“Lady…that the best you got? Then your best won’t do. You’re among wolves now, and these are our woods.” —William “B.J.” Blazkowicz
After returning to Eva’s Hammer, Blazkowicz is treated to a surprise birthday party, and Wyatt subsequently goes missing. Blazkowicz finds him hidden in the shooting range, and after talking him out, the Resistance prepares to mount an assault on the Ausmerzer. During the preparations, Sigrun reprimands Grace when the latter calls her a Nazi one time too many, earning Grace’s respect, and after boarding the Ausmerzer, the Resistance disables its automated defense system. After reaching the upper levels, Blazkowicz destroys a pair of Zerstörer robots defending the bridge, and reunited with Anya, the Resistance succeed in capturing the Ausmerzer. Later, they travel to the studio doing a live broadcoast of General Engel’s interview for television, and Blazkowicz executes her with a hatchet, avenging Caroline. Wyatt gives a speech about the Resistance’s plans to liberate the world from Nazi rule, and Blazkowicz recovers his mother’s ring from Engel, proposing to Anya. This brings The New Colossus‘ campaign to an end after a sixteen hour long journey; it’s been a while ride whose gameplay mechanics and set-pieces have evidently improved upon those of its predecessor. The game simply looks and feels great, from the shooting to the settings. On the other hand, The New Colossus‘ narrative and pacing exude a different feel than those of The New Order: humour is present to a much greater degree to convey a sense of hope that was absent in earlier games, and this seems to mirror that, as Blazkowic works towards rallying the world against Nazi rule, the possibility of returning liberty and freedom to the world merits a few more smiles and laughs. The ending suggests the possibility of a sequel, where Blazkowicz finally realises his wish to live an ordinary life in a world free of Nazi rule.
The New Colossus‘ return to America opened the floor for exploring what things might’ve been like under Nazi rule, illustrating the core element that the United States was built on and its importance in the American identity. Political commentary and so-called attempts to promote a particular perspective aside, The New Colossus shows that America is defined by its freedoms and liberties: America under Nazi rule prima facie seems unchanged, save the fact that flags with the Swastika are flying everywhere, and culture seems to have only diverged somewhat. However, as players explore the game further, hints of the oppressive Nazi regime become increasingly apparent. Mandatory language laws, imprisonment and execution of racial minorities and the constant lack of personal privacy are rampant. Individual liberty is the single most critical aspect of the American identity. This entails the right to express oneself, choose their own leaders, following their own beliefs or the right to be treated equally – under Nazi rule, liberty is nonexistent. This is what Blazkowicz and his resistance are fighting so hard to bring back: it is not customs, pastimes, culture or cuisine, but a firm belief in freedom that defines America. So, the suggestion that The New Colossus is a political commentary on how modern-day America and the Third Reich are no different is untrue, and individuals who would contend otherwise are evidently unable to grasp the bigger picture that The New Colossus conveys in its narrative.
Screenshots and Commentary
- Sigrun’s knowledge of evading the ODIN system allows the Resistance to bring Blazkowicz and Anya close enough to board it, high above the city below. When I first started this mission, my initial inclination was to run for the boarding platform, which was rapidly closing, but this led me to fall to my death. So, I ended up waiting for Anya to open the platform. Because this post deals with the Ausmerzer mission alone, I’ve chosen to go with twenty screenshots rather than thirty.
- With every weapon upgrade available and each of the contraptions upgraded, I finally felt ready to take on the Ausmerzer; the mission starts in the same area that Blazkowicz traversed while trying to disable the electromagnet holding Eva’s Hammer in place during the second mission. I’ve long become familiar with the enemies at this point in time, and I’ve found that the Sturmgewehr, when fully upgraded, is the best weapon in the entire game for its versatility. The jungle-style magazine boosts ammunition capacity, the marksman optics facilitate long-range combat and the armour-piercing rounds makes it possible to eliminate heavy opponents quickly. Combined with a high rate of fire and reasonable hip-fire accuracy, dual-wielding the Sturmgewehr is probably the most useful for dealing with unexpected situations.
- Here, I reach the first of the ODIN terminals, sweeping and clearing anything that moved. The old areas of the Ausmerzer are familiar, but after Blazkowicz reaches the first terminal and enters the password to deactivate half of the weapons, Anya prepares two elevator pods so that they can reach the next control room, set in a new area of the Ausmerzer.
- In German, ausmerzen is a verb for “to weed out” or “eradicate”; “Ausmerzer”, then, is probably taken to mean “Eradicator”, befitting of the airship’s purpose. Once the first terminal was found, I found myself facing a horde of soldiers and switched over the the Kampfpistols, emptying nearly my entire stock of ammunition on them. Similar to The Old Blood, there are few occasions in The New Colossus where these explosive launchers are really able to shine: the damage makes the Kampfpistoles best suited for crowd control and damaging heavier opponents, but ammunition is scarce. For their power, Kampfpistole rounds are wasted on most soldiers.
- A Supersoldaten begins attacking the pods and rips the top off the one that Blazkowicz is riding, but I came prepared. In TheRadBrad’s playthough, he used the Dieselgewehr to kill it, but the blast damage whittled at his armour. Conversely, I struck with the Sturmgewehr: its armour-piercing rounds made quick work of the Supersoldaten and dealt no splash damage to me. After reaching this point, it’s a massive firefight to clear the area of Nazi soldiers.
- The ram shackles are powerful enough to reduce victims into a pile of meat and blood: after locating the second ODIN control center, I sprinted in and ran towards a soldier in here, who met the same fate as Corpse Party‘s Mayu Suzumoto. While both similarly feature their share of blood and gore, the separation between the two titles is that in The New Colossus, players are responsible for turning folks into bloody chunks, while in Corpse Party, players usually find classmates reduced to the same and must evade the supernatural forces responsible. Consequently, if Blazkowicz were introduced into Blood Corpse with his superior arsenal, the game would necessarily be reclassified as an action adventure – even the likes of Sachiko would be no match against the Dieselkraftwerk.
- Will I play Corpse Party, one asks? The game normally retails for 17 CAD and reaches a minimum price of 11.04 CAD on a discount. It is not compatible with a Mac and has low system requirements, while reviews are exceedingly positive. Being an RPG with multiple endings that require some thought to get right, rather than a steady aim and quick reflexes, my bet is that I’ll end up with every bad ending conceivable if I play Corpse Party because my gaming skillset is making headshots, not working out optimal decisions in games with branching storylines.
- It took me a little while to work out where to go after the ODIN systems were disabled, and in the end, I noticed a crane reaching towards the centre of this room, allowing Blazkowicz to access a pod. Climbing up a ladder here will finally take Blazkowicz to the Ausmerzer’s upper deck, and it is here that the final level begins to shine, matching the spectacle seen in The New Order‘s final mission to assault Deathshead’s compound. In The New Colossus, the visuals are even more impressive.
- While presented as a terrifying flying fortress, it is here that players see for themselves the Ausmerzer’s arsenal: large guns are mounted on the deck for bombardment, and the airship has a distinct feeling similar to that of a ocean-faring battleship. With the open skies above and a large city below, the scale in this level is truly breathtaking. Of course, there’s no time to admire the scenery: the entire airship remains to be captured at this point.
- The Zittadel robots no longer intimidate me, and while I could have destroyed it using conventional weapons, it seemed so much more fun to pick up the Lasergewehr and annihilate it in a head-on attack. Here, I focus fire on the missile launcher to deprive it of a long range assault: AP rounds from the Sturmgewehr are effective, but having a Lasergewehr makes this battle trivially straightforwards. Because they were so entertaining to use, I have an excess of 300 kills with heavy weapons in The New Colossus, whereas in The New Order, I stuck with standard weapons.
- One of the perks available only in The Old Blood was the fact that players could carry the MG46 machine gun in their inventory, had they accumulated enough kills with it in the game. The weapon was only marginally more powerful than standard weapons and as such, I never did run too often with it. Conversely, in The New Colossus, heavy weapons were definitely worth using, and while each of the different weapons have their unique points, the Lasergewehr is the most versatile: the Dieselgewehr and Hammergewehr are both fun but better suited for close ranges, while the Übergewehr requires a bit of skilful timing to use owing to its slow firing rate.
- With my heavy weapons perk levelled to the maximum possible, I was able to carry a ridiculous amount of ammunition for them. The slower movement speed was offset by the vast amount of firepower available, and unlike The Old Blood, these weapons definitely feel powerful. It becomes possible to hold down the trigger and watch as untold amounts of destruction unfolded; the deck here was cleared in no time at all.
- One detail that I began noticing with the Schockhammer is that, when the rotating barrels are engaged to allow the shotgun to fire all three barrels at once, the weapon goes through three rounds per pull of the trigger, and this is reflected in the shells being chambered in the magazine. Subtle elements, such as weapon chambering animations, never cease to impress me; I am always fond of games that make the effort to add these animations to weapons.
- The sheer amount of chaos on board the Ausmerzer is such that I’m glad that there are no weapon upgrade kits here to collect: the mission’s entire focus is on capturing the Ausmerzer. Compared to the specific weapon upgrades of The New Order and The Old Blood, the kit-based system of The New Colossus is superior in that it offers players a choice in upgrading their weapons to best fit their play-style. While natural progression will eventually see all of the upgrades unlocked, providing options allow players to pick and choose their preferred weapons to upgrade early in the game.
- I acquire another Übergewehr on board the Ausmerzer, and look back on the parts of the ship that I’ve already progressed through. I’ve heard people state that the Übergewehr is a black hole generator, but this is ludicrous. Documentation properly describes the weapon as using a combination of electricity and diesel fuel to create a powerful energy blast capable of igniting and vapourising even heavily-armoured enemies outright. Overall, the heavy weapons of The New Colossus are much more fun to use than the MG46 and MG60 seen in its predecessors.
- When the doors open and pods containing Supersoldaten were launched, I immediately began charging the Übergewehr. There’s a small mechanical indicator on the weapon that shows whether or not the weapon is fully charged: the Übergewehr won’t fire until this indicator is filled, and in the heat of battle, it can be a little difficult to determine what one’s firing state is. Here, I use the weapon to one-shot a Supersoldaten using the Übergewehr’s main energy blast. After a number of these pods are launched, two Zerstörer (“Destroyer”) robots, the level’s bosses, come out in full force. It’s the toughest fight I’d faced in The New Colossus, even with fully upgraded weapons and contraptions.
- Armed with Übergewehrs of their own, the Zerstörer robots can one-shot Blazkowicz. The Übergewehr, while powerful enough to kill everything else in The New Colossus in one shot, will not destroy the Zerstörer as easily. While slow moving and slow to fire, the fight is compounded by the endless number of soldiers and Supersoldaten that join the Zerstörer. This fight was absolutely overwhelming and it took me a few attempts to get it right: victory is not achieved by superior firepower (least of all with heavy weapons, which slow the player down) alone, but rather, clever use of the available environment to evade and gain better positioning.
- I managed to kill one Zerstörer using the Übergewehr, which earned me an achievement. The second one, I destroyed in conjunction with the unending reinforcements using the Sturmgewehr. There’s an entire floor below the top deck, and escaping in here to avoid enemy fire, as well as thinning out the standard soldiers, are an essential trick to completing this battle. The boss fight is much easier with the Ram Shackles, since players can batter soldiers to death while beating a hasty escape. After I figured out the environment, and fell back on the old DOOM strategy of shooting the remaining Zerstörer until it was destroyed, I finished this section to finally capture the Ausmerzer.
- With the Ausmerzer under the Kreisau Circle’s control, there is one final loose end to deal with: General Engel herself. By a bit of a hilarious coincidence, one of my old classmates has taken this surname. The irony comes from the fact that I did not particularly get along with this individual or their friends (followers, really) too well, since they regarded themselves as being the height of popularity and set the standards for what was “in”, whereas I believe that people should make their own decisions regarding brands, life choices and politics.
- This was the easiest final fight ever: Engel does not stand a chance against Blazkowicz, and this was one of the most violent things I’d seen since The Animatrix‘s Second Renaissance. On the flip-side, Blazkwicz avenges both Caroline and Super Spesh, setting the stage for an opportunity to finally liberate the world. I’ve heard negative reception towards the cliffhanger ending, which is reminiscent of Halo 2, but the possibility of getting another Wolfenstein game a few years down the line is an exciting one. I look forwards to seeing how this journey ends. With The New Colossus‘ campaign at an end, I will be returning in the future to talk about two other aspects of The New Colossus not covered during my campaign run. Looking at the calendar, we’re now a month away from Christmas. There’s quite a lot to do before Christmas arrives, but I look forwards to a peaceful Christmas with family that I foresee spending in Battlefront II or The Division, as well as relaxing with a good book in hand.
Overall, my final verdict for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is that this is a game well worth the price of admission: while perhaps not quite as focused as its predecessors from a narrative perspective, the story nonetheless fits together in a satisfactory manner to reinforce the idea that Blazkowicz’s war is finally beginning to turn in a favourable direction. Between the world-building that further explores what a world under Nazi rule might be like and a large cast of characters that offers no shortage of humour to the journey, The New Colossus might not have the same sense of sombreness or urgency of its predecessor, but it replaces this with hope, suggesting that a world liberated from Nazi rule might very well be close at hand. This looks to be setting in stage a continuation, and I would welcome another instalment in the Wolfenstein franchise. In conjunction with generally solid gameplay (the game is an overall improvement over its predecessor in every department except for indication that damage is being sustained) and fantastic audio-visual elements, it was a superbly entertaining journey to pick up weapons and absolutely shred Nazis. With The New Colossus now in the books, there’s actually still a few things remaining before I can say I’ve fully finished the game: I’ve got a few Übercommanders left to finish off, and because I bought The New Colossus on Day One, I got Episode Zero to complete, which serves as an introduction to each of Joseph Stallion, Jessica Valiant and Gerald Wilkins, who are playable characters in the upcoming DLC.