The latest in Bethesda’s Wolfenstein series has found its way to releasing on the Nintendo Switch. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus continues Bethesda’s support of current-gen ports (DOOM releasing last fall). Many have had reservations as to how the Switch would handle these types of games given its lower specs. Skyrim was a marvelous port, but it was based on last-gen tech with some modern sensibilities. How does the Switch handle a game designed to run on high-end PCs and optimized for PS4 Pro and Xbox One X? As it turns out, surprisingly well!
I admit it’s a bit strange to start off with the sequel to a game that never appeared on the Switch. If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise, you play as BJ Blazkowicz who must take on the evil Frau Engel and her Nazi army in 1961. That’s right history buffs, this game takes place in an alternate timeline where the Nazis won World War 2 and are now occupying the United States. It’s up to you to spark the next American Revolution and win back our country from the Nazi scum. Don’t worry if this is your first foray into Wolfenstein, as it was mine as well and I did just fine following the story thanks to the summary video at the beginning of the journey.
Speaking to the first time player like myself, the game does a great job with character building and development. It’s obvious from the get-go that Frau Engel is the epitome of evil and someone you desperately want to kill. She was able to make me despise her character in the first two seconds of being in a cut scene. That’s all the fuel I need to start splitting skulls and blowing holes in Nazi soldiers. Many first-person shooters aren’t known for their stories with typical throwaway scenarios and balls to the wall action sets. That’s not the case here, as the game goes out of its way to weave an engrossing tale that kept me captivated from beginning to end with plenty of twists and turns. So not only do you get great action, but you also get an entertaining story.
The graphics on the Switch are impressive to say the least. I was surprised at how well the title played since everybody and their annoying nasal-dripping cousin has spewed their background noise about how underpowered the Switch is (at least on internet message boards). If this is underpowered then I’ll still take it on the airplane and enjoy playing all my games while ‘Harold the Hater’ plays on his phone. This is the largest draw for the Switch and games like Wolfenstein II really put the exclamation point on that. I didn’t notice much in the way of framerate drops that interfere with the enjoyment of the game. Does it look as pretty as my PC that I built with a 6-core processor, 32 gigs of RAM, and the 1080 graphics card? Obviously not, but it still manages to look amazing and plays just as fast as it does on the other platforms. Therefore, you aren’t missing anything in the way of performance. It’s like playing a newer game on PC with an older graphics card; you decrease quality until you get the right experience. The textures are a little blurrier, but just like DOOM before it, it’s almost like Panic Button has dabbled in black magic to get this game running this good on the Switch.
The sounds are what we’d expect and more with lots of explosions, bullets hitting body parts, and music that is as intense as the gameplay. The voice acting is exceptional and the cut scenes are very well done. I really can’t complain about any of these things. The game sounds just as good through the sound system or headphones, which is great when you don’t want to bother your daughter while she’s watching something on Netflix and you want to blow up some Nazi douche bags.
There isn’t anything new added to the Switch version and it has obviously been released much later than it did on the other systems, so there’s little reason for a double-dip, unless of course you want to game on the go. This game is rated M for mature for about every reason under the sun. I won’t allow my 10 year old son watch me play let alone allow him play it for himself. In fact, I won’t play it in front of my 13 year old daughter either. It’s very inappropriate for their age group in my eyes. I remember a time when you couldn’t get a game like this on a Nintendo console and they would get blasted for that. For those who think the Switch is just for kids, it really is for everyone. I hope this version does well and developers don’t shy away from releasing these types of games in the future.
I liked playing Wolfenstein II on my TV with the pro controller the best. While it’s fine to play it handheld, it’s just a better experience on a larger screen. The Joy-Con controllers work just fine attached to the system but the shorter throw of the sticks can take some getting used to because the look camera is very fast by default (you can tweak this setting if you like).
Overall, I would pick this game as my favorite action game of last year. With intense battles, the ability to play at five different difficulty levels and satisfying enemy obliteration it’s easily near the top of my first-person shooter list. For Switch owners there is very little else like it on the system and it’s definitely worth the price of admission.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus Review
- Graphics - 9/109/10
- Sound - 9/109/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 9/109/10
Final Thoughts: EXCELLENT
With intense gameplay, insane difficulty choices, and a story where you love to hate the villain, you really can’t go wrong with Wolfenstein II. While clearly not recommended for all ages, the Switch affords you some privacy by playing in handheld mode so you can keep blasting away while your kids’ eyes are glued to the TV watching something a little more appropriate.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.