Published on July 4th, 2018 | by Zorbz
REVIEW: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – Nintendo Switch
ATTENTION: The Graphics, Gameplay, and Final word sections as well as total scores have been updated to reflect the Nintendo Switch release.
Summary: Machine games are back with their sequel to the highly successful Wolfenstein: The New Order. Known for its amazing story and brutal action, can this sequel live up to and even eclipse its predecessor?
Concept: Following on directly after the previous title you’re back in the shoes of BJ and right back to the task at hand of fighting the Nazi’s as they’ve taken control of the United States. A nice feature at the start of the game is you get to select once again the fate of two characters from the first game, so it feels like a direct sequel from where you left off had you have played the previous iteration, so that was a nice touch. The story itself is full of insane moments which I really can’t spoil but what I will say are they are some of the wildest moments you will ever see in a video game and range from being disturbing, shocking and cringe worthy all the way through the spectrum to downright funny and even sweet. Machine games know how to tackle this universe by grounding it yet still having fun in this over the top ‘what if scenario’ world. Now I might be the only person to say this but I do feel the previous game was more consistent with its story beats and wow moments as I felt this game dragged on in parts and was dull in certain levels, but that being said it was still a great ride, albeit the abrupt ending that didn’t leave me satisfied as it sort of came out of nowhere without a real strong build at the end.
Those sweet particle effects are in full force
Graphics: Switch edition – When booting up the switch release of Wolfenstein 2 I had my worries that the visuals would be absolutely bare minimum and ridiculously pixelated, but to my surprise I was very wrong. Now there is one major thing you will notice straight off the bat (especially during cutscenes) and that is the fact that the game is very blurry, with things in the distance suffering the most which I believe this is due to a significantly lower resolution, which adjusts during gameplay taking the most significant hit when the action gets tense. Everything up close looks amazing and all the bells and whistles are there like shadows, volumetric lighting and some amazing particle effects, but by having these graphical features i feel is where the resolution downgrade had to be made. What is nice though is that there isn’t a lot of ‘jaggies’ and there looks so be some form of anti-aliasing in play or a smoothing effect, which may add to the blurriness, but generally keeps the image easier on the eyes. Another noticeable change is there is a heavy use of motion blur, which at first i found to be a bit jarring but i got used to it quite quickly and came to think that this use of motion blur and a lower resolution was the best compromise without having to take away a lot of the graphical features that make some of the environments so atmospheric and action sequences tense. I have to say I am really surprised how this turned out and a final note is that i find that playing in handheld mode really blows you away because of how impressive it looks for a portable system and it’s only when in docked mode that the comparison between the other consoles is necessary.
Xbox edition – To preface I was playing this on an original Xbox one and not the new Xbox one x which is supposed to run in 4k along with a plethora of benefits, so keep that in mind. With that being said, visually it’s very similar in terms of character models and the general artistic style to the world, but what is new is a big improvement in the lighting department, which at times can look truly amazing, but at other times can actually be kind of frustrating. In the better designed levels, the lighting just helps to create a creepier/unsettling atmosphere, but at times it can get a bit bright in sections which in my experience became really frustrating. Not a major concern though but a frustration none the less. Now the different parts of America, the environments you find yourself in vary from being really detailed and set a perfect tone, to very generic looking locales. It’s a shame as I found myself at times being in awe and then others thinking this looked worse than the previous game which I loved. Now this may be down to personal preference but comparing this to the previous title I feel it can be a step back in sections.
Gameplay: Switch Edition – Shocked! This is how i felt the whole time playing through Wolfenstein 2 on the Switch. Why you ask? well that is because the game for the most part runs at a solid 30fps which just feels right, in comparison to the Xbox version which dipped all over the place in frames even though it was supposed to target 60fps. The switch version feels smooth, controls are responsive and nothing has been tampered with in terms of gameplay…EXCEPT, the difficulty. The difficulty finally feels a lot more balances and forgiving, which i feel is necessary when playing on such a small screen (if you’re playing in handheld mode) I love that it finally felt right and i wasn’t having to re-do the same sections over and over because of insane AI. So along with a solid frame rate, completely in tact levels with nothing cut and a more forgiving difficulty, I definitely think this is a great way to play Wolfenstein 2.
Xbox Edition – Gameplay for me, besides the story is where the previous Wolfenstein game shined. Wolfenstein 2 continues with the same gritty and heavy handed gunplay of the original and doesn’t really delve too much from that same formula, which for me was great as I love the feeling of sending an enemy flying with a powerful blast, or blowing off a limb with close range shots. This game doesn’t hold back with the gore and as sadistic as it may sound, it’s just fun, especially because it’s in such an over the top world and hey, it’s the Nazi’s, no one likes them. Now as much as I love the feeling of the gameplay and I didn’t want it to change much from the New Order, what I would have liked was better designed levels. I felt a lot of them didn’t really give you much indication of where you had to go and at times you wonder if the game had glitched or if you were just really stupid, 90% of the time it just happened to be that one sole remaining Nazi was roaming around that I hadn’t taken out to move onto the next part of the level. A lot of the environments were very repetitious and bland, and even some of the more outrageous environments just didn’t seemed to be planned out well which is a real shame. I think I just came in with high hopes from the New Order and didn’t feel the levels here lived up to that standard set. Also the hub world in between missions I absolutely hate. The stupid U-boat is a confusing mess to maneuver around with no real help from the map to navigate to rooms you needed to go to and with everything looking so similar I would find myself pacing back and forth going in every room trying to find where my next objective was. I much preferred the New Orders hub as it was a lot easier to navigate and didn’t have me wasting so much time. This is also another grievance, the fact that you spend so much time on the U-boat just felt like padding to beef out the length of the game and that was a real draw back especially when there weren’t all too many different environments/levels in and of themselves. Another frustration is the fact that there are a lot of collectibles but they don’t really offer much and the limited upgrades you can unlock for your weapons don’t really change anything up too drastically. It’s just frustrating because I had hoped for so much more.
Alot of detail still present
Sound: Audio wise I love how powerful all the weapons sound, they really make you feel like a true badass. The music itself has some intense metal guitars going, much like Doom which gets the energy flowing and wanting you to just go in guns blazing. Onto the voice acting, the cast deliver some truly great performances with every character feeling so unique, Super Spesh being my fav this time around. BJ can say some cheesy stuff towards the start of the game whilst you’re playing (his inner monologue) which was supposed to come off as serious but had me snigger as it was so corny sounding, but apart from that a lot of effort was put into these performances and they really shine through.
Awesomeness: For me seeing a studio making a well-made first person shooter story driven game free of multiplayer, loot boxes and all that general crap that plagues most shooters these days is so refreshing. Bethesda has been publishing all these amazing single player experiences and this year has been truly great for them. I do wish the game was longer and had less time spent in the hub with more levels/environments to tackle and sure there are the enigma code collectibles you can find to unlock missions to take out Nazi generals, but these are nothing special and I didn’t find any real incentives to go back and do these as they are just like every other regular firefight in the same environment.
Alot of blur in the distance
Final Word: Switch edition – Now if you’ve never played Wolfenstein 2 and are looking at playing this on a TV then i would suggest to play any other version of the game, however as a handheld experience, the game looks insanely impressive and it blows my mind that this is even possible on on such a small device. Given the solid framerate, tight controls and great visuals along with a story that is divisive on peoples opinions, you can’t go wrong with Wolfenstein 2 for the Nintendo Switch.
Xbox edition – As much as it may sound like I’m coming down on Wolfenstein 2, this is solely because I am comparing it to the New Order which I absolutely adored. On its own this game is still a fun and brutal experience that everyone who loves a good story with tight gameplay should explore. If you’re also a fan of a good challenge, then this game will kick your ass on the higher difficulties. All in all, this is a great game, but unfortunately I don’t feel it lives up to its predecessor.
Out of 5 Bugs