I never thought I’d be sitting here writing about how my favourite thing about the new Wolfenstein game was that it had a fantastic story and characters. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is the follow-up to 2014’s The New Order, and while the tradition of fantastic, well designed shooter gameplay is to be expected, The New Colossus elevates the narrative above and beyond all expectations.
The New Colossus picks up straight after the events of The New Order. Set in 1961, you’ll follow series protagonist B.J. Blaskowicz on his journey through a horrifically realised Nazi occupied America. There’s some surprises here and there – including a very well realised development of B.J. and his past – but the crux of the journey will be spent shooting up Nazi occupied locales. But while it sounds a bit ho-hum or whatever, Wolfenstein II is almost always memorable.Wolfenstein II does a fantastic job at delivering stellar writing with some immensely likeable characters that are humanised and developed rather well. Perhaps even more impressively, the writing team manage to artfully balance the harsh realities of a world of war and Nazi idealism brings with playful and yet engaging effective humour. The story does err onto the side of ridiculous at times (though not without being cleverly foreshadowed prior) but make no mistakes – The New Colossus presents one of the strongest narratives I’ve seen in a game.
Where I had the most fun with The New Colossus was when I was darting between all kinds of projectiles. Whether it was searing and glowing lasers or a dazzling barrage of lead or actual dogs; there is some great moment-to-moment gunplay. At all times, enemies will actively work together to flank you and rarely let themselves be lined up for an easy takeout. Even more importantly, the weapons themselves are satisfying to use. You’ll always feel on your toes.Perhaps this is owing to the fantastic level design. One of the simplest yet most memorable moments of the story is when you’re introduced to the shotgun in an area perfectly suited to teach you how to use it – the narrow corridors of a train. The satisfaction as B.J. dual wielded those bad boys and literally minced the enemies that began to pour in, the feel of these weapons, is perhaps why The New Colossus is such a joy to play.