Give Me Liberty : In Anticipation of Wolfenstein II : The New Colossus
Wolfenstein II – William “B.J.” Blazkowicz has been killing Nazis for a while now – since 1992’s Wolfenstein 3D, in fact – but with the upcoming release of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, a direct follow-up to 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, he’s not showing signs of stopping anytime soon.
And that’s very good news, as The New Order is one of my favourite video games of recent years, being a fantastic first-person shooter packed with exciting, visceral action and optional stealth, gorgeous visuals, a decent level of challenge, a suitably moody soundtrack befitting a world overrun by Nazis, incredible voice acting – particularly Brian Bloom’s performance as B.J. – and great writing, the game expertly including over-the-top action and humour alongside genuine humanity and a respectful recognition of the suffering that comes with war. Its prequel expansion, The Old Blood, is also really enjoyable but doesn’t quite reach the highs of the main game.
The New Order struck me as a game that developer MachineGames really wanted to make, a passion project into which a great deal of care was put. And, judging by what has been revealed so far of The New Colossus – a subtitle referencing 19th century poet Emma Lazarus’ sonnet which adorns a bronze plaque inside the Statue of Liberty – that also seems to be the case for the new game.
Wolfenstein II : The New Colossus will be Releasing on 27th October 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC – with a Nintendo Switch version coming in 2018 – Wolfenstein II continues B.J.’s struggle to free the world from the tyrannical grip of the Nazi regime after they won World War II, the action moving from Europe to the United States of America as B.J. and his comrades try to ignite a revolution inside the Nazi-occupied country.
After being teased at E3 2016, the game was properly announced with a lengthy trailer at E3 2017 , one that continued the promotional style of the previous game by featuring game footage alongside live-action clips designed to give a taste of what life is like in a world where Germany won World War II.
See 8 Min Trailer below.
As a huge fan of The New Order, the latest trailer absolutely did its job in making me even more excited for Wolfenstein II The New Colossus: great music and graphics, excellent writing, thrilling action, Brian Bloom returning as B.J. (seriously, I can’t overestimate how good his performance is when combined with the incredible writing), B.J.’s relationship with Anya – one of several humanising elements which add depth to B.J.’s character – continuing and evolving, and in general the game once again seems to effortlessly combine disparate elements without the result ever feeling jarring.
Also, let’s face it: not enough trailers feature an armed man dropping acid and then cradling a cartoon lizard while a pregnant woman stabs a Nazi to death just feet away.
Beyond the trailer there are other reasons to be positive: The New Colossus boasts the same director as The New Order, Jens Matthies, who also serves as co-writer on both games, alongside Tommy Tordsson Björk; and once again there is no multiplayer mode, MachineGames having focused all of their efforts on making the single-player mode as good as it can be.
(Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against multiplayer gaming, what I’m against is half-baked and ultimately unnecessary multiplayer modes being shoehorned into games as some kind of mandatory bullet-point, as has happened plenty of times in recent years).
Sadly, it’s not all good news. One of the things I really appreciated about The New Order was the fact that there was no downloadable content created for the game: you paid your money and you got the full intended experience, there was absolutely no evidence of publisher greed on display, something which is very much a rarity in high-profile games nowadays.
So naturally I’m disappointed at the fact that this situation has changed with The New Colossus, with it being announced that the game will feature a season pass made up of four episodes in which you play as three different characters fighting their own battles against the Nazis. All I can do is hope that MachineGames put enough care and attention into these DLC episodes to make them worthwhile purchases alongside the main game.
For multiple reasons it’s rare that I buy a game on release day, but even with the disappointing DLC situation, The New Colossus is definitely an extremely tempting prospect for me, as not only am I happy to support MachineGames but there’s also the simple fact that I’m really looking forward to seeing B.J.’s story continue – while enjoying the satisfaction of mowing down hordes of Nazi scum, naturally. (I have to draw the line at ordering the special edition, though. Maybe).
We live in times which are not only often cynical and shallow, but in which bigotry and discrimination seem to be on the rise. This is why it makes me happy to see a game like The New Colossus presenting the story and protagonist that it does: he’s a Nazi-killing machine, sure, but more than anything else B.J. Blazkowicz is a good man who knows the difference between right and wrong, who will do anything to protect the people he cares about, and who will stand up to injustice – he’s a man who wants nothing more than peace but is willing to fight his way through Hell to get it if that’s what it takes.
Obviously I don’t play video games just for the stories. But stories in general are important. And stories about good people taking a stand against oppression and tyranny are just as important as they’ve always been.
B.J. deserves his happy ending, God knows he’s earned it, and whatever the end of The New Colossus and the future of the Wolfenstein franchise might hold, I really hope he gets it.
But we’re not there yet. First we’ve got Nazis to kill and a world to save. You say you want a revolution? Damn right.
Author Credit : Alex De-Gruchy Writer and editor of fiction and non-fiction material, covering Video Games, Comic books, prose and radio. See more from Alex on Twitter: @AlexDeGruchy