While DOOM is about fast-paced fragging with demons, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is about high-intensity shooting with Nazis occupying America AND with a bunch of lewd jokes thrown in.
It’s a surprisingly refreshing mix.
The latest in MachineGames’ rebooted Wolfenstein world, The New Colossus picks up where The New Order and The Old Blood left off, though protagonist B.J. Blazkowiscz is now infamous thanks to his past exploits. The hour of hands-on playtime Stevivor experienced recently was set in New Orleans as Blazkowiscz and company continued their attempts to liberate the U.S.A. from Nazi control.
Almost immediately into our playthrough, some graphic sex and a hearty yell of “motherfucker” immediately set the tone. As Blazkowiscz and his allies made their way to a stolen submarine — crucial in a plan to slip past enemy lines — they found the sub already occupied. As moans of pleasure streamed through my headphones, I watched as B.J. opened the submarine’s hatch to get an eyeful of two of his fellow freedom fighters gleefully going at it.
If you’re so inclined, you can watch the sequences yourself thanks to one of the game’s latest trailers.
Talk about the need for an age gate, eh?
In this iteration of the franchise, MachineGames has truly developed and fleshed out its sense of humour. In doing so, it has solidified its identity. The serious, somber situation that B.J. and crew find themselves in is offset by sexual content and swears. Remarkably, it’s all done quite tastefully. Somehow.
Amazing combat mechanics were always part of that identity, and in The New Colossus, MachineGames does not disappoint. Close-quarters combat with a trusty hatchet is viceral (I hate using the word, but it’s truly apt in this case) and brutal. Movement is key to survival, as is taking cover and knowing when to lean out and get off a few crucial shots. A combination of all of B.J.’s skills and weaponry is necessary; standard and above difficulties are punishing and come with a learning curve. You’ll start the game essentially having to (re-)learn how to succeed. That’s okay, though — there are branch story paths (one with the amazing lazer-shotgun, the Laserkraftwerk) that increase replayability.
B.J. now comes equipped with crazy jumping stilts, activated with a double jump and used to get to hard-to-reach places. They’re also beneficial against giant robot dogs called Panzerhunds — the stilts lucky place B.J. outside the range of their flamethrower-mouths. That benefit alone is enough to outweigh the weirdness of having spring-loaded plank-boots, though I found myself struggling to activate and deactivate them all throughout my run.
The stilts, love them or hate them, only add to the vertical combat that MachineGames already excelled at. The combat zones I played inside were large, chaotic and multi-levelled, providing plenty of possibilities for stealth and balls-to-the-wall action. It left me wanting more — just like the pair on the sub.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus heads to Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4 from 27 October. A Nintendo Switch version was also recently announced by publisher Bethesda, thog though that’s not expected until 2018.