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.

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