Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Is Like A Modern-Day Inglorious Bastards

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus manages to make strawberry milkshakes intimidating
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus manages to make strawberry milkshakes intimidating MachineGames

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has created an alternate-reality America where the Nazis not only won World War II, they successfully invaded America and set up shop as the new government. Thanks to some amazing vocal performances and creative characters, Wolfenstein II feels as fleshed out as a Quentin Tarantino film.

During our hands-on time with Wolfenstein II, we had the opportunity to play two different areas. One was the very start of the game, and the second jumped ahead a few hours into the campaign. While the locations and situations were different, both felt very “Wolfenstein.

The game opens directly after the end of Wolfenstein: The New Order. Our hero BJ Blazkowicz is in very rough shape while he and his friends in the resistance are fleeing on a ship. As you could probably guess, the escape doesn’t go well, and the ship is quickly filled with Nazi soldiers all looking to take you out. However, because you’re in such rough shape, you’re already half-dead to begin with.

In a creative twist on the FPS genre, the opening actually sees you moving around in a wheelchair. You can still fire guns and stealth kill enemies, but you need to think more about which directions you’re going in. One way may be the easier path to wheel down, but you will find yourself in direct fire, while another may be trickier to maneuver through, but is more of a stealth option.

You know how I said you were half-dead to begin with? That actually comes into play for BJ’s health through the game. BJ’s base health in the sections I played were always at 50 instead of 100. This means you can increase your health above 50 with health packs and other items, but it will always dwindle back down to half-full, even if you don’t get hurt. This definitely changed my approach to combat, as going in guns-blazing was rarely the best option in any situation.

The second level we could try out during our hands-on time with Wolfenstein II was set in Roswell, New Mexico. The American government had made a secret lab in the area for testing experimental devices during World War II. Now that the Nazis control America, they are in search of these secret labs. It’s your mission to get in and destroy the evidence before these mysterious items fall into the hands of evil.

This level really highlighted how deep a world MachineGames has created, as this was the first opportunity we had to actually walk around a Nazi-occupied America. At a quick glance, things seem peaceful, with a parade going down the street and many civilians celebrating. However, when you take a closer look, the world starts revealing its horrifying colors.

One of the most jarring conversations happens when you are walking the streets of Roswell between a Nazi officer and two Klansmen walking around in their white robes. The officer has no problem with the Klansmen being at the parade, but takes issue with how little German both can speak. While this does lead to a humorous attempt at someone with a southern drawl trying to say “danke schön,” it also perfectly displays how evil in America has risen to power.

The second-most jarring conversation came immediately after, when BJ makes his way into a diner to meet a resistance contact. Although BJ is disguised as a fireman, there are still wanted posters all over with his face plastered on them. While waiting at the diner, a Nazi officer comes strolling in, looking for a strawberry milkshake. What follows is more or less a similar conversation to the “apple strudel with cream” cafe scene in Inglorious Bastards, filled with just as much tension.

However, Wolfenstein II manages to feel damn near identical to Wolfenstein: The New Order when it comes to combat. The levels we played were either in tight, enclosed corridors or large, open spaces. Enemies swarmed and attacked, and BJ had ample firepower to mow them all down. There will probably be some cool, new weapons to try out at some point in the campaign, but all I had access to were the same rifles and machine guns from the previous game.

While I wished there was more changes to the game’s combat, the story and world created in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is as frightening as it is engaging. Even though I had to carry forward into the corridors and big arenas, I wish I could have spent more time exploring Nazi-occupied America. Hopefully other levels in Wolfenstein II will give players an opportunity to look around at the dystopia our country has fallen into.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus releases for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on Oct. 27.

So what do you think? Are you excited to know the combat for Wolfenstein II remains largely the same as the previous game? What do you think of the world MachineGames has created for their latest game? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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