Now, more than ever, we need a game like Wolfenstein II – a game that doesn’t shy away from making strong, political statements, that deals respectfully with the ramifications of mental illness and PTSD, but mostly importantly – lets you kill a whole bunch of Nazis. If I wasn’t already excited about the title, what I got to play last week reminded me why it’s one of my most anticipated titles of October.
In the last playthrough, I was taken through a Nazi stronghold and the hidden Oberkommando base. This time, the action took place in the broken down streets of New Orleans, and featured a brilliantly destructive run through those same streets on a modified Nazi Panzerhund. Each segment revealed so far has showcased the impressive range and scope of The New Colossus, which takes B.J. all across America in his quest to defeat the Nazis and end their reign of terror.
This time, B.J. was tasked with tracking down Horton Boone, the leader of the New Orleans resistance. New Orleans was a particularly fascinating set piece, taking place in a partially flooded, broken down street patrolled by heavily armoured Nazis and the devastating, fire-breathing Panzerhunds. Charting a course around these machines proved difficult, but taking them down was even harder – unloading rockets, bombs and whole clips of ammunition into them did nothing to slow them down, and several times I found myself pinned inside a rotting, abandoned building with little means of escape.
Having died more than once within my first few minutes, I swallowed my pride and revisited my old friend, ‘Can I Play, Daddy?’ mode, and that’s when real progress started happening. By which I mean to say, I was then able to courageously run around the Panzerhund and find shelter in an old bus, preserving the ammunition that I’d previously wasted.
Given a moment of respite, I was able to check out the expanded weapons upgrade menu, which contained an array of delights. Each weapon in B.J.’s arsenal is fully upgradable, and each comes with its own abilities, making their attacks more devastating, and making it far easier to blow through teams of enemies. Given that there were enemies around every corner in New Orleans, there were some very welcome upgrades. In one instance, an upgraded rocket launcher allowed me to launch an enemy directly into the air, where they became tangled in some overhead power lines and died. It was a great feeling.
Another new addition to B.J.’s arsenal not seen in the previous playthrough was the inclusion of stilts, which allowed B.J. to reach higher obstacles and traverse landscapes easily. It was via these stilts that I made my way to the next set piece, a Nazi-filled factory. This was a fun romp through enemy territory, although it paled in comparison to our earlier fight through New Orleans, and was immediately undermined by what came after.
After an extended cutscene between B.J. and Boone that rather shifted the balance in power, time skipped ahead, to a scene that saw B.J. piloting an indestructible Panzerhund out of New Orleans. The Panzerhund was an impressive beast, and ploughing through hoards of Nazis was great fun.
What we’ve seen of Wolfenstein II so far is impressive, to say the least. Each set piece has been unique and fun, and has really showcased the brilliant graphics, epic story and great range of the upcoming sequel. While we’ve only seen pieces of a much larger puzzle, if they’re anything to go by, Wolfenstein II is going to be mighty fine indeed.