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Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review

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Gameplay:

The gameplay I feel is somewhat mixed, with some good points and some disappointments that decrease my enjoyment, and potential future enjoyment of the game. For a good point, the shooting, the core action of the game, is still fun and can be quite fast at times. I tend to play more conservatively in games, so instead of rushing in I will sneak around and pick off important targets and targets of opportunity as I find them. The pistol, like the previous game, remains the go-to weapon for this as it can be equipped with a silencer, has good aim, and I am not sure what other weapon can actually score a one-shot headshot kill. The submachine gun you also get can be upgraded with an integral silencer, but it would take multiple shots, even to the head, for this to be effective.

For the most part, I kept to using the silenced pistol when I was going for stealth and the SMG, sometimes dual-wielding a pair of them, when I would be in open combat. I would also use the hatchet for stealth takedown and throwing weapon kills if I felt like it, or was working to max a stealth perk, or switch to the assault rifles when I needed to take down heavily armored targets. I barely ever touched the shotguns, unless I was that low on ammo for other weapons. Because I chose to save Wyatt, I also had a diesel powered sticky-grenade launcher in my inventory, but I also tended to not use it. I am not a grenade guy, unless I am low on ammo or just really need to blow something up. It does not help that it only has ten shots, unless you upgrade it.

There are a few negatives related to the points above, but the first I want to focus on is one concerning the Wyatt/diesel weapon. I did not know this is what my choice of Wyatt would result in. If I had known the awesome laser rifle, similar to what was my favorite gun in the previous game, was what you got for choosing Fergus, I probably would have picked him. You do not get both of these weapons in a single playthrough, which feels like a waste to me for a few reasons. One is the whole not knowing when you make the choice what you are losing out on, and another is that part of the fun of this game is the potential for ridiculous weapons. Why are you immediately cutting me off from one of these weapons? I do not like making direct comparisons to other games in a review, but I really want to make the point that I feel the Wyatt/Fergus choice was much better in The New Order, because the gameplay impact it resulted in, gaining health increases or armor increases, is balanced against each other because both options have a similar impact on the gameplay; improved survivability. Here, in The New Colossus, the combat possibilities of these two weapons are completely different. Grenade launchers and laser rifles play fundamentally different, so the choice has long impacts on the gameplay, whereas before it was more a concern of which defensive pickups take you farther. While still important, there is an obvious equivalence between the options.

 

 

This leads into another issue which is the lack of a New Game+ or chapter select in the game. It is not possible to return to a previous level to play it with new weapons, or, more correctly, new upgrades. This also means it is not possible to experience having both of these weapons in your arsenal, or wielding them together. (Now I have the image of launching sticky grenades at some enemies and firing lasers at others, knowing it will not be.) There is another choice you make in the game, but it is possible to gain all three of the items you have to choose between.

Among the Nazi-tech that has been recovered are three contraptions, but at the time you can gain them, it is only possible for one to be repaired to full working order. One can constrict your chest, allowing you to crawl through very narrow spaces. Another allows you to ram through special draws, boxes, and you can ram into enemies to kill them. The third, and the one I chose, are essentially stilts that can be extended from your legs. I picked this one because it was specifically labelled as giving you access to new locations, and I want to be able to explore. It turns out all three give you access to locations, because the 'gates' they overcome are placed along your main path. Every time I encountered a location where I could extend the walker legs to access a new area, there would also be a crawlspace and a door to ram in the area too. There may have been some areas only accessible with the legs, but I think I also encountered locations only accessible with the other two, so really, the choice is nearly irrelevant. I would recommend the ramming contraption, because you can earn an upgrade for it that allows you to regenerate armor, like you do health. The legs will give you health for kills when on the stilts, and an upgrade prevents overcharged health from degrading unless you take damage, and both of those are valuable, but I feel regenerating armor can be more useful, at least until you get the information to go back and just pick up the other contraptions. It is Nazi-tech after all, so if you just know where to look, you can find it. This is not like Da'at Yichud technology that could be limited or is special.

 

 

Another issue with the gameplay that somewhat follows from this discussion of the contraptions, but also some points earlier, is the lack of progression. It is similar to the issue I had with the story, where I did not feel connected to what I was doing, but more specific to the gameplay itself. While the different weapons you find might only become available at certain places, all of the upgrades are available whenever you want them, and the weapons never seemed to be introduced because you will need them for the upcoming fight. One example of the latter is a super-weapon you get to use twice in the game and is too heavy for your inventory. Honestly, it is not that good a weapon. It takes a long time to charge, and when it hits it takes some time to charge up an explosion, allowing enemies to move out of the way. I could have used it in the final battle, but decided to just drop it and use any of my 'less powerful' guns that are far more effective at actually dealing damage. It took several tries before I finally succeeded, but the mobility the normal guns afforded me, because heavy guns slow you down and that long charge time hurts too, allowed me to avoid taking damage while still being able to dish it out.

Going back a few sentences, you find upgrade kits in the world and then get to apply them as you wish, so the upgrades do not represent any kind of reward. They are the result of collectibles, not succeeding challenges, and therefore undercuts part of the motivation for completing challenges. Something I have noticed when I have seen reviews or just other opinions of games I have reviewed or play is how some people take issue with repetitive gameplay.

 

 

You may have noticed I have never made a similar complaint, or at least I cannot remember making such a complaint. I now think the reason why is because I do not notice gameplay being repetitive if I have a clear goal and reward for achieving the goal. Whether it is a story goal (rescuing people, for example) or a gameplay goal (gaining an awesome weapon or upgrade), it is different each time and thereby prevents it from feeling repetitive to me. This game, The New Colossus felt repetitive to me because I cannot tell you what my motivation was for too much of what I was doing, beyond just playing the game. I did not feel moving forward was saving people, because I never felt a connection to those characters I may have helped, and I did not feel moving forward really improved my ability to continue playing the game, as upgrades and weapons were not directly tied to progression and their gameplay was not reinforced with the challenges that followed their acquisition. If not for running low on ammo, the pistol, hatchet, and SMGs could carry you through everything. Apply the damage-increasing upgrade to the SMGs and not even armored enemies will stand up long against them.

Clearly I have a lot of criticism for this game, but the truth is, the gameplay is still fun. It just has a lot of untapped potential and missed opportunities. If I had to nail down one as the most significant, it would be a hybrid of the Fergus/Wyatt choice and the lack of a New Game+ and/or chapter select. Let me have fun replaying the game with both weapons and with all of the upgrades and mastered perks I have earned. Because that is not possible, I do not know how far I might go with the Fergus option in a second playthrough, and I honestly do not know if I might bother replaying the game past that.

According to the game save, it took me 15 hours and 22 minutes to reach the end, and I did do some other things and spent time exploring. As the previous paragraph is somewhat meant to express, I am unsure how much replayability the game offers. There are a lot of collectibles yet for me to find, but I do not feel much motivation to hunt them down.

 




  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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