Wolfenstein is the longest running first-person shooting series of all time. Wolfenstein 3D, released in 1992, was the genesis of the first-person shooter genre, and since then the series has seen seven subsequent releases.
Back in 2014 the series was rebooted in a big way with Wolfenstein: The New Order. It brought the series up to date in a big way, but it also maintained what’s always been great about the series, namely its frantic fast-paced action and over-the-top sci-fi portrayal of the Nazi regime.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is the follow-up to The New Order. Although a subsequent Wolfenstein game, The Old Blood, was released in 2015, this was more of an expansion pack compared to the original rather than an entirely new entry in the series.
Wolfenstein 2 looks to be building on much of what made The New Order such a breath of fresh air. It’s still based around a tightly focussed balancing act between stealth and all-out action, and the gunplay feels as satisfying as ever.
We’ve had the chance to check out the game at a recent hands on event, so read on for everything you need to know about the new game.
Cut to the Chase
- What is it? The latest entry in the long-running Wolfenstein series, and a follow-up to 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order
- When can I play it? October 27 2017
- What can I play it on? Xbox One, PS4 and PC
Trailers and Screenshots
Our first look at the new game came when it was announced at Bethesda’s keynote at E3 2017. The trailer starts a little oddly with a couple of live action segments set inside the Wolfenstein universe, but before long it cuts to some in-game footage, complete with plenty of gory Nazi-killing action.
You can find a number of screenshots from the game below, which show off a little more of the game in greater detail.
News and features
Bethesda appears to favor very small windows in between the announcement and release of its games and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is no exception. However having such a small preview window means relatively little is known about the game at this point.
The game seems similar in many ways to its predecessor, The New Order, but we’ve outlined the main changes from the original below.
It's set in a Nazi-occupied America
Whereas The New Order was set in a Nazi-controlled Germany, The New Colossus takes the action to America, which the Nazis have occupied after successfully winning the second world war.
It’s an evocative setting to say the least, with swastikas and Nazi imagery juxtaposed with small town America. Klansmen can be seen openly walking the streets, and making small talk with Nazi officers.
It’s one thing to see these symbols in a German setting, but it’s quite another to see them alongside an American diner, for example. It’s an interesting premise that gives the game real bite.
We’re interested to see what Machine Games does with this evocative setting. It’s one thing to be provocative, but the team will have a challenge on its hands if it wants to deliver on these ideas.
Mix and match dual-wielding
A key feature of Wolfenstein: The New Order was the way you were able to dual-wield weapons, allowing you to double up on damage even if this did mean you’d burn through your ammo twice as fast.
Dual-wielding makes a return for Wolfenstein 2, but this time it’s a little more versatile. Rather than simply dual-wield two of the same weapon, the new game will allow you to mix and match whichever weapons you choose.
This is especially helpful in the game’s stealth segments where we’d use a silenced pistol as our primary weapon and a machinegun as our secondary. This loadout allowed you to switch to a full-on assault mode much more quickly when we were inevitably discovered.
Alternatively you could try combining a shotgun with a rifle to allow you to tackle enemies at both short- and long-range.
Hatchet take downs
Wolfenstein has never been a series that shies away from a little blood and gore, and Wolfenstein 2 continues that bold tradition with the addition of a new hatchet melee weapon.
There’s not that much more to add to the inclusion other than to say that its kills look horrendous in the best way possible. You can use the hatchet as both a melee and a ranged weapon.
The weapon’s functionality is outlined in a little more depth in the video below:
Hands on impression
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus continues and develops a lot of what made The New Order such an accomplished title. Typically you’ll start out each mission in the game in levels where your enemies are unaware of your presence, giving the opportunity for you to sneak around and eliminate them silently.
What’s always been impressive about these games is how good each of the gameplay types feel. This isn’t a stealth game where the action feels flimsy or shallow, or an action game where the stealth feels under-developed, it’s almost as fun whichever way you approach the game.
In a recent hands on session we had the chance to try out a couple of different missions from the game.
The first mission we played was a little unusual. With no explanation, our protagonist BJ Blazkowicz awoke in a Nazi compound, and found himself unable to use his legs.
No problem! After all, what’s a better replacement for a pair of working legs than a wheelchair?
What followed was one of our more surreal gaming experiences, as we wheeled ourselves around the compound while shooting Nazis all the way. Nicely, the fact that we were in a wheelchair only impeded our movement speed, with our aiming left free to speed around as quickly as ever.
The wheelchair did, however, make it much harder to play the game in a stealthy fashion. We’d quickly get spotted by most enemies, and had to shoot our way out of almost every situation.
Despite the absence of stealth, the game introduced a number of interesting mechanics, such as electric arrays that allowed us to vaporise our enemies, and moving conveyor belts that we could reverse using switches placed around the level.
Switching to the second level in the demo showed off the reality of the game’s Nazi occupied America.
We were free to wander down what appeared to be a typical American street, were it not filled with Nazi soldiers patrolling.
It created a striking impression seeing officers of one of the most evil regimes in world history alongside an iconic American setting.
Before long we’d sat ourselves down in an American diner and met with a local resistance fighter who packed us off to infiltrate a Nazi compound, at which point the game transitioned into a scenario that will be much more familiar to anyone who played The New Order.
Each level has a familiar rhythm to it, where enemies will be initially unaware of your presence. You can take out the guards patrolling, but you’ll need to do so without being spotted, and ideally while using a silenced weapon so as not to attract attention.
No matter how much patience you approach the stealth sections with, almost inevitably you’ll soon be spotted. At this point the game turns on a dime and rapidly becomes one of the fastest-paced action games we’ve ever played.
At this point your priority rapidly shifts to eliminating the commanders in each area, since while they’re still alive they’ll be able to call in more reinforcements.
Everything about these action sequences feel fast. You can sprint around the levels at a formidable pace, and even the reloading and firing animations feel fast and frantic.
It takes a while to get comfortable with the pace of your abilities. If you want to then it’s perfectly possible to sprint past enemies to get to a better vantage point, or else just to gather some armor from across the map.
It takes a little time to get comfortable with the speedy rhythm of the game, but once you do it’s an exhilarating experience where the possibility space feels as wide as they come.
From our play session this game feels like an exceptionally competent follow-up to 2014’s excellent reboot of the series.