Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus PS4 review: Killing Nazis is fun, but there is too much focus on cinematics

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a first-person shooter developed by Machine Games and published by Bethesda. Wolfenstein II released on October 27th, 2017 for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4. This game is also scheduled to come out for the Nintendo Switch sometime in 2018. This game is a sequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order, and takes place right after the final events of The New Order.

After a five-month-long coma, William B.J. Blazkowicz wakes up to find that his victory was only a small battle, and the Nazi Regime is still conquering the world and forcing cultures to bend to their will and accept their way of society. William goes out of his way to join a resistance, and try as hard as he can to bring the American idea of freedom back to fruition.

Gameplay:

The gameplay elements are all very similar to how The New Order represented Wolfenstein. You have semi-regenerative health, but if you lose a bar, it is gone until you find a health pack. Blasting away Nazi soldiers is actually, even more, fun in this game then it was in The New Order. Even more, gore presents itself in furious glory. Shooting at enemies at times can cause chomps and chunks of their back to fall off, of course, there is dismemberment, and overall the gunplay is absolutely sexy.

The guns sound meaty, powerful, and feel like that as well. This is a linear game, but the maps for each level are vast and open-ended in most scenarios. The maps present multiple flanking situations and allow you to plan how to handle your opposition.

However, at times the level design lacks any feel of proper pacing. Many scenarios encourage you to use stealth. The stealth mechanics are pretty barebones. Stay out of the line of sight, and press button to perform sneak attacks. It works just like it did in Wolfenstein The New Order. It is okay for what it is, but it is a lot more fun just to get a little chaotic and go guns blazing.

The reason why I feel that the game encourages you to use stealth, however, is because there are so many stopping points in the game where there is a specific type of enemy called an officer, and he can call in unlimited reinforcements. These combat sequences are just a hunting game where you kill a ridiculous amount of soldiers while trying to hunt down the officer.

These encounters can become especially challenging because no marker or indication is telling you where the officer is, so you have to run around and hope you are lucky. This wouldn’t be a big deal if there were a better sense of pacing and balance, instead of throwing an unlimited amount never-ending soldiers trying to kill you.

You can upgrade your weapons with upgrade kits that can be found throughout the different levels of Wolfenstein II. It increases stats and adds different firing modes or scopes onto your guns. These upgrades are alternations such as adding bouncing nail rounds to the submachine gun, armor piercing rounds to the assault rifle and so forth. The system works similar to finding weapon upgrades in The New Order, but instead of getting a preselected upgrade that you located, you get points instead and can choose how to spend those points, and select the upgrades that you want.

The gameplay overall is very good but is hindered from being excellent by the pacing of the levels, and the overly high amount of cutscenes. While cutscenes are meant to expand upon a video games context, in this game, the sheer amount of them takes away from the gameplay experience, and there’s just too many of them. If you went on youtube and typed in all Wolfenstein II cutscenes, you’ll see that the video is 4 hours long.

The last big complaint that I have about the gameplay is that there are no boss fights. This is the type of game that would excel with boss fights, the world is beautiful, and it would be easy to make some really cool boss fights like what The New Order had.

Graphics:

The graphics are probably one of the highest points of this game, and I think it’ll go down as one of the most graphically impressive games, only behind games like Star Wars Battlefront II.

The shading and overall texture work are phenomenal. Machine Games undeniably know how to craft stunning visuals and gorgeous environments, and fill them with life that makes you feel like you are going through the moment. The New Order was beautiful, and so is this game.

While I do give this game flack for its cutscenes, they do feel life-like, and there will definitely be people saying that this game at times feels like watching a movie, and I’ll be among those people making those claims.

Story:

The story is hit or miss, and the fact that there is so much of it may be a turn off for the Wolfenstein fans that like just to drop in and shoot stuff. I can’t speak for everyone, but I felt that many moments were jaw-dropping and shocking, while other moments feel flat, and just had me facepalming hardcore. The basis of the plot is that Frau Engel is hunting William Blazkowicz for killing thousands of Nazis, as well as General Deathsead.

To prevent giving away any major spoilers, I’ll just say that the game does a terrible job with staying consistent with any type of theme and just throws way to many ideas into the middle, and it doesn’t mesh well at all. The first half of the game kept my engaged, and I felt like I was a part of its world, but then when everything has that dark and gloomy feel that I felt accustomed too and engaged in, the game out of nowhere throws in this bathroom humor.

Things just become over the top, that the moments where I’m supposed to feel angered or triggered, I instead can’t really decide what to think, those horrible profound dark moments lose their effect, and I start to lose the engagement factor and instead become less and less interested.

If you have the mindset of not taking the game seriously, then the story is outright hilarious. However, coming into this game with the mentality of taking this game as a serious drama is the wrong mindset to have in order to get the maximum enjoyment out of the story. That is actually a bad thing, because the game wants, and is trying to make you take its setting seriously.

Wolfenstein The New Order also had a lot of cutscenes, but the game handles them a lot better, creating more gameplay time. The cutscenes, they were more evenly spread out, while in this game, you get one after every 10 minutes of gameplay for the average player. What The New Order also accomplished was an engaging story that felt dark and horrific all the way through, while The New Colossus can’t seem to stick with any atmosphere, which really takes away from the immersion of the experience.

Pros:

-Outstanding graphics, one of the best looking games of 2017

-All guns feel powerful and are fun to use

-While hit and miss, there is some awesome gameplay and level design at certain points throughout the game.

-The acting feels professionally well done.

-Lots of blood and guts

Cons:

-At times, there is an overuse of the officer solder mechanic. If you are spotted, the officer will call unlimited reinforcements, and these sequences are more of a pain in the ass, then a fun and challenging game mechanic. These moments would be less tedious if there were less of these kinds of moments.

-The game relies too much on the cutscenes to create an immersive experience, and I felt that the high yield of cutscenes took away from the gameplay, as if it was stealing the gameplay away from me.

-The overall theme was inconsistent. At times the context was hardcore and violent, showing me scenes designed to challenge my morals and make me feel uncomfortable, but at other times the game tries to be comedic, by showing off the most obscene immature humor of the characters. The humor is unrealistic when you take into consideration the situations that these characters are in.

-No boss battles

Final Verdict:

Wolfenstein II does a lot right, and a lot wrong. It adds some cool new elements from Wolfenstein The New Order, but Wolfenstein The New Order is still the superior game. However, I do still recommend Wolfenstein II The New Colossus. It does offer a lot of fun, and I would especially recommend Wolfenstein II for fans who want to see what happens next, even if the story is sub-par.

Wolfenstein II, The New Colossus, gets a..

7/10

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Thanks for stopping by, I hope I helped you shape your decision on if you should buy this game or shelf it. If you have any questions or just want to talk about anything Wolfenstein/Doom or other first-person shooters, feel free to leave a comment below!

About the author

Schilling

I am a huge fan of Video games, I grew up with them. The first game I ever played was Metroid 2 Return of Samus for the original game boy. I was mesmerized as a kid, I think I was about 4 or 5, my older brother had it on his game boy. I used to get into bickering with him so that I could play it, which usually ended up in my ass getting kicked. Since then I've always wanted to play video games, and I ended up following the Metroid pattern for the most part, it is now my favorite video game series of all time. When I was about 7 years old maybe 8, Metroid Prime came out for the GameCube. I wanted that game so bad, and about after a year of it being out, I convinced my dad to buy me a GameCube and Metroid Prime somewhere in 2003. It took me an entire year to beat that game, but I beat Metroid Prime around 2004 and to this day it remains my favorite video game of all time!Outside of Metroid, I love a lot of story driven action adventure games, first person shooters, and outside of video games, I love to get outside and exercise a lot and workout, I love to travel, in my opinion that is the true way for one to discover themselves, and in my spare time I make animated cartoons using flash, and that is something I am very passionate about!My goal for this website is to provide gamers with a spoiler free way of showing gameplay and perhaps help people stuck on that certain level a way to get through it without spoiling important parts of the game to other players. I hope that those who interact with my will find benefit in my services! Thank you for checking out my site :)

Readers Comments (6)

  1. Hi! Great review! I really liked.
    So about the cutscenes that you mention in your review, are the very long? Are we expecting a game like MGS4 that basically was a movie instead of a game?
    Don’t get me wrong, I love cutscenes (specially the emotive ones) But if I buy a game is for gaming, I don’t want a see a movie, I want to play the movie.

    • The cut-scenes aren’t horrid to the point where you feel like it breaks the game, but just right there at the point where you feel like it is tedious. I’d make a guesstimate that the game is 60% game play and 40% cut-scenes.

      It is still a great game, but the amount of game play leaves a little bit to be desired. You can skip the cut-scenes, but then you are missing out on the plot, and without the cut-scenes, you don’t know exactly what your objective is.

  2. I was looking into buying this game. I’ve been playing Wolfenstein for years, and Wolfenstein The New World Order was a huge hit, and was looking forward to this game. It sucks the game relies on cut scenes, I understand Bethesda probably wanted to make a movie like game, but sometimes developers need to understand, a game is just that a game. There’s no need for long drawn out cut scenes, it just ruins the fun. Thanks for the review!

    • I agree. This whole cut-scene thing is becoming a big part of gaming. I understand the want to show off, but it’s turning out to be too much. This game would be much better if I could just PLAY the game!

      Thanks for stopping by Chris, glad that you enjoyed the review!

  3. Hey, good review!

    I still have yet to finish The New Order, but from what I have experienced, that is a very fun game and I am looking forward to playing this one after finishing that as well as The Old Blood.

    I have always been a fan of games that were heavily focused on story but even I gotta admit, having a cut scene play after just 10 minutes of gameplay could get annoying for me.

    Also hearing as how you mention the story stops being serious after a while, I will be sure to not take things too serious and focus more on the gameplay which looks awesome!

    However, I do find it surprising that there are no boss battles here which is a bit odd, considering that The New Order had them and they were quite challenging!

    • Hey Arie, thanks for stopping by! Glad you liked the review. I was surprised as well, and when I got no epic boss encounter, I felt quite disappointed. The gameplay is pretty slick, everything runs and feels smooth ,and the graphics are silk like butter. If you do indeed get this game after you’re done with The New Order and Old Blood, let me know what you think about it.

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