A worthy sequel and a fantastic game!
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is in every way the perfect sequel to 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order. Wolfenstein II picks up where the previous game left off and immediately throws you into the heat of battle. The game has improved in every way – be it the story, weapon mechanics, level design and graphics. We played the game on the PS4 Pro and apart from the occasional frame rate dip, the game ran smooth. Wolfenstein II runs on the id Tech 6 engine, the same engine that powered the Doom reboot in 2016. The game builds up on the previous games and offers a better experience of killing Nazis and navigating around Nazi-land. Let’s get into the more detail.
Blazkowicz is back!
Kicking things off with the story, as we’ve said above, the game starts where the first game ends. There is a recap initially, and if you haven’t played the first game, you may want to pay attention as little time is spent re-establishing relationships. At the end of the previous game, you the protagonist, William “B.J.” Blazkowicz are left for dead after completing your mission. But you are rescued. The story follows the same premise as before. The Nazi won the war, America is under the rule of Nazis and it is up to you and your band of resistance fighters to try and save everyone.
A very interesting thing about the story is that it reminded us a lot of the events in the Amazon Prime TV show, The Man in the High Castle. The manner in which the Nazis treat American citizens, their likes and dislikes of the American culture, there are some striking similarities that followers of the show will immediately identify.
The story of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus also introduces a handful of new characters that, from the get go, are racist, funny and sometimes downright silly and that is the heart of the game. The story is so entertaining that you will find yourself chuckling at every slapstick joke because it’s really that good. There is one point where a resistance member uses a functional toilet for the first time calling it a “mother flushing toilet” and you can’t help but grin. There are some interesting plot twists in the game, (some that I didn’t see coming at all) and they will keep you guessing as to what happens next.
The story is one of its main highlights filled with emotional moments, dark humour and a sadistic villain that can give the likes of GLaDOS a run for her money.
Dual-wielding different weapons and abilities
But the story isn’t the only thing we loved. The gameplay has been amped up with some interesting changes. Dual-wielding weapons were a highlight previously and now, you can dual-wield two different weapons from your arsenal. You can have a machine gun in one hand for the mid to long-range shots and the shotgun in the other, just in case someone gets too close.
Half way through Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, you also get to choose between three distinct abilities. The ability to jump high, the ability to ram through certain objects and enemies or the ability to squeeze through tight spaces. Sadly, you can only pick one ability on your first play through and we went with the ability to ram through walls and foes. Each ability helps with solving the ‘push this button here, to open that door’ to progress to the next level.
Level design and graphics
Speaking of the levels, this time around they are huge. There was one infiltration level that we had to try a few times to get through and every time, we found a new approach. Be it a vent to sneak through, a new corridor to pass a group of enemies or a hidden room filled with ammo and armour. The levels are big, spacious, sometimes repetitive with design and layout but overall a lot of fun to navigate.
Moving to the graphics, this is where the game looks fantastic but ruined with the occasional frame rate drop and glitch. There are moments when there is a lot of action happening on screen and you don’t notice the framerate drop. During some quiet sequences, where you are looking for a way to exit an area, there is a noticeable drop in frame rate. There were only two occasions when we had to exit the game and launch it again. Once when a door refused to open and the other where the cutscene wouldn’t trigger. We haven’t come across anyone else who faced this issue and it happened only two times in isolation (we went back and tried the sections and the problem didn’t occur again) but it is worth mentioning in case you come across something similar.
The lighting in the game is fantastic. There is one sequence where you are walking down a dark corridor only to be ambushed by a bunch of guards. We used a pulse cannon in this sequence and when fired, the lighting effects from the gun lit up the entire room. The way lights and shadows are handled in the game is brilliant. The effects are enhanced when you play the game on an HDR-enabled TV or monitor.
Game audio and playtime
The voice acting in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus deserves special mention too. From the protagonist (voiced by Brian Bloom), who is struggling with his physical injuries and physiological traumas, to Debra Wilson who voices the racist, foul-mouthed Grace Walker, all the characters in the game have been well fleshed out. Some of them are quite cheesy which adds to the overall personality of the game.
The music that fills the background of the game is exhilarating especially when the action gets hot. It’s a lot like the soundtrack that plays in the background of the show Peaky Blinders during the climactic moment of each episode.
Speaking of lifespan, the game can be beaten in 12 hours and there are enigma codes that you collect throughout the game, giving you the location of Ober Gruben Commanders who you can take out, so there is incentive to play the game even after beating the story. There is no multiplayer and that’s okay. The game is good enough that you will revisit it a couple of times just to enjoy the fast-paced crazy action. You will also come back to challenge yourself on the varying difficulty levels and to unlock all the three super abilities.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – Verdict
Overall, we had a blast playing Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. The game looks beautiful, bundled inside a great story with quite a few memorable moments. It has a fast-paced gameplay, staying true to its roots of being all about guns and glory. If you enjoyed Doom, or Wolfenstein: The New Order, then you should go ahead and pick up Wolfenstein II. The experience is almost perfect. The game has improved in many ways and it’s a worthy addition to your games library.
Publisher: Besthesda Softworks
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Coming in 2018), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Price: Rs. 2,999 (PC), Rs. 3,999 (PS4, Xbox One)
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Sameer "Psycho Mantis" Mitha
I live for gaming and technology is my muse. When I am not busy playing with gadgets or video games I delve into the world of fantasy novels.