Never count BJ out.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus opens with protagonist BJ suffering from some serious injuries, making him completely reliant upon a wheelchair. This doesn’t mean BJ is defenceless or weak in any way; if anything, it shows just how strong he is. Within seconds of taking control of the character, BJ is handed an SMG and things kick off like only a Wolfenstein game can.
Countless Nazi goons are torn apart as BJ rolls through a German U-boat; the lighting during this sequence was the thing that impressed me the most. Some rooms are completely red with alarms while most are lit from low light sources, creating both long shadows and an amazing atmosphere. While guts are flying, each room comes alive with dark silhouettes.
The most effective way to kill Nazis is to set off electrical traps that obliterate anything caught in them; it’s also a slightly stealthier option than gunning down anything you see. If you do manage to get the drop on a bad guy, you can perform a stealth takedown and roll away silently on your rubber wheels to your next encounter. Choosing to eliminate enemies in this manner will make BJ’s white hospital gown quickly go from white to red as he continues his one-man rampage.
The beginning of The New Colossus has a very limited colour palette of just black white and red. It’s like if Schindler’s List had substantially more red in it. You’ll quickly find out that rolling down flights of stairs means you better be ready for what’s at the bottom. Naturally, these trips are one way; BJ can’t roll back up the stairs. This means that you’ll have to be on the lookout for elevators or other more creative means of traversal.
An example of just that is an area in the industrial setting with humongous spinning cogs. You can slide onto the cog as it spins around simultaneously allowing you access to a new area and giving you an opportunity for a sneak attack on an unsuspecting Nazi. You may be thinking that the guards are a little stupid but I wouldn’t be expecting an attack from such a place. What sort of madman would ride around on a giant cog or a 20-foot piston? What kind of maniac would launch himself down a conveyor belt to gain the element of surprise?
As BJ works his way throughout both the goons and the submarine, an amazing soundtrack starts to kick in. It’s a frantic rock track that heightens the ridiculousness of the situation, making it feel like an action movie. Before you get too caught up in things, you soon realise your true mission is to track down your heavily pregnant wife after being in a coma for 5 months. Oh, and your wife’s having twins. Suddenly, you’re in the midst of a daytime soap.
That’s not a bad thing, though; The New Colossus is full of real characters. Both allies and enemies help bring the world to life, each with their own motives and memorable lines. Wolfenstein II is dark and gory, yet somehow surprisingly funny; there is so much on the line but there are plenty of chuckles along the way. This bizarro world, set in an alternate time line is sure to have many surprises.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus heads to Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4 on 27 October.