Posted on 02 Sep 2017 by Kyle Johnson

PAX West 2017: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

The Defence

Developer: Machine Games
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Action, Shooter
Platform: Consoles, PC
Review copy: No
Release date: 27 Oct 2017

You know, for having little to no function in either of his legs, B.J. Blazkowicz certainly hasn’t lost a step in killing Nazis. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus opens with the same irreverence that made The New Order and The Old Blood outstanding and perpetuates it throughout the 15-minute demo.

Picking up almost immediately after the events of The New Order, our first glimpse of B.J. is when he wakes up from a medical coma, this time confined to a wheelchair. B.J., wounded in the battle with Deathshead, has been in a coma for five months. He and other members of the Kreisau Circle are traveling on a captured U-boat when it is attacked by Frau Engel and her Nazi underlings. If you remember the events of The New Order, Frau Engel survives getting shot and a robot horribly disfiguring her face, before retreating from the final assault on Deathshead’s compound.

The game is as bloody as ever.

The demo featured tight corridors, a whole host of environmental traps, and yes, some “on-wheels” shooting from a wheelchair. There’s something humorous about wheeling yourself around with one hand, while popping helmets off of armored soldiers with the other. Thankfully, the demo isn’t too heavy on the shooting and there’s more than enough health and armor scattered liberally around the sub to keep you alive.

In case it wasn’t clear, MachineGames has distilled the tone from their earlier games into its purest form yet. Set Roth, the manic Jewish inventor from The New Order makes references to the “schmeckel” between your legs as Nazis get vaporized by a microwave in the background. B.J. pipes up with dry humor as he rides a conveyer belt, shooting anything that moves. I had a smile on my face as I worked my way through the demo, having fun with the game and the sheer ludicrous nature of what I was doing.

One way to introduce a new character.

Even on the show floor, I could easily make out the grind of the electric guitars and the staccato punch of gunfire. MachineGames, who did some of the level design for 2016’s DOOM, clearly has drawn inspiration from the roaring metal of DOOM’s soundtrack and used it well here. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has also been upgraded to run on id’s new idTech 6 engine. While I may not have been able to compare the two games side-by-side, even with the intricate machinery and particle effects on-screen, the demo ran smoothly.

The story in The New Colossus seems more personally motivated, too. The demo concludes with Sigrun, Frau Engel’s overweight daughter, essentially forced at gunpoint to swing an axe at Caroline’s neck. Anya reports to B.J. that she is expecting twins, as the Kreisau Circle attempts to escape to America to support the resistance there. Again, this small slice that I’ve seen only reinforces the idea that MachineGames is making The New Colossus more personal, more irreverent, and all-around better. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus releases on October 27th, 2017.


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