Hands-on: Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus review

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus was announced by Bethesda at E3 2017, and is the sequel to 2014’s hugely popular Wolfenstein: The New Order. It’s set in an alternate timeline where the Nazi’s occupy the US, and carries on from the events in the first game. Will William J. Blazkowicz be finally able to spark the second American Revolution and drive the Nazis from the US?

We spent some time playing Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus during Gamescom 2017, and here’s what we thought about the upcoming first-person shooter.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus release date and pre-orders

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is set to launch on Xbox One, PS4 and Steam (PC) on 27 October 2017.

You can pre-order the Xbox version from Microsoft’s website or for PS4 from the PlayStation Store for £49.99/$59.99, while on PC you can grab it from Steam or Green Man Gaming for £34.99/$59.99.

If you'd rather a physical edition, both Amazon and Game are taking pre-orders now, as is GameStop in the US.

If you're willing to spend a little more, there’s also a deluxe edition is available for XboxPS4, or PC, and includes both the base game and the DLC season pass - you can find out more about upcoming DLC in our Wolfenstein 2 hub.

There's also a collector's edition which comes with a 1/6 scale 12in action figure of the game's hero packaged in a premium, 1960s-style box. The game comes in an metal case, and a 9x14in Blitzmensch poster. It's available exclusively from Game in the UK, or from Bethesda directly in the US.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus preview

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is the sequel to 2014’s Wolfenstein The New Order, and picks up where the last game ends, (SPOILER) following protagonist William J. Blazkowicz’s fight with Deathshead where he was severely injured. He wakes up on Eva’s Hammer, the U-Boat he stole, and wants to continue the fight against the Nazis to spark the second American Revolution. Sound good so far? Great.

The first part of the demo took place early on in the game, and gave me a good introduction to the movement and shooting mechanics. Blazkowicz is in a wheelchair for this segment of the game, providing a challenge – especially when it’s being attacked by Nazi soldiers.

But while you’d usually be able to run up a flight of stairs or jump over obstacles to escape, that’s not an option. You have to instead explore and find alternative routes (that may involve moving gears and conveyor belts) using a combination of stealth and action to reach the desired location. It’s a good way to get players thinking about alternative routes and tactics early on in the game, as it’s much more challenging than its predecessor.

That was more apparent in the second demo, which takes place in Area 52, near Roswell. Blazkowics is tasked with blowing up the facility, and in true Wolfenstein fashion, has to fight his way through waves and waves of Nazis with varying skills and abilities.

Now, Bethesda has admitted that there’s still some balancing issues in the game that will be fixed before launch, but I still found it a challenge on the second-easiest difficulty. Part of the charm of the first Wolfenstein game was that as well as playing it smart, you could also throw caution to the wind and run in all guns blazing, creating utter carnage.

It doesn’t feel the same in the second game – it seems as if stealth and tactical thinking are rewarded more, and I’m not sure if that’s a change I like. You’ve still got the option to dual-wield your weapons, and while that is fun, ammo seems to be limited (at least in the demo I played) and I found myself completely out of ammo on more than one occasion.

That might just be because I’m not very good at the game, but hey! It’s what happened.

It might also be because I struggled to find the commanders, NPCs that continuously call for backup until killed. While you’ll get a rough compass icon and a distance icon when commanders are nearby and you haven’t been spotted, it becomes near impossible to find them once the alarm has been sounded.

There’s no icon to help find them, the compass functionality is disabled and all you have to go on is a distance meter. Couple that with wave upon wave of Nazis coming at you, and it becomes a difficult (and sometimes frustrating) process.

Beyond the difficulty, it’s a Wolfenstein game through-and-through, with it’s over-the-top storylines, funny characters and plot twists throughout. I found myself chuckling at remarks made by NPCs throughout the demo, be it from passers-by in a Nazi parade in Roswell to the crazy conspiracy theorist that is convinced that aliens helped the Nazis develop technology in some shape or form.

There’s also some gruesome takedowns in the game as Blazkowics makes use of his handy hatchet, chopping off limbs and generally thinking he’s a Nazi-killing lumberjack, minus the checkered shirt of course.  

Wolfenstein 2 is also a beautifully detailed game – environments are detailed, facial animations are realistic and the voice acting is superb. As long as the balancing issues are fixed before launch, Wolfenstein 2 should be a lot of fun and a fitting sequel to the hugely popular predecessor.

In fact, we've awarded Wolfenstein 2 one of Tech Advisor's Gamescom 2017 awards

OUR VERDICT

If balancing issues are fixed, Wolfenstein 2 should be just as fast-paced and over-the-top as the first game in the series. We'll give our full verdict once the game launches in October.