Bethseda and Panic Button deliver again.
It’s been over 15 years since Wolfenstein last made an appearance on a Nintendo platform with Wolfenstein 3D on the Game Boy Advance, but the wait for the return is coming to an end. The announcement of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for the Switch made waves even if it was to be released a number of months after other platforms. But naturally with any port coming to an inferior (power-wise) console, it always begs the question how it will look and run. Well after having a lengthy sit down with the game, I’m happy to report it looks splendid and outside a few minor frame rate issues, ran exceptionally well on the Switch.
For those unfamiliar with the Wolfenstein series, it takes place in an alternate timeline where the Nazis weren’t defeated in World War II and have invaded the United States. So naturally we’re here to kick some Nazi keister and that’s just exactly what you’ll do in a spectacularly gruesome fashion. Cleaving down enemies with the fire hatchet is absolutely brutal, but incredibly satisfying especially with what seemed like an endless amount of different melee finishers. But for as great it was to cut down enemies with the hatchet, it is equally as fun to mow them down with a wide range of firearms. Controls are tight and changing weapons felt natural and easy to do even while in the heat of battle. The UI is minimal, giving you all the information you need without cluttering the screen, which allows the visuals to really shine. Instead of always pointing where to go, a press up on the D-pad will give you a subtle nudge on the side of the screen to point you in the right direct if you do happen to get lost.
The beauty of Wolfenstein is the number of different ways you can approach combat. You can try to use stealth and perform melee attacks to keep quiet or you can use my approach and pretend we’re playing DOOM. I always appreciate giving players numerous ways to tackle any given objective especially since it leads to giving the experience more replayability. When entering different areas you’ll encounter high ranking Nazi enemies whom have the ability to continuously send more grunts your way by sounding an alarm. This is where being stealthy works towards your benefit. If you’re able to slowly work your way there, you can take them out before they can set off the alarm, but if you’re horrible at stealth like myself, then you’ll be mowing down hordes of Nazis, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Ammo seemed to be liberally laid out around the ship which meant I could pepper enemies with my double machine guns without a care in the world. I really can’t stress how much fun it is and how empowered you feel as you rip through everything they toss your way.
Now onto what most people came here to read about and that is how the game looked and ran on the Switch. As I mention a little earlier, it looks absolutely wonderful and you can check out the Switch to Xbox One comparison video above to see for yourself. Sure there are some slightly downgraded textures and some lighting elements are different, but all things considered, it’s hard to really say anything too negative about how it looks. While we didn’t get exact confirmation, it appears that like DOOM, Wolfenstein II will run at 30 fps on the Switch version. Still even at 30 fps it ran exceptionally well and I didn’t experience any major frame drops. Another cool feature that’ll be ready for launch will be gyro controls similar to the ones patched into DOOM. While we didn’t get to test them out at PAX, it’s still exciting to see Bethesda put the time and effort into taking advantage of the Switch’s hardware features.