Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review
Tested on Xbox One
Available now on PC, Xbox One and PS4.
Finally Blazkowicz is back and the Nazi slaughtering can start once again!
Ever wondered what made B.J Blazkowicz such a bad ass? Well the start of the game should give you a good insight!
Following on from the previous title Blazkowicz is left in a really critical way! After the blast Blazkowicz is left unconscious and players get to relive his childhood for a few moments. His mother sits on the bed beside him nursing the injuries that his father inflicted to him, she tells him not to worry and it will be ok his father is not home tonight, he’s away on business… he blacks out again and back to a very memorable scene from The New Order, choosing who to save between two old friends, this choice carries through into The New Colossus. Save Fergus or Wyatt the choice is yours as deja vu strikes.
Once this choice is made it’s back to the gruesome reality and the current state of Blazkowicz is clear, Anya, Fergus or Wyatt depending on your choice, Max, Set Roth and Caroline Becker are all there trying to keep Blazkowicz alive..
Blazkowicz had a pretty tough childhood!
Back by his mothers side again and the game throw’s the unexpected arrival of the boys father, flashbacks to reality and the work to save Blazkowicz by his friends are gruesome as a flash of light that then throws the scene back into the past and hiding in a cupboard as his mother and father argue. The father clearly a racist pig wants to beat his boy after seeing him “spending time with a dirty little n***a girl” The father is worried about losing his reputation that he built and wants to teach his boy a lesson, the mother however stands up for her son but the father beats her as well as then kicking the dog out of the door!
Some may find the video below disturbing.
Blazkowicz shown as only a child leaves the cupboard with his father standing there waiting, all he can do is throw stuff at his father until he’s finally caught and picked up by the throat, being chocked and called weak the young Blazkowicz blacks out! Flashing in and out of consciousness again Blazkowicz is dragged into the cellar by his racist father, with his hands tied his father wants to make him a real man so tells him he has to shoot the dog! while trying to brainwash him saying “The weak are doomed” “It’s on us to straighten out the queer”. Gun held and pointed at his poor pet the young boy who you now control has a choice to make, this scene will not carry on until a shot is fired! Don’t worry dog lovers you can aim slightly to the side and miss if you want but the father will only do the job for you if you don’t do it yourself!
Painting a very cruel and gruesome picture of what things were like, this is all experienced just 12 minutes into the game! Wolfenstein does have a shock value to it and some things that are said really push to the limits of what is ok, being told as a story does link back to the way things were in the past and gives an insight to how bad some people had life.
Limited movement to start with and totally different experience
Barely recognising himself in the mirror and unable to walk the full extent of Blazkowicz’s injuries are pretty clear to see, he’s in a bad way! So much so your first few encounters take place in a wheel chair where the use of a single gun and slow movement will be all that’s available to survive! B.J as he’s well known is still able to perform take-downs as stealthy as possible from the comfort of a creaky old chair so the single weapon isn’t the only tool too survive.
After wheeling your way around the sub taking a few enemies down along the way, a familiar friendly face is finally seen…. Set Roth the scientist that helped save Blazkowicz’s life is standing behind a glass panel in another room. upon entering there are frantic shouts from Set “not to move and don’t come any closer” Set has installed numerous traps around which totally blow the poor sod in them to pieces with just a cloud of blood to show for what was once a person!
Set is happy to see Blazkowicz awake but not happy he’s out of bed! “your body is broken, Your kidneys are failing! you might have difficulty to urinate, to use your schmeckle!”
Some of the captions in the game add some humor to what can at times be a very real eye opening story. The constant voice of Blazkowicz can be heard talking to himself or sometimes others that are sadly gone (Don’t want to give the story away to much!) Some lines however do come across a little too cheesy and show Blazkowicz’s softer side.
When you finally leave Set in search of Anya these traps prove crucial to Blazkowicz and and his survival. They are spread throughout with switches available to turn them off and on so always remember to check before you go rolling through getting fried in the process!
As well as the traps spread around there are other things to be used in the environment to aid survival, gas canisters can be shot causing explosions which if close enough will blow Nazi enemies to bits as well as some boxes containing items such as health and armour.
Many different difficulty settings make experience great for everyone.
At the start of the game Wolfenstein gives the player the option of how hard they want the challenge! The great news and something I used a few times is that the difficulty can be adjusted at anytime. With some battles leaving me feeling totally frustrated, the ability to lower it slightly made things just right and then I was able to just switch it back up again after if I found things a little too easy!
Now even with his power suit Blazkowicz is still human so it won’t take many bullets to start eating away at his health, picking up health, armour and ammo will be essential to survive! All three can be found fairly easily and one thing that has improved since The New Order is the way it’s picked up, you no longer need to look directly at that tiny piece of scrap metal for amour, now if it’s near you just press the button to pick it up or in some cases just run straight over it and it will be picked up automatically.
Most of the items picked up will be from fallen foes, pieces of armour may flick off during battle and these can be picked up and used to reinforce Blazkowicz. Health can also be overcharged giving Blazkowicz a health boost but remember this will eventually drop down to the original value over time.
The difficulty setting is something people will need to play around with as armour and health can drop fast and Blazkowicz will be dead before you know it, it’s a nice feature though that you can adjust it on the fly if things get a little too tough.
You don’t stay wheelchair bound for long
As you progress through the level, some things will unfold and Blazkowicz will finally be able to walk. I don’t want to give too much away about what happens but squeamish players should definitely look away as there is plenty of limbs flying off as well as a pretty weird part of the scene which I’m not even getting into “kiss kiss kiss”
With Blazkowicz finally escaping Frau Engel the main antagonist of the game, he acquired something that has once again given him the ability to run, jump and even smash through certain floor panels.
The chair was fun and everything but this is where the fun really begins!
Getting out of that chair and the game changes! Blazkowicz is once again a Nazi killing machine and with the power suit he acquired earlier he is stronger than ever, but only on the outside! On the inside he is still very much a broken man with death not far away!
The game-play is as frantic and fast paced as you would expect from a Wolfenstein game, sometimes though running straight into a group of Nazi’s isn’t the best way, so sneaking is the other option. Being out of the chair melee attacks while sneaking and even face on are back to the gory Wolfenstein way with limbs being chopped off with a nice knife to the face or throat to finish.
Being out of the chair also allows Blazkowicz the option to dual wield weapons, this adds a fair bit of verity to the shooting side of things by being able to really mix things up with whatever combo suits you. Dual wielding guns adds double the the firepower with the downside of decreased accuracy but it’s so much fun it’s worth it!
With plenty of Nazi’s to kill throughout each level planning your attack becomes really important. Taking out the officers first becomes essential to not have alarms triggered, which in turn will call for reinforcements making things a lot more of a challenge.
Really well written characters
The story line is really well told keeping things interesting but it is the strength of the characters and how well written they are that really stands out. Blazkowicz constantly tells the story, giving players a sense of how it all feels from his perspective living in this nightmare that he is constantly fighting through, then there is Anya who is carrying his unborn twins not knowing if he will ever actually meet them. Wolfenstein does well to drag you in and then throw in the occasional one liner to break things up.
Main antagonist of the game Frau Engel is a real star performer throughout though, some of the things she said to her own daughter Sigrun, combined with her brutal nature and unpredictability made her a very memorable and well played character!
Adrenaline pumping backing music fits perfect with the action onscreen
This brings me to the weapons, the addition of weapon upgrades is nice and adds a bit of variety to the weapons. Weapon upgrades are done by acquiring upgrade kits that are found while exploring the levels these can then be used by entering the options menu and selecting the weapon you wish to upgrade. Upgrades aren’t in depth but do make a very noticeable difference to the weapon.
Mowing down Nazi’s just never seems to get old in Wolfenstein and that’s a credit to the developers as most others would be getting stale doing the same thing over and over. Surprisingly with not many weapons there is actually enough variety to keep players entertained, the dual wielding is a blast and then there is also the heavy weapons and these are where things get really fun…. and messy!
The power of the Lasergewehr is exhilarating! hold the left trigger to spool it up and fire away at multiple Nazi’s to cause mayhem as you watch them disintegrate in front of you! These big heavy weapons will usually require Blazkowicz to take down the original user before they can be picked up but once you get one you won’t want to put it down as the heavy weapons are one of the best to use! Heavy weapons are also chargeable meaning you don’t need to get rid of them as soon as they run out, charge points are located on the walls where you can charge up ready for the next fight!
As mentioned earlier weapon upgrades can be used, this also applies to the heavy weapons too! It’s a tough choice though as swapping to a normal weapon requires the heavy weapon to be dropped as heavy weapons cannot be holstered and you won’t be able to use it again until you find another one so upgrading normal weapons first would probably carry the biggest benefit.
The perk system hasn’t changed much but mastery levels are a good addition
The perk system in The New Colossus is very much the same as it’s predecessor, perks are unlocked by completing combat challenges which in turn gives Blazkowicz a permanent upgrade.
The way The new Colossus differs from The New Order is with it’s perk ranks. Certain perks used to have additional ranks but now they also have mastery levels within each perk. These mastery levels are important to get the perks that suit your own style, so if you are a stealthy player for example perks will unlock for added speed while crouching. Each perk does start off small but eventually add up to give you a good boost to help the way you prefer to play.
Submarine is the main base of operations.
The Submarine that Blazkowicz captured is now the main base for the rebellion, this is a pretty large place to explore and holds a few different things to do such as target practice and also a speed run in which you will have to run through a course and shoot enemy figures as you make your way to the end. Both hold achievements on Xbox one for beating set times if that’s something you are into collecting.
Small clip below from the sub showing some more of the games lighter side, don’t watch if you are worried about spoilers though.
The sub also lets you explore all round the living quarters, you can freely talk to people and perform small side quests like feeding Max’s pig as well as finding some of the games collectibles.
Great single player experience
For a single player game the story has to be well told and interesting, keeping the player from getting bored and addicting them to play till the end and I feel it is safe to say The New Colossus does this well! The near enough 15 hour campaign constantly had me jumping back on to get a little further whenever I had any spare time! The story held a few twists and turns and the game-play was massively addictive so for a single player game it does what it needs to do well.
Graphics, sound and control as well as any problems
Apart from the occasional enemy falling through objects and some rare questionable AI it has to be one of the best single player games I have played in a while. Graphically it looked impressive especially with some of the laser effects as it melted away metal objects or vaporized the poor Nazi in front of my eyes!
Sound was also a very strong in Wolfenstein, voice acting was superb and as I mentioned earlier some of the music was brilliantly matched to the action on screen as well as some really punchy sound effects from the guns and lasers.
Controls are fast and snappy, I did have to adjust the sensitivity slightly but this is just my preference as I constantly found myself over-correcting the shot and missing completely. The game also features an auto aiming option which does help with shooting as some enemies can be pretty hard to hit because of their speed so it’s another great option like the on the fly difficulty to help new players.
Great story line and some of the most well written characters I have ever seen! Fast, frantic and brutal gun-play with a small amount of different weapons but enough upgrades and perks to keep things fresh as well as the brilliant dual wielding option, allowing dual gun choice. Killing Nazi’s was fun in The New Order but The New Colossus really steps things up and makes a very satisfying and addictive experience and one that any FPS fan would greatly appreciate.
9.0 / 10
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