I wanted a decent challenge so I played the game on Call Me Terror-Billy, which is the equivalent of very hard. While this may sound a bit over “decently challenging,” there are two whole difficulties that proceed very hard, and it turned out how I expected. There are certain parts that took a lot of retries to make it through, but overall, nothing too hellish. The only time I found myself in trouble was during the final fight, where I had died countless times.

Stealth

This game has incredibly unforgiving stealth mechanics, as there are no convenient abilities to make your life easier. All you have is the ability to crouch, use a silenced weapon, and throw an axe. While this may seem underdeveloped, it’s actually fun as hell. The intensity of slowly crawling through the levels in order to try and stealth kill everyone is wild. While the lack of a quick dash, invisibility, or noise reducer may seem unfortunate, it greatly amps up the difficulty. Thankfully, you can save whenever you want, so after trying to stealth kill someone ten times, you can just save. This helps reduce the frustration, even though it’s still tough for sure.

Small Notes

While a majority of the cut scenes in The New Colossus look fantastic, a decent amount of them are quite underwhelming. It’s hard to tell what exactly happened, but the game goes from nearly perfect character model movement to what seems like half-assed Claymation.

While the game took twelve hours to beat, this is likely because I played it on very hard, which invokes a lot of retries. If you wanted to extend your play time to 18-20 hours, you could do all the side-missions. These have you revisiting levels but with a different objective and some tougher enemies.

Verdict

The New Colossus is without a doubt one of the most satisfying first person-shooters I’ve ever played. It’s constantly engaging with endless action, an awesome story, and well-written character interactions. I’ve also never been as impressed by a perk system as I have with this title, as I love the idea of the game leveling up for you, rather than wasting time to figure out what perks you want. Overall, The New Colossus is a fantastic game, and MachineGames have outdone themselves with this title.

THE GOOD
Charming Character Interactions
Simple But Engaging Action
Awesome Perk System
Challenging Difficulty
Fantastic Story
THE BAD
Some Underwhelming Cutscenes
Simplicity Isn’t For Everyone
9
Superb

Review Summary

The New Colossus is an engaging title, and even though the mechanics are simple, there’s so much love put into every moment that it’s hard not to become immersed in it all.

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