Score: 9/10 | FPS | VIOLENT | GRAPHIC
“This entire killing spree is done from the wheelchair by the way, and as early as this takes place, it was easily one of my most favourite parts of Wolfenstein 2.”
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is the follow-up to the incredibly successful reinvention of the Wolfenstein franchise through Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (2015). Another action-adventure FPS again developed by Machine Games and published by Bethesda Softworks in 2018 for PC, Xbox, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. This is the first time Bethesda has brought the Wolfenstein franchise to Nintendo, and it is the Switch that I have chosen to play the game on to discover how the experience differs on its much tinier, yet portable screen.
Considering it has been 4 years since the release of The New Order, I was pleased to see a precluding cinematic to refresh my memory on what has taken place:
TL:DR – Deathshead is cooked, his compound is nuclear ashes, and Blazkowicz was rescued just before the missile hit.
Wolfenstein 2 puts you almost straight after the events of The New Order. After having slipped into a coma for 5 months after being rescued by the Kreisau Circle, you awaken as Blazkowicz to find yourself aboard the Eva’s Hammer, a stolen Nazi U-Boat. Your love interest Anya is also aboard and congratulations – you’re expecting twins!
After a short moment reconnecting with forgotten comrades you’re immediately thrust into action as the Eva’s Hammer is set upon by a flying warship full of Nazi’s trying to board, find, and kill you. You’re still recovering and can’t walk, but you’re Blazkowicz, and nothing is going to stop you as you hop into a wheelchair and set off. This entire killing spree is done from the wheelchair by the way, and as early as this takes place, it was easily one of my most favourite parts of the game. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but my hope is that Machine Games did this on purpose, because there is something truly heroic about mowing down Nazi’s even though you’re confined to a wheelchair – a fitting reintroduction to the mindset of Blazkowicz.
Shortly after these opening events you’re introduced to the game’s villain, Frau Engel.
You find yourself in similar circumstances to when you first met Deathshead in The New Colossus, and without spoiling it too much, it doesn’t end all that differently, however through a stroke of luck and a mean turncoat tackle from Frau’s own daughter, you escape on the Eva’s Hammer and set your sights on America, and liberation of the former United States from the Nazi regime.
I struggled with how much to write because if you have Wolfenstein 2 in your collection ready to be played I don’t want to spoil anything else for you. All I will tell you is that there are some events that had me genuinely gobsmacked and emotional later in the game, only to play on and applaud how well the writers constructed the narrative to give me one more twist in the story, and one more crack at unleashing some awesome destruction with some real deep feeling.
I’ve been a Nintendo fan boy my whole life. In my experience they do their first party IP’s incredibly well, but there have been a lot of times I’ve been let down by ports being severely underdone by the time they come to a Nintendo console, or dumbed down to fit in with the lighter side of the brand (FIFA players from a few years back will know exactly what I mean).
I’m pumped to say that graphically the Switch held up better than I had expected. You can hear it really working hard during intense scenes when there is a lot going on during game-play, and occasionally I experienced frame-rate dips during cut scenes, but overall there’s nothing to really complain about, and there is something very very awesome about being on a train and being able to play through a complete title like this. When you’re at home though I recommend you slot the Switch back into the dock and play on the big screen to get the full experience.
The bloody Aussie legend that is Mick Gordon has been brought back for another crack at composing a Wolfenstein soundtrack, and well deserved too considering he did such a great job of The New Order. This time he has help from Danish composer Martin Stig Andersen, and if you have played Playdead’s Inside, you’ll be happy to have him on the job.
The soundtrack is well mixed, and flows incredibly well with the ebbs and flows of the action in the game. There’s something very satisfying about hearing that music track slowly tick into a higher gear as you realise you’re about to unleash hell on wave after wave of Nazi’s.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is a well written, expertly composed sequel to 2014’s The New Order, and is one I would definitely recommend you play, especially if you want to see what happens after the events of Wolfenstein through Machine Games’ really good sense of balance between story and action sequences. Your motivation to move forward is easy to get, but the addition of some new and interesting characters help to move you deeper into the story and emotionally invest you.
The Nintendo Switch doesn’t execute as well as Xbox, PS4, or PC, however it holds its own well enough to let the occasional frame rate drop slide in favour of being able to play this game anywhere as a hand-held.
Wolfenstein 2 is available now from all stores and retails for an average of $79 AUD on console, digital download, and Steam. The game is rated R18+ High Impact Themes and Violence, Blood and Gore.