Review of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus - a mighty colossus
Phew ... Having finished Wolfenstein II , I am relieved to announce that the unfortunate first hour and a half of the game did not turn out to be representative of the overall campaign . After all, MachineGames did not include too many regrettable passages in its latest work, such as the one I wrote about in the review "in preparation" ... You don't know what I'm talking about? I'm already translating.
My first contact with Wolfenstein II was almost a disaster. As I launched this title, I was rubbing my hands at the thought that here was finally a sequel to one of the best shooters I have ever played. An hour and a half later, there was something between amazement and embarrassment on my face. In my life, I would not expect that the dark, after all, story from The New Order in the continuation will make a turn by one hundred and eighty degrees and turn into a grotesque cabaret. That a war drama poured with Tarantino sauce turns into a nativity scene in which any tragedy is blurred in a maze of infantile jokes and situational absurdities (even exaggerated for Wolfenstein ).
Nevertheless, I gritted my teeth and kept on playing, comforting myself that at least the shooting was on the same level in The New Colossus as before. Fortunately, it turned out that over time the other elements of the title also began to hit the right track. After those unfortunate 90 minutes of introduction, the game quickly rose from its knees, and a smile once again entered my face , triggered by an increasingly confident reflection that this was the Wolfenstein I've been waiting for - a worthy sequel to one of the best FPS I've ever played. And this conviction did not leave me for the next 20 hours, until the very end of the story. Even if there were two more small glitches along the way.
Inspiration. Count to four. Exhaust
At the outset, I must make one thing clear - this is not a game for people who have not had contact with The New Order . This sequel is so direct it can't be more. The action begins exactly in the same place where it left off in the "number one", and continues as if a week has passed from the previous episode of the story (like in a TV series), not just three years. Of course, MachineGames studio did not forget about this "detail" and prepared a movie that summarizes the plot of the first part - but to a person unfamiliar with the earlier installment of the series, the events taking place in the "two" may seem somewhat unclear, deprived of proper context.
The fans will feel at home from the very first moment - not counting the aforementioned turbulences with the climate. If you remember The New Order as a rather heavy game, in which humor only slightly lightened the dark atmosphere, The New Colossus may surprise you a bit unpleasantly. Although there are still many depressing or even shocking scenes here (especially since the creators presented, for example, the issue of Jews more boldly), the whole thing now has a less pessimistic overtone due to the fact that the number of comic inserts has increased, the characters have become more heroic and "cool", and the world was shown in brighter colors. In addition, moving the action to America meant that the game lacked such "wolfenstein" elements as gloomy castles or occultism dating back to medieval legends.
However, if you accept these changes, you will not regret it. The vision of the world dominated by the Germans is as consistent and poignant as in the previous part, and the plot is still a very strong component of the game. It is still the absolute top league among action titles, and the greatest merit of perfectly directed cut-scenes. Here, even an ordinary dialogue - e.g. briefing before a mission - attracts attention thanks to great texts, which the voice actors put a lot of heart into reading, as well as thanks to the effective work of the camera, dynamic editing and excellent musical setting. Mick Gordon did a great job again, composing the soundtrack. Apart from that, of course, the characters do their job - it's hard to get bored when so colorful, expressive characters appear in front of the "camera", with a lot of chemistry between them ... and friction.
What's best, there is a lot of this first - class fictional content in the game . There are even more cutscenes here than in The New Order , and they are nicer and longer (for someone who doesn't expect anything from this title to be beaten, probably too long). There are plenty of conversations and scenes especially on the submarine, which we return to between missions - you can spend a lot of time wandering around this hub and watching how members of the Resistance live. On the other hand, during the campaign, there are fewer stages focused strictly on exploring and / or building the climate than before - while the ones that are there are tearing the hats off. I will not go into details (read spoilers), I will only say that the creators focused more on such exciting sequences as the first meeting with Frau Engel in The New Order (train to Berlin), partially departing from traversing channels full of environmental riddles .
Terror-Billy sows ... terror
Let's move on to the mechanics of the game. The New Order lovers will find themselves in it in no time. Controls, interface, "feeling" of weapons or general rules of fun - at first glance, everything is very similar to the solutions we saw in MachineGames' debut work in 2014. At the beginning, the differences seem to be at most cosmetic - and the locations have become a bit more extensive, and the character development system or equipment upgrades have been designed a bit differently (and expanded), some collectibles have been modified (and new ones have been added), or the option to use two different ones has been introduced. knockers in both hands. It is similar with the available arsenal - Blazkowicz was equipped with a submachine gun, several new types of heavy weapons appeared, knives were replaced with axes, and that's roughly that. There is a slightly better situation among opponents - clashes with mechanized units are now more exciting and varied.
However, someone may draw a conclusion from this: stagnation. But in fact, The New Colossus offers a lot of things that can be regarded as innovative - only the problem is that describing these elements seems like a spoiler . Everything is broken down into broadly defined ideas for the next levels. I will not reveal a great secret if I give as an example the first mission in which BJ rides in a wheelchair on the board of the submarine. Sounds extraordinary, right?
I can assure you that in the other dozen or so stages, the creators showed no less creativity and practically every now and then serve new mechanics, thanks to which it is impossible to get bored. At some point, the gameplay takes a slight turn towards Dishonored , when Blazkowicz gets gadgets that significantly increase his exploration possibilities (although more open levels would be useful to better use the potential of these tools). Add to that the scenery that changes like in a kaleidoscope and skillfully accelerate and slow down the pace of the action, and we get a game that you simply cannot tear yourself away from. In a word - there is honey.
Id Tech in the shadow of the Vulkan
Let's discuss the technical issues. Shortly before the premiere, Bethesda disturbed us with the high hardware requirements of Wolfenstein II on the PC, but the devil was not that scary. I was playing on a computer equipped with a Core i5-4570, 16 GB RAM and a GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card with 6 GB VRAM and enjoyed stable 60 frames per second at ultra settings at 1080p, regardless of the detail of the location or the intensity of the action. The PS4 version, which I tested for several dozen minutes, also maintained the same level of animation fluidity (although with occasional slight drops), and in terms of the quality of the visuals, it was not noticeably inferior to the PC edition.
Such good results are all the more commendable as The New Colossus looks much nicer than the previous part ... and it performs noticeably better (at least on my computer). After Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, which offers equally high performance, I am slowly starting to believe that id Tech games will finally be among the best optimized titles on the market.
Unfortunately, other technical aspects of Wolfenstein II do not go hand in hand with the low hardware requirements. On Steam, quite a few users report problems launching the game , in part because the program only supports the Vulkan API. Fortunately, I was not affected by this kind of ailments - the most serious thing that happened to me was the application crashes three times (including two times connected with a computer reset).