Killing Nazis never gets old. In light of recent events in America, it also feels rather cathartic and timely. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was playable at QuakeCon and holy moley; it is easily my most anticipated game so far.
The level I got to play was the fifth chapter in the game, so as far as story goes I don’t have much to spoil here. Essentially though, our intrepid hero B.J. Blazkowicz is tasked with sneaking a nuclear bomb into Area 51—by means of rocket train. The demo level began with a meeting of our wonderful cast, including some recurring characters and some new ones. The leader of this ragtag band of rebels is Grace, a Nazi killing, cigarette smoking, Pam Grier style lady who does not have any time for your whining. After breaking down the mission, B.J. is sent to meet up with Speshie, a rebel agent who also happens to run a diner in the creepiest rendition of alternate-history Nazi controlled small town ‘Murica. One of the highlights right off the bat was listening to a German soldier dressing down two hillbillies in KKK garb and testing their German—it wasn’t good enough. But watching a Nazi bully and humiliate the KKK was just delicious and speaks highly to what the full game may have to offer as far as a living, breathing world can be represented in a video game.
Once B.J. meets up with Speshie—a former lawyer turned lunatic conspiracy nut and rebel agent—he follows some tunnels into a secret underground Nazi rocket train station. Cue the combat. Blasting Nazis with dual-wielded assault rifles feels as tight and fluid as ever, and the DOOM influence is very clear. Combat in Wolfenstein II is fast, fluid, and frenetic. You will be running, gunning, and melee-ing SS goons and robots non-stop. I had the difficulty set one below the highest, and I died often. However, it never really felt frustrating because once the flow gets going and you begin to get the hang of things the combat starts to become second nature despite the difficult. It’s more of a “git gud” then the game being unfairly difficult.
Visually speaking the game is gorgeous. I was playing on PC however, so I cannot speak to how the game looks or runs on consoles. However, even taking this into consideration, players are in for a visual spectacle. Colours pop, the lighting is wonderful, and the fire and weapon effects look as visceral as they feel. Lighting Nazis on fire or smashing their face with a hatchet has never looked this good.
Like the first game, most weapons can be dual-wielded and swapped on the go. Whether you like to go old-fashioned with matching assault rifles or switch things up with a shotgun in one hand and a machine pistol in the other, there are combos galore to fit any playstyle. Weapons can also be upgraded via kits, and range from simple additions like scopes and armour-piercing bullets to deciding whether you want your grenades to explode in shrapnel, flames, or an EMP pulse to take down robotic enemies. Although I only got to use several of the available guns, I was assured there are plenty more to tinker with in the full game.
If you’re looking for a deep, tactical, careful shooter you may want to look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you want a game that’s lightning quick with satisfying and impactful shooting mechanics at a pace that will keep you on your toes, Wolfenstein II will certainly fit that mould. I walked away with a big grin on my face and honestly, what more can you ask for from a video game?