Second to the living dead, Nazi-killing is one of our favourite things to do as a gaming collective in modern day shooters. In a first-person shooter, if you bump into someone who proudly wears a swastika and is bearing arms, it’s reasonable to assume that they’re fair game to have their body parts “rearranged.” You’re just doing your duty, right?
Unsurprisingly, Machine Games’ Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, which recently dropped on Nintendo’s hybrid console, continues the series’ time-honoured heritage of shooting fascists in the face with big, bombastic weaponry, and I’m happy to report that, for the most part, it’s an absolute Nazi-murdering blast. However, due to the Switch’s underpowered hardware, the experience is unfortunately held back by a few presentational issues that you should be made aware of before pulling the trigger.
So, specifically, what are these presentation quibbles? Namely, the gritty, alternate future visuals have taken a significant hit in image quality, with the overall resolution fluctuating dynamically between 720p, 540p, down to an eye-watering 480p when the shooter action is under load. Luckily, the game’s performance is locked at a fairly solid 30 FPS (down from the PS4 and Xbox One’s 60 FPS, respectively) and it’s here where the title surprisingly shines best. Put simply, this Switch port just feels right on the money – particularly when playing in handheld mode – which is undeniably critical in an action-heavy, run-and-gun first-person shooter. Though the visual pizzazz of its bigger console brethren is mostly MIA, the core kinetic gameplay experience at the heart of Wolfenstein 2 is thankfully intact. Phew!
From a gameplay perspective, Wolfenstein 2 comprises of some incredibly tight and satisfying gunplay, with a myriad of clever upgrade systems peppered into the mix to keep players engaged. Moment-to-moment action is electric and doled out at a deft clip. It really helps that all the guns sound phenomenal too, particularly the laser weapons that buzz with an intensity that’ll give anyone with a pulse a gratifying kick whenever they lay waste to the Nazi hordes.
Like its predecessor before it, Wolfenstein 2’s alternate history narrative permeates with deft and timely political commentary that not only helps you connect with the fully fleshed out characters on a personal level, but also adds a layer of welcome authenticity to this bleak, war-torn dystopian future vision. For a game about melting Nazis’ faces off with high-powered laser weapons, the backdrop in which the energetic action takes place is eerily believable. This is thanks to a raft of sympathetic characters, a truly abominable arch villain, and a story that thoughtfully walks the line between silly and bombastic, tender and cruel, serious and ridiculous. Beneath its shiny video game veneer is an unflinchingly graphic representation of one of our world’s truest real-life evils. Essentially, BJ Blazkowicz and his renegade comrades’ adventure is thoroughly punctuated with enough memorable down moments and potent shootouts to appease both fans of the franchise and newcomers alike.
In some ways, Wolfenstein 2 running on Switch is a pretty impressive technological marvel. That said, there are concessions that had to be made to get the full-fat experience running on such a diminutive piece of hardware. Though the resolution has taken a significant hit, the kinetic gunplay that takes centre stage in Machine Games’ latest Nazi-obliterating shooter is a surprisingly sweet fit on Nintendo’s hybrid handheld.
VERDICT: Though concessions had to be made to get Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus running on the Switch, the kinetic gunplay that takes centre stage still shines brightly on Nintendo’s diminutive handheld.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus is out now on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.