Also available on PlayStation 4, Switch, and Windows
God bless MachineGames and Bethesda. If you've played Wolfenstein: The New Order or Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, then you know the kind of amazing game to expect here. The reason I said "God bless MachineGames and Bethesda" despite being solidly secular, however, is because of how they handled the issue of multiplayer. They basically said "There's no multiplayer because that's not the kind of game we want to make and screw you if that's all it takes to convince you not to buy it." I love it. In an age where single player games are increasingly scarce, I absolutely adore a game that is aggressively single player.
The New Colossus takes place right after the events of The New Order, so if you've not played The New Order, I'm going to strongly recommend you go play that game first. Following the destruction of New York City by a German atom bomb, the United States has surrendered and been absorbed into the Greater Reich. Fighting with a small but stalwart resistance, BJ's role has shifted from elite American soldier to whatever-it-takes anti-fascist (Antifa, if you will) revolutionary. While a game of over-the-top fiction, it does provide an alarmingly likely scenario had the Nazis won the second world war - mandatory German classes, heavily armed Nazi soldiers patrolling the streets of America, and the Ku Klux Klan serving as the Nazis' link to the American people. I won't spoil anything about the missions that take place there, but for me as a Louisiana native, fighting in the walled off New Orleans ghetto where our new Nazi overlords dumped the "undesirables" - Jews, people of color, homosexuals, leftists, etc - was particularly powerful for me and made me especially grateful to my ancestors who fought tooth and nail to keep the Nazis from our shores.
Visually, the game is absolutely beautiful. I waited until my Xbox One X was delivered so that I could enjoy the game in the full glory of 2160p and HDR, and it was well worth the wait. While both PS4 Pro and Xbox One X make use of dynamic scaling, the PS4 Pro maxes out at 1440p and upscales to 4K whereas the Xbox One X has a maximum native resolution of a full 2160p according to DigitalFoundry. DigitalFoundry also reports that the game on Xbox One X is comparable with running it on PC at max settings with a 1080 Ti. I haven't played it on PC to compare, but with how damn good it looks on Xbox One X and how smooth is runs, it wouldn't surprise me. The visuals are just incredible and really serve to deepen an already immersive game.
As one should expect these days from a Bethesda published id property, the music is just killer. The whole sound design is, really, but the music is fantastic. It's heavy and fast paced to play off the adrenaline of battle but not so overpowering that it steals the spotlight from the action. The sound effects are perfectly balanced, and the voice acting is probably the most impressive part of the audio. The voice acting is so well done that the emotion really comes through clearly in the dialogue. I won't go into detail, but there's a really....hard....scene fairly early on, and the voice acting during and after that scene really give it a touch of life that so many games lack.
On the subject of difficulty, it's definitely a marked step up from The New Order. Enemies are tougher, smarter, and you can't soak up nearly as much damage. A lot of people, myself included, commented on how easy The New Order was relatively speaking, and it seems that those comments were taken to heart. Even on lower difficulty settings, The New Colossus is a good challenge that won't leave most wanting a harder experience. Challenge aside, though, this is pretty much already my 2017 game of the year for one simple fact - it lets me kill both Nazis AND the Ku Klux Klan IN THE SAME MISSION. It's glorious; I can be a LITERAL social justice warrior, not just the cringey try-hards on Tumblr.
There was a lot of "controversy" surrounding the game leading up to its release (and I use "controversy" in the loosest 'this is bullshit' way possible) because of perceived commentary on current events although I have a hard time seeing how anyone can think "Nazis are bad" is a controversial statement. Anyway, at the risk of waxing political, I do want to offer my thoughts on that briefly, but feel free to skip this paragraph.
First and foremost, it is absolutely a stretch to call President Trump a Nazi as Nazism is a sub-category of fascism with a few pretty specific tenets. Judging strictly based on his speech on the campaign and in office as well as his policies, both attempted and blocked, it's not unfair to describe him as a fascist broadly. The fact that he was enthusiastically endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan as well as modern American neo-Nazis gives some credibility to that assessment. With regards to this game, it's obvious to anyone who's actually played it that it's in no way, shape, or form an attack on President Trump; the series has ALWAYS been anti-Nazi, and the only "attack" one could legitimately infer from the game is an attack on the KKK, and I think by this point, thinking people are all pretty much in agreement that "the KKK is objectively bad" is just as much a truism as "Nazis are objectively bad." Our shameful history aside, both Nazis and the Klan are as inherently unAmerican based on the governing ideals and principles of this nation as anything could be. If folks see this game as an attack on them or their political beliefs, then they need to take a good, long, hard look in the mirror and ask "Am I an ass hole?" The answer is probably yes.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is an EXTREMELY competent sequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order and addressed, for better or for worse, the common complaint of "The New Order is too easy!" It picks up right where The New Order left off and brings both an engaging and emotionally stimulating story as well as intense Nazi killing action. You can sneak around and pop Nazis in the head with a silenced pistol, run in screaming like a lunatic while dual wielding automatic shotguns, or sprint from Nazi to Nazi burying a bloody hatchet in their necks. The freedom and agency the game gives to play however the hell you good and well please is amazing, especially when you're killing enemies as universally loathed as Nazis. If you enjoyed Wolfenstein: The New Order, you owe it to yourself to get The New Colossus.
My Rating - 5 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.