November 14, 2017

Wolfenstein 2 - The New Colossus - Review

Fans of the new iterations of the Wolfenstein series would be well versed with the offerings from MachineGames of late. In the two years since Wolfenstein: The Old Blood it seems MachineGames and Bethesda Softworks have been quite busy.

You play the game as always through the eyes of the main protagonist Captain William "B.J" Blazkowicz who is taking the fight to the Nazis again after successfully destroying the Black Sun portal in The New Order.

Blasko (as I like to call him) has to again, make a difficult choice first up in the game, whereby he has to decide which of his companions dies at the hands of an evil Nazi 'mech'. The player is immersed into the familiar, dark and grimy/gritty world of the recent Wolfenstein series and in pushed along a linear path within the game, with choices and options all generally leading to the same outcome. You get to play as Blasko throughout as mentioned, but during the game and as the storyline develops, it's hard not to see Blasko as more of a delicate human doing battle with technological demons and advanced soldiers/weaponry just trying to get by. Depending on how brave you are and the difficulty level you'll set, you should expect to die regularly.

A true action/adventure shooting game, W2TNC is very similar to it's predescessor in terms of what to expect and gameplay. This iteration follows the same path of weapon upgrades, dual wielding, achievements and progression. Although somewhat linear as mentioned earlier, you can (if you're crafty enough) tackle most situations in more than one way. Want to avoid that firefight and slink around? Find yourself a dark corridor to sneak down. Feel like blasting away all your ammo at anything that moves? Shoot at a soldier in the open and watch his friends pour in to help. Would you like to tactfully deal with the situation with a moderate amount of bloodshed but not be overwhelmed?

Blast that Nazi Officer away or knock him out silently and then finish off the enemies in the area comfortable in the knowledge that no more gun toting, pretzel eating Nazi soldiers are on their way to ruin your day. Speaking of the weapons available in game, you're provided with an arsenal of destructive weapons that seem outlandish and awesome all at the same time. From a triple barrelled shotgun to a bullet hose SMG there's enough variety here to try something different. Want to blast away with a shotgun whilst roasting Nazis with a flamethrower in the other hand? Go for it.

The interesting part of W2TNC that hooks me is it's vast array of 'differences'. Sure, it's an FPS like all the others, but the subtle and not so subtle differences stick out for me. From the excellent voice acting and cut scene production to the variety in environments, foes and storyline progression it's clear that quite some effort was poured into this game. Most other FPS games offer all this in their own way, however for me W2TNC just does it better. It's hard to nail down precisely what it is that is better in comparison outside of the polish and clear effort that has been applied, so you might just have to take my word for it.

The graphics and sound produced for this installation of the series are quite simply the best yet. Played on an i5 6600k coupled with a GTX1070 and 16GB of 3200mhz ram, my PC had no problem rendering in at any stage. Stutter and shadow bleed were non existent and running off an SSD, load times were minimal. I really feel the developers have released a very slick, smooth and polished product here - something that is quite refreshing, considering how many AAA titles have been released by other devs that are not yet 'quite right'.

Gameplay for the game is somewhat limited on a first playthrough - you'll probably whiz through in around 12 - 16 hours, depending on your gunslinging abilities, and your individual playstyle but when you consider the cash-for-hours outlay and compare it to other games in this genre, you're about on par for what to expect. You can always go back through and play on a different difficulty level and experience it all again, or chase those elusive achievements you didn't quite manage to get in the first playthrough.

Overall, Wolfenstein II The New Colossus was very enjoyable to play. I originally was unsure of the direction the series was going in with the first 'new' release of The New Order in 2014 through to the next most recent offering of The Old Blood, the games still remain interlinked and well versed in comparability and familiarity, but still stand out alone by themselves enough to not require a player to have had any experiences with the previous releases.

Review copy supplied by Bethesda

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