21 things you need to know about Wolfenstein 2
From the opening moments when a battered BJ Blazkowicz heaves himself into a wheelchair and battles back the Nazi scum that’s infiltrated Eva’s Hammer (the Resistance’s submarine/ base), Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus never lets up. With intense action and an engaging story, the game leads players on a chilling journey through the occupied American Territories. We recently invited media and content creators to play two missions in the game, and they’ve since released their own videos and impressions. Meanwhile, we wanted to share our own full playthrough videos with you. Divided into three parts, these videos take you through “Reunion” (the first mission) and “Roswell” (about halfway through the game). Check them out in the story below.
Naturally, there was a lot to see and do in these two missions – and a lot that you might have missed. So we broke it all down for you, with 21 things you need to know about Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
1. Roll call. He might be in a wheelchair at the start of the game, but that won’t limit BJ Blazkowicz. “The way the player controls the wheelchair is very important to us,” says Executive Producer Jerk Gustafsson. “You can move forward. You can roll backward. You can roll to the side. You can even strafe in the wheelchair. You have full control of this vehicle and, of course, you can shoot and use grenades as well.”
2. Step up. OK, maybe there are some limitations, like starting out with a maximum of 50 health (rather than the customary 100). And it’s not so easy to roll up stairs, for example. But that’s where clever level design comes in. From conveyor belts to massive rotating cogs, Eva’s Hammer has all kinds of alternates to the standard staircase. “Obviously, steps or ladders are very difficult if you’re in a wheelchair,” Gustafsson says. “But we have a lot of different ways of getting around, which I think are super fun and entertaining.”
3. Unbreakable. Having BJ start The New Colossus in a wheelchair isn’t just a nod to his condition coming out of the previous game. It also shows Blazkowicz’s indomitable spirit. “Even though BJ is severely injured and broken, you never break him mentally,” Gustafsson says. “He always gets things done.”
4. Partners. Anya is also back, and now she’s pregnant with twins. But that won’t stop her from being a total badass. We get a glimpse of this at the end of Reunion (the first mission), when Anya extricates BJ from a sticky situation by shooting a Nazi solider in the back of his head. “In the first game, Anya always wanted to fight the Nazis, but she didn’t know how,” says Creative Director Jens Matthies. “Then this warrior came into her life and she was able to learn from BJ – learn to do the things she wanted to do. In this game, Anya’s goals are realized. There is a lot of badassery in this one.”
5. The big bad. The other woman in BJ’s life, Frau Engel, also returns – and she has a bone to pick with BJ. While she’s evil through and through, you get a taste of just how vile she can be thanks to the way she treats her beleaguered daughter Sigrun. Go ahead and watch her scene toward the end of Reunion and tell us if you didn’t wince when Frau Engle berated Sigrun for her private diary – and her diet.
6. “I like your style, Americans.” Nothing can prepare you for your first time seeing small-town Roswell, New Mexico, under Nazi control. Nazi flags are draped on buildings. Propaganda posters are pasted on walls. Even the music, food and TV shows now reflect the new regime. But perhaps the most chilling moment is a quick exchange between a Nazi soldier and two KKK members fully decked out in white robes. “I like your style, Americans,” the Nazi says. Oof.
7. High tech. While the game is set in 1961, the Nazis have access to futuristic technology, which is reflected not only in their soldiers and weaponry, but in the environment itself. Spotted in Roswell: multiple drones hovering above the streets, and a robot on rails that’s tending tables in a diner.
8. German or else. Also in that same diner, a young boy is being quizzed by his mother about his German lessons. It’s all in preparation for the Great Changeover Day, when the American Territories must fully adopt the German language. “They are switching the language to German and subverting all of the American symbols,” Matthies says. “All of these things are done to demonize the free America and glorify the Nazi ideology.”
9. A hunted man. Known as Terror-Billy, BJ is an icon of the resistance and is being hunted by Nazis everywhere. Hence, the wanted posters pasted to the diner wall, along with Blazkowicz’s face on a TV screen above the lunch counter.
10. Rally the resistance. What’s BJ doing in that diner anyways? He’s meeting with Super Spesh, one of the new characters in the game. And if you thought the returning cast was phenomenal, wait’ll you spend some time with the American resistance fighters. “Super Spesh is not a stable person, but he’s on your side,” says Senior Game Designer Arcade Berg. “He’s just a fantastic piece of entertainment.”
11. In command. The battle in Area 52 is also the first glimpse of the game’s improved Commander system. Like before, you have to find the commanders in a level and kill them before they notice you, in order to prevent them from calling in reinforcements. “In The New Colossus, the commanders can now call for reinforcements several times, not just once or twice,” Gustafsson explains. “So they are even more important to kill. Also, every commander in The New Colossus now carries an enigma code. So, for each commander you kill, you can also get some important information.”
12. Stealth, tactical, assault. The best way to kill a commander? Sneak up on him. Of course, it isn’t always easy to stay stealthy. And when all hell breaks loose, mayhem ensues. Once again, The New Colossus supports three equally viable and interchangeable ways to play – including a tactical approach that marries some of the best of the stealth and assault gameplay.
13. Diesel powered. In this particular playthrough, we show off one of the two weapons that are available depending on whether you pick Wyatt or Fergus to join you in your adventure. The Dieselkraftwerk fires sticky canisters (filled with Nazi diesel), which can be remotely detonated. If you chose Fergus instead, you’d play the game with the Laserkraftwerk, which fires high-energy laser beams that can melt through metal.
14. Double trouble. While BJ could dual-wield in the previous game, now he can freely dual-wield, mixing and matching different weapons. We see a lot of this in the gameplay videos: using a tactical weapon in one hand, and power weapon in the other; a precision weapon in one, and a spray-and-pray machine gun in the other; and sometimes just doubling up on the heavy firepower for an all-out frontal assault.
15. New enemies. You’ll need the versatility that free dual-wielding delivers, because The New Colossus includes a heaping helping of new foes. Pay close attention to the UberSoldat, a fast-moving, laser-shooting Nazi cyborg who can leap through a level and snipe at BJ from a chest cannon while clinging to walls.
16. Bumped up baddies. BJ won’t just face new enemies; many of the foes from the first game will make a comeback in The New Colossus. But beware: the returning soldiers have all been bumped up. “They are a little bit bigger and more intimidating,” Gustafsson says. “There is no cannon fodder in The New Colossus. Every enemy, starting with the most basic soldier, is challenging – and fun to kill, of course.”
17. Ax to grind. Speaking of fun, few things can top the melee kills in Wolfenstein. Replacing the knife from the first game (and the metal pipe from The Old Blood DLC) is the hatchet. Why a hatchet? In part because it fits into the world: you can find fire hatchets liberally placed in almost any environment. But also because it’s just more… brutal. “You can do a takedown and then use the hatchet to cut off a limb, which is a very rewarding feeling,” Gustafsson says. “Especially when you do it on a commander.”
18. Heavy handed. Sometimes dual-wielding isn’t enough. In those cases, you can pick up a Lasergewehr from a fallen SuperSoldat, and fire back at your foes with a high-energy laser beam. And that’s just one of a handful of two-handed weapons you’ll find and use in short bursts against the big bads.
19. Pick ups. Nazis might be lurking around every corner, but try to take a moment to explore. Not only will you find new areas – and new ways to take down your foes – but the environment is full of cool collectibles, like helmets and enigma codes.
20. Big bosses. Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, the gameplay demo ends with a battle against a Zitadelle, a massive armored foe who dual wields a rocket launcher in one hand and a flamethrower in another. Yes, there are boss battles in Wolfenstein II, and this is far from the only surprise enemy you’ll encounter throughout the game.
21. Back for more. While we’ve focused primarily on gameplay in this list, we’d be remiss to overlook the story. BJ and his cohorts have a lot at stake in The New Colossus, and it shows. With a more personal tale, new allies and a goal of liberating their homeland, The New Colossus is full of character. “What’s also amazing about The New Colossus is that for the first time ever, we are making a sequel,” Matthies says. “From a story perspective, that means amazing things like being able to write characters and dialogue for the actors who we have worked with for a long time. Building a sequel has been such a revelatory experience that we’ve never had before.”