Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is the next installment of the famed Wolfenstein series put out by Bethesda, developed by MachineGames. As expected, it is a munch ’em up first-person shooter with lots of gore and plenty of Nazi Slaying goodness. This is our Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus review.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus brings us back to the war against the Nazi Empire but with a twist, they’ve taken over the United States. In this twist on history, the Nazi’s, not the U.S., developed and deployed the world’s first atomic bomb. By doing so they subjugated the entire U.S. in short order. The game has a very dark theme to it, with the Nazi’s in power it permitted groups like the KKK to prosper and rise in power. This is a fictional “what if” on what could have happened had the Germans won and taken over the U.S. during WWII.
I’m not going to lie, Wolfenstein II felt like it learned a lot from the recent DOOM in many regards. I truly felt like I was playing a DOOM game themed with Nazi’s instead of demons. But it wasn’t bad, it was actually very good. Besides the great story, the game has some pretty great graphics, animations, and overall alternate reality aesthetic. Where DOOM had you running around at high speeds, Wolfenstein II favors a more subtle approach, but I wouldn’t call it stealth per say. And I’d like to just throw this out there: You start out in a damn wheelchair! You’re murdering Nazi’s while rolling yourself around in a wheelchair. How much more badass can you get?
You can go through the game stealth mode, using suppressed weapons that you created through the weapon upgrade system, or use your trusty throwing axe. Or, like I did, go guns-a-blazing and just murder everything that moved. This was easily accomplished because there were a number of very powerful weapons across each of the levels, some dropped by guys you killed while others were just sitting on shelves waiting to be picked up. A couple of these weapons, like the beam shooting Lasergewhr for instance, felt a little out of place in this setting, again bringing me back to feeling like I was playing more of a DOOM game than a Wolfenstein game. Every level has many different ways of killing the enemy. Sure, as above you can go stealthy or guns-a-blazing, but you can also use the environment to your advantage. There are traps you can lure the enemy into, and exploding containers to blow them up with.
Each of your weapons can be upgraded a couple times. Each upgrade adds a specific attribute to the weapon, such as making it suppressed. I played around with a few different combos but found most of them to be lacking any use. I found the suppressed versions to be extremely weak, and got me caught most of the time I tried to get easy headshots. I did, however, enjoy using the armor penetration upgrade, it seemed to actually bring a lot to the table in terms of usability.
While playing, you will earn perks automatically. An example would be using your throwing axe to get kills. By doing this, you unlock a perk giving you an extra capacity slot for holding axes. These level up as you play the game so it’s not something you have to really worry about. Nearly everything you do from headshots, environment kills, or simply melee kills grants you a point towards a perk upgrade.
There are plenty of collectibles to be found throughout each level. Actively searching for each one will take a lot of time and effort, some of these are extremely hard to find.
The story was awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed the campaign story. It brings you to a place everyone has dreamed of from the start of the Wolfenstein reboot. I cannot say more without spoiling the game. That being said, it’s rather short. New Order was roughly 14 hours long. With Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, you’re looking at a campaign of just over 8 hours to fully play through. That’s without seriously searching for collectibles So it’s a tad bit short. Of course, DLC will always be sold to correct this in time.
After your campaign is finished the game isn’t really over. You still have plenty to do afterward. Throughout the game, you gather enigma codes from officers. These codes are used on the Enigma machine to unlock “side quests” to go collect a piece of gear or kill a specific target. After your campaign, a lot of targets appear on the mission board for high ranking Nazi officers. There are also a bunch of side missions on the “hub” of Evas Hammer. Therefore there is a decent amount replayability as of right now. I’m sure once someone completes all of these missions, they may tire out and get bored with the game. Let me assure you there are a lot of them, however, so I would assume it would add another 4~ hours to the entirety of the game. Still on the short side, but worth the price of entry.
No game is without its flaws. I have a feeling this one might end up getting a backlash much like Mass Effect Andromeda received about its poor facial animations. A lot of the NPC’s just look dead. Even Grace’s baby doesn’t seem lifelike, more like a forced animation of a clay model. Key characters seem to be okay, but the others? Not so much.
Graphics are okay, but there are issues with certain areas of the terrain that just shouldn’t be there. There are entire patches of ground that are literally polygons that shouldn’t be there. No blending, just huge blocks and triangles of a single texture. I’m sure they’ll fix that with a quick patch after launch, or a driver update for my GPU (Nvidia).
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review Final Word
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a great game. If you’re a fan of the series, this is a great addition to the family. If you’ve never played the rebooted series before, I would recommend starting with Wolfenstein: The New Order, if you don’t you won’t be able to follow the story very well at all. While Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus has its flaws, I think it’s a definite buy.
Compare to: DOOM, Wolfenstein: The New Order/Old Blood
Note: Our copy was reviewed on PC with a code provided by PR.