When you play a video game, you can only hope that the game becomes an experience that transports you into the middle of a new story and a new world. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a game that not only took me for a wild ride, it kept me engaged and begging for more from the first line of dialogue until the last line of credits vanished. To the naked eye, this game looks like your average first person shooter with an unnecessary amount of violence and guns. But, when you actually get to play it first-hand you realize that its combines the seemingly generic elements with one hell of a good story and memorable characters, creating a far more immersive campaign.
My first journey into the world of Wolfenstein was last year when I was given Wolfenstein: The New Order and told by a close friend that this game was incredibly addicting and that I would absolutely love it. Although I was vaguely familiar with the Wolfenstein series, I really had no idea what I was about to experience. This game was the seventh in a series dating back to 1981, so I was understandably intrigued by its survival over a few decades. I played through the entire game and for the first time in a while, I felt a strong urge to replay it immediately. I instead found there was a follow-up/add on to the game called The Old Blood and proceeded to blow through that in half the time it took me to play the first game.
Now, a year after my introduction to B.J. Blazkowicz and his never-ending quest to eliminate every single Nazi in a world in which Hitler won WWII, I find out there is a sequel. When you finish The New Order, it’s very hard to imagine how a sequel could even be possible. (Spoiler Alert) The hero of the story, Blazkowicz, gets the bad guy and seems to sacrifice himself in the process. A noble end for a noble man, right? Wrong! This game starts off with the biggest WTF moment ever. Defying the laws of nature and biology, our hero is somehow rescued from his “no way out” scenario by his friends and stripped of some pretty important internal organs and stitched back up, saving his life. How is this possible you may ask; wouldn’t he die without intestines? Probably, but you can’t truly have a sequel to The New Order without Blazkowicz!
What made The New Order and The Old Blood so much fun was the straightforward gameplay. Bethesda Softworks, the developers behind these games and the most recent Doom game, are masters of addicting FPS gun play. You slowly collect weapons throughout the game, each gun getting more powerful and badass. You use these guns to plow your way through Nazi controlled bases, buildings, and war zones. The objective is always the same and it never gets old, kill all the Nazi soldiers. These games have a different feeling than your usual Call of Duty or Battlefield games in the same way Doom did: a focus on great playing single player, mechanically and in narrative. In this timeline, the Allies lost the fight against Hitler’s forces and allowed his reign of terror to spread all over the planet. The people you and Blazkowicz meet along the way empower you to fight back against the horror of the Nazis and start a movement to end the fighting for good.
While the first game focuses more on Blazkowicz jumping head first into the fight after being out of action for a while, this new game focuses on the forming of alliances to rebel against the Nazis and enact precise strikes against them. You are a man on a mission to build a resistance movement and the people you meet are some of the strangest and questionable characters one could imagine. The game is structured into a pretty fair mix of slowly intensifying gameplay, followed by a cut-scene with a rinse repeat cycle that’s frequent enough to keep the pace moving swiftly. These cut-scenes are some of the best (and are best looking on the PS4 Pro, if you’re not a PC player) in the few Wolfenstein games I’ve now played. The narrative was so compelling that tere were certain points at which I forgot I was playing a game and was bummed when it went back to the mission.
Returning to the ridiculous nature of these games that we discussed earlier, there are some BIG moments in The New Colossus that surprised me. I’m not going to spoil any of them because they all make the game as good as it is, but oh boy, do I love the direction the developers took. This game is insanely violent and graphic to the points of absurdity most of the time, creating the effect of a Tarrantino-esque Grind-House film, but I truly believe that without all of the obscenities this game wouldn’t be half the fun it is. We have all become so used to the cut and dry FPS formula and it’s easy to feel like you’re on a conveyor belt or roller coaster rails sometimes when playing. Not to say that Wolfenstein II doesn’t have those moments, but at least it strives to break the mold and be something memorable and repayable. Also, as one would expect from a Wolfenstein entry, the game’s use of Adolf Hitler as a character you encounter in the strangest section of the story is one of the most memorable, defining moments of the game.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a spectacular addition to the (hopefully) never ending adventures of B.J. Blazkowicz. Whether you’re a lover of great storytelling, great action, or a humorous amount of death and destruction, this game has something for everyone. The weapons are just as powerful and fun as in the previous games. The only complaint I had was that the ending of the game is a giant tease. I will be extremely upset if there isn’t a Wolfenstein III.
Publisher: Bethesda SoftWorks
Format: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Comming Soon on Switch
Released: October 27th, 2017