Games Review: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (Switch, 2018)

Wolfenstein II‘s latest Nazi-stomping iteration was one of the biggest and best FPS releases of last year, praised for its original script, compelling characters and bucketloads of aggressive, absorbing gameplay; the title — officially Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus — once again reinvented a classic franchise and continued the quality from The New Order and The Old Blood. It’s alt-history context reimagines the most terrifying World War II outcome imaginable, in that the Nazis have won and taken over the entire world, United States included. Cue story about uprising and American revolution and all that jazz — not the most creative framework, but one which was proven by it’s near-perfect pacing and engaging story.

After a successful Nintendo Switch port of Doom from Panic Button, it was not surprising to see them bring another Bethesda title over to the hybrid system. And it’s a very welcome move, especially for those who relish having these addictive games as handheld travel buddies, though much of the problems a graphic nut would expect do present themselves. The game benefits from dynamic, adaptive resolution, mostly issue-free except when the action gets too noisy, in which case you could be looking at noticeable drops that bottom out at 360p and low-resolution muddy textures which subtly suck out the otherwise immersive atmosphere. For those focused solely on gameplay, there’s little to worry about here, aside from the oversight of not including an option to toggle motion blur, like in the Doom port.

Panic Button made some very detailed changes that do not at all interrupt the base game, a move to continue their reputation of re-shaping and optimising these large games for the Switch with little to no issue. The result is a frame rate that is reliable for the majority of the game, consistent and smooth to pair up nicely with Switch’s neat little exclusives such as intuitive motion controls (able to be toogled) and advanced haptic feedback. The haptic feedback is especially impressive here, as it’s so nuanced that the texture and tone of different weapons comes across in distinctive patterns. If concessions on the game’s frame rate chiseled ever so slightly at the game’s defining immersive gameplay, the HD rumble fills in those gaps.

Docked mode with a pro controller is the way to go as expected, as handheld mode accentuates some of the aforementioned issues particularly during cutscenes and dense action sequences. The motion controls mean playing with the Joy Cons is fun for awhile, but the smaller analog sticks and trigger buttons can be frustrating to use when you venture deeper into the game, or decide to climb to the top of the six difficulty levels.

Nit-picking minor graphical changes isn’t a concern for most gamers, so those who haven’t yet played The New Colossus will find a lot to love here. As William “B.J” Blazkowicz, you are thrown into situations thick with over-the-top violence and dark humour from the very start of the game, leading to the memorable opener when you’re disposing of nameless Nazi assholes from a wheelchair making using of muscular weaponry and some of the best environmental kills a FPS has seen in quite some time. Whether you’re using an axe and trying to be stealthy, or risking it all with a meaty shotgun in both hands, the ability of this game to keep escalating beyond the point of reason is something that’s hard to break away from – a perfect situation for portable play.

For more details on the actual gameplay you can head along to our original review of The New Colossus HERE.

Score: 8.5 out of 10
Highlights: You can take The New Colossus with you now; beautiful haptic feedback; intuitive (and customisable) motion control makes up for the awkward Joy Cons; highly addictive, highly replay value.
Lowlights: Issues with blur in handheld mode; slightly slowed down during big fights
Developer: Machinegames
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Port)
Available: Now

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was reviewed on Nintendo Switch.