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Game Review: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
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Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Xbox One l PS4 l PC
DEVELOPER: MachineGames
PUBLISHER: Bethesda Softworks
RELEASE DATE: October 27, 2017

A follow-up to MachineGames’ hit revival of the Wolfenstein franchise, 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus looks to build on what the developer created with another action-packed adventure showered in bullets and blood.

The New Colossus—also the title of the Emma Lazarus poem etched on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty—is set in a surreal and terrifying alternate history in which the Nazi party was never stopped during World War II, and they have now taken control of America and are molding it to fit their ideals.

That’s where the legend himself B.J. Blazkowicz comes in. Health wise old B.J. isn’t doing so hot, but even so he can still kick some ass. In the game, he and his group must recruit others like them to fight back against the Nazi regime, in hopes of releasing the stranglehold they have on America and reclaiming the country.

When it all boils down, not a whole lot has to be said about Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. And in this particular case, that’s a good thing. It’s exactly what I was hoping it would be: an insanely fun, over-the-top shooter in which you tear through wave after wave of Nazi foes using an arsenal of devastating weaponry.

Though you don’t really need more than that, the game does have more to offer than just running around shooting everything that moves. It has a compelling story, with a variety of interesting characters who are brought to life by solid voice acting. It has side quests to complete. It has a ton of collectibles to search for (seriously, if you enjoy exploring every corner of a game looking for hidden goodies, you’re going to be in heaven here) including “readables” which add to the story and the alternate history, concept art, records, and more.

Even the combat itself has plenty of options. Yes, you can run in guns blazing, and in a lot of cases that is the best way to go as there are a bunch of crazy weapons that are way too much fun not to use as often as possible. This is a Wolfenstein game, after all. But there are multiple ways to approach many situations, including the much quieter stealthy approach. It may not be as fun but it’s a strategy that can still be surprisingly brutal, especially when you use the hatchet, which may just be the most vicious weapon in the game at close range.

But for me, the highlight of The New Colossus is the overall design of it. I just love the way the game world feels; the level designs, the characters, the lighting, the particle effects. All of it really helped this frightening alternate history world to live and breathe.

While my experience with the game was great for the most part, I did encounter a couple of fairly significant problems that should be noted.

I have a bit of a bad habit with games. I worry that if I run off to do the next main quest, I might miss something. And so instead of risking it, I tend to run around doing and exploring as much as possible instead of spreading things out. Sometimes this can throw a wrench into things when I go somewhere or do something I wasn’t supposed to quite yet.

In Wolfenstein II, there’s a point where you get to your base of operations. A moment to breathe in between the madness. So off I went, fearful I might lose the ability to explore it later in the game. In running around, exploring and gathering collectibles, I ended up doing something that completed a quest I hadn’t been given yet. The big problem here is that I already had an objective to complete for the NPC who was going to give me this quest I hadn’t been given yet. And when I inadvertently did what I did, it automatically completed the active objective I had yet to do, and skipped right to the next objective I had now already completed.

I usually have a few save slots going in a game like this—a game that allows you to save whenever you want, as all games should—but unfortunately by the time I realized what had happened I had already painted myself into corner and couldn’t go back. Instead I went to YouTube to watch the cutscene I had missed, which thankfully wasn’t too crucial. However, in the video I watched I also noticed a completely different cutscene from a little earlier in the game that for some reason didn’t play for me.

I have to assume that these things will be remedied quickly via patches, and I can only hope that I didn’t miss any other cutscenes. For now, what I don’t know hurts me not!

Other than that, I loved my time with Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. MachineGames really knocked it out of the park again, especially with the overall design, and I can’t wait to see what they tackle next.

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