Wolfenstein 2: New Colossus is a big game. The clue is very much in the title. And while the core idea is simple – you show up and shoot Nazis – there are plenty of nuances to the gameplay. What’s more, there are little secrets and extra items to grab that will really enhance your playthrough, right from the beginning. So, here is the stuff you need to know before you start the game, if you’re a few hours in, or even if you’re thinking about a second playthrough. Be warned: while I do my best to avoid them, you will see some spoilers in this feature. Consider yourself warned.
1. Upgrade to a silenced pistol ASAP
A couple of hours into The New Colossus and you’ll find your first Weapon Upgrade Kit. You really, really should spend this on a suppressor for your pistol, as this makes stealth far easier. Sure, it’s more satisfying to take Nazis out with a sharpened hatchet so you can see the fear in their racist eyes, but sometimes it’s just easier to drop them from a distance. Having a silenced pistol is especially useful for taking out Kommanders, who will make your life VERY difficult if they raise the alarm before you manage to murder them. Trust me: the silenced pistol will save you from many a retry screen.
2. Prepare to play half the game at half-health
You start the game – as has been well publicised in preview coverage – at half health. What you won’t appreciate is quite how long you’ll need to play like this. During the first half of the game the best tactic is to constantly overcharge your health and focus on picking up armour. You actually have a total damage resistance of 250 (50 health points, 200 armour) which can be boosted even further by overcharging health. During the second half, that actually drops to 200 overall as you get 100 health and 100 armour. Change your playstyle accordingly. Being able to overcharge health and have a decent armour rating means you can afford to get stuck into combat more, whereas a lower armour rating means more stealth is required. However you play, though, just know that your stats won’t change for about 10 hours, so just be ready.
3. You can unlock more than one body augment
About half way through you’ll also get a body augment, which grants certain special abilities. Roughly speaking, these are either: crawl through small gaps, burst through vents, or jump to high platforms. Really, in practice, levels are designed in such a way that means there’s little difference between augments aside from suiting your specific playstyle. The places where you need to use the augments are right next to each other, so it never changes the ‘puzzles’ in each stage. However, you can also earn another augment by tackling some of the side missions on board Eva’s Hammer in between story levels. Walk around and chat to people, and they’ll hand you the missions that grant the extra rewards.
4. There is a full version of Wolfenstein 3D to play
Did you know there’s a full version of the original Wolfenstein? All ready for you to play? It’s in the bar area of Club Kreisau, on board Eva’s Hammer. You can play, save progress, and go back at your leisure. What’s interesting about this little Easter egg, however, is that there are subtle changes to the actual game. See, you actually play as a Nazi soldier hunting down enemies who look a lot like Blazkowicz. Why? Eva’s Hammer is a captured German U-boat used as a base by the resistance, so the arcade cabinet on board was originally intended for a Nazi audience. Neat.
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5. Choosing the Fergus or Wyatt timeline changes the weapons you get (and more)
There’s a scene right at the start of the game where you’re taken back to a big moment from the first Wolfenstein remake (New Order). You’re forced to choose either Fergus or Wyatt to be killed by General Deathshead, and that has a knock-on effect for the whole game. Not only does it change certain sequences on board Eva’s Hammer, and the group dynamics as a whole, but it also changes one of the weapons you get in game. Choosing to save Fergus grants the Laserkraftwerk, while opting for Wyatt gives you the Dieselkraftwerk. It’s worth considering who you want to save in advance, or replaying the game a second time if you’re continuing a ‘canon’ playthrough from New Order.
6. Leaning and learning is the key to stealth
Stealth is a tricky beast in New Colossus, but once you’ve grabbed the silenced pistol (see tip one) and mastered the art of leaning, it gets easier. Holding down L1 on PS4 or LB on Xbox / PC lets you lean around corners to spot enemies before revealing your position. Even better, the perk you get for repeatedly performing stealth kills means that time will slow for a few seconds if an enemy is looking at you, which gives you time to duck back into cover or at least get ready for a full-on fire-fight.
7. You can switch difficulties at any time (and maybe you should)
Occasionally, in this game, you’ll get stuck. You’ll try the same bit again and again and again, and the frustration will set in. You can switch the difficulty of your game at any time, nudging it down a notch to get through a section, before cranking it back later in the game. Sure, it’ll impact on the Trophy / Achievement you get at the end, but at least you’ll get there. If you want, save before notching down the difficulty and you can go back to the tougher section once you’ve learned new tricks, or just had a break from the scenario. Then you’ll be able to play through again. There are a handful of difficulty spikes in Wolfenstein 2 – don’t let them beat you.
Also worth noting – if you start a second playthrough, you can still access all your saved games from your original session. Pressing square or X on the home screen will switch your profiles, allowing you to have up to three concurrent games at once. Handy if you want to tackle Wolfenstein on different difficulties.
8. Take out heavy troops quicker by sabotaging their tanks and igniting the trail
If you’re hot enough at stealth this trick is worth knowing. You can’t actually one-hit kill the heavy enemies with a hatchet, but you can cut their fuel-lines and make them leave a trail of flammable liquid. So, when you’re ready to go loud, all you need to do is shoot the flammable trail and it’ll cause massive damage, letting you clear the area quicker.