In life, it’s the little moments that make you smile. Tiny, minuscule things that give you pure, unadulterated joy. Seeing a bird fly into its nest to feed its little babies, for instance. Or that first moment when you come in the door after a long day at work and see your significant other with a smile on their face.
It’s the little things that matter in life, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is comprised solely of those little moments. Every time I hatchet a nazi in the face, I smirk a bit. Every time I see the little swastika on their uniform blow up into a thousand little pieces, I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside. And when I detonated a nuke inside the Oberkommander base in Roswell and rode away on a bad ass one-wheeled motorcycle…a smile stretched from one side of my face to the other.
I mean, that’s one thing we can all agree on, right? Nazis are bad. In fact, if there’s one thing I’m remembered for writing, I want it to be that.
“Nazis are bad.” – Reed Hartman
I went out last Thursday with a mission: to buy a game where I get to kill nazis. At first, that game was going to be Call of Duty: WWII. I’d played a bit of the zombies mode and it was pretty cool, albeit more of the same, so I figured I might as well give it a shot.
But when I got to Target, there, shining in the display case, was Wolfenstein II. Sure, it definitely helps that it was on sale for $20 cheaper than CoD, but that’s beside the point. I’d totally forgot it existed, but I did remember that it was about killing nazis. So…
I was tired of the same and wanted something different. Just like when I went and bought Battlefield 1 last year. But this time I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again by getting another shitty multiplayer-focused FPS.
I never played the original Wolfenstein reboot, so I will admit that much – if not all – of this game is pretty confusing to me. There’s a guy who’s into aliens? He might actually be an alien? There’s another guy who’s a crazy scientist? There’s another guy who has a big dent in his head and someone with a big scar on their face does a lot of LSD? I really have no idea.
All that aside, I’ve been able to pick up most of where the story’s going. The nazis won the war. There’s a resistance fighting them in America. The rest of it’s just tiny details that really don’t matter too much. The story is a small detail of an overall masterpiece.
The best thing about Wolfenstein is its gameplay. It’s interesting how all these developers that are now under Bethesda are kind of playing off each other. The gameplay from Wolfenstein is extremely reminiscent of Doom (it’s actually made in the same engine), with the player constantly moving from enemy to enemy, picking up armor, health, and ammo, and just kicking ass. Everything is so fluid, whether you’re meleeing your way from enemy to enemy or stealthing your way through a level, you’re never burdened by a lag or something that doesn’t feel right. Well, with that said I do wish that the things that I am and aren’t allowed to jump on were a little more spelled out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a ledge and had to move an inch over to climb up onto it after hammering X for ten seconds.
But I can forgive that. It’s all worth it for the fluidity of melee combat. Moving from one enemy to another is seamless, and the fact that I can take of a nazi’s arm right after cutting off one’s leg, all before I end up lasergewer-ing one into a million tiny pieces speaks volumes.
That brings me to another part of the game I really enjoy: the perk system. Unlike other games like (sorry for beating a dead horse) Doom that allow the player to choose which perks the upgrade, Wolfenstein levels the player depending on their play style. Let’s say you play a stealthy style that focuses on your pistol and melee. The game rewards you for it by upgrading your sneak and melee attack while ignoring your more tanky abilities.
Or, on the other hand, if you go in guns blazing, tearing up everything in your path, the game rewards your tanky play style with tanky abilities like increased damage and health regeneration. It’s all relative to how you play. It’s different, exciting, new, and I love it. Especially after playing Fallout 4 survival mode for 100 hours.
The weapon upgrades work in much the way that other systems do. You pick up kits throughout the levels that let you choose what abilities you want. You also pick up little collectables here and there, like records, gold, toys, and concept art. But that’s just a small piece to the larger picture. MachineGames, the developer, took another page out of Bethesda’s playbook and created levels that encourage exploration.
They’re not Fallout size levels by any means, but they are a hell of a lot bigger than most other FPSs today. Instead of being given a hall with a doorway at the end of it, the player is given a multitude of options on how to achieve their end goal. You want to go through the hallway and take the most direct route? Go for it, but you might miss some pretty sweet loot on the way. Want to take that side door? Sure! Go ahead. But don’t be surprised when you walk into a room full of nazis with flamethrowers.
Wolfenstein, like Doom before it, has given me hope for single player games. If this is the direction that these games are going, I’ll gladly continue paying and playing. It’s just so much fun. It’s not like the old games where you’re given a straight line through a level. Video games are starting to respect the intelligence of the people that play them and realize that we want more than a straight line. Sure, the end might be the same, but it’s how you get there that matters. And with Wolfenstein, getting there is so much fun I haven’t been able to put my controller down.
Did I mention you get to kill nazis? Because you get to kill nazis. Not just regular nazis, either. These are mean sons’uh’bitches.
Play Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus if you:
- Don’t like nazis.
- Want to play an entire 15-hour video game comprised of killing nazis.
- Enjoy solid storytelling, excellent gameplay, and killing nazis.
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