Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

Vicious, affecting, witty, spaced-out, crude, inventive, morbid and for the most part, a success.

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FeatureAn ode to video game doors

Walking you through the doors of Doom, Dark Souls and more.

It's easy to underestimate the humble door. You open it, you go through. Sometimes, you must find the key first, and for many games, that's the whole extent of the player's interactions with doors. They're something to get past, something that cordons off one bit from the next bit. A simple structural element, of special interest to level designers, but not the ones who turn the knobs.

Wolfenstein 2 on Switch: can mobile hardware really run a cutting-edge shooter?

When Bethesda revealed that it was working on a port of Doom 2016 for Nintendo Switch, it was hard to believe that a worthwhile conversion was possible - until we went hands-on. Panic Button had somehow produced an impossible port, flawed in several ways, but definitely playable - and from a technological perspective, it was quite unlike anything we'd seen on Switch before. Naturally, when a conversion of the more demanding Wolfenstein 2 was announced, we were once again sceptical about the game's chances, especially considering Doom's frame-rate issues. But the proof of the pudding is once again in the tasting, and as a technological achievement, Wolfenstein 2 on Switch is even more miraculous than its predecessor.

I really hope that somewhere in Nvidia's R&D labs, the architects of the Tegra X1 have seen this game - to see just how much fidelity has been extracted from what is fundamentally a mobile processor. Like the Doom 2016 port, it's clearly not the best version of the game, but playing it in handheld form on a three-year-old Tegra, using a GPU running at a max clock of 384MHz, sipping around seven watts of power, the visual return is staggering. Of course, there are compromises, but by and large, the full Wolfenstein 2 experience is here and if you were put off by the Doom port's wobbly performance, you'll be pleased to know that Panic Button has actually improved overall frame-rate stability on what is a more complex game. And in doing so, there's the strong possibility that Panic Button may have utilised techniques and technologies derived from PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X development to get the job done - possibly another first for Switch.

In many ways, Wolfenstein 2 is an interesting study in the choices made when porting a game to less powerful hardware. The goal with any conversion is usually to deliver an experience as close to the original source material as possible by making the right choices during development. Switch's FIFA Soccer saw EA opt for an entirely different game engine with a focus on performance and resolution - an upgraded last-gen engine rather than a downgraded Frostbite. Or how about Fortnite? From Xbox One X to mobile phones, the Switch and beyond, each version of the game is focused on delivering the full experience on each target device no matter what visual sacrifices are necessary to get there. Even if you're playing on an iPhone 6S, it's still the same basic game.

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Picture for a moment the triple-A hero. He is Kratos grappling a gigantic serpent on mighty waves; he is Call of Duty's Jack Mitchell acquiring a magic robot arm at his best friend's funeral. Sporting abs (or guns) that shine like justice, he is fast, deadly and remorseless. At his logical conclusion, the triple-A hero is Kurtz from Apocalypse Now sat in the dark jungle, whispering tales of annihilation, a catalogue of army medals in his back-pocket.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus was a rip-roaring science-fiction romp through an alternate history. It was, as Edwin more eloquently said in his Wolfenstein 2 review, "vicious, affecting, witty, spaced-out, crude, inventive, morbid and for the most part, a success."

FeatureThe year in Nazis

2017 - the year we did Nazi coming.

The reason we don't have annual "The Year In Nazis" articles is because not many years are like this one, in which fascist ideas have seeped and clawed their way back to a dreadful prominence that has transformed virtual Nazi killing from a leisure activity into a political one.

Wolfenstein 2's remaining season pass story episodes now have release dates

Bethesda has announced releases dates for the three remaining episodes in Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus' story-based season pass DLC, The Freedom Chronicles.

Each new episode lets you experience Wolfenstein's Nazi occupation of America through the eyes of different resistance fighters. You'll explore the ruins of Chicago (and, apparently, space) as professional quarterback Joseph Stallion, you'll infiltrate Nazi bunkers in California as ex-OSS agent and assassin Jessica Valiant, and head to Alaska as the heroic Captain Gerald Wilkins, in a bid to thwart the Nazis' Operation Black Sun.

The Freedom Chronicles' opening salvo - known as Episode Zero - is already out, and introduces Stallion, Valiant, and Wilkins. It was made available as part of Wolfenstein 2's pre-order purchases, and is also included in The Freedom Chronicles season pass.

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Digital FoundryWolfenstein 2: the biggest jump yet from PS4 Pro to Xbox One X?

Peak resolution leaps from 1440p to full 4K - but what about performance?

Wolfenstein 2 is one of the most exceptional graphical showcases of the generation so far - a 60 frames per second shooter with beautiful dynamic lighting and shading, GPU-accelerated particles and a state-of-the-art post-process pipeline. However, it does have one weakness: performance. PS4, Pro and Xbox One can't quite lock to the target 60fps and all console versions lack the slick fluidity of the Doom 2016 reboot, running on the same engine. Which begs the question - can Xbox One X power past the frame-rate issues of the other console versions, and to what extent can it improve on PS4 Pro's impressive visuals?

Wolfenstein 2's first big update opens the Vault

Wolfenstein 2 has its first major update and it opens the Vault, among other things.

The Vault is behind a big door on board the U-boat Evas Hammer, Wolfenstein 2's hub area. The door had a countdown timer on it since launch, but now it's officially open for business.


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Assassin's Creed Origins physical sales roughly on par with Syndicate's

Assassin's Creed Origins physical sales roughly on par with Syndicate's

Super Mario Odyssey is Nintendo Switch's biggest launch yet.

Assassin's Creed Origins has taken the UK chart top spot with physical sales roughly equal to that of Assassin's Creed Syndicate.

Physical sales on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were just a few copies lower than Syndicate's equivalent total back in 2015, although the rise of digital sales since then will likely push Origins' overall result comfortably higher.

(UK numbers company Chart-Track does not count digital console or PC sales.)

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How Wolfenstein 2 scales up the console power ladder

Digital FoundryHow Wolfenstein 2 scales up the console power ladder

Initial PS4, Pro and Xbox One analysis from Digital Foundry.

Developed by Machine Games, Wolfenstein 2 The New Colossus is a true, generational leap in visual design over the franchise reboot in 2014. From the first frame of action, the standards are clearly kept high - in large part owed to the technologies included in its id Tech 6 engine. The physically-based materials, the dynamic lights, shadowing and GPU-accelerated particles all deliver a clear upgrade over what we've seen in the engine's previous incarnation. Visually, the developers have handed in a masterclass on par with the recent Doom reboot, though it's fascinating to see what another Bethesda studio is capable of producing with the same toolset.

It's the upgrade over The New Order that stands out most however - which was based very much on the virtual texturing delights of the id Tech 5 engine that powered Rage. Fundamentally, the upgrade in technology marks a shift from the pre-baked lighting and shadows of the original to a beautiful, fully dynamic lighting model. On top of that is the use of a massively expanded post-process pipeline. Visual tricks like bokeh DOF, object and camera motion blur, HDR bloom, film grain and temporal anti-aliasing all make a return from Doom 2016. All of these elements combine to effectively create an almost filmic quality to each frame.

Despite its id Tech 6 underpinnings, Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus takes it in its own unique visual direction. There's a beautiful use of depth of field in particular, and those GPU-accelerated particles work well to lend the game's futuristic weaponry a sense of heft. From the automatic machineguns, to the 'Laserkraftwerk' laser cannon, each spews out a burst of particle effects with properties for radiosity - impressing a great sense of impact on the world. Tying in to Wolfenstein's dystopic setting, the volumetric lighting streaking across each metallic corridor works well for building atmosphere - something Doom's 2016 reboot in 2016 pushed quite heavily as well. All combined, it creates a bright, but often dense and claustrophobic air to each of Wolfenstein 2's levels.

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Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus review

Midway through Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, series protagonist BJ Blazkowicz falls to drinking moonshine and talking politics with a lefty firebrand in the sealed-off, waterlogged remnants of New Orleans. The man - a rebel general you've been sent to recruit - screams at BJ about well-heeled imperialists grinding up the proles in capitalism's war machine, and BJ roars back about good-for-nothing bohemians and bolsheviks dodging the draft. The camera circles the table unsteadily, as if waiting to cut in. To the rear, a female college professor crisply picks off Nazis in the street below while an African-American clarinet virtuoso launches into a jazz solo, accelerating the tempo as the scene unfolds. In short order BJ chugs down so much hooch that he topples over into a stupor. Impressed by his forthrightness, the general agrees to join your cause.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

Developer: MachineGames

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Jelly Deals: Wolfenstein 2's Collector's Edition reduced a week before launch

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.

Those of you looking forward to Nazi-punching simulator Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus next week have one more reason to celebrate right now, as the UK version of the game's extra-fancy Collector's Edition has been reduced by £30, bringing the price down to £59.99 on all formats.

The big-box edition features, as you may expect, a copy of the game itself, an exclusive steelbook case, a double-sided poster, a presentation box and, most importantly of all, a 1/6-scale action figure of the game's protagonist BJ Blazkowicz in his full Terror-Billy getup. The figure itself, designed to emulate the Action Man style toys of all those years ago, comes with five weapons including his trusty hatchet, as seen in the game's trailers.

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Yes, Hitler is in Wolfenstein 2

We did Nazi that coming.

Tucked away at the end of the Wolfenstein 2 launch trailer, below, is a brief glimpse at a coughing and spluttering Hitler himself. Well, the back of his head. So yes, Hitler is in Wolfenstein 2.

Watch an hour-and-a-half of brand new Wolfenstein 2 gameplay

As you'll know if you read my Wolfenstein 2 hands-on preview, I'm excited for MachineGames' upcoming first-person shooter. Today, I'm excited to present to you an hour-and-a-half of brand new gameplay.

Johnny and Aoife recently played two different sections of Wolfenstein 2: The Reunion level I played at E3 (where BJ is woken up a broken man who must use a wheelchair to escape the Nazis), and Roswell, which is the really exciting one. Here, BJ explores the town dressed as a fireman, eventually infiltrating an underground Nazi bunker to steal a train. Your goal: to destroy a giant robot and fire a nuke, as you do.

Keep an eye out for the moment a Nazi soldier tries and fails to teach two KKK goons to speak German on the streets of Roswell. It's pretty unnerving, but very Wolfenstein.

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Wolfenstein 2 begins with a surprise: gun-toting Nazi-killing machine B.J. Blazkowicz is blasted to bits, his body a useless husk. The end of MachineGames' eye-catching debut did not go well for poor old B.J. and so, when he's forced awake from a coma on board a resistance submarine that's under attack from the Nazi regime, he can't even stand. He tries and falls down.

Wolfenstein 2 looks fantastic in its debut trailer

Bethesda has announced MachineGames' Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus with a cool reveal video.

The video, below, confirms the return of series star BJ Blazkowicz, member of the Resistance against the Nazi occupation of the United States in an alternative history 1961. He has to recruit resistance leaders to fight the Nazis in locations including small-town Roswell, New Mexico, the flooded streets of New Orleans and a post-nuclear Manhattan.

Here's the official blurb:

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