In 2015, Wolfenstein: The New Order impressively demonstrated what a shooter must look like today. Now William Blazkovicz is back to free the US from fascism. Can the successor meet the high bar?
Fascism in the USA. In the streets of American cities, Nazis march, in some parts of the country the Ku Klux Klan has the say, clean drinking water is not a matter of course, non-whites are considered second class citizens and are imprisoned for trifles or shot by the police. Without question, since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, much has changed for the worse.
Wolfenstein 2 Release Date
Terrifyingly close to the real world is the fictitious story of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. The “peacekeepers” of the German regime conquered the United States in 1949 after they laid down their arms in the wake of the nuclear destruction of New York. In 1961 German occupation became the norm, yet still not all have lost faith in the Land of the Free. Only someone who gives them back the fighting spirit is missing and this someone is William Blazkovicz.
The game of life and death
After the final of its predecessor Wolfenstein: The New Order, the revolver hero is anything but good. He barely survived General Totenkopf’s grenade and spent the next five months in a coma. When he awakens, his body is only a shadow of his former self. William is closer to death than ever before, and only three things keep him alive: Da’at Yichut’s battle suit, his mission to rid the world of the regime and the voice of his beloved Anya.
In general, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus tells a much more personal story than its predecessor. Not only does Williams’s relationship with Anya play a bigger role, his childhood as well as his childhood home are a central part of the story. Right at the beginning, William actively deals with his own mortality, which occasionally leads to the narrative dissonance between gameplay and cutscenes, in which some other games despaired. So in one scene, he laments philosophically about the death of a comrade-in-law, about the fragility of a life, an existence, and the volatility with which all the experience and memories dissipate, only in the next level hundreds of regime soldiers over the To heap heaps.
Nevertheless, the fantastic cutscenes are among the highlights of the game, as they not only provide a welcome change to the intense firefights, but above all tell a great story full of surprises, humor, tragedy and unpredictable twists, which is currently unparalleled in the shooter genre. This includes the credible characters who not only serve as purposeful clients, but have tangible motivations, weaknesses, fears and hopes.
In particular, however, should be caught on Ms. Angel, which for me is one of the most glorious video game villains that I was ever allowed to experience. Although it was already a crucial component in The New Order, it was then still in the shadow of the comic-stick General Totenkopf. Ms. Engel, on the other hand, is so much more complex and so frightening. She has a story, is a career woman, murderer, sadist, writer and mother. It is repulsive and yet I absorb every second of the screen with her full of fascination and can hardly wait for their next scene. Great. Terrible and great.
That’s what a shooter needs to feel like
The soldiers of the regime, however, are predominantly faceless and characterless. The more fun it is, however, to help the bad boy with everything the gun barrel puts under the earth. Even the predecessor was a kinaesthetic overall experience, the feel, the precision, the hit feedback, the sound of the weapons, everything is impeccable and still feels exactly as an ego-shooter must feel.
Add to that a pounding soundtrack, which provides the body with neat adrenaline in the heated shooting club. Assuming, of course, that you opt for such a brutal style of play, because Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus knows more than just an approach.
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Whether chaos, stealth or tactics, William has for each type of player a few suitable tricks up his sleeve, which can be individualised in the course of the game. You do not have to rely on an inflexible skill tree. Instead, the game adapts dynamically to your game style. If you manage a certain number of kills, while your life energy is above the maximum thanks to the use of medi-kits, this surplus will decrease less quickly in the future. If you overpower a sufficient number of enemies secretly from behind, you can move forward from there, crouching faster. In short, your game style will automatically be gradually rewarded with skills that will continue to promote and enhance that same approach in the future.
The city that never wakes up
In addition, you have the ability to upgrade and customize all your weapons as desired. This does not happen automatically, instead attentive players find in some levels upgrade kits that serve as currency for the numerous weapon improvements. So you can miss your submachine gun silencer or equip your assault rifle with a riflescope. It’s worth exploring, not only because you can find lots of items and collectibles in this way, but also because the level architecture takes into account the different play styles. If you are primarily concerned with secrecy, most levels also offer you the option of circumventing opponents unnoticed with the help of ventilation shafts and of opening up alternative routes in order to ultimately stab the opponents in the back.
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If you do not run regimental soldiers in front of the gun, you’re probably on board the nuclear submarine that you’ve conquered along with the other resistance fighters in The New Order. This now acts as the headquarters between the missions, where you can not only talk calmly with your colleagues and friends, but also some optional extra jobs are available to you.
But once it itches on your fingers again, you can start your missions from there, taking you to a handful of American cities: visit the once-living, but now ruined and radiation-contaminated metropolis of New York City , the Roswell in New Mexico populated by Ku Klux Klan members, or the walled-up New Orleans as you search for scattered members of the Resistance.
Even more impressive than the design of the cities, however, is the representation of American society. Instead of using the alternative course of history merely as a backdrop for a colorful shooting gallery, Machine Games has succeeded in actually breathing life into the world. This succeeds above all through the countless details that are hidden in the levels. Old photos, newspaper clippings, diary entries and songs give the game world authenticity and make tangible what a life in the world of Wolfenstein means. What do the children learn at school, what kind of toys are there, which books are read, which TV shows, which music is included? Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus can answer all these questions.
For example, a song by the “Beetle” – the German-singing Beatles of the Wolfenstein Universe – sings of Changeover Day, ie the day on which German is introduced as the official official language of the USA. Of course, on the 4th of July, the day of American independence. However, the game also manages to take a critical look at American culture and society as a whole. For example, William’s childhood episodes treat the thoroughly common racism of pre-war America. Moreover, it is made no secret that many whites have fallen to the regime after a short time without much opposition and since then lead a comfortable life, as long as they only swim with the stream.
These details are sometimes more, sometimes less obviously communicated, in principle, worth the search for the numerous collectibles, which are worth a look through just such information. If you do not find everyone right away, you do not need to worry, as you will have the opportunity to revisit some of the levels at a later date. Not only to fill in gaps in your collection, but also to see for yourself what consequences Williams’s operations had on the respective cities.
Summary and conclusion
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is in every respect an improvement over the already great predecessor. The story is not only smarter, but also more emotional. As an antagonist, Ms. Engel sets standards for the genre, the dystopian world is believable and rich in detail despite all the exaggeration and the magic wand technologies. The shooter gameplay needs to hide from any other title anyway. In addition, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is a pure single player game, with no suspicious gaps or clicked payment options. Instead, the game relies on exemplary scale, countless details and worthwhile collectibles, as well as two slightly different timelines that encourage replay. The new Wolfenstein has truly become the hoped-for colossus.
You ‘ll love it if you’re on shooter with a smart story and does not scare off excessive violence.
You will not like it if you love to play shooters with or against friends or if you were satisfied with the results of the last general election.