Following our first hands-on with Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus at E3 this summer, we were invited to Bethesda's offices in London to play through another level of the upcoming Nazi-based shooter. The first half of the demonstration was the previous segment we played in L.A, so this preview will focus solely on the new level we experienced, set in Roswell, New Mexico.
The mission starts off with a cutscene showing BJ Blazkowicz with the resistance at their hideout. One of the first things to notice is a rather overweight German woman; Sigrun Engel, daughter of Frau Irene Engel, one of the main antagonists in The New Order. She's seen at the end of the first level, rather reluctantly hacking off Fergus' arm at the demand of her mother, so her appearance in the gang's headquarters implies she defers from the regime and opts to fight against the Nazis. A new character, a black woman whose name is still unknown but appears to now be running the show, is visibly annoyed about her inclusion, insinuating that she's a double agent and is actually reporting back to the Nazis, causing Sigrun to burst into tears and storm off.
Just like in The New Order, cutscenes resemble a high-budget film rather than a traditional video game. Emotions and feelings are conveyed effectively, while the environments are heavily detailed and the lighting leaves little to be desired. It's cliché, but the story-telling aspect of Wolfenstein II is the epitome of cinematic, even as far as the 30-frames per second cap during the cutscenes, for better or for worse.
Gameplay kicks off on a Roswell high street, during a lively and patriotic parade, albeit one that has been corrupted by the Nazi regime. BJ's mission is to make contact with an informant who runs a local typical American diner and secure a path to the infamous Area 52. Once there, BJ must plant and detonate a small nuclear bomb he's carrying, as that's where the Nazis have moved one of their bases of operations.
Disguised as a fireman to not raise suspicion, BJ meanders down the high street littered with party-goers and Nazi officials, eavesdropping on conversations. Right from the start, you see two people dressed in the typical white robes of the KKK, conversing with a Nazi officer about how to say basic German phrases. Take a detour to the right, down an alleyway behind a store, and you'll find a drunk man rambling amidst some dumpsters. Cross over the road and there's another German officer trying to woo an American girl, saying "ich liebe dich" (I love you in German) while she acts coy.
At the end of the street is the diner, the same one shown off at E3. Just like we saw in the trailer, the Nazi officer asks BJ for his identification papers and it all goes smoothly until he stands up to leave, sees BJ's face plastered on a wanted poster by the door, then tries to apprehend our protagonist before our contact, the man running the diner, puts a bullet through his brain. BJ then goes downstairs into the basement and explains to the liaison exactly what he knows about Area 52, and after some insistence that it's all about extra-terrestrial secrets, he shows BJ a tunnel that leads directly to a depot where trains are loaded to travel to the military base.