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Wolfenstein 2: A New Colossus (Xbox One) Review

November 1, 2017 | Posted by Stewart Lange
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
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Wolfenstein 2: A New Colossus (Xbox One) Review  

Wolfenstein: The New Order was the first great game played for the current generation of games, so the sequel The New Colossus was one of my most highly anticipated games of 2017. Sadly, with it being released the same week as Assassin’s Creed Origins and Super Mario Odyssey I have the feeling it will end up on a lot of people’s “play it later” list. It deserves a lot more than this treatment because despite a few flaws, Wolfenstein 2 is a fantastic shooter that deserves to be experienced before the new Call of Duty or Battlefront are released and take up the market.

Set in the aftermath of the events of the New Order where B.J. Blazkowicz, or “Terror Billy” was able to finally defeat the evil Deathhead before seemingly meeting his own fate. As a spoiler so small it’s on the box art for the game, BJ survives. A slightly bigger spoiler would be that BJ knows his body is giving up on him. The first level takes place from his wheelchair, as surprisingly interesting FPS mechanic, making even climbing stairs or ladders a puzzle in of itself. Thankfully you’ll still be able to kill Nazi scum, before getting a power armour suit that allows you to walk and jump as you would expect to. Unfortunately, because of BJ’s weakened state, your health is maxed at 50/100 until a later point in the game. Your armour is increased to 200 though, which is actually a little more helpful. Health pick-ups tend to be in plentiful supply although they quickly deplete when you find yourself in a fire fight. This will obviously happen a lot as you infiltrate Nazi-occupied America.

As I’m avoiding the story, I’ll talk about the most important part of any video game- the gameplay. The gunplay in Wolfenstein 2 is exceptional, with every gun handling fantastically, with a satisfying kick with every bullet that leaves the muzzle. The big change from the first game is that you can dual wield different weapons. This means you can run around blasting a machine gun in one hand, with a shotgun blast from the other in case any of them get a little bit too close to you. The close quarters combat is awesome, with a hatchet providing the ability to take down enemies with stealthy intent, or even in the heat of battle to save you reloading. You can also pick up spares to throw or grenades but these seem to be few and far between in my experience with the game. Make sure not to waste the ones you find.

My first real criticism comes with the level design. While you would expect a 1961 America under Nazi rule wouldn’t be in the best condition, this isn’t really my problem. A lot of the places seem a little bit underwhelming and certainly until later in the game, locations don’t fully live up to their potential. Despite a huge amount of in-game mythology which is presented through newspapers and letters, none of the locations truly jump out. An early visit to Manhattan feels wasted, as outside of a glimpse of a couple of landmarks, there’s nothing truly jaw dropping. This section leads you to the Empire State Building and again, this feels sadly under-utilised. Your main base on a stolen U-Boat is a pretty cool setting and has a lot of cool details such as a Wolfenstein arcade machine you can play and a shooting range, but there are only a couple of the levels that are memorable outside of set-pieces.

Another downside is the number, and length of the cutscenes. I felt like I spent too much time watching videos and loading screens compared to shooting things. The story is great so it’s not as if they’re boring, but they seemed to come right as I was getting into the swing of things. Given the strength of the characters and writing it does seem like a strange thing to be annoyed about, but I think I’d maybe shot about 20 bullets after about 20 minutes of game time. If you take the gameplay out, the cutscenes are movie quality but I think they could have been split a little bit better with shooting Nazis.

The cutscenes and gameplay are both beautiful looking. The guns are fantastically rendered and all look and sound very different from each other. The enemies are largely very similar, but there are new models from the last game so there is a better split of faceless victims. Water looks really good and I do look forward to playing through again on the Xbox One X in full 4K. Despite the shortcomings I mentioned, one of which really feels like nitpicking, given the cutscenes genuinely are great, Wolfenstein 2 is another fantastic shooter. It takes everything that made The New Order such a surprisingly competent game, polishes it up and turns some of it up to 11. I get the feeling a lot of people will be too busy to play this one right now, but when you finally do you’re in for an absolute treat and maybe the best FPS of 2017.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Despite my opinion being the game is a little bit stop/start, when everything else is just so much fun it's hard to be upset. It could have used a couple of more memorable levels or moments to really bring it up to the level of  A New Order, which I feel is a slightly better game, but this is still a fantastic shooter that deserves a chance to shine.

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Wolfenstein II, Stewart Lange