Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Machine Games
Release Date: 10/27/2017
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Good campaigns are kind of rare in FPS games these days, but 2016 brought back a ton of great FPS campaigns, and it was glorious. Wolfenstein II is another game that focuses more on its story and characters rather than its multiplayer, which is always a welcome change.
You play as BJ Blazcowicz as the story picks up right after The New Order. It’s 1961 America in which Hitler and his Nazi regime have dug their roots deeper into the world. BJ and his cohorts from the last game are trying to start a revolution and gather the last remaining scraps they can muster. It might sound like another typical FPS, but this game has heart, soul, and character. Every character is memorable, loveable, and downright awesome to experience. The entire cast just works so well together including the villains. The Nazi villains are ruthless, deadly, and just despicable and it takes good writing to feel that way towards a character.
The story kept me going through the whole game as there were plot twists and sudden shock moments which had my blood boiling. One moment I thought everything was over only to have the story take a turn for the worse or better. It’s so well written and something you will talk about for a while. Outside of the story, the awesome shooting action is back and slightly improved and streamlined. One important thing to mention is that the boss fights are gone, but this is kind of a blessing as they were mediocre in the last game.
There’s a weapon upgrade system, collectibles, and new contraptions (that you acquire halfway through the story) to change things up. Each weapon gets 3 different upgrades and they are all extremely useful. From less recoil to suppressors, some even alter the ammo and dynamics of the weapon as a whole. The arsenal is broad and strong from energy weapons to grenade launchers, three-round auto-shotguns, and assault rifles. Every type of weapon is covered and they all feel great and unique, you will constantly switch up weapons for different enemies. Enemies are well thought out this time around and are evenly balanced with health. I felt like the difficulty didn’t jump around so much like the last game, the entire game was challenging with a hard section towards the end of each level.
The gameplay also changes with each level as you enter different environments. On some levels you’re underwater a lot, some have you wearing environment suits, and some you’re weaponless. The entire campaign is mixed up and feels so smooth and well organized I just couldn’t get enough. Each enemy takedown feels satisfying, and I wanted to go out guns blazing, but stealth is easier to do in this game, so taking down commanders without sounding alarms was so awesome. Using takedown moves, ax throws, and silenced pistol shots were the way to go when you were heavily outnumbered. These areas in the last game were a chore to navigate and the enemy placement made it nearly impossible to get through a whole section without being detected.
My biggest complaint would be the level design. While the ideas were great, I got lost often and didn’t know where to go. Hallways all looked the same and there weren’t many landmarks to figure out where to go. The environments are beautifully created, but the layout is a bit dull. There’s at least plenty to do with optional objectives on the hub base, Das Hammer, and some endgame content to work through.
The visuals are stunning, especially on PC with all settings cranked up to the max. Great lighting, textures, and highly detailed models made this game come to life. I honestly can’t recommend Wolfenstein II enough, it’s one of the greatest FPS games made in the last decade.