Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Guns, grit, and Germans in a blazing, if familiar, sequel
MACHINEGAMES’ SUBLIME retrofuturistic reimagining of a Nazi-dominated 1960s has been screaming for another visit. The New Colossus moves things on five months from The New Order, with BJ Blazkowicz recovering from the injuries he suffered while taking out General Deathshead.
Which explains why he’s in a wheelchair. This doesn’t stop him from taking out Nazis, of course, even on a submarine. The opening sequence—after cutscenes establishing BJ’s father as a white supremacist, dogshooting scumbag—seems trickier than the previous game’s. The supersoldiers make an appearance much sooner, and while you’re able to salvage a suitably large weapon from their smoking biomechanical corpses, we do miss the armored dogs.
The New Colossus keeps The New Order’s hub level structure, from where you can initiate missions by talking to the right person, and carrying out activities such as the infuriating fueling of a helicopter by pumping gas from your own flamethrower.
Once you’re out in the world, one in which Germany won the Second World War, and the United States has fallen to fascist domination, there are some imaginative sights to see. A ruined New York City is starkly beautiful, picked out in shades of brown and gray, and patrolled by enemies who have the good grace to wear yellow suits. Roswell, New Mexico, is all sunny skies and bright colors, as a parade passes through, and jets stage a flypast overhead.
Roswell is the “disguise” section, like the Nazi moonbase in The New Order, and is again marked out by your disguise being almost perfect until you take it off. It’s less inexplicable than in the previous game— you do at least eventually get recognized by a dolt of a Nazi officer—but the period before this is one of the game’s best, as you admire the wonderfully designed cars, and wonder why every book stall sells the same books in the same order. Must be some Nazi law. Later, something remarkable happens, but all in cutscenes—something the entire game is guilty of.
For the most part, The New Colossus is a linear corridor shooter. It mixes things up with some neat lighting changes and the ever-present threat of bonkers sci-fi creations to shoot at, but you’re not going to find an open world here. It makes up for this with guns that have heft, weight, and plenty of ammo, enemies who are so evil it would be a crime not to shoot them, and an actual feeling of sympathy for BJ, who believes he’s blown it, fears he is about to die, and worries about his pregnant girlfriend.
While this is a suitable sequel to The New Order, it lacks some of the freshness of that game. We’ve seen a lot of this before, but where The New Colossus does shine, it puts up a blinding display.
Roswell’s parade provides opportunities to eavesdrop.
The KKK aren’t that good at studying German.
An arcade machine plays a new version of Wolfenstein 3D.
The Nazis have upped their robot count since last time.