Bethesda has been a massive supporter of Nintendo’s hybrid console since it’s launch. Bringing both Skyrim and Doom to the system last year and now continuing their support bringing Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus to the Nintendo Switch.
The New Colossus picks up right after the events of 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order. Set in a fictional alternate history version of America where the Nazi’s used advanced technology to claim victory in World War 2. Player’s again take the role of William ‘BJ’ Blazkowicz as he forms bond’s with a great cast of characters who fight to take down Frau Engel and her Nazi army and make sure that America comes out on top in this new revolution.
At the start of the game you’re given an important choice to make where you’re able to save one character while sacrificing another. This choice changes story section’s and the included characters that will feature in your story. Meaning that to get the full Wolfenstein 2 experience multiple playthrough’s are required but regardless of your choices you’re in for a great story told within an incredibly solid first person shooter.
If you haven’t played Wolfenstein: The New Order, go back and play it if you can but don’t stress too much. While you are missing out on another great shooter title that sets up the world you’re currently in, you’ll be able to catch up on what you missed at a high level as Wolfenstein 2 start’s off with a lengthy cutscene recapping the event’s of the first game. It’s a real shame that The New Order didn’t also receive a Switch port or a bundle pack here just to add that extra bit of value to a port of a game that came out almost 9 month’s ago on other systems.
This port has been handled by the development team Panic Button, the same developer’s that worked on the DOOM Switch port with the project being overseen by Machine Games. Panic Button have done a brilliant job here, not only getting this game to even run on the Nintendo Switch but doing some technical wizardry behind the scenes to produce a really faithful Wolfenstein 2 experience while dealing with the hardware limitations of the Nintendo platform.
It goes without saying that some cutback’s had to be made to allow this game to run on the Switch. I went in knowing this would likely be a heavily stripped back version of the game I experienced in all it’s glory on the PS4 last year. For one, the PS4 version is close to 50GB in size, there’s no way that would fly for Switch cart’s and even if they launched it as a download only tile it would still require the purchase of a large memory card with the game. But I was seriously surprised by how well Panic Button managed to retain the core look and feel of the game on a portable console.
The overall framerate has been pulled back to 30fps rather than the 60 available on other platforms and from what I experienced it maintains that 30fps fairly consistently throughout, only ever dropping slightly in overly chaotic situations with a lot of dynamic assets being rendered on screen.
The textures for some of the character models, weapons and environments aren’t as sharp as the one’s seen on other systems but some great optimisation work seem’s to cleverly hide or blur the rendered area that isn’t needed in order to provide the most rendering power to the main things on the screen. The main cutscenes of the game are pre-rendered and look great on the Switch, the in-engine cutscenes do have a noticeable lack of quality at time’s for the character models but even then nothing looks awful, unless you were playing side by side with the PS4 version you likely wouldn’t notice or care too much. I honestly thought this game would have taken a greater knock to the visuals to get it running. The fact that I can play Wolfenstein 2 while I’m out and about is a massive feat I never thought would be possible.
I did also run into a strange bug when I first loaded up the game which seems to have affected a few people that own the Switch version. I was unable to navigate any of the menu’s whether it be the main start screen or any of the in game options when paused. I since found out the fix for this is to fully restart the Nintendo Switch (not just put it in sleep mode) and after doing so it’s worked fine since. But did stop my in those early hours being able to choose my own difficulty, manually save/load or navigate the customisation menu to tweak the weapons to my liking.
Playing Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus on the Nintendo Switch is something I never thought would be possible based on the hardware limitations of the platform. Even after it was announced I was expecting it to be a heavily stripped back version of the game that launched last year. I’m glad to say that for the most part I was really wrong. The framerate and visual fidelity have been scaled back to get it to run on the system and provide a great end user experience, but the whole game is here. The full Wolfenstein 2 experience (minus the DLC) is here to enjoy wherever you please. And after getting used to navigation and shooting with the Joy-Cons, the game feel’s right at home on the Switch and further cement’s it as a serious gaming console. The team at Panic Button continue to work their wizardry getting high end AAA titles running on the Switch and it’s got me really excited to see what they and other companies have in-store for the hybrid console in the future.
A Nintendo Switch review code was provided by Bethesda Australia for the purpose of this review.