Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus has lots of problems.
For a game all about killing Nazis with big guns, it asks you to do an awful lot of sneaking about for a start. And then there’s the problem of the lack of feedback when you’re getting hit; when you do get into a firefight you’ll be happily shooting away, thinking you’re a badass as you mow down enemy after enemy. But then you’ll glance down and see that the full pot of health and armour that you had has been absolutely decimated without Blazkowicz even flinching.
Some gamers may find that there’s too much downtime between the action too, due to the many cutscenes and hub-like levels spread throughout the game. And last but not least, on Xbox One the picture quality is absurdly blurry – though that’s a problem Xbox One X purchasers hopefully won’t have to deal with. Despite all of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus’ problems though, it’s still absolutely brilliant.
Once again allowing you to fill William Joseph Blazkowicz’s boots, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus picks up where The New Order left off and takes you on a whirlwind ride full of ups, downs, and moments where you’ll be left dumbfounded by the insanity that is occurring onscreen. A single playthrough on normal difficulty without delving too much into the optional stuff will take you around 15 hours, and in that time you’ll have killed so many Nazis you’ll have lost count and witnessed so much craziness that you really won’t know what to expect next.
Each and every one of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus’ cast is an oddball, but in a good way. It makes every interaction with them a sheer delight, and also somehow makes them more human. These are people living in a crazy world, so there’s no wonder that they’re all a bit unhinged. They have their moments of happiness and elation, but then they have to confront darkness and hardship which brings them crashing back down. The story of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus shifts from being serious and dark one minute to humorous and utterly ridiculous the next, but it works.
This unpredictability filters through to the gameplay, too. While the need to take out commanders to stop a constant barrage of enemies from piling in does coerce you to take a stealthy approach in many areas of the game, firefights are inevitable, and when they kick-off the real fun truly begins. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus arms you with a selection of inventive weapons, which via upgrades give you access to a whole host of fire modes and combat options. From a pistol that can be upgraded to hit with the punch of a magnum to a grenade launcher which can also fire rockets, every weapon feels useful and has a real sense of impact. And then you have the heavy weapons.
Slowing your movement down to a crawl, the heavy weapons dropped by your enemies or ripped off mounts are highly destructive and an absolute pleasure to wield, allowing you wipe out most enemies with ease while you have ammo for them. When combat is in full swing, the breadth of enemy types, which range from simple soldiers to hulking mechs, combined with your entertaining arsenal results in fast-paced battles that are as tactical as they are exhilarating. You’ll need to take cover and thin enemy numbers when overpowered, choose the best weapon for the task at hand, and then move out all guns blazing when you spot the opportunity to take control of the fight.
Making a return is the perk system, which rewards you for performing certain actions by granting stat boosts and bonuses, while a trio of contraptions can also be unlocked while you play which open up new routes through levels and ways to take the fight to your enemies. Acquiring and upgrading your complete armament will require you to do a chunk of side content, which isn’t really a problem as it’s all mostly fun. Less fun, however, is scouring levels for the massive number of collectables that are available. Unless you’ve got a lot of time and patience, you’re probably better off not bothering.
After all the unexpected twists and turns, it’s unfortunate that Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus’ last big boss fight feels rather anticlimactic, though the scenes that follow tie everything up rather nicely. It’s very pleasing that the game allows you to continue after you’ve completed it as well, giving you the chance to complete any unfinished business that you may have. Though of course, with a range of difficulty levels to choose from, some players may wish to start again from scratch to provide themselves with a greater challenge.
For the first few hours I really wasn’t sure what to make of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. I loved its presentation and its ballsiness, but I struggled to enjoy it a great deal as a game because of all the stealth and the lack of damage feedback. As the story developed and my arsenal grew, however, everything started to come together. I found a happy medium between being an all-out bringer of death and a silent assassin, using my perks and contraptions to my advantage every step of the way. I still got frustrated from time to time, but never enough to make me feel any ill will towards Blazkowicz and his gang of Nazi killing supremos.
Bigger, bolder and somehow a hell of a lot more outlandish than The New Order, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus’ imperfections do little to hold the game back from being one of the most compelling single player games of the year. Killing Nazis has rarely been any more fun, and there’s a whole army of them for you to dispose of as you please when you’re not starring slack-jawed at some of the most over-the-top cutscenes ever created.