Should You Play Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus Before Youngblood? - Spoiler Free Review (PS4)
Wolfenstein: Youngblood releases next week on July 26th, on PC and consoles. I haven't played any of the rebooted series that first started with Wolfenstein: The New Order released in 2014. Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is the third game in the new series, with Wolfenstein: The Old Blood which acted as a prequel to the first. MachineGames developed all three titles as well as the upcoming game, with Besthesda Software as its publisher. If you're interested in the new Youngblood, should you still check out The New Colossus before it hits shelves?
While not necessary to enjoy the new game, I think The New Colossus is worth checking out if you go in knowing what to expect out of the game. It's hard to use one game to compare it to, as it mixes many elements from other FPS games. Since the new series is published by Bethesda Software, there are heavy influences and style from the new Doom game as well as Dishonored. The faster-paced running and gunning style, as well as the music blasting in the background, reminded me of Doom, a game which I enjoyed. There are also sections of stealth, similar to Dishonored as I look time watching and waiting for an enemy to pass, looking for the opportunity to sneak in for a stealth takedown. Then on top of that throw in the industrial dystopia look of Killzone. If your worried about being behind in the story, the game shows you a quick summary of what took place before the start of this game to catch you up to speed.
If you've seen any trailer of the game, you know the gameplay is about killing Nazi's and as many as you can. The game makes use of its mature rating, with gory closeup kills, lots of blood, and some sexual content. As a sci-fi fan, the game's setting in an alternative reality of 1961 where the U.S. surrendered to the Nazi's during WW2 paints a vividly oppressive atmosphere. You discover newspapers, journals, and postcards from both points of view. In this time most U.S. citizens have come to support the Nazi's after years of propaganda and complacency. While optional, I appreciated how the game built more on the backstory of this eery alternate reality.
The style of the game is one of the most unique I've played. You play as B.J. Blazkowicz, AKA Terror-Billy, who is almost a superhuman Nazi killing machine. You infiltrate the enemy base killing everything in your path, while in the next scene you are visiting your childhood home discovering Billy's insecurities. One moment you're face to face with the defeat of your resistance members, to the next scene of your crew-mates partying and drinking that continues longer than I expected. This dichotomy of tone can seem off-putting for some, but the game doesn't take itself too seriously. The characters are bold, outlandish, and satirical, like something you would see in a Grand Theft Auto game.
This game is meant to be fun and it is, even for those not interested in any of the collectibles, or reading the backstory. The game is a lot harder than I expected. I started on a harder difficulty but had to lower it to the medium difficulty because of constantly having to restart. I didn't want to lower the difficulty even more, which you can do anytime in the options since I'm assuming this was how the game was meant to be played. Even then there were times I got frustrated because of having to restart about a dozen times in certain areas.
Stealth wasn't my favorite part of the game. With enemy AI being overtly aware, if anything sees you all enemies are alerted to your presence/position in about 2 seconds, while also calling in reinforcements. You can sneak around and take out the commanders, or disable their alarms, which prevent them from calling reinforcements but I found this even more difficult, in terms of time and strategy, to do compared to eliminating all enemies. Due to the open layout of most areas, if you are spotted enemies come toward you from multiple directions, and they all have excellent aim. The game does have a cover system where you can peak around corners, I but I only used it during the tutorial as it would cause me to unintentionally pop in and out of cover.
While melee attacks with your hatchet can instantly kill a normal enemy, you are still vulnerable during the long animation and will suffer a lot of damage if others are nearby. Not to mention the red barrels everywhere always blowing up knocking you off your feet, in the most inconvenient times . By halfway into the game, I stuck with a couple of my favorite weapons I upgraded and would generally go through each level killing everything in my sight, so enemies could not sneak behind me. By the end of the game, based on the achievements, less than 20 percent of people who played the game made it through the normal setting. I would suggest lowering the difficulty even further, and just have fun with the game instead of becoming frustrated and thinking about not continuing.
Another thing that leads to unnecessary deaths and some frustration was picking up health and some ammo. Like in Doom, you will see armor vests or helmets you can pick up for armor. If you run over armor on the ground, which can be knocked off of enemies, you will automatically collect it. However, with health, and some ammo types, you must physically press the square button to pick it up. This sometimes leads you to unintentionally pick up a heavy weapon on the ground, as often you may be running around pressing square quickly in a busy fight. The game encourages you to move around the map, as there is lots of ammo, health, and armor tucked into corners if you find yourself having a hard time.
The game is short and took me about 14 hours to complete. I didn't think the length of the game was negative, since it may have gotten repetitive if they didn't introduce new mechanics. There are also optional missions, such as hunting Ubercommander's that have you revisiting areas of the map, for those looking for more enjoyment out of the game. There are also many collectibles you can also find in each level, that you will most likely miss over during your first playthrough of each stage.
The game does have an RPG element where you can unlock skills, and upgrade your weapons. Upgrading your weapons are simple, as you find upgrade kits lying around in different levels, and each weapon has three different upgrades. Some include increased ammo capacity, giving an upgraded shot by pressing right on the d-pad to equip, or something specific to the weapon such as a noise suppressor for the pistol. The skills/perks you get while playing the game are tied to how often you perform a certain action. For examples, if you complete 50 silent takedowns you unlock increased movement speed while crouching. Or if you get 50 grenade kills you unlock increased grenade capacity. This was a great design choice, as I hate skill trees in many games where I have to unlock unnecessary skills for the one I want.
In my opinion, I would recommend buying The New Colossus if you're a fan of FPS and stealth games. I was able to find the collectors edition on sale online for $20, which was a great deal. Overall, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus is a fun, concise, and action-packed adventure even though the tone of the story and characters can be all over the place. I'm looking forward to the new entry of the series and the continuation of Terror-Billy's story.
Thanks for reading. Let me know if you've been following Wolfenstein and what you are looking forward to the most with the new game.