In case you were wondering: yes, I just got around to playing this. Look, I’m a busy man with many commitments and celebrities pining for my attention. Sometimes games take a backseat to more important things….and sometimes it just takes a while for Gamefly to send me my next game. Either one of those scenarios could explain why I’m just now reviewing Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
I played through the previous entry and honestly couldn’t tell you what happened throughout the game. Right after I beat it, I forgot everything about it, because it was pretty forgettable. Don’t get me wrong; I had fun while I was playing it, but it was a game just wanted to get through, not keep playing. I wasn’t one of the people excited for its sequel, needless to say, which is strange, because this type of game is usually my forte. A meathead protagonist that leaves piles of corpses everywhere in the most hyper-violent and gory of ways? What’s not to love?
However, I will play damn near anything, so I put it in my queue and started it up as soon as it arrived. The first thing that shows up is the recap of the last game. I like this trend among new games. It’s sometimes years before the next installment in a franchise, and it’s nice not having to try and remember what I did or didn’t do three years ago in a game I completely forgot. After the synopsis, I played for maybe two hours or so, and I can tell you with certainty I’ve never had such mixed feelings about a game before. I went from loving the game to hating it and back again like I was on a god damn seesaw.
The reasons for this is because when I’m actually playing the game, I’m having a blast. The gun play is so smooth and violent that it matches my playstyle perfectly. The amount of blood you can spill had me wanting to keep gong just to see how many different ways I could maim someone. And there are a LOT. The stealth mechanics left a little to be desired, but I don’t usually feel like keeping quiet when killing nazis. Oh, did I forget to mention you kill nazis? Don’t worry, the game will remind you of this every five fucking seconds. A morality play this game is not, but the level design, collectibles, and sheer amount of shit you can do had me wanting to keep going…..but then came the inevitable fall from euphoria…
When I WASN’T actively playing (i.e. during a cutscene or dialog), this game become one of the most frustrating endeavors in recent memory. I don’t know if I could focus on one particular aspect that drove me crazy, but here’s a short list. The writing is atrocious. I couldn’t even fucking tell you what they were going for with it. It’s such a weird mix of over the top, completely ridiculous, completely serious, and horrible dialog that it made me want to turn the game off. I don’t know what the goal was there. Every cutscene had me cringing. I normally like the “America, Fuck Yeah” attitude in video games, but even that was god awful. I cared not one bit about a single character in the entire game. Didn’t even have any sympathy for the pregnant lady. The writing just feels so…detached. Thinking back on it to even write this paragraph has me wanting to throw up. I’m sure there are people that loved it, but good god it was really difficult to get passed this and actually enjoy the game.
Luckily, I’m actually pretty shallow, so whenever the controls were placed under my expert tutelage again, I wasted no time killing the shit out of everything. There’s so many things to like about the combat here. You can upgrade weapons, bury an axe in people’s face, melt them into subatomic particles, shotgun their arms off, set them on fire, etc. My favorite weapon has to be the Schockhammer, a rotating triple-barreled automatic combat shotgun. It feels just so devastatingly awesome that I only used other things if I was out of shotgun shells. There’s also upgrades to your BODY you can acquire. Want to fit through tiny holes in the wall, or maybe run through walls and flesh, or maybe walk on stilts like a patriotic circus act? All of these things can be yours when you upgrade. Even someone like me that has gaming ADD couldn’t help but stay in the fight until the last nazi was a pile of mush.
I try to stay away from any sort of rating system, but if I had one, I would need to split it up into “when you are playing” and “when you are not playing”. The “when you are playing” section would be a solid 9/10. The “when you are not playing” section would be a squishy pile of pig shit, but I would STILL recommend the game. It has a more lengthy campaign than most shooters, and the collectibles and side missions should keep you busy for a while. Just do yourself a favor and mute the sound whenever a cutscene comes up.