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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

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Hope to Receive it as a Gift


Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
9.0
Visuals
9.0
Audio
8.0
Gameplay
9.0
Features
9.0
Replay
8.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 4
PUBLISHER:
Bethesda Softworks
DEVELOPER:
Machine Games
GENRE: Shooter
RELEASE DATE:
October 27, 2017
ESRB RATING:
Mature
 Written by Chris Woodside  on November 08, 2017

Reviews: Despite a flawed final act, Wolfenstein II is a master class in storytelling, and a thrilling scifi shooter.


”Wolfenstein

It has become an age old adage in the entertainment industry that if you don’t explicitly see a character die on-screen, there is a decent chance that character is still, somehow, alive. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is no exception to this rule. After leaving off the first part of B.J. Blazkowicz’s journey with him facing the very real prospect of death, Wolfenstein II picks up immediately after, as B.J. is being rescued from his near death experience, but still slipping between very states of consciousness (a similar opening to the original games.) If we want to call it a bit cliche to use this idea of characters surviving if not killed on-screen, the rest of my time with Wolfenstein II was anything but cliche as the disturbing violence increased with each act, slowly cementing the newest game in this franchise as the goriest, and one of the most enjoyable, games that I have played this year.

The opening hour or so of Wolfenstein did not hold back, sending me on an unforgettable rollercoaster of emotions. Players are quickly put in control of Blazkowicz who rebounds impressively quickly from his injuries to lead an assault on the Nazi’s who have taken over the United States. While at the beginning he may not be the same killing machine he was in the previous installment, Blazkowicz is still no pushover in a wheelchair. It’s not too long after this that we are given a peek into our protagonist's childhood, where we see that B.J. was exposed to anti-semitism and racism from a very early age when his aggressive father returns home from work looking for B.J because he had been seen holding hands with a black girl. While his mother tries to hide and shield B.J. in the closet, his father becomes more enraged and yells more anti-semitic slurs at his wife, finally pushing her aside. In what becomes a surprisingly emotional decision, your father punishes your behavior by forcing you to shoot the family dog (If the player intentionally misses, your father will end up shooting the dog for you anyway.) It is a short scene, but I thought it provided an interesting psychological backstory for B.J.’s deep seated hatred for Nazi’s.



Another part of Wolfenstein that I found surprisingly jarring was the scenery of a completely bombed out, destroyed America. I think gamers have become desensitized to scenes like this in the Middle East from the yearly plethora of first person military shooters we get each year, but to see these scenes in our hometowns was slightly emotional. This was exacerbated when we see the images of the Hiroshima style atomic bombing of NYC that led to the United States finally surrendering to Nazi Germany. Now, with America destroyed except for the white supremacists who now are left in charge, it is up to B.J. and the remaining international resistance groups to lead a second American Revolution.

Just as with the first game, Wolfenstein II is one of the most difficult games in a genre where it feels as though difficulties are quickly becoming watered down. Even the lower difficulties are not a cakewalk, but they strike a fair balance between not allowing the game to be so difficult you give up out of frustration, but hard enough that it forces you to get the most out of the progression system and customizable weapons in order to succeed. However, in what may prove to be a nightmare for trophy/achievement hunters, in order to secure the platinum trophy for this game, you must complete the game on Mein Leben difficulty, which requires you to beat the game on the hardest difficulty, and with only one life. Meaning if you die at the end of the roughly 12 hour campaign, you must restart the entire game from the beginning.

”Wolfenstein


As someone who didn’t much care for the stealth missions of Wolfenstein: The New Blood, I enjoyed the increased options given to players this time around. Every level presents players with opportunities to go in guns blazing for a thrilling fire fight, or to quietly take out the commanders in a room and avoid having to face reinforcements. This made stealth more of an optional experience. This may just be a personal preference, but I don’t much care for stealth in first person shooters like this.

That being said, Wolfenstein brings back one of the most satisfying progression systems in the genre, and rewards you regardless of your playstyle. Choose to take more of a stealth approach against the commanders? Execute a certain number of stealth kills to unlock increased movement speed while crouched. In a game that was as linear and narrative driven as this, it was a nice touch to be able to be given some control over your protagonist in a way that shaped the game around your decisions in some way.



While the progression system and gun play that is carried over from the first game is new and improved, this is not a flawless game. The biggest disappointment I had while playing the game was the final act. The first three quarters or so of the game are action packed filled with thrilling gun fights, its final 2-3 hours tend to drag on longer than it needs to, and I found myself waiting for growing bored with the overtly patriotic and nationalistic cutscenes before the credits finally rolled. It’s not quite as tedious as the Shadow of War final act, but when the narrative of a first person shooter begins to go on past it’s welcome, it can be disastrous.

Fortunately, even though I began to lose interest in the final hours of the main campaign, it was just at this moment where the game really opened up with far more interesting diversions. With a bunch of side content like uber commander assassination missions and other activities gave me more freedom to further explore the beauty of this world that Bethesda created and to take a break from the slow ending of the story.

”Wolfenstein



As I approach the end of the review, I wanted to make a special note about the Collector’s Edition of the game that I purchased. Very few games this year truly impressed me with their Collector’s Edition until Wolfenstein II. If you are willing to shell out the extra 40 dollars, you will receive a Terror-Bill action figure with customizable clothing and weapons. The best part, however, is the standout steelbook case. I found the artwork on the steelbox to look exactly like real Nazi propaganda. As a history nerd and a collector, I am very impressed with the effort that went into this. The only downside of this compared to most other Collector’s Editions is that the season pass is not included and must be purchased separately. It may be hard to justify, for some consumers, the $100.00 price point without including the season pass expansions.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is one of the best first person shooters of this generation. Having built on the ideas that made the 2014 reboot such a masterpiece, the sequel provides one of the most compelling and emotionally gripping stories the genre has had to offer in years. Even as the story begins to wear on you in the final hours, you never lose sight of the overwhelming evil of the Nazi’s that you are facing, and that alone gave me enough inspiration to finish the game in my quest to Make America Nazi-Free Again.



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