Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus - Review

Author: Francesco "Checco" Destri
Date: 2020-07-30 23:21:33
If there is one rather certain (and not very optimistic for Nintendo) thing coming out of E3 2018, it is that the relationship between Switch and third parties is not going really well. Sure, FIFA 19, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Octopath Traveler, Dragon Ball FighterZ and Dark Souls: Remastered will arrive, but if we only talk about new titles that will be released simultaneously on Switch and the other consoles the panorama that awaits us is rather bleak.

However, someone could always say "better late than never" and it is precisely with this philosophy that Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus on Switch must be taken, a port developed by the increasingly active Panic Button team (already author of the version for Doom Switch) that arrives on the Nintendo console eight months after the release on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. And it does so at full price (or almost) but without the DLC published in the meantime on the other platforms; even if it is not really essential content, sorry to not find it on board anyway.

I have already played and finished Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus on PlayStation 4 Pro (here you can find the full review) and I approached this new version already aware of what was waiting for me, or an FPS full of charisma, equipped with a gunplay excellent, long-lived and with some injection of more maturity in the gameplay than in the past (the stealth approach in many game sections) that cannot fail to please. In its own way, this new chapter of the series is even more demanding (as well as longer lasting) than Doom, with some sections that if faced with high levels of difficulty (already the third out of six) remain a real nightmare.

Situations that on Switch, with its controls not really ideal for a shooter of this type (unless you play with a Pro Controller in front of the TV), had made me fear the worst. Instead, although limited by the nature of Joy-Con, the new adventures on Switch by William "BJ" Blazkowicz also work in a portable version and much of the credit goes to the work (as usual impeccable) of Panic Button in adapting a similar title for Switch.

Of course, in portable mode you travel at 720p and I'm not even sure if they are fixed or dynamic, but if nothing else the 30 fps are kept very stable apart from some slight uncertainty in outdoor locations (however in minority compared to the interior). The visual impact on the Switch display, as well as rather washed out textures, unfortunately suffers from an evident "blur" effect that makes everything much less clear and incisive compared to what is seen on PlayStation 4 Pro, with the main result of struggling to see some enemies in the distance also because of the low contrast.

After a while you get used to it, but in the first two hours of play on board the submarine in certain dimly lit sections I often struggled to recognize an enemy from long distance and also the detachment between the in-game phases and the cut-scenes (definitely more defined) is not exactly the best. Considering however the reflections, the particle effects and the general detail, the landing of the game on Switch remains something remarkable, which among other things could push other major publishers (besides Bethesda) to invest more on Switch with their triple titles A, with the awareness however that some sacrifices will still have to be made (and here the difference between the 30 fps of Switch and the 60 fps of the other consoles is one of these).

In short, the technical stumbling block, thanks also to an excellent graphics engine like the id Tech 6, was overcome by Panic Button as it had happened months ago with Doom. And, as for Doom, here too I had to change the sensitivity parameters of the sticks a bit (I brought them both to 50) to obtain an effective aiming system. Instead, I immediately gave up on the one entrusted to the gyroscope of the console (in practice you aim by moving Switch), which if on the one hand it works well enough to aim down and up, it is much less comfortable to do it laterally.

With these modifications and assisted aiming (which then is up to a certain point), at the third difficulty level out of six I found Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus a definitely challenging first person shooter (the sequence in the theater is still a nightmare) but far from impossible or unnerving. Here too it is all a matter of habit, with the first moments of play on the wheelchair that proved unnerving, but only because I had not yet changed the sensitivity of the controls (and in the end I also preferred to lower the brightness a bit to avoid too shot effect).

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus then has the most beautiful and best written plot of the series (oh my God, not that it took that long considering the writing of the first episodes). The revolution led by Blazkowicz and his friends to overthrow the Nazi terror and free the USA from Hitler and the very bad Frau Engel is in fact a real pleasure from start to finish.

Moving on to the gameplay, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is very similar to the previous The New Order and The Old Blood (more to the first than to the second), with some more or less successful innovations. On the one hand we find the usual and excellent gunplay to which Machine Games has happily accustomed us since The New Order, but as already said before there is also a lot of stealth and the level-design, although not always inspired, can become much more intricate and labyrinthine compared to the past of the series. In short, a great shooter that on Switch lets you play very well despite inevitable technical compromises.

I downloaded Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus on Switch thanks to a review code provided by the developers (the download requires about 24 GB of free space) and, having already completed it on PlayStation 4 Pro, I tested it on Switch for about eight hours. The game, entirely dubbed and subtitled in Italian and available on Switch from tomorrow to 59.99 euros, was already released last October on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.