Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is the best movie I’ve played all year. It’s the rare video game that forces you to put the phone down and to silent during widescreen cinematics, offering an “AMC Preacher” style to this holiday gaming season’s greatest conversation: Fuck Nazis. The sequel to the 2014 Wolfenstein: The New Order has witty, unpredictable scenes and plenty of scene-chewing. Your Resistance team is no less wild, witty and holy fuckin’ great.
If you missed the first one like I did, no worries. The plot plays out if you mashed up the setting to the hit Amazon Prime series, The Man in the High Castle (“The Nazis win!”), the old-timey aesthetics of Fallout 4 (movie posters, record vinyl, laser-firing weapons, etc.), the adrenaline-pumping riffs of DOOM (while awesome, Mick Gordon‘s score is almost too familiar), and the insane cyborg violence of.. Age of Ultron? And, with Assassins Creed Origins looming on my already lengthy to-play list, I decided to almost entirely forego stealth, which is spotty and inconsistent in this game anyway, and run rampant, dual-wielding anything I still had enough bullets for. Be careful using your upgrade kits as they appear rare AF and don’t be shocked if you repeatedly get killed by having to jam the X button for loot when the auto-hover astonishing.. stops.. working.
Those are small issues. I played this Wolfenstein the way the series was originally intended (hell, you can even play that laughable 8-bit “3D” original at an arcade in your home submarine’s bar and lounge area): runnin’, twin pistol gunnin’, limb-hackin’ and grenadin’ thousands and thousands of extremist dickfaces throughout this American Heil. My difficulty fluctuated from the no-so-“Git Gud” levels of toughness to an admirable, yet inconsistently challenging one; at least the game allows you to test out its wide asortment of difficulty throughout. I also not-so-proudly got stuck a few times under a shingle between a stairwell or something utterly pathetic of the sorr, still and almost hilariously gunning down Nazi and Nazibots in the process; but this publisher is known for bug classics like Skyrim and Fallout, so, clearly, this is nothing new. My 24-plus hour campaign performance as B.J. Blazkowicz puts Frank Castle–and even bloody fuckin’ Rambo–to shame. Yeah, that’s a shit ton of shells.
A lot has been mentioned swirling the politics of Wolfenstein II. Well, DUH; this is an anti-Nazi series, as it always has been, and, now, with Drumpf at the head of our cabinet, Nazis (and the KKK, supremists, fascists, racists, bigots, etc.) are, like, a thing again. The good people at MachineGames do it all justice; giving us a fully-realized protagonist cast who ain’t afraid to speak their mind, especially with each other. Obviously this dialogue — no matter how wonderfully and severely-emotionally over-the-top it comes off — reflects the overall beliefs of the programmers, and why not? Our two leading ladies, Grace and Anya, both play the “voice of reason” in approaches that couldn’t be more different. Learning about and getting to know BJ’s parents was a real treat and a harsh reality, and there are plenty of moments of contemporary “right” reform and sympathy sprinkled throughout.
Best of all, the 2-3 minute beats with comrades and quiet “playtime” in Eva’s Hammer give us a nice break between all the bullets, hatchet neck-slices and hellfire cannons that will leave neighbors shook from all the sounds of your Surround during actual gameplay. And that’s where Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus goes from a super fuckin’ great game to, oh, just a very very good one. It’s a first person shooter. Dark hallways to creep. Ladders to climb. Countless armor and bullets to obtain. Damn Nazis to shoot. Lt. Raine would be proud.
But, is a terrific script, inspirational character development, a supermean sadist arch-villain (General Engel is the balls), and 5-Bible voice acting enough to cover up the fact this might actually be the 3rd (or 4th, if COD: WWII lives up to the hype) best shooter of the year thus far? Well, now I guess that all depends on your single-player taste and just how BAD you wanna do naughty things to Nazis. In Wolfenstein II, there’s plenty of gratifying ways to kill and the game’s award-winning cast gives players all the more reason to seek out that action. 4.25/5 Fascist Propaganda.