Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Xbox One Review

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a classic FPS game as its finest

By Grayshadow, Posted 28 Oct 2017

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus captures the essence of the FPS genre. Giving the player hordes of enemies to kill with a diverse selection of weapons and punishing difficulty. The story blends together outlandish feats of destruction with periods of dread and happiness, a true single-player experience. However, due to MachineGames attempting to maintain the retro-like gameplay of classic FPS games, some gameplay designs feel outdated and others vexing. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a classic FPS game as its finest.

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The New Colossus takes place after the events of The New Order, following the explosion during the fight with Deathshead. BJ Blazkowicz is in critical condition and the crew of the Kreisau Circle is doing everything they can to keep him alive. General Engel tracks down BJ after 5 months and then begins the slaughter of a lot of Nazis.

The first missions sets the tone for the entire game, with BJ bound to a wheelchair, barely alive, and trying to simply survive. You shoot with one hand and slowly wheel yourself through the horde of Nazis, an impossible feat where death is certain. Even after regaining your mobility using Da’at Yichud armor everything seems impossible.

Wolfenstein replicates this feeling of hopelessness, it’s hard from start to finish. You’re going to die and that’s the point, the war is lost and everything is under Nazi control. Everything around you is saying give up and succumb to the rulers in power, but for BJ that’s not an option. As long as you have weapons and a reason to fight that’s enough.

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General Engel takes the stage as BJ’s primary target and steals the show with her sadistic tactics and dangerous persona. She’s unpredictable, violent, and enjoys toying with people just for fun. If Vaas ever had an equal it would be this woman.

The New Colossus encourages experimentation but taking your preferred approach is always best. Most missions are broken up into rooms with 1 or 2 commanders who can call for reinforcements unless killed or if BJ makes it to the next area. You can tactically take them out and prevent more troops from storming in or just kill everyone in a mad rush. Enemies rely heavily on rushing your position using vast numbers and a hail of bullets, encouraging the most indirect approach during many situations.

There’s a lot of Nazis to kill and rooms mostly play the same. You’ll end up killing everyone in the room or could run past them during certain situations. The New Colossus mixes this up by providing variations within the environment, requiring different tactics if the alarm is raised or taking the stealth approach. Enemies will mostly rush you if you attack head on and follow a set path while docile. They don’t alert one another when dead bodies are presence but will immediately know your location if one of them sees you.

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Depending on your play style you’ll be rewarded base on your performance. Stealth kills grant you faster movement while crouched for example and melee attacks give BJ faster health regeneration. Upgrade parts can be found lying around that can give your gun extra firepower or a silencer. Each weapon can be upgraded with 3 parts but unfortunately, you cannot equip guns with different sights. Weapons range from standard submachine guns to heavy guns, which cannot be stored for later use, with some having the options to dual wield for added damage at the cost of ammo.

The future technology of the Nazi regime is grotesque but amazing, showcasing their overall control throughout the world. Armored hybrid machine men drop heavy laser weapons that are a result of ruthless experimentation and robotic soldiers teleport short distances. This is further showcased in the game’s environments which feature the industrial power of the Reich with the twisted remains of what’s left of the old world. In one level, you arrive during a parade as people celebrate, or at least it seems that way. The Nazi dominant their view using books, movies, posters, and placing people with like-minded ideals within power. It’s unnerving and the people express their fear with joy and ignorance, too afraid to say or do anything.

The crippling uncertainty of whether this new world is reality comes alive during the beautifully directed cutscenes. The extraordinary cast of characters is wonderfully voiced detailed, with each expression animated with detail to ensure each performance feels life-like. The minor cast is what completes The New Colossus’ atmosphere with everyone having their own story of what it’s like under Nazi authority. Depression, angry, revenge, and repression is a constant theme but The New Colossus isn’t opposed from going off the rails for some truly jaw-dropping, and impossible, moments that remind me this is a video game, and a fun one.

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This is a classic FPS game and MachineGames has done a fantastic job replicating the antiquated formula into a modern title, but not without some issues. Items, while some are auto picked up, require the player to manually select each new pickup. This can be infuriated since ammo is in critical supply in specific sections of the game and seeing your weapons almost empty knowing fully that you just killed several Nazis holding the same gun can leave you vexed and ill-equipped. BJ’s health, especially on the harder difficulties, drops very fast and regenerates at a slow pace even when fully upgraded.

The New Colossus does provide a waypoint it has to be prompted to appear and only for a few seconds. It’s easy to get lost due to the game’s poor navigation and lack of direction since no minimap is available. With no minimap, it’s impossible to see where enemies come from and this leads to a lot of unfair deaths. Coupled with a moderately long restart screen and you can find yourself repeating the same battle for a long time.

In one scene you can be in an ultra-serious situation dealing with a someone on the brink of suicide and in another a laugh-out-loud comedy, and that’s what Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is about. It brings together these outstandingly written and acted characters to life within a bleak world where death can happen at any time. The gameplay than thrust you into the seat of a roller-coaster where you determine the velocity. MachineGames adamantly remains loyal to the classic mechanics of the FPS genre that can be annoying to those who’ve grown accustomed to modern shooters. Regardless, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus combines the horrors of revolution, the comedy of friends being foolish, and the main chaos that can only come from bullets and explosions into one glorious adventure. 

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Bethesda Softworks
Developer(s): MachineGames
Genres: First Person Shooter
Themes: Alternative History
Release Date: 2017-10-27

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