The three-part prologue to Wolfenstein II: The Freedom Chronicles
looks to be a clear declaration of intent. Each of these three heroes specializes in a certain playstyle; theyíre not jacks of all trades like William "B.J." Blazkowicz. That being said, the special abilities that helped make the second half of The New Colossus
particularly memorable return.
In the case of The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe, our hero is primarily a runner and a gunner. Joe Stallionís history as a football player organically gifts him all the benefits of B.J.ís Ram Shackles. Meaning he can break through structurally-compromised walls and grates by simply sprinting into them. And of course, he can instagib weakened and underarmored enemies. Narratively, this is contrived nonsense. Mechanically, itís acceptable.
The justification for bestowing the new heroes with these formerly-exclusive abilities is, once again, the extreme difficulty. Wolfenstein II is likely going to be remembered for its inability to differentiate between honest challenge and arbitrary punishment. The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe may introduce some new environments and scenarios, but far too many encounters happen in wide open areas where enemies can quickly surround and kill you before you have the opportunity to get the first idea of what kind of situation youíre in. The final encounter, in particular, is a brutal mess -- on the same level as that godawful courtroom escape sequence from the original game.
Some of the violence feels a bit neutered. Gone is the hatchet B.J. used in The New Colossus; the replacement isÖ cans. Wow, are these things unsatisfying to use. And the hand-to-hand kills look like something youíd see at a childís karate meet, save for the occasional snapped neck. I donít know why they went with this, considering the fact that the game is still a total splatterfest.