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Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus Hands-on

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus Hands-on

One of the highlights of the past E3 for many was Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, the game that was secretly confirmed in 2016, but was only really shown this year. I got to visit Bethesda’s Benelux headquarters to try out two of the game’s missions: the introductory mission and a mission called Roswell. In the latter, main character BJ visits Area 51, where in alternative Wolfenstein history the **** Oberkommando is located – and of course the infamous alien research institutes. World War II may have ended differently in the game than in our own history, but the many alien incidents in America have still occurred…

In the shoes of BJ Blazkowicz

As Peter mentioned in his preview at E3, protagonist BJ Blazkowicz wakes up from a coma after five months and is in a wheelchair. Soon you’ll be handed a weapon by a dying ally so you can supply lead to the attacking *****. In the beginning, the puzzles mainly focus on moving in a wheelchair, so you can’t climb stairs, for example. However, especially in the beginning, you should also pay attention to your ammunition, because until you kill some *****, you will have a limited supply. That’s why you really need to take advantage of the huge microwaves that rip ***** to pieces: this way you can grow your supply of bullets without using bullets in the process. But what really caught my eye in this mission is the technology behind Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus.

For example, BJ has a full body, unlike many other FPS games. This may not sound very special, but it is. At one point during a firefight I was thrown from the wheelchair by an explosion, which caused BJ to land on his back and his legs came into view. Things like this really make you feel like you’re (literally) in the shoes of super soldier BJ Blazkowicz. Not only is the rock-solid shooting action refined through the use of id Tech 6, but also the degree of immersion in the game is increased by technological progress.

Earlier I referred to the shooting action in Wolfenstein 2, which is of course an integral part of the game. Personally, I was very reminiscent of the action in Doom: bloody, fast-paced and accompanied by a pumping soundtrack from Mick Gordon that makes the adrenaline flow even harder. However, MachineGames doesn’t see itself as a competitor to Doom at all and not just because both games are published by Bethesda. When I asked Arcade Berg from MachineGames about this, the lead designer replied that Wolfenstein distinguishes himself from Doom by making the action optional in many places: you can choose to go guns blazing into a train station à la Doom, but it’s not required by any means. In fact, in a number of cases it is strongly recommended to opt for a stealthy approach.

I’m not saying it’s aliens…

An example of this is the mission Roswell. Before starting the demo, I was hinted that there were upgrades available for my weapons in this mission. The first few times, however, I forgot that, causing my gun to make quite a bit more noise than necessary. Once I put a damper on my guns, I was finally able to kill some guards without fifty of his buddies knowing right away, and I got into an almost endless firefight. Further on in this mission are also a kind of mutants with lasers as weapons and the health bar of a real bullet sponge. So it’s better to avoid these guys than to confront them, if you want to save some bullets – or health – for ordinary ***** who find themselves in your path.

In general, I have a good impression of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, but there are still some blemishes on the game. For example, as I mentioned earlier, enemies know you’re there pretty quickly if you shoot one enemy. If you try to kill someone from a distance in a given situation, all opponents for miles around will know exactly where you are and where you are going – even if you are in cover. Of course it makes sense that enemies communicate with each other, but especially in the Roswell mission, enemies knew where I was too quickly in my opinion.

Another point that raised an eyebrow was the length of the cut scenes. In Roswell’s introduction, of course, BJ talks to an alien fanatic who claims to be completely scientific, but who won’t even acknowledge Blazkowicz’s skepticism. In the beginning, the movie is still funny, especially because of the countless references to the memes surrounding Ancient Aliens (do you know those still-still-still-yet?) and alien fanatics in general. But when the best man says for the fourth time that he does not claim that they are aliens, but that the case does have a clearly alien character, it gets boring. Twice would have been enough, even if the purpose of this cut scene is to lighten the tone of the game. I’m not at all averse to long narrative fragments in games, but this was too much for me. Personally, I’d suggest MachineGames to spread the jokes a bit about the cutscenes and the missions themselves: if enemies can communicate with each other over longer distances, BJ can too. Cut the alien jokes in half in the cut scene and throw in one every now and then during the mission.


All in all, I’m really looking forward to Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. The game really puts you in the shoes of BJ Blazkowicz and both the humor and the shooting action are very hard. The cut scenes may be on the long side, but on the other hand, the missions themselves also offer a considerable length. The narrative aspect is also a factor that distinguishes Wolfenstein from many other first-person shooters in the market today, so you can also expect some longer movies.

Technically, there are still some small points that need improvement, such as the AI ​​that immediately knows exactly where you are if you need more than two bullets to kill an enemy. Also, at some point I got stuck in a table, forcing me to load the last checkpoint. Overall, the game was already very well optimized, so I’m confident that the end product will be technically sound.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus comes out on October 27 and that date is now clearly marked in my calendar!