When we last left B.J. Blazkowicz and his ragtag group of rebels, they’d just taken down the demented Nazi doctor known as Deathshead. Despite being a major win for the Kreisau Circle, the time I spent with The New Colossus made it immediately apparent that their triumph had done little to slow down the Nazi war machine. In this brief hands-on demo, BJ has just infiltrated the now Nazi-fortified New Orleans in an attempt to contact and recruit a man named Horton, the leader of a New Orleans resistance group.
From what I got to play, The New Colossus appears to remain faithful to its predecessor while leaning even harder into the series penchant for absurdity with grandiose cutscenes, gratuitous violence and ridiculous gadgetry. Given The New Order’s success, it really seems like MachineGames have (deservedly) been given free reign to swing for the fences creatively and it really shows with the additions they’ve made. Here’s what’s new in Wolfenstein II.
Locked and Loaded
In Wolfenstein: The New Order, the weight, feel and impact of the guns felt great – however, the upgrade options for the majority of weapons felt a bit limited. I was pleased to see in The New Colossus that there was not only a lot more variety when it came to improving your arsenal but also in how these upgrades could be implemented when fighting against the Third Reich.
Although B.J. could mow down Nazis by dual-wielding weapons in the previous game, The New Colossus now gives him the capability to dual-wield with two different weapons. This ability to mix and match firearms injects an enjoyable element of experimentation into how you choose to approach combat situations. I personally liked pairing the Schockhammer (automatic shotgun) with the Sturmgewehr (assault rifle) as the shotgun allowed me to quickly dispose of heavy enemies up close while still being able to take down other enemies at range with the rifle.
Mo’ Nazis, Mo’ Mobility
Along with B.J.’s personal armoury getting an upgrade, the ways in which he can traverse environments has also been given a massive overhaul.
In order to get a leg up on the enemy (both literally and figuratively), Captain Blazkowicz now has the ability to deploy stilts. In concept it sounds ridiculous, but there’s something about using them that just feels right and at home within the weird world of Wolfenstein. At the click of a button, you can now give yourself the advantage of the high ground against enemies while simultaneously being able to access weak spots on larger enemies such as the Panzerhund.
Given the Nazi’s prowess for advanced warfare, the idea of using a hip and shoulder to take one out seems a tad suicidal – but sometimes going back to combat basics can make for the perfect counter. For those who prefer taking a more direct approach with their playstyle, this ability (called Ram Shackles) can be used to charge down enemies and to knock down walls in order to access areas that would otherwise be inaccessible. It’s also great for making one hell of an entrance.
The idea that a stealth playstyle can exist in Wolfenstein’s overtly boisterous world almost seems unimaginable – but thanks to the new constrictor harness, B.J. can now access all those hard to reach places to help get the jump on enemies for a stealthy takedown.
Great Balls of Fire
One of my favourite moments in The New Order’s campaign was when I got to take control of a Nazi mech and use it to wreak havoc within one of their prison camps. It was not only a hell of a lot of fun to play but it also felt quite liberating to be in a position (even if it was only temporarily) where I significantly overpowered the omnipotent and oppressive Nazi regime. The New Colossus successfully recreates this magic by giving you the chance to jump in the driver’s seat of a fire-breathing Panzerhund. It was a truly a great way to bring this hands-on demo to a close and I honestly could have spent my whole playthrough stomping through the streets of New Orleans setting fire to every Nazi I came across.
Living up to the standards set by The New Order will be no easy feat, however, if this demo is anything to go by, The New Colossus appears to be shaping up as one of the stand out games of 2017.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on Friday, October 27th.