Wolfenstein: The New Colossus preview by Brett Phipps
There’s no two ways about it – Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is awesome. Having played a couple of its missions, it’s clear that MachineGames has taken all that was brilliant about the first two entries, turned up the dial to 11 and given everything a new lick of paint. In a year filled with must-buy shooters, from what I’ve seen The New Colossus will be right up there with the best of them.
I only recently played The New Order for the first time, and for me it quickly became one of the best FPS games of this console generation. The incredible weight of every gun, the intense action and surprisingly touching story made for a memorable experience. Coming from that into The New Colossus demo made the latter all the more engaging.
Related: Xbox One X latest news
The game picks up soon after the events of The New Order – so if you haven’t played it yet then be aware that there are major spoilers ahead. BJ Blazkowicz survives, and makes it back to the Nazi U-boat previously hijacked by the resistance. BJ is in bad shape, however. Having been in a coma for five months, he awakens to find the boat under Nazi attack. Unable to walk, the first level has you control a wheelchair-bound Blazkowicz around the sub, defending your crew from the Nazis.
As Blazkowicz is in such a sorry state, his max health is slashed in half, meaning you’ll have to focus primarily on armour pickups – but the best part is that now, finally, ammo and armour can be picked up automatically. No longer will you have to run around constantly looking down and hammering a button to collect every scrap and bullet. The only time I had to manually pick up either was when it would overcharge BJ, which is great, since there will be times you’ll want to save those for the tougher encounters.
Related: Assassin’s Creed Origins Preview
The shooting in Wolfenstein is some of the most satisfying in the genre. Guns fire with impact and bullets boom as they leave the gun and enter your Nazi enemies. There are also some new toys to play with and fresh mechanics to make things even more interesting.
Up first are some new guns, including energy beams that literally eviscerate Nazis into nothingness and a hatchet that replaces your combat knife for even more gruesome melee kills. You don’t have to worry about timing a melee strike just after an enemy attack anymore either; the game kicks into a kill animation automatically.
Also, dual-wielding can be done using two different guns. This means that if you want to sneak around with a silenced pistol, and hold a machine gun in case things go belly up too, you can.
Sign up for the newsletter
Get news, competitions and special offers direct to your inbox
Move around the opening level everything’s a blast. Every gun feels excellent, and combat is as intense as ever, even from a wheelchair. But now there’s a brand-new enemy in the form of cyborg Nazi ninjas. This isn’t a rough description, that’s actually what they are. These robotic enemies can zip around the room in the blink of an eye and dish out lethal melee attacks. They’re also the source of the new energy weapons that work exceptionally well on human enemies.
Related: Uncharted Lost Legacy Preview
Moving onto the next level, BJ is required to plant a mini-nuke into Area 52 after the Nazis have occupied the US, I’m witness to one of the most intense and unsettling narrative moments I’ve witnessed in quite some time.
Starting in Roswell, New Mexico, BJ is disguised as fireman, mainly because his face is plastered on most ‘wanted’ signs all over the country. His contact is based in a diner just down the street, during a Nazi parade. En route to the meet, I encounter a Nazi soldier chatting to two KKK klansmen about their shared ethics, as well as the klansman’s current (poor) attempts at learning German.
There was no need to watch this encounter, but I couldn’t help but stop – I was utterly engrossed in the conversation. This whole opening segment leading into the diner and chatting to the contact is another example of how great MachineGames is at telling a gripping story. While in the diner, a Nazi soldier walks in, with all the swagger of a pure evil dictator. The scene is reminiscent of the opening of Inglorious Basterds, where the conversation appears to be friendly but has incredibly sinister undertones. It’s brilliant, gripping and gives Wolfenstein an incredible edge.
The New Order told a great story through endearing characters; The New Colossus looks to build on that in excellent fashion.
Related: Call of Duty: WW2 preview
Changes to the original turn a great game into a special one. The new Colossus looks set to be a superb evolution of the new breed of Wolfenstein, with this latest entry seeing the return of characters that made such an impact in the first entry, as well as new faces that already add plenty to the narrative.
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus release date – when is it coming out?
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 27, 2017. It’s launching shortly after The Evil Within 2, Bethesda’s other big title this year.
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus season pass – Any DLC planned?
MachineGames has announced a season pass for The New Colossus that includes three single-player expansions. Known as the Freedom Chronicles, players will take on the role of three different characters in a trio of utterly bonkers outings.
• The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe – As former professional quarterback Joseph Stallion, smash through Nazi hordes from the ruins of Chicago to the vastness of space!
• The Diaries of Agent Silent Death – As ex-OSS agent and assassin Jessica Valiant, infiltrate Nazi bunkers in California and discover the secrets of Operation San Andreas!
• The Amazing Deeds of Captain Wilkins – As the US Army’s renowned hero Captain Gerald Wilkins, embark on a mission to Nazi-controlled Alaska to dismantle Operation Black Sun!
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus story – What’s it about?
Taking place in 1961, alternate history has seen the Nazis make their way over to the United States. The red menace have made their claim across the region, and only B.J Blazkowicz can stop them. Travelling from the small town of Roswell to the radioactive streets of post-nuclear Manhattan, a New Colossus is poised to be a cross-country journey like no other.
BJ also has a personal vendetta to settle this time around. Anya, his love interest from the first game, is currently pregnant with twins. Like any sane mother, she’d rather not raise her children in a world ruled by evil nazis. In order to succeed, you must rally a resistance and march upon the enemy stronghold. Things will be difficult, but when has that stopped BJ?
Related: Star Wars Battlefront 2 Preview
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus gameplay – how does it play?
The mixture of violent shooting, rewarding stealth and all out mechanical warfare from the previous instalment is back with a range of welcome refinements. At the top of this list of changes is a range of gloriously brutal weapondry to wield. The Laserkraftwerk is a rifle capable of melting nazi goons to nothing but dust. You can also use it to make easy work of robotic enemies as they charge hungrily toward you.
Next up is the Dieselkraftwerk, which hurls gas-powered grenades at enemies. This can be packed with a bunch of different variants, ensuring the murder never grows stale. If you’d rather get up close and personal, The New Colossus will introduce a few new melee weapons. One of which is the Hatchet, an ideal tool for players eyeing up the stealthy approach.
Related: Need for Speed Payback Preview
Once again, weapons can be upgraded to your liking by completing challenges and allocating skill points. The last game had a surprising amount of replay value due to the sheer amount of tools available to us. With any luck, The New Colossus will continue this gruesome trend.
Despite its emphasis on murder and violence, Wolfenstein also finds time for quiet moments. In the past game, you could explore a detailed base and communicate with NPCs to help flesh out the story and unlock bonus content. A New Colossus will do the same, introducing old friends such as Caroline, Bombate, Set, Max Hass, Fergus and Wyatt. You’ll also want to take care of Anya, your now pregnant wife.
Wolfenstein: The New Colossus trailer – How does it look?
MachineGames released a few trailers during E3, which we’ve compiled below for your viewing pleasure:
From what we’ve played, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus could be the best shooter of 2017.