“Some things are so unexpected that no one is prepared for them.” —Leo Rosten
Enigma codes in Wolfenstein: The New Order unlocked new difficulties for the game, and while they were a curious addition, did not offer too much incentive for collection. By comparison, The New Colossus provides a new application for Enigma codes: they drop from commanders, and when a sufficient number have been accured, they can be decoded to unlock the location of an Übercommander, high-ranking commanders working directly under General Engel. More heavily armoured and armed than standard commanders, Übercommanders oversee entire regions and are hypothetically capable of succeeding General Engel. Thus, eliminating Übercommanders would remove the Nazi presence in the United States, and from the perspective of a continuation, it would mean that the American resistance against the Third Reich would be strengthened after all of the Übercommanders are dealt with. Each mission is set in a familiar area explored in the campaign, and a large number of enemies, including standard commanders, stand between Blazkowicz and the Übercommander. However, while the areas might be familiar, some of them have a new twist to them, being set during a different time of day, or else has seen extensive modifications since Blazkowicz last visited. When all of the Übercommanders are dealt with, players will unlock a special Übercommander mission that is called “Riverside”. Set in a pitch-black bunker with more robots than soldiers, it’s a complete change of pace from the missions previously. The eerily quiet, dark settings seem to conceal a greater evil, and it is with unease that Blazkowicz steps into the bunker, armed with only a flashlight against the enemy that is the lack of light. Fighting through hordes of robots and the occasional soldier, players eventually reach the final Übercommander, who is standing out in an open area overlooking the river, unattended save one Zerstörer guarding him.
In an intense but brief fight, players will take on the Zerstörer and finally, the Übercommander himself, completing the kill-board and ensuring that General Engel’s chokehold over the United States come to an end. Entertaining and concise, Übercommander missions are separate from the campaign and serve to further the story in The New Colossus further, providing players with an additional element to explore in the game. Their primary advantage is conferring upon players an opportunity to backtrack and explore areas further, allowing for collectable items and weapon upgrade kits to be found if they’d previously been missed. Being able to go back and find weapon upgrade kits is a hugely useful feature: players who may have missed them now have the chance of collecting them again. Considering the sheer intensity of the fight awaiting folks who reach the Zerstörer fight on board the Ausmerzer, which is a challenge even with fully-upgrade weapons and contraptions, it is most wise to have weapons that give players all possible options. In combining extended story elements with fair gameplay, the Übercommander missions represent an advancement in The New Colossus, providing an incentive to make use of Enigma Codes and replay missions, in turn giving the game a bit more replayability beyond the original campaign missions.
Screenshots and Commentary
- In the Übercommander missions, the Übercommander’s position is given by a blue outline around the commander signal. Here, I am in the Penthouse by night, rather than evening, and the shift in lighting makes fighting Nazis a great deal more interesting. Prior to each mission, Blazkowicz sets out in a submarine, helicopter or later, to the Venus base, a flying saucer of some sort. After arriving in each area, Grace gives him a bit of a primer, and then it’s off to the main attraction: Nazi killing.
- Here, I return to Mesquite, where the Nazis have turned Blazkowicz’s former home into a film set, where they intend on filming Blazkowicz’s life story. Under the cover of darkness, Blazkowicz must sneak through the guarded set to locate the Übercommander, and looking around, it’s astounding to see just how much has changed since the events of the campaign. It was here where I back-tracked to find one of the weapon upgrade kits: during the chaos of the campaign mission, I did not bother looking for the upgrade kit and so, missed it.
- Stealth is typically the best way of getting through a mission without sustaining heavy damage, but against the likes of Supersoldaten, stealth is pretty ineffectual. The end result is that more often than not, I found myself engaging in firefights. The plus side is that taking out a Supersoldaten gives Blazkowicz a heavy weapon, which can be used to waste any reinforcements that subsequently show up.
- While the campaign did not allow Blazkowicz to draw his guns in downtown Roswell and was set during a parade by day, the Übercommander mission returns Blazkowicz to downtown Roswell at night, amidst streets patrolled by Nazis and Klansman of the KKK. Tempting it might be to sneak up behind one and bury a hatchet into the base of their skull, or else mutilate them with high-powered weapons, the more prudent thing to do is silently dispatch them with a suppressed pistol before breaking off into the alley to the right.
- The Roswell mission was one of the few places in The New Colossus where I ended up unlocking the Ghost achievement, which entails making it through an entire district without triggering the alarm. By nightfall, some of Roswell’s landmarks come to life, including the theatre, which is set to screen a propaganda film. On the topic of films, I’ve been keeping a close eye on Girls und Panzer Das Finale, but the information is about as abundant as information for Half-Life 3, which is to say that it doesn’t exist at all.
- Because it is an utter waste of effort to wonder when Girls und Panzer Das Finale is coming out for the folks who don’t have the disposable income to fly to Japan for each of the six instalments, I’m going to return to The New Colossus; here, I find myself outside of Super Spesh’s All American Diner after sneaking by a massive robot. The front door is closed, and there are several ways of getting in. The most stealthy approach would be to use the constrictor harness and crawl through a vent at ground level, but the battle walker allows one to climb onto the roof and hop into the diner undetected. Players with only the ram shackles could run into a bit of trouble here with noise.
- After some looking around, I worked out the way in by means of the battle walker and managed to sneak into Super Spesh’s diner undetected. By night, the bright lights make the venue an inviting one, and it would have been nice to stop here for a burger and onion rings. However, with Super Spesh gone, there’s no option for food, and after briefly exploring the kitchen to see if there was any food lying around (Blazkowicz can eat food items, such as doughnuts, to regain a small amount of health), I proceed into Super Spesh’s secret hideout.
- Because I did not set off any alarms during this mission, the Übercommander was completely unaware of my presence, and so, I was able to finish him off using a stealth kill. Subsequently, I explored Super Spesh’s hideout and found the weapon upgrade kit hidden in the level; there are some districts where the weapon upgrade kit can only be found when revisiting it on the Übercommander mission, making the Übercommander missions worth replaying.
- I’ve heard that some players were able to get more than the twenty-one weapon upgrade kits available in The New Colossus by exiting the mission and saving after one was found, but there’s little point in collecting more than the maximum, since there are only seven upgradable weapons in the game. Overall while I missed the Marksman rifle, which had excellent optics and a versatile alternate fire mode that turned it into an assault rifle, as well as the double barrel shotgun, The New Colossus brings to the table more versatile weapon upgrades and more flexibility in choosing the path one takes in upgrading their weapons. The shooting overall was generally quite fun.
- I’ve noted in an earlier The New Colossus post that the Lasergewehr would probably be my favourite weapon in the game overall for its sheer power and versatility at almost all ranges. However, as a heavy weapon, it’s limited by its unwieldiness, so for conventional weapons, I would stick to the Sturmgewehr assault rifle: while slower firing than its predecessor in The New Order, the weapon nonetheless has reasonable hipfire and acceptable RPM for close quarters, while the attachment of a marksman optic allows the weapon to transform into a thirty-round marksman rifle.
- I know that today is the release of Yuru Camp△, and I’ve just finished with watching the first episode; I’m saving the rest of my remarks for a proper discussion later, so my first real post of 2018 will deal with Wolfenstein. With this being said, Yuru Camp△ has met expectations in its narrative and visuals, while exceeding expectations with its soundtrack. I’ll aim to have a proper talk for it after I wrap up Yūki Yūna is a Hero: Hero Chapter‘s finale, which is airing tomorrow – a post on my first impressions of Yuru Camp△ would therefore come out either Saturday or Sunday.
- So far, 2018’s been off to a smooth start, with warm weather and a clear set of goals for work. The Steam Winter Sale also ended earlier today, and I think this is the first time since 2013 where I sat out a Steam Sale. This year, my eye is on Far Cry 5, Metro: Exodus and Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, so I’m likely to save for those and in the meantime, play through some titles that I’ve not opened since I picked them up in earlier Steam Sales. For instance, I still have yet to complete the DLC in Valkyria Chronicles and play through Skullgirls.
- The end goal of every Übercommander mission is the collection of a death card from each defeated Übercommander. After players secure it, they are given the option of returning to the Eva’s Hammer, or else linger in the district a bit longer. The latter is definitely an option for players looking to find all the collectibles in the game, now that all hostiles have been properly dealt with.
- Once all of the Übercommanders are taken care of, players unlock the Riverside mission. The mission requires eight enigma codes to unlock, and if one is short enigma codes, the best place to farm for enigma codes is the Penthouse district of New York, where the close quarters make finding commanders a straightforward task. The mission begins normally enough, but as Blazkowicz descends deeper into the Nazi bunker here, he is plunged into total darkness.
- The only light for most of the mission comes from Blazkowicz’s flashlight, as well as any small point lights that have no emissive properties. Even if one is armed to the teeth with all of the fully-upgraded weapons and contraptions, there’s an eerie mood in the bunkers quite unlike anything seen anywhere else in The New Colossus. The first hint that this secret mission exists is that players do not earn the pair of achievements for taking out all of the Übercommanders and completing the kill board after the “last” mission on the map is dealt with.
- The labyrinthine tunnels of the bunker makes it extremely easy to get lost, and occasionally, I found myself going in circles in this area. The combination of the tunnels, coupled with darkness, makes this a mission that has terrified some folks playing through the level, although I would count said individuals as lightweights, since Blazkowicz is sufficiently armed to deal with all threats encountered in the tunnels.
- The minimalistic, barren designs of the concrete walls inside the bunker have led at least one guide to wonder if the mission was originally intended to be a part of the game but removed after, given seemingly incomplete design as evidenced by the bare-bones assets and lack of lighting. However, rather than detracting from the experience, the level design succeeds in creating a sense of unease in players who venture into the black depths of the facility.
- I concede that there might be some jump scares for folks who move faster than they can see with their flashlights, but a careful, methodical playstyle will allow one to make it through the bunkers without much incident. Stealth in this mission is a bit of a mixed bag, since alerting enemies to one’s presence isn’t a good idea, but on the other hand, there are no standard commanders to bring in reinforcements, and the suppressed pistol isn’t particularly useful here.
- Close to the end of the seemingly endless tunnels, I managed to take out a Supersoldaten and promptly took its Lasergewehr, allowing me to push onward into the facility. Soon, I spotted a ladder leading players back to the surface. It’s the first bit of natural light in the level since things began, and standing out in the open is the last Übercommander. However, he’s not alone, being guarded by one Zerstörer. I decided the fastest way to wrap things up was to rush the Übercommander and kill him quickly to grab the death card (which freezes the time) and exit the level before the Zerstörer could waste me.
- Of course, players feeling up for the challenge could try to take on the Zerstörer, but any sort of carelessness will result in a quick death. This brings the first of my two post-campaign The New Colossus posts to an end, and somewhere before January ends, I’ll do a talk on Episode Zero, the first chapter of the DLC. In the meantime, posts coming out in the near future are for Yūki Yūna is a Hero: Hero Chapter‘s finale and my opening impressions of Yuru Camp△. In addition, I will be looking to do a talk on Wake Up, Girls! New Chapter! once its finale comes out (likely on the upcoming Monday) so that I can wrap up the last of the Fall 2017 anime. Finally, because we’re coming close to the ten-year mark after Kotomi’s arc in CLANNAD finished, another post on CLANNAD will be inbound shortly.
One further improvement of the Enigma Codes of The New Colossus is that they are also a bit more straightforward to unlock, being a simple patter-matching exercise. The sum of their contributions to the narrative, ability to allow players a second (or third) chance in unlocking game-changing upgrades and occasionally presenting an area as being different than when first encountered in the campaign mean that overall, The New Colossus is able to make superior use of its Enigma Code and Übercommander mechanic to encourage replay on top of the fact that players can go through the campaign a second time to attempt it using a different special weapon. It’s a pleasant surprise for a standout single player campaign in a market where most campaigns are usually regarded as an afterthought, while not a full game in its own right, the Übercommanders missions ultimately succeed in providing a few additional hours of time spent in The New Colossus. For the folks who’ve gone through The New Colossus already, there’s a pleasant surprise waiting for those who have also taken the time to finish the Übercommander missions if they’ve not already done so, and individuals who’ve yet to finish them will find further incentive to warm up The New Colossus again.