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 Nazis 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, and here’s what we thought about the OTT first-person shooter.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus release date and deals

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

You can buy 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 Green Man Gaming for £33.99/$59.99.

If you'd rather a physical edition, both Amazon and Game are taking orders now for £38, 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.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus review

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.

That set-up pays off in an early party of the game, where Blazkowicz is in a wheelchair, providing a challenge – especially when it’s being attacked by Nazi soldiers.

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's much more apparent later in the game, like when trying to infiltrate Area 52, near Roswell. Blazkowics is tasked with blowing up the facility, and in true Wolfenstein fashion, has to fight his way through waves of Nazis with varying skills and abilities.

While I don't want to admit it, I found it to be quite 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 more limited 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 and all you have to go on is a distance meter - not very helpful if the commander is on another floor, as I've found out first-hand. Couple that with wave upon wave of Nazis coming at me, and it becomes a difficult (and even frustrating) process.

But even at its most frustrating, the combat is incredibly enjoyable. The mechanics take a little bit of getting used to, as does the style of play, but once it falls into place it just works. The ability to run into a room of Nazis and gun them down while dual-wield submachine guns never gets boring or annoying, even if I'm killed over and over again.

It's almost Doom-esque in design - and that should tell you all you need to know. It could be the over-the-top blood effects, it could be the gory Hatchet takedowns or it could be the surprisingly fluid movement - whatever it is that gives Wolfenstein 2's combat the edge that it has, we approve.

Beyond the difficulty, it’s a Wolfenstein game through-and-through, with it’s over-the-top storylines, unique characters and constant plot twists. I found myself chuckling at remarks made by NPCs throughout the world, 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 form.

But while the overall story is engaging and exciting, it does get a little raw at times - so raw that we started to feel a little uncomfortable. And yes, I know this is a game about Nazis set in an alternate timeline, but is there any value to featuring adult themes including child- and domestic abuse in such a prominent way? We're going to say no. Next time, stick to describing the thoughts and feelings of oppressed Americans - it's what Wolfenstein does well. 

Moving on from the slightly over-emotional storyline, Wolfenstein 2 is a beautifully detailed game – environments are detailed, facial animations are incredibly realistic and the voice acting is nothing short of superb. You'll want to explore each and every environment that you come across, not only for the varying visuals but also to find little trinkets and other collectibles too. 

OUR VERDICT

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is both incredibly fun and one of the most frustrating games I've played recently. The gunplay, the core of the Wolfenstein franchise, is as action-packed and fluid as ever, but it seems as if running in all guns blazing is no longer the way to do it.

Stealth and planning are both rewarded in the latest game, and it seems like the challenge is much tougher this time around too - who knew organising an American revolution could be so hard? If you like the idea of Doom-esque gameplay with Dark Souls difficulty and a surprisingly engaging storyline, you'll love Wolfenstein 2.