Review: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus


Wolfenstein 3-D is the father of 3D shooters.  It introduced a fast-paced gameplay style expected within the genre today.  When Wolfenstein: The New Order arrived onto the scene in 2014, it took everyone by surprise. MachineGames breathed new life into a series whose best days, most of us thought, were behind it.  Indeed, Wolfenstein: The New Order surprised me with its tight controls and out of this world lore, making it one of my games of the year.

I am happy to announce that everything you loved about Wolfenstein: the New Order is here.  Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is dialed up significantly.  With a style all its own, and the best realized characters this side of the Berlin Wall, we are looking at another Game of the Year contender.

The story picks up immediately after the events of the first game.  We find William “BJ” Blazkowicz in a coma after the defeat of Deathshead and the destruction of his fortress.  BJ wakes up finding his group under attack.  Having no use of his legs, and internal organs failing, BJ straps is ass into a wheelchair, grabs a gun and starts rolling thru the facility, killing Nazis with the effectiveness of five men.  It is a beautifully thrilling and hilarious thing to behold.  That is the allure of this game.  It’s an engaging story packed full of heart and humor that takes place in a world that has gone to Hell.  Plus, it’s completely irreverent in the process.

It is surprising how well this story seems to work.  Indeed, it is probably the best in a video game this year.  Presented is an absurd version of a 1961 Nazi occupied America.  It is a credit to the designers, writers, and voice actors that they can take us to a serious scene displaying cruelty and racism to laugh aloud-hilarious moments the next.  It never feels cheap or overplayed because the player knows that they will take their revenge on the Nazi cruelty.

 Regarding memorable characters, this game has you covered.  Not to mention the most brilliant and diabolical villain since Vaas from Far Cry 3.  It is quite a feat to display such brilliant evil embodied in the Nazi’s with one character.  General Engel is an intimidating and truly evil person.  Her sadism is on full display and the sheer enjoyment of torturing her victims is effectively discomforting on screen.  She gives the player a visceral satisfaction in mowing down her and everything she represents in this game.  This represents the idea that you can get away with almost anything in a story when the characters are real and human, both good and bad.

That said, a good story and good characters without great gameplay is useless.  In this category, Wolfenstein II does not let us down as one of the best first person shooters I have played in a very long time.  With tight mechanics and a beautifully smooth 60 frames per second, killing Nazis has never felt more satisfying.  While the game is not the most beautiful on current gen consoles, it does a great job showing the player the brutality you are inflicting on your enemy.

Aside from Wolfenstein II being a great shooter mechanically, the game gives you the depth of options on your playstyle.  Most sections of the game have one or two commanders that you have the option of using stealth to find and take down.  While challenging, this does allow the player to face less enemies in a given area if he is able to knock out the two commanders.  If discovered, alarms trigger and the bloody battle ensues.  While not a stealth game by design, this gives the player agency to not go into a fight the same way every time.  Of course, if you wish to go in with guns blazing you are free to do so.  However, be ready for more of a challenge.

Regarding weapons, the designers did an excellent job with variety.  Every gun has variations that you can upgrade by finding kits throughout the game.  Each weapon comes with three upgrade slots such as bigger clips for your ammo, scopes for precision, or silencers to assist with stealth.  This feature accommodates any players preferred style of combat.  Obviously, bigger clips allow for more function during an intense shootout while silencers and scopes allow for a more stealthy approach.  Let us not forget the classic ability for BJ to wield two guns at the same time blasting away your opponents in vengeful glee.

Back for this game is the Perks system.  This allows the player to perform certain acts within the game and be rewarded with perks or better skills.  For example, if you continue to sneak up on enemies for stealthy takedowns, the game will reward you with the ability to move faster while crouched.  If you kill an enemy by throwing a hatchet, the game rewards with a higher capacity for carrying more of this weapon.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was a highly anticipated game for me in 2017.  I just wanted more of the same.  What I got exceeded my expectations on every level.  From story, to characters, to mechanics, MachineGames put heart and soul into this game and the final product is well worth any hardcore gamer’s time.  Rumor has it that this is a trilogy.  Here’s hoping we get more chances to take the fight to the Third Reich.  If I had to score this game, I’d definitely give it a NEIN!!

Jonathan is the co host of the gaming podcast Weekly Games Chat with his friends Chris and Shaun.  You can find Weekly Games Chat on iTunes and other podcast services every Wednesday.


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