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Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review



For my opening summary, I would describe the visuals of The New Colossus as quite strong. There is a good amount of detail on many things and the lighting at times can be very impressive. Explosives and metal panels disintegrating very often caught my eye, for all the detail they contained and the fluidity of the animation as well. The one fault I must admit is there were times some textures looked softer to me than others did. This was not frequent and I only remember it being the case with set decorations in the environment, like tables and such that are not particularly significant.

The environments all looked quite good and detailed, and in some cases left me impressed. One example of this that might sound odd was the brick walls of a sewer. With the lighting, which always looked good, the detail to the bricks and gaps between them were on clear display. Maybe I am just still getting used to the power of tessellation, but this kind of detail is still something that catches my eye.

The characters also looked very good with a lot of detail to them, as do the weapons, but I will be honest, I tended to look ahead of the weapons more than at them. Something that I would notice about the weapons and BJ's hands is how often they would become covered in blood. It somewhat made me wish I could clean them while in a level, because it could get somewhat disgusting after a while.



The lighting effects were consistently good with how it gave character to the various environments. The only negative I noticed was that the shadows were not particularly sharp, but perhaps that is something that could be changed with a configuration file. As I mentioned above, the particle effects of explosives and disintegration were a pleasure to watch, but for their appearance and smooth performance and not just the satisfaction of making something go boom or vanish. The lighting tied to these effects also looked good, though I do wish I could stop the game from blurring the image at the same time. I want to witness the details of the destruction I have caused! Also there were instances when the game environment was very dark, and I would need to increase the brightness to comfortably see.



Water looked fine to me, whenever I swam through it, but sadly fire was not very impressive. It seemed to just rest on whatever surface in so many pre-animated clumps. It also was very bright to the point of lacking all detail to the flames themselves.

Time to talk about performance, so here are my specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X @ 4.0 GHz
  • Cooling: Enermax Liqtech TR4 240 AIO
  • Motherboard: ASUS Zenith Extreme
  • GPU: AMD RX Vega 64 (Stock @ 0.965 V +50% Power Limit)
  • Memory: G.Skill TridentZ 4x8 GB (32 GB) @ 3200 MHz 14-14-14-28
  • PSU: OCZ Fata1ty 750 W
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (without the Fall Creators Update)

I was running AMD's Radeon Software Version 17.10.3, which contains some fixes for the game, when connected with what was initially a beta update, but has since been pushed to the public.

Yes, I do have a $999 CPU now, which is going to be a bit more powerful than the CPUs in an average gaming computer. Before you consider dismissing any performance data I share because of this, just remember the Threadripper 1950X (and all of the Threadripper CPUs really) are not gaming processors. There are other processors out there that are far cheaper but can match or even beat mine, so do not dismiss my results too quickly.

With that being said, I was able to run at the highest settings the game offered, except for turning up the resolution scaling, and had truly amazing performance. (I also had settings such as motion blur, depth of field, and chromatic aberration disabled, as I do not like these effects in games.) What is truly amazing performance? I think having the highest average frame time from four OCAT recordings coming in at 5.77 ms, which corresponds to an instantaneous framerate of 173 FPS would count as amazing performance. On that same run the 99.9 percentile was 9.17 ms, or 109 FPS, which means 99.9% of the time the frame took less time to render/the framerate was higher. The other three runs had their 99.9 percentiles beating 8.333 ms or 120 FPS, with one actually besting 6.944 ms or 144 FPS. There was almost always screen tearing when I turned, thanks to this performance.




Looking at the numbers for the difference between consecutive frames and the 1% and 99% data is within 0.75 ms. Yes, a fraction of a millisecond. Three of the runs (that one run with the average 173 FPS is the odd one out) had those differences 0.5 ms. The 0.1% and 99.9% values are a bit farther out, coming in around 3 ms in multiple of the runs, but looking at the course graphs (I did not actually run any courses, but I am keeping the name) we see an odd behavior as roughly every five seconds there is a frame time spike. These all still fell below the 16.667 ms/60 FPS mark, but it is an odd behavior and because they just happen, are undoubtedly throwing off those 0.1% and 99.9% values. I do not know what could be causing these spikes, but before looking at the graphs, I honestly had no idea they were occurring. I only observed the game having excellent performance.




While the performance was very impressive, I did experience some technical issues. One is a crash that from what I have seen is not unique to me or my computer. It would just lock the game up, and as the game is in a fullscreen-like mode (I had borderless fullscreen/window selected, but it honestly seems like Vulkan does not currently support such a mode, and instead runs in what is still fullscreen) when this happened I could not escape. The only path I had to return to the desktop was to hit the power button and cancel the shutdown. Of course I would then tell the computer to restart before continuing. Ultimately what I ended up doing was running the game in a 1920x1080 window (an advantage to my 2048x1152 monitor) so if it crashed again, I undoubtedly had access to the desktop to close the game and relaunch it.

Another issue I encountered, or at least believe I did, was the audio did not always seem to include all of the scene's effects. In one case this was undoubtedly happening as a massive robot was trying to attack me, but a wall and windows were between us. Despite the scale of its attacks, they were completely silent. There were other times as well when it just seemed like audio effects were not playing, or not playing properly. While this was noticeable and irritating, I am not going to too strongly hold it against the game. (My position might change on the seriousness of this issue if it turns out this is why I so often failed to notice taking serious amounts of damage.)



Something else I ran into a lot is running into things. I do not mean the whole 'strafing and coming to a dead stop because of something you could not see' running into things, but the floor section changing so suddenly your foot gets caught. Imagine being stopped in your tracks because of a carpet, and the only solution was to jump. This occurred in far too many locations, including one you have to pass through (had to make a quarter turn and strafe to get through the area I could not walk straight through), so I can only hope the developers are aware of these areas and will get to fixing them.

One last technical issue I want to mention is corruption in the skybox. From what I have read, this is happening to several people, but honestly, it is not what I would consider a top priority. Undoubtedly the developers have it on their list to fix, but it is not game breaking, while those crashes and possibly other issues I am unaware of or did not encounter would come first. (I am interested in returning to the game in the future with other GPUs for a performance analysis, but I think I will wait to see at least the crashing fixed first. Hopefully it will not be long.)

Overall, the graphics look very good and in some places impressive, but it might be the performance that truly excels. It would be truly wonderful if we can start seeing more games launching with this level of performance. Hopefully more developers will switch to using Vulkan and/or DirectX 12 soon, along with investing the time and effort to well-optimize it.


  1. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review - Introduction
  2. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review - Graphics
  3. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review - Story
  4. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review - Gameplay
  5. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review - Additional Gameplay Screenshots
  6. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review - Conclusion
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