Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
After watching the insane game reveal at the Bethesda Showcase, we already knew many of the broad strokes about Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. Behind closed doors at the Bethesda booth, we got to hop on the sticks ourselves to see how MachineGames' ambitious sequel stacks up.
The demo begins roughly five months after BJ and the Kreisau Circle successfully raided Deathshead’s fortress.
Laid up in the infirmary of the U-boat Eva’s Hammer, BJ awakens to the cacophony of gunfire. He stands up and looks at himself in the mirror, examining the mortal wounds he received when Deathshead left him a grenade as a parting gift. Losing his balance, Blazko crashes to the ground and eventually crawls over to the wheelchair. BJ rolls over to the door where a Kreisau fighter is returning fire with the Nazi ambushers. “They’re looking for you!” he cries before handing BJ a machinepistole SMG.
Now armed and mobile, BJ rolls down the corridor returning fire with enemies ducking and covering in doorways. Clearing the room, I scavenge for health packs, but after applying them I notice these boosts don’t last long – the health meter immediately starts ticking back down to 50.
BJ’s a broken man.
I turned the corner and see two Nazis trying to shoot through bulletproof glass to kill me. We both head toward the nearest door to get the engagement going, but suddenly the soldiers are vaporized into a fine blood mist. Finally, we see a familiar face when the resistance scientist and inventor Set Roth pops his head up from another nearby office window and urges BJ to stop moving forward. He turns off the microwave field he used to fend off the Nazi advances and BJ rolls into his office.
Roth’s been separated from the group, and BJ immediately inquires where his lover Anya is. Roth says she’s fending off the Nazi advances with Kreisau Circle leader Caroline Becker. He tells BJ he’s been bedridden for five months and that his kidneys are failing – a dire predicament for the American war machine that keeps on ticking. Roth knows this won’t prevent BJ from piling up Nazi bodies on his way to Anya, so he gives BJ a map and indicates where he set microwave field traps around the U-boat. BJ can turn these on and off to vaporize unsuspecting invaders should they charge his wheelchair.
While looking at the map I page over and examine the perks system featured in The New Colossus. Perks are separated into three tiers – stealth, tactical, and mayhem – instead of four, but otherwise the system looks similar to the setup in The New Order. You must complete unique feats, like killing 10 enemies while having overcharged health, to unlock perks.
I guide BJ through the inner workings of Eve’s Hammer, using gears as platforms to reach higher levels, until I find a conveyor belt that takes me up to the surface. As BJ pushes a button to activate the last lift a Nazi grabs BJ and starts squeezing the life out of him, only to be relieved of his duties by Anya, who shouts “get off my man!”
The two lovers share a tender embrace over the dead body of the dispatched Nazi. Gazing down at Anya’s pregnant belly, he jokes “You’ve gotten so fat.” Anya reveals they are having twins. Once the lift reaches the surface, we see many familiar faces fighting off the Nazi boarding party, including Max Hass, Fergus Reid, and Caroline Becker, who is ripping through enemies in the Da’at Yichud Power Suit. Despite their efforts, the Nazi forces overwhelm Caroline and Fergus, and we come face to face with the head of the ambush team – Frau Engel.
Engel is just as despicable as we remembered when we last saw her in The New Order. She emerges with a new companion at her side, her portly daughter Sigrun. Never one to let an opportunity to shame someone in a public way pass by, Engel rips into her offspring, making fun of her weight and saying she is a disgrace to her bloodline not even worth the effort of a slap to the face.
After the intense fat-shaming session concludes, Engel turns her attention to the Kreisau Circle. She announces that if “Terror-Billy” turns himself in, she will set Caroline and Fergus free. Despite Anya’s urging BJ decides to do just that.
As he moves into the room helmeted Nazi infantrymen, laugh at BJ’s feeble state. The final cutscene begins with Engel belittling her chief rival. “This is what a hero looks like? A useless cripple of a man peeing into a tube?” she chortles.
With Caroline is stripped of her power suit and held captive by a giant Nazi, Frau Engel grabs hold of an ax and prepares to behead the resistance leader, but Sigrun interrupts, reminding her contemptible mother that she agreed to turn Caroline free if BJ surrendered. “But I am setting her free,” Engel says with a sinister smile.
Sigrun’s interruption doesn’t work as she intended. Her mother launches into a diatribe asking why she should keep her word when Sigrun never does, either, shaming her for dropping out of fat camps and hiding snacks when she should be dieting. Instead of beheading Caroline herself, Engel ultimately hands the ax to Sigrun and tells her to do the deed. The demo closes with Sigrun reluctantly raising the ax above her head, with BJ helplessly looking on.
This tantalizing demo gave us everything we wanted from a first-look at Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. We reunited with beloved characters, eviscerated Nazis in clever new ways, and reignited our hate fueled rivalry with an absolutely revolting and deplorable villain. MachineGames delivered one of the most memorable and meticulously crafted hands-on demos of the 2017 E3 conference.
To learn more about Wolfenstein: The New Colossus read Javy’s well-informed mining of the game’s introductory trailer. The game is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on October 27.