B.J. Blazkowicz Is Back: Wolfenstein 2 Impressions

B.J. Blazkowicz Is Back: Wolfenstein 2 Impressions

Nothing can stop him from killing Nazis

Tyler H

Written by for Opinions on

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus takes place soon after the ending events of The New Order. Captain B.J. Blazkowicz has inexplicably survived although he is gravely injured and falls into a five-month coma. He wakes up just in time to help defend his crew's commandeered U-boat from a Nazi attack, acquiring a powerful body suit that allows him to regain his ability to walk and fight.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus screenshot 1
Even being wheelchair-bound can't stop B.J. Blazkowicz

At this point in alternate reality 1961, the Nazis have won World War II and now control a large amount of the war-torn United States of America. Blazkowicz and his team hatch a plan to team with other resistance groups in the US and fight back against the Nazis in an effort to liberate the United States. Tonally, The New Colossus is all over the map. Blazkowicz is depressed about his injuries and brought down even more by the death of a colleague who he continues to have a mental dialog with throughout the game. Meanwhile, comedic and bizarre scenes are strewn throughout the story, leaving the player unsure how to feel about everything going on in the plot. This tonal imbalance is personified by a scene where Blazkowicz is sharing some grim news with his pregnant girlfriend just to be interrupted by a rescued citizen who is ecstatic about having just used a working toilet for the first time in months.

As for gameplay, Wolfenstein II retains its retro shooting lineage well. Movement speed is extremely fast (and even faster while running) and the action is almost non-stop. You may need to stop briefly to press a button or flip a switch but for the most part; you'll be gunning down enemies left and right. Blazkowicz is armed with a powerful array of weaponry and you can carry and swap between several guns at a time so you're never without proper firepower. Even better, ultra-powerful one-off weapons are available early on and make blasting Nazis even better. This includes a crazy powerful laser gun and an explosive remote mine launcher. You can't use all these weapons all the time but they're a ton of fun to pick up whenever an enemy happens to drop one.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus screenshot 2
Some exciting laser-on-laser action!

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus' levels mostly consist of large set pieces where you must eliminate a group of enemies before you're able to progress. You could probably try to sneak by them as well but there's usually way too many for that to be a possibility. Most groups of enemies feature one or more commanders that you'll want to prioritize. When you're near a commander, an alert appears onscreen telling you how far away they are. These commanders are able to activate alarms to call in reinforcements so it makes sense that they'd be your primary targets. This adds a fun level of strategy to every combat scenario as you'll want to use stealth and evaluate your surroundings instead of just going in guns blazing all the time.

You can upgrade your arsenal by finding upgrade kits hidden in levels. These increase damage and ammo capacity, add silencers, and more. Plus, you can even upgrade B.J. himself by completing specific tasks. Killing enemies with different weapon types, being stealthy, and using melee will increase B.J.'s abilities, all of which can be kept track of on the Perks screen.

Unfortunately, I ran into a few frustrations with The New Colossus. For one, the subtitles are extremely small so make sure to have your reading glasses nearby if you like playing with subtitles enabled. A more prominent issue I had was the lack of visual feedback provided when enemies are damaging you. Most first-person shooters will darken or bloody the screen as well as shake it when you are being shot. Wolfenstein II does almost none of that so it's hard to tell if you're being blasted or hidden safely in cover unless you look at your health and armor meters. Another small quibble is the lack of auto-looting. You can pick up armor off the ground if you walk precisely over it but you'll usually walk past it without picking it up. Instead, you'll need to regularly look down to pick up armor as well as ammo and health by mashing the square button. Sometimes, you'll accidentally pick up a gun that you don't want which adds to the annoyance.

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Just taking a quick relaxing swim...

It certainly has its issues but there's still a lot of fun to be had with Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, especially for those who love single player first-person shooters.

Gameplay video for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus 5:11
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