RETURNING TO CASTLE WOLFENSTEIN
Wolfenstein 3D was released on May 5th 1992, over 25 years ago, for MS-DOS. The sequel, or prequel, to Wolfenstein 3D, called Spear Of Destiny, was released on September 18th 1992, only about 5 months after it’s predecessor. The world would not see another Wolfenstein game until November of 2001, when Return To Castle Wolfenstein was released. Return To Castle Wolfenstein was praised as an incredible first person shooter game and was nominated for many awards. Fast forward 8 years to the release of Wolfenstein 2009,a sequel to RTCW. It got ok reviews, with a 74 on Metacritic. Expectations were still high for the next Wolfenstein game, The New Order, which was released on May 20th, 2014. It didn’t disappoint. It was given much praise from reviewers who praised it for having awesome writing and fun gameplay. I played through The New Order and I really enjoyed it, I enjoyed it enough to be excited for Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus was released on October 27th, 2017 for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, and Playstation 4. I downloaded it onto my computer the night it came out. It is a massive download that takes over 40 gigabytes. I’m glad to say, that is the best 40 gigabytes I have used in a while. I was blown away by Wolfenstein 2, and it beat out Cuphead for my favorite single player experience of the year so far.
Wolfenstein 2 begins just after The New Order, with the hero William Blazkowicz recovering from an explosion that occurs in the end of the first game. You wake up in a boat/submarine being assaulted by Nazis. From the very beginning of the game, you will notice how good the writing is. Characters act realistically for the most part, and they are voiced well enough to make every conversation feel realistic. Some may complain about the absurdity of some parts of the story line, but I enjoyed when the story got outlandish and strange because it made the game very unique and quirky. A particular scene towards the end of the game, that I won’t spoil, was easily one of the funniest videogame moments of 2017 for me. The story will take you about 15 hours to complete, which is disappointing because I enjoyed the story so much that I didn’t want it to end. The ending also seems kinda rushed, and I was surprised by this because the rest of the game is so detailed. Overall the story is compelling because of the good voice acting, awesome main character, and great character design. The story can be comedic, but it also deals with some pretty dark themes involving racism and nazis. It has to be said that game is one of the most controversial the year because of its dark content and political themes.
From the very first moments of gameplay, it is clear that Wolfenstein 2 is a truly fun game. Unlike many modern games, with their long scripted cutscenes, and expensive downloadable content, this game actually has fun, balanced gameplay. The game is the perfect blend of old school and new school. Wolfenstein 2 fixes most of The New Order’s issues by making it so that you do not have to manually pick up every gun, health pack, and pile of ammo. You now pick up items by simply walking over them, which makes the gameplay feel much more natural. Speed is a big part of Wolfenstein 2, especially on higher difficulties. The game has varied difficulties, and each difficulty makes the game very different. On the easiest difficulties you will be blasting through enemies with ease, taking more time to admire some of the games more pretty areas. On the other hand, playing on harder difficulties will have you rushing behind cover and having to utilize stealth as much as possible. The stealth system in this game is quite solid, but the enemy ai is inconsistent, making the stealth sometimes a chore. You could stand right behind an enemy without being spotted sometimes, but other times you will spotted even when standing in cover. Despite these issues, I still enjoyed stealth when I used it. Most of the game consists of exploration and combat. The exploration is satisfying, rewarding you for taking risks and taking alternate paths. The best reward for exploration in my opinion, are the upgrade kits. Collecting upgrade kits allow you to add attachments to your weapons, such as extended magazines or scopes. You can get more rewards from exploring as well, but I won’t spoil these rewards because I enjoyed learning about them on my own. The combat is incredible. This game has hands down some of the most satisfying gunplay I have ever seen. Every gun has weight too it, and I looked forward to every combat encounter. Thankfully, 80% of this game is pure, gory, combat. You have many opportunities on how to defeat your foes, each opportunity being very fun in it’s own right. You get dropped into open areas, and you can choose how to deal with the threats. Halfway through the game you unlock the opportunity to go back to areas you’ve seen in previous levels, and even some new areas, to hunt down nazi commanders in Hitman style missions. These are fun distractions, and add more replay value to the game. You can also spend time in the games hub, “Eva’s Hammer.” It is submarine, boat hybrid that the good guys, the resistance reside. Eva’s hammer feels very alive, with many people to talk to. Sometimes, the resistance members will give you side quests to do if you want extra bonuses. Eva’s Hammer also has a shooting range that can serve as a fun minigame if you are bored, which I doubt will happen.
Wolfenstein 2 is an incredible looking game. I was often left in awe by some of the environments in this game. The particle effects are standouts though, literally looking photo realistic most of the time. The guns look great, and the lighting is also incredible. A word of warning though: if you have a weak stomach, some scenes in this game can be pretty hard to watch. So if you’re thinking of purchasing this game for a young child, you might want to think twice.
The sound in Wolfenstein 2 is pretty great. All of the guns sound pretty impactful and they’re pretty loud. In my opinion though, the music is the real standout. It makes every scene just a little more badass. Every track is different, and you won’t ever feel like the music gets repetitive. The voice acting, like I said before, is top notch. All characters speak realistically, and even the main character has good voice acting, which is rare in most games. Overall, awesome sounding game.
I was not at all disappointed by Wolfenstein 2. It even beat my expectations, and became my favorite game of the year so far. It is definitely worth picking up, even at full price, and especially on sale. If you haven’t played the new order though, I recommend completing it before getting into The New Colossus.
-Fun, fast gameplay
-Ludicrous, hilarious story
-Excellent sound, especially music
-Good hub area
-Over abundance of stealth sections
-Some broken stealth mechanics
Price: $59.99 on the Steam Store and Amazon
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus on Steam
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus on Amazon