Happy release season! What tends to start with a trickle in August, upgrades to a flow in September, is about to hit the gushing state now that we’re in October. This month is filled with big releases, and while Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus isn’t the first big name to drop in October, it might prove to be one of the best. Here’s a breakdown of 5 things you need to know before taking it for a spin.
It’s still tough, maybe tougher
Wolfenstein: The New Order was a challenging game, even on the recommended ‘Bring ’em on!’ difficulty. Brace yourselves, fans of punishment: The New Colossus might be even tougher than its predecessor. Despite the fact you can still overcharge your health and max out your armour, you’ll drop pretty fast if you don’t respect your enemy in close-quarters shootouts. Playing stealthily is one way to maximise your chances of survival but, eventually, the Nazi scheisse is going to hit the fan and you’ll have to react with guns a-blazing. Match your arsenal to the right Nazi-gibbing ranges to have the best chance of surviving.
Mod support (no, not that kind)
There are multiple approaches available to each combat space. Ninja players will find grates and other ways to get in behind the enemy. For run-and-gun players, it’s worth paying attention to your weapon mods before a fight (where possible). Mods change the utility of particular weapons, which also impacts their usefulness in certain scenarios. Like, you can convert your assault rifle into a semi-automatic sniper rifle, but that removes your option for fully automatic gunning if you enable this mod. Enabling a mod will force you to play to the strengths of that mod, while disabling it can return a gun to its original function. You should do this regularly, because as cool as it is to convert your SMG into a red-hot nine-inch-nail-spewing thing of death, it changes the ballistic trajectory, and requires you to adjust to that.
Verticality is crucial
The New Order had a beautiful mix of old school and contemporary shooting spaces, but The New Colossus is splicing in a healthy dose of verticality. This doesn’t just apply to the different levels where enemies will attack you from—and where you, in turn, can attack them from—it also includes a pair of combat stilts (seriously). They’re called Battle Walkers and double-tapping jump will double BJ Blazkowicz’s height, albeit at the expense of speed. That said, you can now mantle up to that place that was previously hard-to-reach, or pop Nazi noggins over human-height cover. Plus, you have a better angle at attacking the weak point on the back of a Panzerhund.
The combat stilts aren’t the only gadget, either. There are at least two others that you can unlock during the course of the game (though they were automatically unlocked in my preview session, so I can’t tell you the specifics of how or when you’ll get ’em). Fans of run-and-gun who frowned a bit at the Battle Walkers’ decreased mobility will likely enjoy this next one: the Ram Shackles. Use these to bust through cracked walls, or barrel over certain enemy types. Very fun, especially because some of the bigger baddies will put you on your arse if they charge into you. The other one is the wackiest of the lot. The Constrictor Harness lets you slip into impossibly small spaces, which makes it sound like it’s best used for stealth-loving and/or collectable-hunting folk. In truth, I didn’t even know I had it until afterwards, but it’s another example of a wacky MachineGames gadget that can change the way you play.
The story is bonkers
The New Order had a pretty crazy story. In the true spirit of sequel escalation, MachineGames is looking to up the insane in the membrane quotient. There are things like KKK clansmen struggling to impress a Nazi guard with their terrible German. Then there’s an LSD-loving member of the resistance who hallucinates about a cartoon chameleon, and ditches his weapon to ‘safeguard’ his imaginary friend. There’s a bohemian anti-war guy dressed in priest garb (despite not being a priest), who likes to debate his patriotism while a sharpshooting resistance fighter pops Nazi skulls to the tune of a jazz-playing soldier. Finally, there’s at least one instance of inappropriately timed bonking that’s sure to get a laugh. I get the feeling I haven’t seen the full extent of this bonkers tale, and I can’t wait to see it in its entirety.
If there’s anything else you’d like to know about Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer your questions (based on what I’ve played). Otherwise, you can sink your teeth into the madness of Wolfenstein II when it launches on the 27th of October.