No More Nazis!: Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - October 31, 2017
No More Nazis!: Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus Review

Wolfenstein: The New Order is one of my favorite FPS games of all time, so it should go without saying that I had high hopes for its sequel, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. Having finished the game, I’m happy to say that most of my expectations were met, but disappointed to report that only a few of them were exceeded. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is undoubtedly a stellar game, but some small issues and overfamiliarity hamper the experience.

The story picks up right where The New Order left off, with B.J. Blazkowicz and his band of resistance fighters narrowly escaping the destruction of Nazi scientist Deathshead’s castle. From there, B.J. must recover from near-fatal injuries and recruit new allies to start a revolution in America, all while being hunted by the merciless psychopath Frau Engel. To say more would be to spoil some powerful moments and truly insane plot twists, but suffice to say that The New Colossus retains the stellar direction and impeccable performances from the first game. This series has a talent for bouncing between tones, and the tradition continues here with scenes going from deathly serious to legitimately funny to grim in the span of a few short minutes. For the most part, it works, but there are a few clunky scenes that don’t quite pull it off, resulting in some pretty serious tonal whiplash. More disappointing is a final act that, while satisfying, feels like a retread of The New Order. The game does pull itself together after this misstep for a fist-pumping finale, however, and I set down my controller excited to discover what happens to this wonderful cast of characters next.

Of course, none of this would mean a thing if the game wasn’t fun to play, but barring a few minor hiccups, The New Colossus pretty much nails it. The game is consistently challenging and absolutely joyous, with a nonstop parade of powerful enemies and plenty of heavy weaponry to kill them with. It’s much like The New Order, but with a few appreciated tweaks. Players can now dual wield a different weapon in each hand, which can make for more interesting firefights, and the addition of special gadgets like mechanical stilts and a super-powered girdle that lets B.J. snake through tight spaces add another layer of strategy to enemy encounters. It’s not all smooth sailing, however: as much as I liked the changes made to dual wielding, managing two separate weapon wheels in the heat of battle is cumbersome. More concerning is the lack of audio/visual feedback when taking damage, a problem that can lead to some unexpected deaths. Still, these are just small complaints about individual aspects of a gameplay loop that is mostly well-designed and immensely satisfying.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is a strange beast. The chilling depiction of an America not only conquered by the Nazis, but complicit in their ongoing persecution of those they deem subhuman is downright terrifying, but the game still finds time for acid trips and toilet humor. B.J. monologues about the emotional toll of violence and the endless cycle of death that humanity inflicts upon itself, all while the game gleefully hands you a hatchet and an arsenal of assault rifles, laser guns, and explosives and tells you to kill everything in sight. It shouldn’t work as well as it does, but The New Colossus has such confidence in its delivery of both story and gameplay that more often than not, it all works beautifully. Wolfenstein 2 is an amazing game that’s well worth your time and money, even if a few small issues and a lack of significant new ideas keep it from attaining the lofty heights of its predecessor. Here’s hoping the wait for the next one doesn’t feel so long.

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