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(This game is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and is coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2018)
Back in 2014, Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of the best surprises in terms of third-party games. In a year where 90% of the third-party games flopped hard, in terms of being good or interesting, Wolfenstein: The New Order surprised many, and was one of the best games of 2014. It had great gunplay, the music was fantastic, and the story was one of the prime examples of video game storytelling. While the one-off game, Wolfenstein: The Old Order was good, the game didn’t have the charm or the interesting story that the original game had. Plus, it focused too much on stealth in the first part of the game. When Bethesda and Machine Games announced at E3 2017 that a new game was in the works, I was pretty pumped, but concerned. I respect Bethesda for what they do, but I’m always hit-and-miss with their games. Thankfully, Machine Games was able to offer a sequel that built upon and was just as good as the first game. While it has its flaws, it’s definitely one of the few triple A games this year that was not ruined by corporate greed.
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus starts us off right after the ending of the first game. You are B.J. Blazkowicz, voiced once again by Brian Bloom. After defeating the big bad guy from the previous game, you are almost left for dead, until his friends quickly pick him up and get out of the battleground. Months pass as you heal and lay in bed paralyzed. Unfortunately, Irene Engel, voiced by Nina Franoszek, caught up to our heroes, killed their leader, and now has pretty much the entire Nazi army under her command. After getting the special suit that B.J.’s leader wore, you set off to America to find revolutionary groups to join your cause, and whether with a gun or your trusty axe, put every Nazi six feet underground. So, the tone of the previous game mixed small comedic elements with an emotionally-gripping story. Thankfully, they keep that up, and while I felt like there were more light-hearted and over-the-top moments that could have clashed with the more dramatic/dark moments, it all really gelled together. This is especially true, since you will be put through the grinder with the darker elements. The story also has a lot to unpack, like abusive households, racism, assault, and even dealing with Adolf Hitler at one point. Thankfully, the characters are likable, and you want to see them make it through the overall adventure.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, but Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is a first-person shooter, in which you make your way through large linear levels, and when you see a Nazi, you can choose between sneaking up behind them and cracking open their head with your axe, or you go the route of unleashing your inner gun nut, and shooting anything that moves. Like in the previous game, you can dual-wield any of the guns you own, besides heavy artillery, or the special explosive gun you gain early on. While you only have one axe with you throughout the entire game, you can find additional axes to use as this game’s throwing knives, if you want to keep quiet while scoping for Nazis. So, it sounds like not much has changed, or has something been added? Well, instead of being able to upgrade your health and shields, you can scrounge around each level, and find upgrades that you can use on your individual guns, giving them more ammo and special perks. I recommend getting a suppressor for your pistol, due to the return of those enemies that can call for reinforcements if you are spotted for distant/silent kills. The gameplay feels very much like Doom 2016, if it was slowed down just a tiny bit. You have to keep on the move or else you will get shot. It’s either them, or you on the receiving end of a bullet. You can also search through the levels to find collectables, concept art, and items that will help expand on the world. You also have special missions, where you take out Nazi generals in smaller versions of previous levels that you have been through. Careful though, if you die, you have to start from the beginning of that challenge. Overall, you have a fantastic amount of value in replayability with how great it feels to fight the enemies, some levels that mix things up, and it comes to around a 10-hour campaign. There is no multiplayer, and personally, I am glad.
Graphically, the game looks as good as it did back in 2014. I think some textures are definitely cleaner looking, but the engine they use makes sure you have a nice-looking game that runs at a really smooth framerate. I did spot a graphical glitch in some areas, but they were very minor and not really noticeable. The voice cast also does a wonderful job with each of their characters. While Brian Bloom’s gravelly voice can be annoying at times, you push through the annoying sound, because you are invested in his character and what he’s fighting for. I think the one that steals the show is Nina Franoszek as the bad guy. She brings a delightful yet disturbing character to life, and makes Irene Engel one of the more intimidating villains of 2017. The music is action-packed, atmospheric, and just gets the good blood pumping when you are being a savage individual burning down Nazis while riding a giant robotic creature through New Orleans. Mick Gordon returns as the composer, and a lot of his tracks fit the mood perfectly, from gunning down Nazis, to B.J. going back to his old home in Texas. Then again, since he is the guy behind 2016’s Doom, 2013’s Killer Instinct, 2017’s Prey, and Lawbreakers, then you should not be surprised this guy is as good as he is.
If I had to complain about something, I feel like the game could have done a little more to spice up the gameplay. Now, the levels are varied, and you do get to do something fun and memorable, like the previously mentioned New Orleans level, going to Venus for an acting gig in a film directed by Hitler, and starting the game in a wheel chair, but I wish there was more to it than just story, stealth, and shooting. I was hoping for some kind of boss fight that happened from time to time, but they never really arrived. I know the previous game didn’t have that many, but since I also got done playing South Park: The Fractured but Whole and with how many bosses that game had, it made me wish The New Colossus had a few. They also introduce new mechanics at around the third act, and they don’t really add too much. I think they help more with killing specific army generals, but I never used them. Plus, they give you a choice to only choose one, but you can find the other two while going through the special side-missions. I just haven’t really been a fan of how this game handles choice. Sure, some things do change, but that’s only at the beginning of the game. You can also go on side-quests to help members of your crew out, but I never really saw any reward for doing so.
While it might not have the shock and surprise power that the first game had, and it has some clunky elements, The New Colossus is fantastic. It’s easily a great sequel in an already impressive relaunch of the franchise. It’s got enough content to warrant the price of entry, and it’s also a fun game I could see myself playing again. Yes, it does have DLC and a season pass, but thankfully, you can wait and see how the DLC turns out before buying it. I would rather deal with a game that has a season pass or traditional DLC than a game riddled with microtransactions or forced-in multi-player. It’s easily one of the best shooters of this console generation, and I can’t wait to see how they put this game on the Nintendo Switch in 2018. I’m glad this game didn’t suffer sequelitis problems, and I will be happy to keep playing it, enjoying it, and recommending it to anyone up for some fun action.
This game gets an 8 out of 10.