WOLFENSTEIN II – THE NEW COLOSSUS [E3 2017]: Bethesda!
After all the Nuka Snow Cones, Turkey Legs, and bouncy beats via EDM sensations, The Chainsmokers, the wonder of Bethesdaland was behind us, with two major games ready to launch off the menu. Bethesda’s #E32017 presser was polarizing. Ask anybody lucky enough (or willing enough to camp out for the 300 extra bandies the same day at 6am) to attend the event and most would will tell you Bethesda Softworks “won” E3. Ask anyone sitting at home watching the stream that Sunday night and you’ll get a completely different say: “They just had VR, some expansions and only two new games — none of which were Starfield“. (Well, pal, there were three new titles if you want to include the Dishonored 2 expansion: “Death of the Outsider”.) Sorta true, but no one in their right mind would argue that Bethesda saved their best–which is far better than most–for last with Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
It was a “Holy Fuck!” trailer to the Nth degree. So, who could blame the Moody man for offering a twenty-spot to any willing geek allowing me to cut near the front of the line to play? My #2 Buzzworthy Game heading into the Expo was also the one game I couldn’t grab an appointment for; hell, my third day of E3 2017 relied solely on seeing what MachineGames had to offer. Mind you, I’ve only played E3 demos of Wolfenstein games before; but this 35-minute experience felt, by far, the best. What drew me to the trailer, besides the franchise’s signature over-the-top WWII jocisity and Fallout-meets-The Man in the High Castle/Inglorious Basterds stylistic “What If?” scenarios, was the look of the gameplay. Bethesda knew they had a winner with Wolfenstein II the second that 8-minute 37-second trailer was revealed, and ran with it. The result: lines to play the game were nearly as long as the show hours themselves.
My twenty bucks was worth it. You control the post-New Order BJ Blazkowicz in a wheelchair, mind beaten, legs broken, body bleeding out, heart still alive. Chugging on around the dark submarine halls feels authentic, since you’re not merely gliding down at the speed of light. Each stroll is a struggle, one hand to pump the wheel, one hand to pump the pistol. Gameplay escape consists of alternating between strategies: melee creep behind each Nazi to a few fantastically different head-crunching or jaw-blowing results, or.. fly down the U-boat conveyor belts, busting off every extinguisher/explodable environment in sight? It sure makes for fun respawns, and trying to lean around corners to avoid incoming gunfire on two wheels felt entirely fresh.
I laughed out loud each time a few damn Nazis were lured into various microwave fields that zap them into sludge. Blood splatters all over your hospital dress after each takedown. For loot seekers, there’s tons everywhere. Seems like MachineGames is ready to provide quite a bit of puzzlework, humor and humorous puzzlework into the game at launch. When the lengthy demo was over after a great 5-minute long cutscene, I asked Bethesda rhetorically, “you had to do that to me, didn’t you?” Mark the Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus‘s October 27th release date as my most anticipated this fall– and don’t forget to have a strawberry milkshake on the way out. 4.5/5 Bibles. – Travis Moody