FUCK ALL NAZIS
HIGH: Too many memorable moments and setpieces to count.
LOW: No option to make all of the Nazis look like Richard Spencer.
WTF: Are we really at the point where some good ol’ fashioned Nazi slaughter is a political statement?
Let’s get this out of the way right now — Nazis are bad. No, they’re worse than bad. They’re subhuman scum who have no place in modern society, and should only be featured in history books to remind people of their horrible atrocities so that they are not repeated. There are no good people on that side. They have no redeeming qualities. It wouldn’t matter if Hitler himself invented sliced bread and puppies, Nazis are sick, twisted, pitiful excuses for human life, which is why they are the greatest enemy in videogames ever inspired by reality. Who can’t get behind killing Nazis? I’ve got as much sympathy for them as I do for a cockroach underfoot.
In light of America’s current cultural woes, the abhorrent nature of Nazis situation makes right now the best possible time for digital Nazi extermination, and Machine Games has delivered a spectacular follow-up to 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order.
Everyone’s favorite half-jew Nazi murder specialist BJ Blazkowicz is heading home to America a few months after the events of the first game, and what he finds isn’t pretty — it turns out white America was more than happy to roll over for their new Nazi overlords. New York is a crater after an atomic blast, the Klu Klux Klan controls the American south, and resistance is sparse.
Make no mistake, New Colossus deals with heavy subject matter, and themes that many in the triple-A scene won’t touch. The devs do an exceptional job of creating a believable post Nazi-occupation America, and the result is a terrible, terrible place.
The story shines in large part due to an outstanding cast of supporting characters. It’s usually hard for me to remember anyone’s name in a game outside of the protagonist, so the fact that I have fond memories of Anya, Set Roth, Max Hoss, Grace, Bombate, Super Spesh, Horton, and especially Wyatt speaks to how well they develop during the adventure. There are some other great character reveals that I don’t want to spoil, but particular kudos must be given to the developers for turning Irene Engel into one of the most detestable antagonists I’ve ever encountered. I truly hated this woman, and making sure that she gets hers by is outstanding motivation to get to the end. Kudos to of the voice actors for giving life to these characters, and the script was zippy, and on-point
The cast also helps to support one of the more surprising elements of New Colossus — how goshdarn hilarious it is. I was incredibly impressed by how many times I laughed out loud, and with Machine Games’ ability to fit great humor into subject matter so bleak. Find me another title that can balance New Orleans being turned into a giant concentration camp with a drunken birthday party an hour later — it can’t be done.
All of these things make New Colossus memorable, but what makes it exceptional is that it’s still a truly fantastic shooter at its core. The level design is extremely open, giving the player multiple options to go through each area. Halfway through the campaign, the player receives mobility upgrades that expand it even further.
What surprised me the most was how frequently I used stealth options. In most enemy encounters, there are Nazi commanders with radio access. If they’re alerted by gunfire or corpses, they’ll call in a mess of reinforcements. Get the drop on them, and clearing out the remaining enemies is infinitely easier. I never imagined I’d be playing half of Wolfenstein II like a Metal Gear game, and I’ve never played something that contrasted stealth mechanics with balls-out action to such a satisfying degree.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a remarkable title, the best Wolfenstein game yet, and one of the finest singleplayer FPS titles ever created. With so much recent chatter about the ‘death’ of the triple-A single player game, here comes BJ Blazkowicz with two middle fingers pointed directly at that idea. And with such a lengthy campaign, the lack of multiplayer isn’t even missed. The thrilling action, tight controls, incredible variety of tactics, and a surprisingly emotional, thought provoking, hysterical story make this one not to miss — the fact that it brings timely commentary on undesirable aspects of American society is even more icing on this Nazi-stomping cake.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Machine Games and published by Bethesda. The game is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Playstation 4. Approximately 23 hours were spent playing, and the game was completed.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M, and features just about every bad thing an M-rated game could. Outside of the obvious extreme violence, disturbing subject matter and imagery is featured prominently. Parents should keep this one far, far away from their kids.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The game features subtitles. While the story won’t be a problem, if stealth is the preferred option, not having the ability to hear banter between soldiers as a tip off to their location could be problematic.
Remappable Controls: This game’s controls are not remappable, although there are four preset configurations to choose from.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind options on the console versions, but on PC there are three colorblind modes available in the options: Protanopia, Deuteranopia, and Tritanopia.
In search of a dramatic change of pace, he sold everything he had (including 950 videogames) and shipped off to Asia where he's taught English and lived in Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, and now China.
He still loves his games, priding himself in his varied taste and playing everything from Disgaea to Madden. After getting a taste of the glitz of Beijing last year working at a Chinese mobile game developer, Jarrod went back to teaching and currently works in Qitaihe, Heilongjiang provide where the weather is cold and the noodles are poppin'.
Jarrod used to write for sites like GamesRadar where he had the esteemed pleasure of reviewing Wii ports and PS Move launch games for peanuts. After a multi-year hiatus, he is happy to get back into reviews with GameCritics.
...He read the site as a kid, which should make Brad, Mike, and Daniel feel old as hell, considering he's almost 30.