Thoughts on Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
I was thouroughly entertained by Machine Games previous Wolfenstein: The New Order and was pretty psyched when this one came out. It took me a while to get to it because of a backlog with no end in sight, but I finally managed to pick it up and play it. Always a small sense of pride when it’s been developed in Sweden and that I know people who has been involved.
I’ve always found it hard to distinguish shooters between each other. There are very seldom a memorable unique gameplay experience to be had, other than that it “felt” good when you played it. Instead, games with gun-centric gameplay tends to lean heavily on cinematic experiences to give them that extra edge. For me, it feels a bit backwards somehow that the most important part of a shooter often boils down to the story and plot.
In that regard, The New Colossus does a bunch of really neat things. It’s a great mix of highs and lows, serious topics and not so serious topics. The characters are overall great and there is a vast diversity among the cast. The story and the individual character arcs take some really unexpected turns and I often found myself rushing through the gameplay areas just to get to the next story beat.
The gameplay is what you would expect, no more, no less. It’s a decent first person shooter with some stealth and some minor puzzle solving. There are some secrets, but I never found them rewarding enough to search for. I felt like I played on a pretty good difficulty level, died quite a few times, but had no problems overall. Can’t say that I needed to change my strategy much, played pretty much the same way through the entire game, alternating between two different weapons.
There are some achievement based power level progression which I in theory is pretty neat. I like when games try to base experience systems on what the player does, rather then to generalise it. More times than not though, it’s not very engaging to interact with. Even though there were achivements like “kill people with headshots” or “kill people by burning” them, I only spent maybe the first hour or so actually caring about that. I felt like it managed itself without me needing to do much. I also didn’t feel like it affected my gameplay much, except maybe for the crouch speed you got awarded for stealth kills.
One type of “secret items” that I though was really neat was the Star Cards. The Star Cards were, as I understood them, pictures of people from the development team with their real names or a nickname printed on them. I even recognized some people! I really like when games try and show off the developers more.
Overall, this game was a great experience because of the cinematic bits. It was really worth to play through and it hade quite a few memorable scenes and characters. The game really went all the way with all the themes it presented and was raw and honest about them.
I also have come to really appreciate games that focus solely on a single player experience and not at all on multiplayer. There are too many games out there that focus only on multiplayer so it’s almost impossible to compete anyway.