Review: Wolfenstein II – The New Colossus

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Machine­Ga­mes’ debut tit­le Wol­fen­stein: The New Order revi­ved the aged series and stay­ed true to its roots. The New Colos­sus con­ti­nues this cour­se and sur­pas­ses its bril­li­ant pre­de­ces­sor in every way. In an age in which shoo­ters offer most­ly short and dum­ped down cam­pai­gns this is a gre­at packa­ge which doesn’t make use of a tacked-on mulit­play­er.

The first mis­si­on alrea­dy sets the tone for the remai­ning game. Prot­ago­nist Cap­tain Wil­liam Joseph Blaz­ko­wic (or just BJ) is hurt bad­ly and faces mem­bers of the Regime in his wheel­chair. You encoun­ter a lar­ge num­ber of enemies con­si­de­ring this is the intro level und sin­ce your health bar is only half-fil­led, you’ll die quick­ly. Figh­t­ing the Regime is a despe­ra­te cau­se, we feel the supre­ma­cy right away. The abstru­se star­ting situa­ti­on in the wheel­chair feels like snat­ched right out of a B-movie. In this uni­ver­se it’s only the tip of the ice­berg though. The sto­ry of The New Colos­sus explo­res con­spi­ra­cy theo­ries, mys­ti­cism and UFO-logy.

This com­bi­na­ti­on of con­trasts is a trade­mark of The New Colos­sus and if the deve­lo­per wouldn’t have been as sen­si­ti­ve with the­se topics, this could’ve gone all wrong. The almost per­ver­ted desi­re to visua­li­ze the bru­ta­li­ty of war is bro­ken up by ten­der emo­tio­nal moments insi­de the base camp of the insur­gen­cy. Cha­rac­ters such as the mem­bers of the resis­tan­ce as well as the pure­ly evil Miss Angel are great­ly por­tray­ed. The­re are no two-dimen­sio­nal cha­rac­ters to be found.


The game­play is equal­ly con­vin­cing. You have a lot of opti­ons to unleash your inner action hero (don’t we all have that in us?). A nice addi­ti­on is that unli­ke in The New Order you can dual-wield any kind of wea­pon com­bi­na­ti­on this time around – and the­re are a lot! You’re gon­na need the arse­nal on your jour­ney. Figh­t­ing the Regime is pret­ty tough sin­ce the­re is no auto-heal as in the last ent­ry of the fran­chise. Ins­tead you have to find and rely on medi-kits and armour, just like in the old days. We wel­co­me that the game is espe­ci­al­ly chal­len­ging in the hig­her dif­fi­cul­ty set­tings.

Just like befo­re BJ can level-up several of his skills if he meets the requi­red goals. Silent take­downs net you increa­sed move­ment speed while crou­ch­ing. Being sne­aky is the way to go if you face lar­ge crowds and makes com­bat easier. The levels are desi­gned in a way that you have many pos­si­bi­li­ties to try out dif­fe­rent tac­tics and they offer room for explo­ra­ti­on.

The New Colos­sus is an excep­tio­nal tit­le this year due to its explo­si­ve action, con­vin­cing cha­rac­ters and com­pel­ling sto­ry. Having said this the bad­ly cut Ger­man ver­si­on lea­ves a lot to be desi­red. In respect to vio­lence you don’t expe­ri­ence any kind of cuts but any hints to the Third Reich were remo­ved. This is dis­tur­bing becau­se it’s obvious what this is about. Any attempt to con­ceil this is rag­ged. It goes that far that the who­le con­text was chan­ged even though the­re was no dan­ger for a ban here, as far as we know. The fact that Adolf Hit­ler is being intro­du­ced as a beard­less hea­ler is just absurd. In its core the sto­ry of The New Colos­sus is anti­fa­scist but in the Ger­man ver­si­on this inten­ti­on was just remo­ved. The result is a tri­via­li­sa­ti­on of the ori­gi­nal game con­cept. The Ger­man syn­chro­ni­sa­ti­on is nevertheless up to the stan­dard of the Eng­lish voice work.

Con­clu­si­on: The New Colos­sus is big­ger, offers more action and cra­zier than the alrea­dy gre­at pre­de­ces­sor. Only the bad­ly cut Ger­man ver­si­on tar­nis­hes the over­all pic­tu­re. If you don’t mind the chan­ges and the sud­den end of the cam­pai­gn, you’ll expe­ri­ence one of the best shoo­ters in recent years.

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