Bethesda and Machine Games continue to deliver with an excellent sequel
When the first game of the rebooted Wolfenstein series released in 2014 I truly did not know what to expect. Being a fan of alternate history and sci-fi, a game that takes place in a world where the Nazis won WWII with the help of futuristic technology was already enough to get me on board the hype train. What I wanted was a fun first-person shooter where I get to shoot seemly endless waves of German soldiers and destroy German infrastructure, and this was provided in “Wolfenstein: The New Order.” What I was not expecting was a gripping emotional tale about a man who awakens in a surreal world he has to come to grips with and does everything in his power to avenge his fallen brothers, his occupied country, and the mistakes he made 14 years earlier. “Wolfenstein: The New Order” is one of the best games I have ever played and one of the few that has brought me to tears by the end through great storytelling and character building. So how does its long-awaited sequel live up to its predecessor?
I can absolutely confirm that “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus” not only lives up to its predecessor but expands on the foundation built by The New Order. The story is still just as gripping, especially since now the game takes place in the USA and the stakes are ever higher as BJ Blazkowicz and his friends are in constant mortal danger. The number of weapons in the game remains the same compared to its previous installment; however, the customization options for them are far greater. The guns also feel heavy, and every kill is exceptionally satisfying. Every melee also has a unique animation that is visceral and personal. Similar enemies from the first game also return such as the “supersoldaten” and the “panzerhund,” although now they are upgraded and deadlier. Something that did seem to be lacking was proper boss fights in an arena setting like those seen in the first game. However, the game presented moments with difficult enemies that attempted to fill this void, but it still fell short. The environments in each level are also very much expanded, and it is obvious that this game had a much larger budget compared to “The New Order.” This is also expressed in the graphics and art design in the game, which continue to blow my mind every time I boot up the game. The game also seemed as long if not longer than the first Wolfenstein, and for the first time, side missions are included, but they seem to be little more than small distractions from the main storyline.
What started as a reboot of the franchise that started the first-person shooter genre has turned into one of my favorite video game franchises of all time. “Wolfenstein II” continues the trend of asking the questions no one else wants to ask and exploring themes other companies would stray away from for fear of offending people. Remember this is the game that made real white supremacists upset that it was “too mean” towards the Nazis. That alone should tell you this game is good. Secondly, considering the games take place in a world ruled by white supremacists, it puzzles me why they would be upset at all. Wolfenstein II pushes the boundaries of first-person shooter storytelling, themes, and mechanics while also not feeling unfamiliar or foreign. For anyone that played “The New Order,” this is a must buy and one to consider if you enjoy excellent single-player experiences. Bethesda and Machine games continue to impress me, and I look forward to the next installment in this historic franchise.