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Wolfenstein II Hands-On Preview – Balls To The Wall Action

Last week, I had the chance to spend a few hours with Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. What I played were two widely different demos which left me excited to see just how far MachineGames can push the sequel beyond what was the already chaotic Wolfenstein: The New Order.

I’d read quite a bit about the first Wolfenstein: The New Colossus demo that was playable at E3. I already knew that it kicked off where the first game ended and B.J Blazkowicz was not only in a wheelchair, but had to fight his way through hordes of Nazis in this debilitated state.

Hearing about the demo and experiencing it for myself were two completely different things. Machine Games somehow perfectly re-created it’d be like to be dual-wielding machine guns whilst in a wheelchair. Getting around is an absolute nightmare (with limited movement) and shooting your guns will make you slide back ever so slightly. It’ll take much longer to rotate your character which means that death will come at you hard and fast.

Wolfenstein levels are known for taking place on multiple planes. Getting upstairs in a wheel chairs is a problem that Machine Games haven’t simply let you avoid by wheeling up them. You’ll need to find alternate routes (such as rotating cogs) to climb your way up the level. It was at this moment that I realised that Machine Games have taken it to the next level with level design.

Wolf-USA

Once I ventured into the second demo (Roswell), I realised that this was going to be taken a whole lot further. It had an open-world feel that the first game could have used more of. I was set loose in Roswell, New Mexico with the freedom to explore. It was vibrant, bright and the exact opposite of what you’d expect a Nazi-run America to look like.

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Recently, I went back and played The New Order, and The New Colossus looks absolutely stunning in comparison. I was playing in 4K and every detail in this world is well-worth exploring. Detail in the character design is great, facial expressions bring tension and explosions are some of the nicest I’ve seen in any video game.

Wolf-Robots

The exploration phase of this demo ended with the infamous ‘Milkshake’ scene in Papa Joe’s diner. I then had to infiltrate a Nazi-controlled train station. The rest of the demo was full of first-person action and I died constantly. It wasn’t too bad initially, as I gunned down hundreds of Nazi soldiers, but it wasn’t long before Nazi robots were introduced with the ability to zip around the level faster than I was able to shoot them.

Later in the demo, I had to deal with a combination of Nazi soldiers, these annoying Nazi robots and a larger breed of laser-shooting, massive robots that are absolutely brutal. It’s clear that the enemy design in The New Colossus is going to be much more varied and I can already tell that it’s going to require more strategy (and less running and gunning) in order to get through certain situations.

Thankfully, Machine Games have also added more customisation to the game. You’re able to unlock perks by completing a set amount of objectives, but you can also customise your weapons in more ways than previously possible. Whether it be in the form of adding rockets to a machine gun or shooting having your explosives automatically detonate from your grenade shooter, there’s something for every moment.

I honestly can’t wait for The New Colossus to come out. The story is absolutely captivating and the characters that I came to love (and hate) in the last game are back with a vengeance. It was almost unthinkable after playing The New Order, but it’s now clear that the action has been upped significantly. It’s going to be an epic ride, and I can’t wait to see it out later this year.

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