Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus - This game was like watching a bad cartoon of history

I'll get right out there: The first game was incredible. Wolfenstein: The New Order was the perfect storm of gameplay, direction, acting, music. It had so much style and substance that I was surprised by just about everything it did. It gave an interesting perspective on an alternate history world war II that paid great respect to the events that happened. It was gritty, funny, emotional. Over the top in all of the best ways.

The sequel on the other hand... Nope.

The game starts out where the first one ends. It turns a bittersweet finale into a slightly hopeful upswing for a character that's defeated death countless times, except this time he's been severely injured and he's running out of time. Nazi's attack, people are on the back foot, and he has to navigate a naval vessel while in a wheelchair, gunning down anyone who gets in his way.

It's an interesting and very cool opening that really meshes the difference between narrative and gameplay in a way that's quite refreshing. You get to feel the weakness and frustration of not being able to do something as simple as walking around. But that doesn't mean you're out of the fight, because you've still got hands and can still put down a Nazi.

After the opening, B.J. Blazkowicz acquires a power suit which allows him to get back into the swing of things as a super powerful Nazi killing machine for the resistance. To convey the fact that Blazko is severely ill, his health caps at 50 instead of the normal 100 and so he's always very weak. But he has the benefit of being well armored to offset this.

Unfortunately a big issue I had with the game is that it never reached the heights of the first one. It never got me emotional, the gameplay never made me feel like a murder machine. So many things kept getting in the way and it became clear that the developers just didn't have the right mindset to tell these stories with the tact they deserve.

Superbunnyhop does a much better job at addressing this in his review of the game, but to summarize: He speculates that the European developers had a better sense of the European side of the story from the first game because they lived it. They had the best account of history because there are people still alive who saw it first hand, and the numerous accounts detailing them. But being from the side of the world where racial segregation, the KKK and other such stereotypes in The New Colossus took place, they didn't have a solid grasp on how to portray them well.

It was a bit of a hard decision to come to on my part, because usually I'm good at accepting things that are big and dumb and fun. But seeing how much craft and care went into the first game, and not seeing any of that here, made it kind of a slog.

The pacing is all over the place too. Which I think is a bigger indicator of the lack of quality than even the story. The levels always felt like a drag to me because I played on the normal difficulty which apparently was made a lot harder than usual. Whereas the first game made you feel like a machine of death, this game makes you feel like a weakling. You die VERY FAST here. I felt like I never had time to do anything before I was instantly killed from behind, and I never really had a chance to react to it.

I had great memories from the first game where I felt like a badass but this game doesn't reach those heights. With the narrative issues and the fact that the second game's ending comes out of nowhere and feels like a limp noodle, the game is largely a disappointment for me. I like to look at what unique qualities a game provides instead of just looking at the previous games in the franchise, but this game doesn't really go anywhere interesting often enough, and when it does it's over and done with.

This game dives into Blazko's personal life in a big way. The first boss you fight in this game is his dad. You learn more about his father, mother, childhood friend, and home life. I think that stuff was all really interesting and well done, because a lot of the small moments in this game is 10/10. There just isn't enough of them.

For example, a big part of what I liked about the first game were the internal monologues by Blazko. He's a big beefy murder man killing Nazi's, but within his mind he ponders the meaning to it all, life, love, peace, war, what any of that means. It's usually very sobering and somber, which is fantastic considering the fucked up shit he does in the war against the Nazi's. The second game, The New Colossus has this in spades as well. Which makes it that much worse when you see aspects of that original great game before it gets betrayed by some horrible cartoonish shit that feels out of place.

I mean look, I loved Saints Row The Third. I think that game is a masterclass in just about everything it does. The humor is usually the tipping point for a lot of people, personally I loved it, but that's the point: As I mention above, I can accept things that are big and stupid very easily. But this game wants to be this really mournful post-mortem of "the good old days of American civilization, back when the world was good" but then starts off some over the top bullshit that contradicts it entirely.

I mean a game where the Nazi's take over, there's a sect of Jewish super inventors who make things that are borderline paranormal, AND the KKK takes over the American South? It's very fictional, but it has the potential to portray a unique and fascinating world. I'm a big fan of Metal Gear Solid, it's my favorite franchise of all time for example, and one thing that it excels at is meshing real world politics and issues with a science fiction and paranormal backdrop. The New Order managed this incredibly well. The New Colossus does not.

I kept waiting for the game to get "good". I kept waiting for it to click with me and fall in love with it. But a disjointed story that didn't know if it wanted to be serious or comedic, gameplay that was pretty sure you didn't want to "feel" cool, pacing that was all over the place, and an ending that takes a shit on the first game in a major way, all resulted in a game that was a big "miss" for me.

Maybe they'll do a threequel and it'll be amazing, but as of the right now, this game is a bust.

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".

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