The PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC release of Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus made it blatantly clear that Machine Games was capable of delivering a high-quality, story-driven shooter and that their 2014 reboot was no fluke. With both ambitious visuals and story, The New Colossus was one of the best shooters of 2017. It was essentially a double down of the gameplay mechanics found in The New Order, with more variety in terms of settings, characters, and narrative.
If you want to check out our original review for the game, we go into a deeper analysis of everything there is to do and see in The New Colossus. It truly is a wild ride of a game, taking players into a what-if scenario regarding alternate outcomes of World War II.
As Nintendo Switch owners beg for ports and third party support on the platform, Bethesda has been answering the call. With the release of DOOM on the hybrid console, it was clear that miracles needed to be worked in porting state of the industry games to the platform. In the case of DOOM, we got a pretty good port, all things considered. When you factor in the hardware profile of the Nintendo Switch it was clear that there was a lot of developer trickery needed to get something running that resembled the original release. Simply put, the Nintendo Switch is not as powerful as the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. It’s even farther behind the PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One X, and gaming PCs. That said, Wolfenstein 2 on the Switch is another miracle port and it’s really going to come down to how much of a downgrade that you’re willing to accept to play Wolfenstein 2 on the go.
There are plenty of visual sacrifices here, and they aren’t small. Whether in handheld mode or docked mode, the game is noticeably blurry. Of the many things on the chopping block in getting Wolfenstein 2 to run on the Switch, the resolution of the game is what has taken the biggest hit. While the blurriness is more acceptable on the smaller screen in handheld mode, it looks incredibly bad when docked. That’s not to say that there aren’t moments where the game looks like an overachiever on the Switch, but they are just that, moments. These moments are the exception, the rule is that the game huffs and puffs its way to 30 frames per second for the majority of the game while jumping all over the place in terms of resolution. It sheds all of the details of the world in the process, and ultimately manages to resemble the developer’s original vision of the release. For a fast-paced shooter with tons of action, the combination of motion blur and reduced resolution make for a game that constantly reminds you of the lack of power backing this version of Wolfenstein 2. This is the bad news. For anyone that has an eye for the details, Wolfenstein 2 on the Switch is going to be a let down.
The good news is that it’s the exact same game that it is on other platforms when it comes to content. This isn’t a scaled down version of the game. Aside from some minor differences, each of the levels have been ported to the console, meaning everything that Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC saw in last year’s release is here. This is a pretty big consideration to be made when paying $60 for a game that has been chopped at the knees. Playing the game again on the Switch definitely made me remember how much fun that I had with it last year, it also made me wish I was playing it elsewhere. It reminded me that the Nintendo Switch is not a console that was made to run state of the industry games in terms of graphics, nor is it a console that was made for shooters.
The default Joy-Con controls are simply inferior to an Xbox/PlayStation controller or the keyboard and mouse controls found on PC. Even when you turn on the Switch’s gimmicky motion controls, it’s not an enjoyable first person shooting experience as things just feel a little off. A lot of the fun in these games has been the numerous difficulty levels to tackle, and simply making your way to the end of Wolfenstein 2 on the Switch is a frustrating experience that’ll have you turning down the difficulty to the easiest level just to see the story bits. While something like controls may not stand out for those that never play the alternative versions of the game, it’s pretty obvious to those that have. It really feels like a Pro Controller or bust game, which then has you playing the game in the least optimal way, in docked mode.
Panic Button should certainly be commended here for the work that’s been done in getting the game running on Switch and with all of the content that is found in other versions to boot. When you take away the awful visuals and poor controls, you still have a story worth seeing. Is that enough to warrant a purchase? Yes, if that’s the only way that you’ll be able to experience Wolfenstein 2. If you have another option, you should take it.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus on the Nintendo Switch is the worst version of a great shooter. With so much work needing to be done to get to an “acceptable” level of visual fidelity for a modern game, it’s no wonder that third parties aren’t rushing to put their games on the console.
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus
- Available On: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PC
- Published By: Bethesda Softworks
- Developed By: Panic Button/Machine Games
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- US Release Date: June 29th, 2018
- Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
- Quote: "Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus on the Nintendo Switch is the worst version of a great shooter."