Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (“Wolfenstein II”) is a first person shooter (FPS) action-adventure video game published by Bethesda Softworks for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and soon the Nintendo Switch. The game is the sequel to the 2014 game, Wolfenstein: The New Order (‘The New Order”).
Wolfenstein II takes place after the events of The New Order. As I haven’t played the first game, I was a bit clueless as to the plot and narrative of the game. Nevertheless, I went ahead with the game anyway, which thankfully provided a brief overview of what happened in the previous game, which essentially involves an alternate timeline in 1961 America after the Nazis won World War II.
The game opens with players being forced to make a moral choice on which character, out of two options, lives and which dies. Not knowing much about the two characters, I picked one at random. My choice led me to play as William “B.J.” Blazkowicz as he fights against the Nazi regime.
The action begins with Blazkowicz waking up from a five month long coma, desperate to get to his girlfriend, Anya. It was extremely cool being able to travel around shooting enemies on a wheelchair. If that’s not the epitome of badass, I don’t know what is.
Gameplay is fairly simple, which made things easy for me. The idea is to progress through levels by battling Nazi enemies, which can be done by using melee attacks, firearms and explosives, much like that of other FPS games. A cover system is inbuilt into the game, which makes stealth attacks and shootouts easier. I had a fantastic time at the beginning of the game trying to take cover with my wheelchair (honestly, the wheelchair really had me interested in the game and how it would play out).
As the game progresses and more weapons are picked up, the player is then able to utilise dual wielding, which made taking down enemies a lot more efficient and quicker as it deals double the amount of damage. Being someone who is terrible at aiming weapons, I actually enjoyed dual wielding, mostly because you didn’t need precision when attacking.
Visually and narratively, Wolfenstein II easily tops the FPS video game charts. The graphics are crisp and clear, something that has been a constant in all of Bethesda’s games. The visuals looked so clear and realistic that characters looked eerily lifelike. I played the game on my Xbox One X, which made the entire experience feel smooth and the graphics, crystal clear. What’s more is that this game is filled with a significant amount of violence and gore that I wasn’t very used to. For example, there were some very graphic decapitation scenes that I couldn’t bear to watch on screen and had to turn away.
In terms of narrative, I enjoyed the way the story was told via dialogue and enjoyed the conversations that were had. There were several characters that I found myself ‘caring about’ and wanted to see what would happen next. As a history buff, having this alternate timeline was intriguing and made me want to revisit my old history notes on World War II.
Of course, no FPS game is complete without an epic soundtrack. The soundtrack was one of the key aspects about Wolfenstein II that made the game so enjoyable. Playing the single-player game and shooting away at enemies felt more badass with fantastic music playing in the background. Had the soundtrack been rather dull, I probably would not have appreciated the game as much.
Wolfenstein II is definitely one of the better FPS games I’ve played and reminds me of the good old Doom and Quake days but with a much better narrative, graphics and soundtrack. Having not played the first game did make me feel as if I had missed out on a crucial aspect of the story, however the game is welcoming to new players and those new to the series. Equally so, the game manages to be fun for gamers at all levels, from beginner to advanced, something that I revel in as a ‘beginner’ who needs a lot of assistance and practice to ‘get good’.
If you enjoy a solid video game narrative with fantastic gameplay, excellent graphics and a soundtrack that will have you riled up, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus comes highly recommended.