Our next podcast recording (24.3.19) - 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

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Our next podcast recording (24.3.19) - 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by JaySevenZero » January 13th, 2019, 12:57 pm

Here's where you can contribute your memories and opinions of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

Friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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Re: 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by seansthomas » February 9th, 2019, 7:35 am

I was incredibly excited about buying this on Switch the day it came out. I'd heard great things about The New Order and getting this game to even play on a Switch looked like such an incredible achievement, I wanted to support the developers.

And the conversion that the team at Panic Button did was fairly incredible at launch. Supposedly it's even better now post update. Despite some rough edges here and there, I spent several hours wondering how this little handheld was producing graphics of this ilk. It looked incredible in its key moments.

Technical achievement aside though, I didn't find it to be a very good game, more an interactive FMV sequence interspersed with shooting. The core FPS mechanics felt very imprecise and dated, enemy variation poor, the path through the game incredibly linear, the base submarine a bafflingly designed space I never managed to navigate my way around* and there was no replay value at all. I rarely sell games but this one went the day after completion.

And is that story worth experiencing? Possibly...? I like the premise of exploring a world where the Nazi's won the war and seeing the consequences. It made for some brilliant sequences with occasional real shocks, horrible characters, inventive ideas and great set pieces.

It's s hard one to nail down. I felt like I constantly went from finding the tone a bit sensationalist and designed for click bait to genuinely heartbreaking or thought provoking.

One minute I'm feeling unease at a diner scene making me thankful for my freedom, the next I'm wondering why a blood covered female character is taking her clothing off to seemingly only fulfil various teenage boys' fantasies. It is a technicolour, stupid rollercoaster ride. Many of the 'heroes' fates were viscerally shocking and the now infamous Hitler scene was a real highlight I recall even now, largely down to its art direction. That was the real highlight of the game for me, reminding me of many Hollywood blockbusters in its imagination and attention to detail. Seeing New Orleans decked out in Nazi regalia, walking around futuristic yet retro skyships and space stations after just battling in oak panelled courtrooms was amazing. The art direction was the real star of the game.

I was ultimately left utterly baffled by Wolfenstein 2. Simultaneously stupid and smart, daring and boring, original and old fashioned. Yet despite all this criticism, it remains one of the games that's most vividly stayed with me this console generation.


*- I'm conscious that I contribute to a great many of these shows and many people will have more interesting things to say about this game than I, as I'm on the fence about it. So if you were to use one piece of correspondence from me, I'd probably highlight the following:

The submarine hub level was the greatest challenge I faced in the game. Tougher than any enemy, more confusing than any environmental puzzle. I never knew where I was going, who resided where or how to find areas I'd stumbled upon multiple times before. Navigating it was an exercise in wandering around aimlessly for ages and hoping a solution presented itself. I was close to googling a guide multiple times just to find objective markers. I'm unsure if it was deliberately created that way to add claustrophobic puzzlement or whether I'm the only person who completely failed to fathom it's inner workings, but that submarine felt like a lengthy, meandering forced delay in an intense storyline that constantly asked for urgency.

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Re: 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by xbenblasterx » February 11th, 2019, 5:54 pm

Having really enjoyed the return of the Wolfenstein series with The New Order, The New Colossus was a day one purchase for me. It was everything i expected it to be, but sadly nothing more, The New Order was a real shock to the system and reintroduced a few mechanics lost to the days of 90's PC shooters, but The New Colussus sadly brought very little the table in terms of gameplay.

Despite this Machine Games have done an excellent job in fleshing out the world of BJ, exploring the sub and speaking with the various characters on-board was easily one of my most enjoyable moments with this game.

It was a fun if not entirely 'brand new' experience from start to finish, and if BJ does get a third outing i'd like to see the same care and attention paid to the world building, also give the gameplay itself.

Really looking forward to this show,
Keep up the excellent work!

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Re: 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by Simonsloth » February 13th, 2019, 3:47 pm

I remember the point in the Wolfenstein: The New Order where I felt this was something different, something special. It was very near the beginning when you are pinned to the floor and asked to choose which of your kinsman, your friends should die. I recall switching back and forth not being able to choose. This wasn’t Mass Effect where there was a good or bad choice. There was bad or there was bad. I felt helpless and it’s a feeling I have rarely had. A feeling where I had no control over the situation.

Video games usually tell us there is a way out of any situation that the hero will triumph against adversity and save their nearest and dearest whatever the odds. Wolfenstein: The New order and to a greater extent Old colossus prey upon that idea.

I love the shooting. I love the stealth. I love the feeling of overcoming the odds when stacked against me but the best parts of Wolfenstein are the parts where I had no control. The parts where I felt helpless. Being physically helpless or restrained whilst Frau Engel taunted me or perfomed atrocities I could not prevent was emasculating in a way conventional video games are not traditionally. She was a powerful, fantastically awful female antagonist in a company of a handful I can recall in popular media.

That being said the most powerful moment for me was the courtroom sequence where the game toys with you, a moment I appeared to have full control of. It treats you to the steepest difficulty spike I can remember in a modern game in which you break free of your shackles in the courtroom and shoot your way through countless enemies using the precious little ammo you can collect from fallen foes. It’s a rollercoaster ride of pure grit and determination to the most perfect audio accompaniment. After many a retry i finally did it, a true punch the air moment of revelry only to encounter William’s mother who surely couldn’t be there. Oh no. Slowly the realisation crept in that this wasn’t real. This was William’s dream, my heroic fantasy, my videogame assumption. I had to escape. Surely? The subsequent revelation as the stark cold reality that I was about to executed came to the fore was as powerful a moment in a videogame of this type as I can remember. Maybe I’m a sucker, a tad naive perhaps but Machinegames drew me into the impossible escape narrative to such a degree that reality made me sick to my core. Until that is that BJ’s head is rescued. Silly, ludicrous, impossible but a pure euphoric moment and extremely clever.

The game is a solid 8/10 in terms of mechanics, structure and design but it is the moments within this game that elevate it above its peers. To draw comparisons with Doom I would say that it does the basics in an inferior fashion but the moments, those clever clever moments are burned into my brain and make this game truly unforgettable.

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Re: 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by The Baboon Baron » February 18th, 2019, 11:12 am

I finished Wolfenstein 2 yesterday evening, and I was relived when the credits ran. Not that its bad, it’s mostly competent old school shooter, but it had not held my attention or interest throughout my play through.

I enjoyed New Order, and the subsequent follow ups immensely- they did what DOOM 2016 did very well, they took an old school approach to shooters and put it into a new setting, allowing for a whole new generation to run and gun with reckless abandon. However, this outing for BJ had little of the charm or the technical scrutiny that made the earlier versions so enjoyable.

Tonally its two separate games- one of a man broken by the war, limping on because he doesn’t know any different, a product of child abuse dragging as may Nazi’s as he can to the grave. Then suddenly he’s got a new body, and the game lurches back to B-movie, Rob Zombie-esque silliness. I’ve no problem with either, but the game ached from not knowing what it wanted to be. Case in point, who even was the “New Colossus”? It might be the main villain, Frau Engel, but in a game where you can curb stomp Hitler on Venus, was she a Colossus really?

Superb scene setting was wasted for generic shooter action. Scene’s like the Klu Klux Klan walking around in broad daylight, chit chatting with SS officers was Philip K. Dick levels of powerful juxtaposition, but these are thrown aside for ANOTHER slog through A machine gun grey Nazi facility. Similarly wasted was the New Orleans section, when BJ searches through the ruins of a once majestic city for the last pocket of resistance… and then finds them with little difficulty. A waste to say the least, as the other editions would have had some epic boat ride along the Mississippi chased by a Robotic Robert E. Lee belching flames or something equally, delightfully mental.

Further to my objections I found it horribly unfair. I gradually dropping down the difficulties because of cheap enemy plays or because of the mechanics. Re-spawning with 20 health next to an enemy got old quickly, as did the broken “lean” function and limited field of view. Or perhaps I’m not very good at FPS’s, but I still found my fun severely limited when insta-kills were so common on what was meant to be the “normal” setting.

Wolfenstein 2 was disappointing, it could not quite decide what it wanted to be, and as a result fantastic art and locations where wasted in favour for corridor shooting and spiking difficulty. When volume 3 emergences, I hope Machine games realise you can be either Serious Sam, or Call of Duty, but never both. Slaughtering Nazi’s should never be this dull.

3WR- nicht so gut

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Re: 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by Magical_Isopod » February 19th, 2019, 12:49 pm

I wanted to like Wolfenstein 2. I really did. I liked the first entry for its bombastic action hero nonsense. I liked liberating little pockets of Europe, and putting a boot firmly to face of fascism. It was exciting, it was *badass*... And it was held back by overlong waves of bullet sponges enemies. Narratively, it was great. But it had room to improve - and that was exciting.

So that's the template we've set: Cool setting, gameplay needs some work. The frustration that I felt, then, when I came to understand I'd be playing as an exceptionally frail BJ Blazkovics for the entire first half of the game.

Wolfenstein 2 is a very poorly designed game. It may have been patched since, but at launch, the game was so poorly balanced on console that playing on anything but the easiest difficulty was borderline impossible. Is that the intent? Perhaps. But it wasn't fun to play. When the alleged "baby" difficulty still has you sitting through 3 minute load screens after 30 seconds of cautious gameplay every time your dude gets blown to smithereens, it fundamentally loses that "badass" quality and just becomes an exercise in extreme tedium.

What annoys me most, though, is how the series wimped out when it came to being politically poignant in any way. Like, okay, the first one was not exactly a new and exciting hot take on fascism in Europe - it's the first one, it's setting the stage for space Nazis and magical Jewish technology.
But when you move your setting to the United States, a country where fascism is very real TODAY, where fascism was very real in the 60s, and where there are handfuls people in 2019 who are actually *proud* to call themselves Nazis, the best you can do is bumbling comic relief KKK guys? Seriously? I wanted to have some Malcolm X level of populist hatred toward the ruling status quo. I wanted to shoot McCarthyists and White Power assholes in the face. The game is set in America, but says almost nothing about America - philosophically, it's just a retread of "Nazis are bad". Well yeah. They are. But they're a hell of a lot scarier when you realize your casually racist neighbour would actually support the Third Reich, given that chance. They're a lot scarier when you realize there are people in government *right now* who are a soft summer breeze away from legislating work camps and death squads. This game was a missed opportunity, and I will forever spite it for taking the wimpy route out of taking a stand against fascism, in a series about fighting fascism.

There were a handful of good scenes though. Having BJ's head cut off and transplanted onto a new body had me shouting "this is stupid" over and over again in an increasingly higher pitch while laughing hysterically. Being able to kill a disgusting, impish Hitler was good fun. And that whole ending sequence where they break into the TV studio and show a real nasty antagonist who's boss... Phew lad. Me and my girlfriend at the time legit cheered, that was phenomenally well paced.

But on the whole, the game's kinda forgettable. If they make a third one, I'll keep an eye out for the marketing. If they're willing to risk offending modern fascists (God forbid, right?) and make a game with sharper teeth, I'll give it a go. But if the intent is to merely deliver a commercial product with nothing to say, there are much better shooters available.

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Re: 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by Kiyomi » February 26th, 2019, 11:11 am

I was caught off-guard by the first game, and never expected to find so much depth in what was basically a linear FPS. It was inventive, stylish and narratively felt fresh, with some solid-if-uninspired shooting. Where The New Colossus falls apart in comparison is that it doesn't really up the stakes or create any new tension. In the first game, BJ feels like a wanted man, and after the prologue he's thrust into a horrifying world where the Nazis have won and this creates a great sense of thrust to the story as you try to sneak into Nazi territory to find and aid the resistance. It feels dangerous, not only for BJ but for the crew you assemble and grow to care about.

Almost none of this exists for The New Colossus, with the story dispatching a major character from the previous game (Caroline) after a couple of hours and immediately serving up a surrogate in the form of Grace, whose leadership of the resistance sometimes feels unearned and misplaced, even if she's the only new character worth mentioning. Grace merely feels like the shell of a stronger character; plenty of attitude and sass but because we never get to know her before she's fast-tracked into the role of resistance leader, nothing she says carries much weight, and this goes for other characters too: how am I supposed to care about what you've lost when I've never known what you had? There's no before and after state in the world of The New Colossus, no sense that there was anything before the Nazis took over and no real sense of where things might go after they're defeated.

Machine Games does its' best work when they take control away from the player: it allows them to handcraft sequences that can be made to work in a multitude of ways. Frau Engel is still as hideous as ever and a reminder of what made the first game so horribly effective, and although she seemingly dies in a satisfying way, the game dumps you back out to the ship to carry on finding Nazi commanders to kill, thus destroying any narrative notion that what you've been doing for the past 10 hours actually matters.

"Facism in America" as a topic for introspection is only really broached superficially with the diner scene, and in a time of Trump and growing right-wing nationalism across the world, the idea that a developer can pick and choose which aspects of it to fit their world feels like a misreading of the room. Facism in the real world is more pervasive and cunning than is ever represented here, and no-one apparently ever asks quite how America would've so easily given itself over to the extremity of Nazism. I suspect the answer is perhaps a little too close to home, a little too real.

Combine the weightless story with some of the decidedly uninteresting level design and what you get is a game that often feels like it didn't need to be made, and if it did, fails to carry the torch of its' predecessor while also failing to address the very real and very present issues of the real world.

[Sorry for the lack of brevity, Jay!]

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Re: 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by CynicBang » February 26th, 2019, 3:43 pm

Having never had regular access to a gaming PC when I was younger, I didn't really have any experience of Wolfenstein before jumping onto the series with 'The New Order' and then 'The Old Blood' on PS4. Having recently spent a lot of my time back then playing online shooters, I was feeling a bit fatigued with always online gameplay and went looking for some solid single player games and instantly fell in love with the 'old school' FPS feel of the games.

Considering myself a fan of the series by the time Wolfenstein II rolled around, I was so excited to be able to jump on the latest entry of the series along with everyone else. The game launched to warm reviews and I picked it up very shortly after it dropped on PS4.

One thing that struck me right away about The New Colossus was just how unflinchingly brutal the game could be. The previous games never shied away from nasty portrayals of violence, but moments such as the flashback sequences where you are exposed to the cruelty of BJ's father towards his family - and later the vile treatment of Frau Engel towards her own daughter added a really disturbing note to the game. For me, Frau Engel is up there as possibly one of the best videogame villians of all time. One of the opening scenes which shows her laughing and parading the severed head of your beloved comrades perfectly showcased just how evil Engel and this regime is at heart.

That said, despite it's very dark subject matter the game also contains some genuinely laugh out loud moments and isn't afraid to have fun with some of the more 'out there' parts of it's story, be it severed heads on new bodies, robotic arms or Hitler's casting call on Mars. Between these sequences and cutscenes and exploring the living areas of the U-Boat you will come across some genuinely touching and/or funny moments that stayed with me as some of the most memorable of the game.

Wolfenstein II is definitely amongst my favourite single player experiences of the last few years and I am genuinely excited to see where Machine Games take the franchise with 'Young Blood' and beyond.

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Re: 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by HMSPolio » March 12th, 2019, 3:18 pm

After the pleasant surprises of MachineGames' Wolfenstein: TNO and TOB, 'Colossus' was a day one purchase for me.

I loved the story and presentation, but the gameplay was a drag.

The cutscenes manage to be glorious and absurd, poignant and funny, but the actual game part is a drab, frustrating affair. The enemies, guns, and environments seem to be content in doing the bare minimum to be engaging, whilst the story works overtime.

I didn't hate it, and found the story joyful, but it's the only game I've ever traded in.

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Re: 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by gallo_pinto » March 12th, 2019, 5:10 pm

I loved The New Colossus. There were so many “Wait, what???” scenes and those moments propelled me to the end. I also loved the cast of characters in this game. I thought Grace was a fantastic addition and the clarinet and booze fueled argument between BJ and Horton Boone was an utter delight.

My only real complaint (well, aside from that credits song) is that I think it’s a bit too hard on Normal difficulty. I enjoy difficult games, but the rebooted Wolfenstein series feels like the Uncharted series to me. I’m here for the bananas set pieces and story beats and I find the game’s difficulty spikes can hurt the momentum.

Three Word Review: Jaw on floor

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Re: Our next podcast recording (24.3.19) - 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Post by Steve Arran » March 19th, 2019, 2:54 pm

I originally picked up the rebooted Wolfenstein games as I was looking for an antidote all the Uber realistic shooters that had been saturating the market in recent years (obviously debatable if some of CODs latest offerings could be classed as ‘realistic’). Sometimes you just want to shoot Nazis and have them explode in an OTT shower of gore. What I didn’t expect was that by the end of two games I would be extremely attached to the characters and truly emotionally effected.
BJ Blazkowicz has come a long way from being the poor mans Doom Guy- a 2D head at the bottom of the screen- developing into a well rounded human being with a touching backstory. Likewise the villains are far more 3D than the original MechaHitler could even have dreamed of. And oh the ridiculous one upmanship of it all! Set piece upon set piece threatening to tip over into atrocious, but never quite falling off the ledge.
For all the fun I had blasting racists and blowing up all manner of machinery, it was the encounter with Blazkowicz’s father that lingers most prominent in my mind. This odious man, too useless to have achieved for himself and too craven to stand up to true evil, brought to mind the attitude of far too many people on both sides of the Atlantic living today. For all the melodrama of the game as a hole- and it is a truly brilliant power fantasy/piece of escapism- I think it is important to take a moment and reflect on Wolfenstein’s wider themes. The protagonists are true fighters, battling for good against an unimaginable evil. Sorry to end on a downer, but let’s hope we are never put into their position.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (24.3.19) - 362: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossu

Post by Bakers_12 » March 21st, 2019, 5:44 pm

The new colossus is probably the best anti right wing game in a worrying time when right wing thinking is on the increase and the games industry seams to want to shy away from politics in fear of upseting the people who might purchase their games for that this game should be congratulated. The satire of such bigoted and small minded thinking is spot on from racist nationalists trying to learn German to aplease their new “liberators/overlords” to newspaper clippings that explaine how an idiot could get to be president though no skill and from force of porsonality to forward their ideals, mirroring the currant situation the US is in.

The minute to minute gamplay has not changed that much from the first game but the difficulty does seam ramped up from the first making some sections seam to offer unfair death out far to freely. Some of the replay options I enjoys giving you a chance to see levels from a different angle.

The story much like the first is quite bear bones but the dialogue and cutscenes are top notch. They have a slightly different feel from the englollious bastards feel on the first too and almost exploitation film of 70s.

I think the biggest problem of this game is the previous game was such a surprise with its quality that we overlooked some of its shortcomings , this game sadly does not have the same luxury.


Oh let’s not forget this game lets you stomp Hitlers head in with your size 10s. Top stuff.

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