Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review – Only Good Nazi is a Dead Nazi

By: Louis Edwards
 

B.J. Blazkowicz is back to kill more Nazis in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. The question is, should you help him out by picking up a copy or just stay out of the fight.

Read our review to find out

 

The Wolfenstein series has long been one of my personal favorites and it dates back to 1981 with the Apple II and then in 1983 for the Commodore 64 PC (not to be confused with the Nintendo 64 console which came much later). The first two entries were old school, top down shooter games with barebones graphics and were comparable to other games of that era. Then in 1992 I received from a friend a 3.5″ floppy disc with ID Software in big bold letters and the title Wolfenstein 3D.

The classic game is playable once you reach the submarine

After copying it over to my generic 80386 PC with a whopping 2MB RAM and a 20MHZ processor, I was running through doors and blasting Nazis from a first person perspective for the very first time. 4 hours later someone was peeling me off of the keyboard because it was 2AM and I had to go to work at 7. Health pickups and secret doors were all I could think of at at work and I couldn’t wait to get home that evening to play some more. I witnessed the birth of a new genre of video games and didn’t even realize it at the time. Fast forward to last week when I first fired up my review copy of MachineGame’s Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and I couldn’t wait to jump in and start blasting Nazis yet again.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus picks up where Wolfenstein: The New Order left off and follows our hero William “B.J.” Blazkowicz (known to the Nazis as Terror Billy) as he takes on the Third Reich and their Nazi army. The game opens with BJ being rescued from the Nazis and barely surviving the operations needed. He wakes from a 5 month coma weak and damaged, and finds that the captured U Boat his allies are using is under attack by Frau Engel, a sadistic Nazi commander who BJ had previously disfigured and killed her lover. As you work your way through the level, you are eventually given a choice between two people, only being able to save one of them. This choice determines which story arch you choose and adds some replayabilty to a game that already has plenty to do.

In classic Wolfenstein style, the difficulty levels range from ‘Can I Play, Daddy’ all the way up to ‘I am Death Incarnate’. once you’ve played through the game on any of those difficulties, ‘Mein Laben’ is unlocked and that is an insanely difficult mode. You get one life to complete the entire game, from start to finish, with no manual saves, no checkpoints, and you need to do it in one sitting. If you die, you have to go back to the very beginning of the game and start over. The campaign took me around 11 hours to play through on the ‘Bring em on’ difficulty so if you are looking for a Platinum trophy, you may want to look elsewhere or prepare for a long and arduous gaming session.

The story for the game is well written and goes beyond just the conquering of the US. We are shown BJ’s life as a kid and how his racist father was a real asshole, not only to him but also his mother. We are shown how his early years made him the man he is today and how his father forged him into the man the Nazis call Terror Billy. It was a depth that had been missing in previous entries in the series, and with BJ’s love interest pregnant with twins in this entry, it gives you an understanding of what BJ wants to avoid if he survives long enough to raise his own kids. The game touches on some seriously messed up social aspects that are still alive in this country today, and one has to wonder if some of what happens in the story really could have happened in a 1950’s America.

The many weapons in the game are unlocked by picking them up from dead bodies or found in gun racks across the levels. The weapons are upgradeable with weapon kits that are found lying around and applied giving them better scopes, bigger magazines, silencers, or more damage, to name a few of the available upgrades. My personal favorite is the rotating automatic shotgun that can do some serious damage in a hurry when faced with an incoming onslaught of filthy Nazis. There are also heavy weapons that can be either mounted or carried that are pretty fun to use and lethal as Hell. For stealthier players, you have a cool little battle hatchet that works great for those silent kills when sneaking up on a bad guy, and if you have a few extra, you can throw them and they are just as lethal.

The graphics for the game are top notch and fit this gen of consoles perfectly. The game uses ID Software’s ID Tech 6 gaming engine and allows for fast paced, blood flying action with quite a few Nazis on the screen at once. Character models are true to life as I was able to recognize the actor Christopher Heyerdahl as on of BJ’s allies preacher Horton Boone from his Hell on Wheels days. Level design and enemy design were also impressive, as the range of Nazis needing killed gave the game enough variety to keep the killing fresh. Also, beware of swamps and sewers as not all enemies are human.

Developer MachineGames’ Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus does a great job of furthering the franchise and continuing on with the alternate reality that was created previously. Great graphics and a great story, combined with some seriously fun Nazi killing, makes for yet another fun to play Wolfenstein game. BJ has come a long ways from 1981, but he hasn’t aged a day and is as effective as ever.

9


Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus review code provided by publisher. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.