This product was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro, it is also available on PC and Xbox One and will be later available on Nintendo Switch
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus picks up immediately after the explosion at Deathshead compound during the finale of Wolfenstein: The New Order. In no surprise, protagonist BJ Blazkowicz is in really bad shape (I honestly feared he had died after this). The team finds him lying in a pool of his own blood and his insides coming out. They rush him back to their stolen U-Boat where they do everything in their power to fix him. That entails some serious surgery and removing some of his insides. After 5 months of healing BJ wakes up only to find out that General Engel has tracked them down and storming the U-Boat. This is where the action starts and it doesn’t end until the credits roll in typical Wolfenstein fashion.
As the story begins, you honestly feel that hope might be lost. That in fact the Nazis will be able to effectively keep their hold of terror on the United States and the resistance will fade off in to the night. BJ is hurt and hurt bad. His days are numbered and you can feel this with every push of the wheelchair and every use of your gun. Throughout the game you are reminded of this fleeting life through dialogue thought of by BJ himself. He is predicting his own demise and it takes its toll on him and the gamer.
Machine Games nails the story aspect with the New Colossus. In the previous games they got you concerned with the characters but in the New Colossus you genuinely find yourself truly concerned and wondering if this might just be it. Will the Nazis prove to be too much. BJ has already had to endure so much and his will to go on is being questioned. I think anyone in this situation might have had this moment of doubt long before the workings of the New Colossus. I know I sure would. The cutscenes in a lot of games provide just enough detail and narrative to be placed in the game, with New Colossus they are paramount. They set up each and every moment and provide the ‘hoorah” needed to get you pumped up to kill the Nazis.
Moments like these are what makes this game so amazing. They truly capture the American resolve in the game’s cutscenes. BJ truly embodies everything that it is to be a true American, to hell with that, a true HUMAN. His resolve is like no other. He feels its his duty to help make the world a better place not only for him and his upcoming family but for every human left on the planet. In this alternate universe where the Nazis won, it shows just how scary life could have been had WW2 gone any differently. Thankfully, we get to experience this through gameplay and not live it day to day.
There were also a lot of unsung heroes in this game from the Louisiana resistance fighters to a daughter of a Nazi general. Yes, you read that right, the daughter of a Nazi general. Each person plays their roll perfectly, while they aren’t always a cohesive unit they definitely make it work and provide BJ and the team with all the needed tools and support to once again persevere and overcome all the odds against him to defeat the Nazis. The supporting cast of characters and the addition of new faces in the game were a welcome sight and provided everything BJ needed to be the BJ we always knew he was.
Another thing Machine Games has done so well is building on to the BJ story line. By adding flashbacks to the past and what he had to endure at the hands of his racist father and what made him the man he is today. Playing through the other games, I often wondered where BJ came from, what his past was like and how did he become the protagonist we have today. The New Colossus delivers on these thoughts perfectly. These glimpses from the past give you just enough context to know why BJ is in fact the perfect Nazi killer he is today. I found that the story in this game went above and beyond the previous games in the series and definitely pulled you in with each and every cutscene in the game.
The gameplay for the New Colossus is typical Wolfenstein fashion. Fast-paced, action riddled, Nazi killing fun. They add more weapons to the game that weren’t in previous games as with the takeover of America the weaponry the Nazis have has increased exponentially and its there for your disposal. You have your set weapons that you will use for most of the game but the amount of heavy weapon pickups and the differences between them all are numerous. The combat system is pretty flawless as it really always has been from deciding to go the stealth route to and all out Rambo style assault on each and every enemy in the game. You get to decide and whichever way you choose, there really is no wrong decision. You will experience some of the most fun and thrilling gameplay one can offer.
The graphics in the game have definitely made some improvements over the previous games in the series. From more defined character models to showing the aging and toll that has been taken on one’s body. They seem to have these new systems down now and are showing what they are capable of. There are still times throughout the game that the ill timed screenshot can make a characters face look as if they have makeup caked on their face but for the most part the graphics are spot on. I for one would love to know who in the company was responsible for the makeover that General Engel received from The New Order to The New Colossus. Whoever that person is definitely did an outstanding job to keep a little of the trauma but showcase the ability to reconstruct a face during the time period. It was definitely a solid piece of work within each and every character model and throughout the game with massive set pieces and localized detail. They nailed the look of small town America to the ruins of a nuked New York City with superb detail. It really made the feel to the game that much more authentic and immersive to play.
Overall this game deserves its praise for both the graphical improvements shown from their first games this generation till now and the superb gameplay that they present. It’s honestly hard to find a flaw at this point in the game and to recognize this as one of the best first person shooters of the generation. There is no doubt that most FPS games strive to deliver this performance but fail to do so on many levels. Machine Games does it with great ease it seems. I was sold on this game when they first announced it due to the connection they were able to have on me with their previous games. What I didn’t expect is the level of improvements they have made in such a short period of time. They truly care about the franchise and making sure it delivers on all points right up until the credits roll. If you’ve not purchased this game yet, I would suggest doing so in the link provided below, or on the platform of your choice. It is definitely a game you are not going to want to miss out on. Also, if you are new to the franchise, go ahead and pick up Wolfenstein: The New Order and the prequel to the story, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood to give yourself the utmost treat to such a quality franchise. What is even better is you can purchase The New Order and The Old Blood in a double pack right now for the low price of $29.99 to make sure you get the full and complete story of BJ Blazkowicz and his Nazi fighting ways.