2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, was released to near-universal acclaim, as its PC version currently sits on a rather respectable 81% Metacritic rating, and it was nominated for countless Game of the Year awards, of which it has managed to win a handful. And understandably, such success was first followed by an expansion pack, which at least in my opinion, was superior to the base game. As it has introduced a plethora of new tools, and mechanics, which the base game would greatly benefit from. In addition, The Old Blood, was also much more streamlined than The New Order, as all the weapons and upgrades were given to the player within the first handful of missions, instead of being drip fed through the entirety of the expansion.
Machine Games, the developer behind the base game and The Old Blood addon, is surely capable of learning from its past pastures, as The Old Blood itself, was a clear example of that – as you can see above. And due to the developer’s capability to exterminate, and replace previously troublesome solutions, has inspired many with hope that the sequel to The New Order, titled Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, is going to be even better than developer’s previous projects, but unfortunately, The New Colossus, is more of a step back, than it is a step forward.
Structurally, The New Colossus is near Identical to The New Order. The title begins with a rather meaningless loss of one of the side-characters, which is then followed by a number of scene-setting missions, which themselves are a prelude to the mid-game discovery, which itself opens the doors for the final act, which just like in The New Order, requires the player to go to space, infiltrate an extra-terrestrial base – this time on Venus – and steal a code. And by the time the final credits roll, one could say that The New Colossus, is more of an adaptation of The New Order, as its core themes and plotlines, are nearly a one-to-one copy to the ones of the latter. Even the beginning of the game, is alike to the one of the prequel, as the title begins after Blazkowicz wakes up from a coma during a Nazi assault.
The New Colossus’ story is, as you can see, rather underwhelming. And due to its similarities with the prequel, and the rather simplistic writing, riddled with tons of foreshadowing, it allows one to figure out the conclusion of each and every plotline in an instant. And what makes the matters worse, is that one of the most important high points of the story is spoiled by the box itself. And while the spoilers are rather unfortunate, they’re nothing in comparison to the plot-holes, which have been injected into the title on purpose, in order to leave some room for the upcoming DLCs.
In total, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, can be completed in around six to seven hours – and this includes all attribute and plot centric side missions, as well as a number of district infiltrations. And surely enough, it would take one between ten to fifteen hours, at the least to achieve 100% completion of The New Colossus, but in order to do so, one has to find all the collectibles, and assassinate all the top brass of the NSDAP in America. However, my guess is that very few will actually bother with doing so, as all the assassination missions, are nothing more than replays of select campaign sequences, where all one has to do – as the mission suggests – is to kill one of the American NSDAP leaders.
Some could argue that story is not important when it comes to Wolfenstein as it is all about the thrill of the fight, and the adrenaline inducing combat. And while The New Colossus is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best first-person shooters of the current generation – at least mechanically – it does feel rather rushed and incomplete. It feels more like a lite version of The New Order, rather than a complete sequel. And that is rather surprising, especially after one takes into consideration that the majority of the title’s features, and mechanics, has been pulled straight out of The New Colossus’ predecessor, just like the story itself.
Saying that The New Colossus is a ‘’lite’’ version of The New Order may seem a little harsh, as it took Machine Games years to complete it. However, The New Colossus, is a lesser title in nearly every department, as it even features a smaller number of fire arms than its predecessor. In total, you’ll be able to find six unique weapons within the confines of The New Colossus, whereas The New Order, has featured twice as many personal firearms, as in-game, one had twelve unique guns to available to use at all times. And what’s even more baffling, is the fact that The New Colossus is missing the most important weapon of them all, the double-barreled shot gun.
Ultimately, The New Colossus, may not be the sequel which most have been waiting for, as on a narrative and mechanical levels, it is rather sub-par, when compared to its predecessor. And surely, many more weapons, tools, and rigs will come later down the line with the two previously announced addons, but for those you’ll have to pay extra, meaning that if you want to get the complete experience, you’ll have to spend at least £30, if not more on the both upcoming DLCs. But that being said, missing content, or a straightforward story, are ultimately not significant enough to brings Blazkowicz’s newest adventure to its knees. As in the end, Wolfenstein is, and always has been, about satisfactory combat – and The New Colossus has plenty of it.
Where The New Order was a misshapen mess of tonal incoherence, and muddled combat, it has ultimately paved a way for a much superior, Doom’esque PvE mechanics of The New Colossus. And the riveting, fast paced, gruesome mayhem, which takes place in front of the player’s eyes each and every minute, of the six hours which one will spend with the title, is ultimately enough to save its face, and prevent it from sliding down the rabbit hole of mediocrity. As most will forgive it the throw away plot, the second they’ll cut their first enemy’s hand with an axe, or turn him into ashes with a heavy laser.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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