Wolfenstein II: The New Collossus Switch Review  by SwitchWatch

Developer: Machine Games

Publisher: Bethesda

Ported by Panic Button

Release Date: Out Now

Price as of Article: $59,99 £49,99 GBP

Game code provided to us by Bethesda

 

 

Story

The story carries on directly from Wolfenstein: The New Order, which I played and completed on Xbox One back in 2014, so I have a little more context of the story going into this game. However, for those that don’t, you get a 5 minute or so recap of the story from the beginning of this game, so it takes a little while to get into the action. This game puts a lot of emphasis on its story which I very much appreciate, as for me as a player it gets me to care about the characters and I became invested in making sure I rid the world of the enemies in the game, in this case being Nazis. Some of the enemies here will send chills down your spine and they are to be feared.

For those who have not played the first game, it may be a little more difficult for you to get as invested into the story, seeing as it’s a continuation and that’s a bit of a shame. It would have been nice had this been sold as a double packaged game, having both parts 1 and 2 to play through. It’s not the end of the world as the game does a fine job of getting you glued to the game pretty quickly and up to speed if you have not played the first.

William ‘B.J.’ Blazkowicz is still as cool as ever, starting out this game in a Wheelchair and still being a total badass. The story is gruesome in places and very violent, which for me is fine, but this is very much an adult orientated game which may offend some, so be aware that if violence is not your bag then you may not enjoy it. If you have played the first game then you will know what to expect.

The Nazis have won WW2 due to having access to some fantastic pieces of technology. BJ is an American soldier who was decisive in striking a killer blow to the third Reich at the end of part 1. Frau Engel is now as nuts as ever and is willing to do anything to get revenge for the last encounter she had with BJ, which obviously left her a few sandwiches short of a picnic. I believe she steals the show as the villain. Absolutely terrifying on screen performance that was absolutely chilling. The sadism she displays on screen is enough to make anyone want to put this sick puppy down and it gives great motivation to do so as you lose many of those close to you in this war.

The story for me is one of the best implementations of a single player campaign and one which is not afraid to tackle some heavy hitting subjects. An adult game this certainly is and one I throughly enjoyed.

Gameplay

This is a straight up FPS with big guns, cover mechanics, and of course taking down Nazis. If you enjoyed Doom then assume you will enjoy this, although here I would say the story is more fleshed out and compelling. If you are wondering what differences there are between this version and the rest, there isn’t much as it’s a straight port and it’s without any of the DLC which has come out on other systems. A port, I might add, which has been done superbly well, but we will talk about that a little later. Be aware this is going to take up a massive 23gig of space, so an SD card may be necessary. Also, for those wondering, I got 3 hours battery time in handheld.

If you enjoy using Gyro controls for your FPS games then it’s been implemented on this version and if you enjoy taking your games on the move then, of course, you cannot do that with this anywhere else right now so that’s the reason you would consider this version I assume and why you are reading or watching this review.

 

For those of you that only own a Switch, or for those of you that have not played this or read reviews on the game, then let’s take a look at what you are in for. The game doesn’t play much differently to part one, only here there are a good few more weapons added to your arsenal. The firepower in this game is so satisfying, especially the specialised weapons which are seriously heavy and require recharging most of the time. These can be thrown on the floor when you are done with them and are not part of your main weapon selection.  The Lasergewehr, for example, allows you to fire an epic orange laser which turns enemies into carbon, but is only available if you choose the Fergus timeline at the beginning of the game. Different weapons appear in the game dependent on which characters timeline you choose. The Dieselkraftwerk is a flamethrower of sorts if you choose the Wyatt timeline instead of Fergus. so it’s an important consideration in choosing who lives and who dies!

In terms of how you take out your enemies, there are differing ways you can do this. I like to creep up behind enemies with my trusty Hatchet and chop off a bit of leg just beneath the knee, then bury that hatchet into their back. It’s always a very satisfying way of taking them out as they can’t see what’s coming. If you prefer to go in all guns blazing well, of course you can do that too. Just be sure you are armed to the teeth and let those used shells fly out of your assault rifle. You can also confront your enemies face to face and go full hatchet if you want to, which I loved doing and getting my hands dirty. The combat is truly satisfying and feels amazing. It’s gruesome, gory, and that’s just how I like it. In certain environments you can use stealth, where you have to be wary of the officer raising the alarm as once raised, lots of enemies will come at you, which is fine if you can handle it. If not, then stealth is the way to go, but this is not what I would call a full stealth option as you can’t hide bodies or anything like that like in Payday 2 for example. However, it’s great that you can sneak kill as it’s a nice change up.

Staying alive is challenging, especially on the harder difficulties. While BJ is kitted out with a suit of armour, he can’t take too many bullets. Here you need to make sure you take cover in the appropriate places, move around, and pick up armour and health kits. There is no running and gunning here, as it is seldom successful. You will often get flanked, and in more open areas you have multiple routes you can take to reach your next objective. You can jump and duck through parts so, always be on the lookout. It’s what makes this franchise so good for me. For completionists, it pays to explore the levels to the full, picking up intel and collectables along the way.

You can level up passive stats or perks there called in game which give you certain advantages and these are completed by completing certain challenges within the game like getting 25 headshots. This is all automated so you don’t have to assign points and upgrade skills.

There is also a minigame called Wolf Stone 3d which you can play if you find the arcade machine to play it on, which is a great little nostalgia trip and is actually quite good fun!

There are plenty of enemy types to keep things challenging, such as flying machines, Nazis wearing mech suits firing lasers at you, and Nazis who will use the cover system pretty well, although it’s often quite easy to hide in a room and let them walk in the door like headless chickens only for you to take them out one at a time. Raising the difficulty probably helps with this though.

 

Visuals and Performance

If you are here to compare graphical fidelity with a PS4 , Xbox One or PC, then ladies and gentlemen you are in the wrong place. No disrespect, but this version doesn’t match in that department. I would be more interested in whether it runs smoothly on both handheld and in docked, and the answer is yes it does. Other than that, the game is the same as it was when it was released on other systems back in late 2017 and for me, that’s a win. For the longest time we have wanted these third-party games to come to the Nintendo Switch. Well, many of them are coming, so we can’t have it all. Take the hit on the fidelity for the convenience of on the move gaming. That’s absolutely fine in my book, and as far as I am concerned there is not much more to say.

Performance-wise the game performs admirably. It’s like one of the lesser fancied world cup teams turning up on the world stage and producing the performance of a lifetime and knocking out the Germans. The Germans are strong and physical, and when they play well, they purr like a Rolls Royce. It’s the same with PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The game of course looks better on those powerhouses, and on an Xbox One X, PS4 Pro or high spec PC it looks stunning. So it certainly takes a hit in the visual fidelity department, and obviously, this isn’t running at 60 FPS either, but boy has the Switch version turned up to play as the game runs smooth as silk in both Handheld and docked mode. At 30 FPS I didn’t notice many dropped frames, only when I approached an area with many enemies and went in with the Hatchet. So Panic Button yet again deserve a massive amount of credit. The animations are all nice and smooth for the most part.

The advantage here is playing on the move, and if that’s what you use your Switch for then the fidelity is not going to matter, and it’s even less noticeable on a smaller screen anyway. So the Switch has its own weapons to perform with the big boys on titles like these, and ultimately you will choose this version if portability is more important to you than anything else. For me, that’s a win any day of the week.

I did come across what seemed like a bug. When I paused the game sometimes I would not be able to control anything and get back to the game which would force a restart. Sometimes a pause would take a while to get into the options also. Hopefully this can be ironed out with a patch.

Audio

Everything in the audio department screams blockbuster, from the excellent voice acting of the characters to the fantastic sounding weapons. Everything here is what you would expect from a triple A title, but it’s the way the actors and actresses perform the voice acting which for me really stands out and had me really engrossed from beginning to end. It is absolutely stellar. In terms of how the weapons sound, they are awesome to put it mildly. Bullets will ricochet, men will scream and shooting mechs will have that satisfying bullet on metal sound. For me, the audio truly shines in the non-combat areas, where the atmosphere created is chilling. Meeting new characters, gathering intel and forming plans all feels like your there. It’s outstanding.

Value

Value is subjective, and so it is here. What one will see as valuable will not be for another. You can buy this game for under £20 on other consoles and PC. I will say this right away, if you own one of those systems and portability or motion controls is not important, then buy it on one of those for a great experience and better graphical fidelity. If you want portability and flexibility, or you don’t own another system, then this is the key consideration for paying the £49.99 being asked. I think that would have been a fair price had this been a new game, but it’s now a year old and can be bought a lot cheaper elsewhere. So that is what you would have to consider, as it’s a little harder to swallow now. I would have liked to have seen part one bundled in for the price to make it a really compelling package.

In terms of time, it will take you 10-12 hours to complete the story and around 20 or so for completionists. You have different difficulty levels to really up the challenge, as well as choosing which timeline to play through, ie choosing to save Fergus or Wyatt, and essentially this will change the dynamic of the cut scenes as well as which powerful weapon you can play with. There is also a couple of hub missions which play out slightly differently, so you may want to come back to the game to play the campaign again and see these differences. Both timelines have their own merit and are both worth checking out.

Pros

P

Compelling Story

P

Excellent satisfying gameplay

P

Audio is terrific

Cons

P

Triple AAA price still

P

Small bug in pause menu