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Review

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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