July 08, 2018

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for Switch - Review

When Bethesda announced that both DOOM and Wolfenstein 2 were coming to Switch, it caught a lot of people off guard, how could some of the most demanding games work on such a little system, DOOM proved it was possible, but does Wolfenstein 2 The New Colossus prove it was a fluke of signs of things to come?

Wolfenstein 2 picks up after the first game but has a nice little sequence to explain the story, which is perfect for those who never played the first game. The game does also give you a choice to make, the same one you would have made in the first game, between who survives between to soldiers, Fergus and Wyatt and depending on which person you choose, they other is killed and the story line diverges. From this point, the game is the same as was seen released on other platforms, with William (B.J) Blazkowicz and the crew of the Eva's Hammer taking the fight to the Nazi’s, but from the very opening level, in which you play as BJ who is confined to a wheelchair, the game proves it is not above changing things up, just to make sure you stay on your toes.

While a host of the characters on the boat, return from the earlier games, there are a host of characters that make their appearance in the world for the first time, including Grace and Horton and they blend in quite well with the existing crew. Other newcomers like Sigrun, feel like they are wasted, until the very end, when they get a chance to shine, it is an odd thing, to feel like a character could be removed from the story for over 90% of it and feel nothing would be a miss, only to see their value at the very end. The Nazi’s however are a mixed bag, Frau Irene Engel is a solid character and while you can’t help but feel nothing but loathing for her, she makes for one of the most remarkable villains in recent memory.

While a lot of games put effort into single player and multiplayer, Wolfenstein 2 is a pure single player adventure, meaning it is just you, you guns and a host of enemies to take out, what this means is that some of the most diverse gaming locations are included here. Sure New York after an atom bomb went off is cool but exploring a small piece of Americana in a 1950’s style town and diner is a hoot, but without out a doubt it is exploring Venus, yes the planet, that really sets the game apart. Of course, being the Switch version, it has a few little extra’s that the other platforms don’t, specifically in terms of how you can play the game, as you can enable motion control aiming and play it that way. What it allows is for more precise controls, something that playing a shooter on a PC has had since the mouse was used in gaming, without a doubt, motion control aiming is great, but it won’t be for everyone.

Of course, as this is the Switch version, a lot of visual oomph was lost when it was brought across to the platform, but the game still looks great, most of the time. The moment the game boots up, you can see where the developers at Panic Button have shaved things down, textures are the biggest part of that, they now have almost none of the detail that the other versions have. While you are able to make things out at a distance, once you get close, you can see the lack of detail quite clearly, perhaps the most obvious of this is when you look at any sort of photo of document, the target board on the ship, being the clearest example of the loss of visual quality.

The other issue is that the cutscenes are taken from the other versions, i.e. they are rendered in engine, then exported as video files, so the quality is great, the issue is, when you see all that details and then the game cuts back to actual gameplay, you lose it all at a snap and its quite jarring. From a sound point of view, the game sounds just as great as ever, the incredible score from Mick Gordon, known for his work on DOOM and Martin Stig Andersen is great and really helps kick up the thrill of the gameplay. Having Mick Gordon come back after his work on the first game, also means a lot of the themes carry over and the elements combine into new score that, while reminding me of the first game, still feels fresh.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus on Switch does a great job of bringing across a game that is not only massive in size, but also keeps it feeling like the other versions. Yes, visually it has a lot of things missing and changed, but it is still the same gameplay story and at its core, those are vastly more important that visuals. If you have not played the game yet at all and are looking for something loud on your Switch, you need look no further.

Review code provided by Bethesda

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