Wolfenstein 2 Season Pass Review – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Platforms: PC, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One
Developer: Machine Games
Release: 18th March 2018 (3rd DLC)
Price: 24.99 (Season Pass)
Last year´s Wolfenstein 2 was a pretty good shooter, even though its story and gameplay flaws remained rather consistently bad. So now that its three big DLC packages are released, I wanted to take a good look at what Machine Games delivered. Certainly a more inconsistent package. (The review is built upüon the things I already criticised about Wolfenstein 2´s gameplay in my review)
Dubbed The Freedom Chronicles, the season pass features three 4 hours long campaigns, each from a different perspective. The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe circle around former quarterback Joe, who probably just wants to beat up some enemies. Nothing more nothing less. Travelling through every major location of the original game, this DLC doesn´t do much except let the player return to the most impressive sceneries.
Sadly Joe plays just like Blazkowicz, he can sneak and gun but the focus obviously lies on gunning down hundreds of people. He has the exact same guns, the same health and even has the dash ability, which frankly is a bit more versatile and does damage now. Yet, that´s about it. Everything just plays like a stripped down version of Wolfenstein 2, without any unique features, systems or alike. Probably what one would expect of lazy DLCs, simply recycling the already available assets but if the whole presentation outside of the gameplay tries so hard to be something else. With animated cutscenes, which look pretty damn great and a way better humour, the DLC looks so different, as long as you don´t play it.
The third DLC, The Amazing Deeds of Captain Wilkins has a similar approach, guiding a grumpy man on his journey for revenge. Though this time, there´s a whole new environment, Alaska. Or so it would seem, sadly, most of this neat idea is buried beneath a layer of thick underground missions, making the icey continent more of a gimmick than game changing aspect. Otherwise, the plot remains an often absent companion, only showing itself to either present us with a twist that is neither interesting nor smart. Pretty much the same thing as The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe, just with more generic underground missions, a different useless gimmick and the lack of any neat moments.
However, The Diaries of Agent Silent Death could deliver a truly amazing second DLC. Playing as a woman, the adventure doesn´t focus on shooting down dozens of Nazis but forces you to rely on more subtle weapons like silenced guns or throwing knives. Assault rifles and alike are rare and not nearly as effective as in the main game when the levels are often swarmed with enemies. Instead, it´s practically a stealth only iteration of Wolfenstein 2´s systems, that works even better than the shooter focused approach. Since ammunition was always kinda rare to support dual wielding weapons, having to rely on takedowns or smartly crafted traps was often more fun than everything I did in the other DLCs.
Since the stealth system already was pretty great, just used way too few, I was pleasantly surprised how they practically went all out here. It really feels like a good stealth game, which honestly surprised me at the beginning. Still, there isn´t many ways to acquire new skills or equipment, so the three hours long playtime tends to feel a bit sluggish when you sneaked a lot in the main game.
Luckily, the accompanying plotline is also pretty solid, the best of all three if I dare to say. Focus on on agent Silent Death´s past, which actually doesn´t come around with forced clichés like an evil father. Her story isn´t super complicated nor surprising but can tell a realistic seeming tale about a war-sick agent trying to achieve her own goal, while clinging to her past life. I can´t say much without spoiling the little twists and events that are there but I was more captivated by it than with the original story.
Wolfenstein 2´s Freedom Chronicles are a mixed bag, honestly. While The Diaries of Agent Silent Death are definitely the highlight and shouldn´t be missed by anyone who´s remotely interested in the sneaking mechanics, the other two DLCs are just there. Joe and Williams are neither very interesting characters nor do they deliver a greatly different campaign or environments. So, in the end, it´s more of the same for people just wanting to have some more high-quality shooter gameplay.
[A Review Code was provided by Bethesda]