Now Playing: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

By Shamus Posted Sunday Oct 29, 2017

Filed under: Game Reviews 106 comments

There have been 11 total games bearing the Wolfenstein name, and this is the third one in this particular series. I have no idea why some dingbat decided to name it “Wolfenstein II”. You might argue that we’re doing a Grand Theft Auto kinda deal where some titles count and others don’t, except in the case of GTA, the ones that count don’t get subtitles.

Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned (2009)
Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony (2009)
Grand Theft Auto V (2013)

The ones with numbers are usually major generational landmarks with new graphics engines and gameplay systems, while the ones with subtitles generally stick with the same engine and focus on gameplay refinement and experimentation. It’s an unusual numbering system, but it works.

Having said that, I have no idea what Wolfenstein is doing. Since the reboot, the games have been titled:

Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014)
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (2015)
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017)

That’s… weird.

Anyway. I liked the last couple of Wolfenstein games, but this time around I am not having fun.

The biggest problem is the overall performance of the game. It’s a nightmare. The framerate is wildly uneven. I don’t mean it wavers between 60fps and 50fps. I mean is shoots up to 100Assuming you have it uncapped, which I did for a while during my testing., then down to 5, then holds around 40, then down again. The framerate dips when you’re moving your camera around and there are a handful of guys onscreen, which incidentally is when you’re really keen to aim at things properly. The way this game handles mouse input is highly dependent on framerate, which means all this variation makes a mess out of aiming. I’ll just about have a guy lined up, but suddenly my framerate dips and I’m turning in dreamlike slowness. I’ll move the mouse faster to compensate. Then the frame drop is over and the framerate shoots back up and suddenly I’ve spun around in a circle. This feels awful.

I’ve spent a lot of time tweaking the graphics options, but lots of settings require you to restart the game and there’s a ton of unskippable splash screens, company logos, safety warnings, and legal disclaimers you have to sit through every time you do this.

I’m using an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780. That’s four years old. Maybe you want to argue that I’m too far out of date and I need to upgrade. That’s fine. I know I’m behind the curve. But look, we understand that we need new hardware to support new visuals, and this game is nothing special in terms of visuals. The last game was dandy. This one looks about the same but demands drastically more horsepower. Even when I turn the visuals down to complete garbage levels so the game looks like something from 2003, I still get horrible stuttering at the worst moments. Upgrading might fix the problem, but something is clearly wrong with their engine.

To be clear: I am above the minimum requirements, so I don’t think I’m being unreasonable to expect a playable experienceYes, I tried the beta that came out yesterday. It killed my framerate. Rather than jumping up and down between 60 and 15, it just stayed at 8.. And surprise momentary dips to 5fps in the middle of a gunfight is not playable.

The glitches don’t help. Sometimes the entire right third of the screen will be covered in black. For me it happens when entering and exiting vehicles. Loading a save doesn’t fix it. Exiting to the main menu doesn’t fix it. So far the only solution is to exit the game entirely and endure another round of unskippable logos.

I also have a problem where my video capture software can’t get images from the game. The game disables Steam overlay, so I can’t use the Steam screenshot feature either. The only way I could get screens would be to use the built-in Windows system where I hit Print Screen, Alt-tab out of the game, paste the captured image into my editing software, crop out the unwanted stuff from my secondary monitorWindows Prt Scr captures your entire multi-monitor setup., save the image, and return to the game. And no, I’m not doing that. I don’t know what the developers did to mess this upSome people have suggested the problem is Vulkan., but I’ve got literally hundreds of other games on Steam and none of them have this problem.

Anyway, that explains why this post doesn’t have any screenshots. Sorry.

And finally, the overall design seems off. Way too many areas had me running around an empty battlefield after a fight, looking for the exit. For a fast-paced game like this I’d expect the level design to draw you through an area with clear markers, environmental breadcrumbs, lighting cues, or other guides. My goal will be something like “Find the control room” in a building made entirely of hallways and things that look like control rooms. Inaccessible doors will often look identical to usable doors, so you have to try every stupid door to figure out which one is the path to the next batch of murders.

On top of this, the story is really bugging me. See, for the last couple of games, our hero BJ has been terrorized by Frau Engel. She shows up in a cutscene, does something horrible, and cackles over your first-person camera. It’s pretty heavy-handed and maybe these scenes drag on too long, but these are the kinds of over-the-top villains you need in a game like this. Overall, Engel is a pretty good villain.

My problem is that in this game BJ has a wife who is 8 months pregnant. The only thing in the entire world he fears is having something bad happen to her, and yet he keeps dragging her along on missions with him, Gordon-and-Alyx style. Like, she’s getting into gunfights. I’ve been around pregnant women before. They move slow, they’re in pain all the time, and they need to pee every 15 minutes. Our heroes have a base full of capable, eager, able-bodied people, and he brings this slow, vulnerable person who is the center of his universe. This is such a monumentally stupid and nonsensical move that I just can’t believe in this world anymore. I realize that this is a world of space Nazi super science and robot attack dogs, but I still expect characters to remain true to themselves and behave in coherent ways.

If nothing else, can we at least get an occasional line of dialog to justify why he keeps doing this obviously moronic thing? It’s like Superman always carrying around a chunk of kryptonite in a lead jar with a dodgy lid that pops off at inopportune moments. I haven’t reached the point in the story where the wife gets captured by Engel and menaced / tortured / killedThis world can get pretty dark and gruesome at times. / mind controlled as a result, but I’m willing to bet it happens and I’m really not looking forward to sitting through it.

To top things off, I think I’m stuck. Anya (the wife) told me to destroy a fan. It’s one of those two-meter videogame fans where you disable it so the blades stop spinning and you can pass. Except, the fan had already stopped spinning when she said this. It wasn’t destroyed, but it also wasn’t spinning. I passed through, completed my goals on the other side, and my journal updated telling me to leave. But my waypoint marker is still pointing at the fan. I’ve shot it, hit it with melee, hit the use button, zapped it with the laser cutter, and threw grenades at it. Nothing worked. The quest log says “”Exit the Munin control center”, which I’ve already done. I don’t know where to go or what it wants from me.

There’s no way to restart a mission or chapter, so I don’t know. The game uses checkpoints, but it doesn’t give landmark saves at the start of a mission. My last manual save was four hours ago. I’m really not eager to repeat the last four hours just to get back here.

So yeah. Not having a good time. There are things to like here, but I’m losing sight of them in the annoyances and headaches.

Totally unrelated bit of completely random trivia: This game is published by Bethesda.



[1] Assuming you have it uncapped, which I did for a while during my testing.

[2] Yes, I tried the beta that came out yesterday. It killed my framerate. Rather than jumping up and down between 60 and 15, it just stayed at 8.

[3] Windows Prt Scr captures your entire multi-monitor setup.

[4] Some people have suggested the problem is Vulkan.

[5] This world can get pretty dark and gruesome at times.

From The Archives:

106 thoughts on “Now Playing: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

  1. Axion says:

    I’ve noticed similarly weird performance problems across series in the last few years.

    My “gaming” laptop ran Shogun 2 at Ultra settings, but Rome 2 at medium (which looked way worse for obstensibly the same experience) and couldn’t run Warhammer faster than 5fps with the lowest possible settings where everything looks like it came out of a 90s bargain bin.

    In the past system upgrades have become mandatory with incredible leaps in fidelity, but nowadays it sometimes feels like Devs just aren’t optimising for the low end of the spectrum anymore.

    1. Ani-kun says:

      Oh, I’m glad it’s not just me, then. I felt Warhammer ran like total arse considering my system and that the game doesn’t really look anything special. 20fps during fights kinda isn’t fun, especially not when my system is capable of running Fallout 4 at 60fps ultra settings (except around Boston, thanks to Bethesda’s awful optimisations for shadows).

    2. Echo Tango says:

      It’s not just that they’re not optimizing for low-end computers – it seems like some games aren’t being measured/optimized at all. The example I think of is the new XCOM 2. It played with a poor framerate, even on good computers, compared to contemporary games. The expansion pack War Of The Chosen seems to have improved it a bit, but there’s still a lot of camera glitches and framerate hitches. If you use the Long War 2 mod, which increases the number of enemies on the map, the performance gets even worse, so it’s pretty obvious that their game doesn’t scale well for performance either.

      The polar opposite is Factorio. The devs actively look for ways to improve the performance, and want to make their game playable on low end computers, and also playable if the player ends up with a very big map. I don’t think it’s possible for a low end computer to also have a very large map and great performance, but it’s still reasonably playable in that case.

      1. ben says:

        That probably the case actually. you can clearly save a lot of money and time on development if you don’t optimize, and you can more or less get away with it with modern hardware. The further increase in computer power will probably means less and less optimisation now that we have reach a kind of max in graphic quality.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          That’s true, but XCOM2 still played poorly on good modern machines. Even if they were targeting good machines, it should have run well on good machines, and poorly on older or cheaper machines.

          1. ehlijen says:

            Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the devs were playtesting the game with a lot of features turned off. It would also explain, for example, why they didn’t realise before launch that Bradford shouting complaints at the player during every retaliation mission wasn’t a good move.

          2. Jeff says:

            XCOM2 was perfectly fine for me. It’s been a while, but I recall the community trouble-shooting concluding that it’s not a question of “good” vs “bad” rigs, but specific manufacturers. I think there were issues with AMD CPUs?

            1. Soylent Dave says:

              Yeah, “poor optimisation” quite often means that games work really well with certain components, and terribly (or, in worst cases, not at all) with others.

              (and because of market forces that usually means Intel and NVIDIA work by default, while AMD are left second-best)

              XCOM 2 was one of those, but the took the opportunity afford by the War of the Chosen DLC to implement a lot of optimisation bug fixes – people struggling to run the game now tend to have systems that should struggle to run the game.

      2. Veylon says:

        To add to that, there’s a lot, CPU-wise, going on under the hood in Factorio. Trains and monsters find paths across an ever-changing environment, items in their tens of thousands on conveyor belts are kept track of as they jostle against each other, multiple logic networks containing dozens of components have their state kept and updated, and swarms of robots fly across the skies, summoned by the needs of a logistics system (or systems) with hundreds of constantly monitored inventories. It’s a very complicated game (and there’s mods to make it more complicated) and it all runs with barely a hitch.

        It’s frankly embarrassing that an indie dev can make this happen in real time and yet a AAA turn-based game runs like molasses.

      3. default_ex says:

        That seems to be the case with a lot of games lately. I had to give up on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided because of how badly it was running for me. Sometimes it will play smoothly and others every few seconds it’s running into frame lockup for seconds at a time. Initial tweaking wasn’t helping so I busted out the big guns. I installed Rainmeter, created my own panel to display every performance metric about my system: HDD utilization, CPU usage, RAM usage/bandwidth, GPU usage/bandwidth, every temperature sensor I could find in my system reading a valid range and even voltages for everything so I could spot power state transitions. What I found was that it wasn’t even using my computer to it’s full extent and my computer is not that great: good modern graphics card, old dual core AMD processor overclocked to 4GHz and a quad piped 800MHz FSB (with the overclock closer to 1200MHz). So I added threading metrics to my Rainmeter panel and what I suspected was actually the case. Threads were being suspended despite ample processor power being available to execute them. That tells me one thing: the game has some form of garbage collector and it’s running way more often than it should.

        It’s hard to optimize a GC collection out. It isn’t hard to optimize them so that they don’t occur back to back. Think of all the C# and Java games that will lock up for a second or two here and there. That’s what a single pass of GC optimization looks like and if your in a hurry to get a product on store shelves is acceptable. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is what GC looks like when no one even bothered to try optimizing it.

        1. Mephane says:

          Are you sure it was a GC and not just ordinary soft-locks and starving threads? I would expect a game like DX:MD to be written in C++, which neither comes with a GC nor needs one, the language is designed with RAII and thus deterministic resource management in mind.

          1. Richard says:

            It’s almost certainly really bad thread management.

            I see this consumer paradigm all the time:


            while (running_flag)

            With a producer somewhere else doing:


            It’s a horrific waste of resources.
            The consumer tries to context switch almost 1000 times a second, then takes and releases the lock every time – even when there’s nothing to do.

            Not only is that really wasteful of CPU as the CPU has to flush the cache at least 1000 times a second, it locks out the producer thread a lot of the time.

            That producer thread is either the main game loop or the GUI drawing – so the whole game is getting stopped all the time.

            Yet it appears to be the single most common way of doing a producer-consumer.

            Events people, every OS has events! Use them!

    3. Fade2Gray says:

      Optimization seems really hit and miss these days.

      The most confusing recent example I ran into was with Dishonored 2 and Nu-Prey. Both look similar, were made by the same developer, and were released six months apart, but Dishonored 2 (which was released first) runs significantly worse on my computer [to this day] than Prey (which I’d argue actually looks noticeably better).

  2. kunedog says:

    ALT+PrtScrn captures only the current window. Dunno if it works with every game, or in full screen mode with multiple monitors..

    1. kaypy says:

      The following autoit script will make printscreen do a screencapture and automatically save it to a specified directory for later editting, then play a sound so that you know it just did it, and play a *different* sound if the image compressed enough that it is probably a blank screen. Should be of similar reliability as windows printscreen…

      #Include <ScreenCapture.au3>


      $curentry = 100
      $pref = "e:\autocap\capture"
      $suf = ".tif"
      $oksound = "e:\autocap\ok.wav"
      $badsound = "e:\autocap\bad.wav"
      $minsize = 150 * 1024

      func docap()
       while (fileexists($pref&$curentry&$suf))
        $curentry = $curentry + 1;
       if (filegetsize($pref&$curentry&$suf) < $minsize) Then

      while 1

    2. Echo Tango says:

      Speaking of screenshots – is interacting with the Steam overlay necessary to take screenshots in Steam? I haven’t used it in a while, but last time you could just mash F10[1] or whatever it defaults to, and at the end of the game, you’d have a bunch of screenshots to sort through. I mean, *finding* the screenshots without that overlay popping up might be a pain[2], but they still exist. :)

      [1] I only remember it was the same F-key as quicksave or quickload in the game I was playing, so whenever I was doing something with a save, I’d get this weird camera-shutter sound. After the game I found I had a bunch of random screenshots… :)

      [2] Nowadays, there’s a menu-option you can enable, for when you click on the main system-tray Steam icon, but this starts out disabled so that your screenshots aren’t readily accessible.

      1. Ani-kun says:

        Default key is F12.

    3. tengokujin says:

      I would actually just highly recommend ShareX, where someone else has done a lot of the work for you and has an easy setup (and auto-updater). I use it all the time to quickly screenshot and automatically upload images to imgur. It abounds with options: I use the crop, window, and full screen options to get the screenshot I need. For example.

  3. baud says:

    I’ve read a few steam review of the games and nearly all the negatives were “can’t run the game”/”unplayable”
    So you’re not alone with this problem.

  4. Rax says:

    The only way I could get screens would be to use the built-in Windows system where I hit Print Screen, Alt-tab out of the game, paste the captured image into my editing software, crop out the unwanted stuff from my secondary monitor, save the image, and return to the game.

    For what it’s worth: You can use ALT+Print Screen to put a screenshot of the currently active window in your clipboard, no cropping required. You can also use Windows Key + Print Screen to directly save a screenshot into your Pictures\Screenshots folder. No pasting into an editing software required.
    Unfortunately you can’t combine the two.

    1. Fizban says:

      Doesn’t the windows key usually, ya know, minimize everything in order to bring up the windows menu? Unless that’s not in 7, since I just tried it and it didn’t work.

      1. Ryan says:

        On its own, yes. When combined with a hotkey, no. But I do believe the screenshot one in particular is a 10 feature, so you likely will not have that available in 7 — perhaps a resident app with a screenshot feature can be used instead.

    2. Bloodsquirrel says:

      Well, he could just disable the 2nd monitor.

      1. Ani-kun says:

        … yeah, because that’s an option for people like Shamus who WRITE ABOUT GAMES. You realise we use second monitors for a reason, right? Like putting browser windows or similar over there while playing so it’s easier to check things at a glance, or for notepad windows with our notes?

        1. Bloodsquirrel says:

          yeah, because that's an option for people like Shamus who WRITE ABOUT GAMES.

          Yes, actually, it is, since disabling and re-enabling the monitor only takes a few seconds, and there’s nothing that he absolutely needs a second monitor for while he’s playing through the game. It’s not optimal, but if his options are “don’t have screenshots for my blog posts” and “turn off my second monitor while grabbing screenshots”, the latter at least allows him to get his work done. He can even have a notepad and pen nearby if he needs to take any notes, or if the game doesn’t spaz out when he does it, alt-tab.

          The fact that you’ve gotten aggressive and upset over this is rather bizarre. Did you just come there thinking “Gee, I need to start a fight today”?

          1. Rolo says:

            Don’t take it too seriously, this blog is a job and material is needed. It is par for the course for Shamus “I installed CCleaner and my computer exploded”. Entertainment first, the show must go on!

  5. Angelo says:

    To skip the intro set this launch option (right click on the game from the Steam library > Properties, first tab):

    +com_skipBootSequence 1

    I just tried it and it goes straight to the main menu without a single splash screen, only a bit of black. Thanks go to pcgamingwiki.

    1. Ani-kun says:

      While it’s nice it’s possible, it shouldn’t be NECESSARY. Gamers don’t give a crap about your fancy logos, game devs/pubs. Once we’ve seen them once, we don’t want to see them again. Some devs get this and set their games up in such a way that the first time is the only time, but far too many make you sit through unskippable screens every damn time, or make you jump through hoops like adding special commands to the game’s shortcut, neither of which should be a thing.

      1. ElementalAlchemist says:

        I think the most egregious example of this sort of thing I can recall was one of the Assassin’s Creed sequels (one of the last ones I played). It had a completely unskippable end credits roll, and the thing ran for like 40 minutes.

        1. Jordan says:

          AC3 had this, and an after credits scene for people who sat through almost 20 of names scrolling past. AC4:Black Flag is probably what you’re thinking of though, clocking in at around 40 full minutes of credits:

    2. kdansky says:

      Most games also allow you to just plain delete the intro splash files from your disk.

      I believe most of these are the reason of marketing / publisher and developers not agreeing. Devs want it skippable, but publishers insist on getting their promotion dollars. So the end-result is that devs leave a dev-option in.

      1. Richard says:

        It’s just insane.
        Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is really irritating, I end up minimizing the game during startup and doing something else. Sometimes I even forget I started the game and just leave it sat at the opening screen for ages before killing it later because I found something else to do.

        Fine, show me the logos the first time. I’ll accept a longer time for first start, you can even do some useful work to cache stuff while they’re visible.
        After that, at least let me skip them.

        Like pretty much all gamers, I only ever pay attention to the logos if the game is bad.
        Then I’ll watch for them and specifically avoid games by the same group.

  6. Ryan says:

    I went to the comments to mention the whole “Windows+PrtScrn” option, but I see someone already mentioned it so consider this my seconding of it.

    It automatically does the whole screen (can’t narrow to a specific window like with the Alt key), but it saves it to your pictures folder with no further action from you and contrary to one of the other comments doesn’t pop up the start menu.

    1. Ani-kun says:

      Typical Microsoft, in other words. You can use Alt+Print Screen for just the active window, but you need to manually paste it. Or use Win+Print Screen, which dumps the shot to drive… but it caps EVERY screen. So basically everything except what would actually be useful. It’s incredible how Microsoft continues to go backwards with Windows.

      1. PeteTimesSix says:

        Or, maybe, its because multi-monitor setups have only become commonplace relatively recently and the keyboard shortcuts for printscreen functions date back to at least windows 95 and people generally dont appreciate keyboard shortcuts changing on them between software versions? Microsoft does a lot of things wrong but come on, that took me like ten seconds to think of and verify. Give them SOME benefit of the doubt.

        1. galacticplumber says:

          On the one hand fair point in this specific instance. On the on the other other hand it’s MICROSOFT. So, in essence, no.

          1. Philadelphus says:

            So along the lines of “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day”? :)

        2. Ani-kun says:

          Nope. Microsoft have had YEARS to sort this kind of functionality out. I’m on Windows 8.1, an OS that released when multi-monitor setups were pretty common among PC users. Not super common maybe, but certainly enough that MS should’ve been implementing this stuff. Unfortunately, they decided that a schizo OS that couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a tablet or desktop got in the way of actually doing something useful for once.

          I’ve been using Windows since 3.1 and DOS, I am WAY beyond giving MS the benefit of the doubt ;p

        3. Veylon says:

          They could’ve merged the modifiers. If Alt is the current window and Win saves to disk, then Alt + Win should save the current window to disk. Though to be fair, Macintosh doesn’t do this either.

        4. guy says:

          The ability to have multiple windows open at once on a single monitor, however, predates the windows key.

    2. Zak McKracken says:

      Pro tip: After generating a bunch of screenshots with unwanted second monitor on them, simply open Gimp, use “File –> open as layers” and select them all. They’ll all be on top of each other, and you can crop the image only once, then resize layers to canvas.

      And from there, you can browse through the layers and save the interesting ones with a meaningful name, just using the “export as” function.

      also, Shutter is a cool KDE screenshot tool which keeps multiple screenshots open for later sorting/saving (can also do other nice things…). There is a KDE for Windows but I have not used it in a while, and of course I’ve no idea if it would work via hotkey while a game on full-screen in the foreground. It might work from the second screen, though, using the mouse to screenshot just the first monitor.

  7. Joshua says:

    Reminds me of the graphics performance issues from your NWN 2 review from a year or two back (ok, like 11). Yeah, it’s pretty (for its time, anyway), but not prettier than other current games enough to justify why FPS is in the single digits.

  8. Syal says:

    So I’ve paid minimal attention to these games; is it more likely the wife gets killed, or that she has a baby who then picks up a gun and shoots the big bad?

    1. djw says:

      Or… maybe BJ and Anya both die in the finale, and the recently born baby gets splashed with acid (or something) leaving him with a white lock of hair as a birthmark and a divine mission to get revenge in the next sequel.

    2. Scourge says:

      Pregnant wife?

      Probably shot/stabbed through the stomach and bleeds out.

    3. Cubic says:

      Spoiler: The wife’s belly is slashed open by a monster. Disaster. But wait! The pipes of a double-barrel shotgun emerge from the wound.

      1. djw says:

        I feel like I’ve seen this in a movie before, but I cannot for the life of me remember where…

        1. ehlijen says:

          I swear there was a scene like that in Alien Resurrection (but with a corpse and the shotgun held by someone hiding down a hole in the deck beneath it).

    4. Fade2Gray says:

      BJ and Anya get invited to a big celebratory diner as guests of honor after driving the Nazis out of America. BJ can’t make it though for narratively convenient reasons. Near the end of the dinner, a speaker draws attention to Anya. But, is that the Nazi anthem playing!? The speaker gives the order and Nazis begin shooting everyone. For dramatic affect, one Nazi stabs poor Anya in the belly repeatedly.

      Cut to credits.

      Post credits stinger: the speaker was zombie Frau Engel in disguise.

      1. Dev Null says:

        It’s ok: Arya comes back and brutally murders all of Germany at the start of a later season.

  9. boz says:

    You can add “+r_disableSteamOverlay 0 ” as a launch option to enable steam overlay.

  10. Arakus says:

    To progress at the point you’re at you need to climb up a robot arm thing and get on a ladder. Here’s a video demonstrating it because I’m not good at explaining. (Sorry if the timestamp doesn’t work properly).

    1. Shamus says:

      You just saved me hours of progress. Thanks so much.

      1. Shamus says:

        Pfft. I was less than ten minutes from the end of the game. It certainly didn’t feel like it.

        Ah well. That’s done.

        1. Meriador says:

          Can I take it from your response that the ending was somewhat underwhelming? I haven’t been following these games.

        2. tzeneth says:

          And I find this hilarious. You were that close to the end when you ran into the bug. Also, that you didn’t realize you WERE at the end. Sounds like bad pacing or story beats or something.

        3. Jeremy says:

          I shared your frustration and disbelief with Anya’s actions in this game, especially when she jumps out of a chopper into a combat roll ffs. It was a whole game of suspension of disbelief break just so they could get one or two badass pregnant woman scenes in.

          There was also another optional scene where Anya is lying in bed with Blazkowicz when he asks her how they escaped from the failed rescue attempt and she says they had some tricks up their sleeve, then BJ rather ominously says that’s exactly what Super Spesh said right before he got shot. It felt like foreshadowing of something being wrong to me but there was no pay-off.

          On the whole I enjoyed this game and might 100% it, but it’s not as good as New Order.

  11. Ciennas says:

    What I don’t get is, midseason upgrade units aside, we are still in the Xbone and PS4 era of game compatibility.

    There should be no reason to need to upgrade graphics cards again for another few years, because if t was compatible with xbone then it should be compatible until the next huge upset.

    I can see edge cases of failure, but unless they are deliberately colluding with graphic card manufacturers, we should not have this trouble period.

    I mean, they are building the games from the start to work with those two consoles, so shouldn’t that automatically hatch in compatibility for any similar hardware?

    1. SharpeRifle says:

      It might not be a graphics card issue. I preordered Agents of Mayhem from Volition only to find out that my CPU while “technically” able to run it was not supported by the game so I had to return it. There might be a similar issue here as well though not the same one since that game just refused to run. So possibly less a failure of lower end optimization and possibly a failure of “didn’t cover some parts”. Doubtful I know…but it is something to consider.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        Isn’t the whole point of OpenGL, DirectX, etc, to abstract this level of detail from applications? Like, your card has enough power, supports specific things like shader level X or ultra bling-mapping level Q, and then everything should just work? How can a specific graphics card “technically” run a game, but not actually run a game?

        1. John says:

          I couldn’t say for sure, but perhaps it’s one of those cases where Nvidia has written some game-specific stuff into the video drivers for newer cards but not for older ones like the 700 series. That happens sometimes, right?

        2. Shamus says:

          In an ideal world, you’d be right. But NVIDIA and AMD make chips, which they sell to third-party developers who make the cards consumers buy. Those outfits have freedom to do strange and unexpected things. Maybe they add more memory. Maybe they use cheap memory. Maybe their cooling solution isn’t as robust and some cards have to drop into low-power mode to avoid burning themselves out. I actually don’t know what all of the variables are, but there are a lot.

          So you can end up with a card that technically has all of the features required, but on this particular card you might run out of memory, or run too hot, or whatever. So certain features might not work as expected.

          On top of this, for years AMD and NVIDIA have been making a mess of things by building their drivers to be application-aware. For example, the team behind Shoot Guy 2 is doing something wrong. They’re wasting graphics memory and GPU cycles with bad coding. An NVIDIA engineer notices this and builds a patch into the driver that will detect if Shoot Guy 2 is running and correct the wrong behavior in the driver layer.

          The reason is that now the game will run better on NVIDIA cards, whcih makes it look like NVIDIA hardware is superior to AMD. So AMD has to do the same thing on their end in basic self-defense.

          This practice probably started with benchmarking tools. A bunch of people all settled on a small group of applications to compare the graphics performance of one card against another. So the driver can detect this program and use special optimizations designed to inflate the numbers, even if those optimizations are useless for general-purpose rendering. NVIDIA and AMD did this to each other for years.

          Imagine if people bought cars based on how powerful they were. But people didn’t know how to compare power. So they performed in drag races. So then carmakers started optimizing for drag races, even though that actually makes the cars less useful to the consumer because people don’t buy cars to drag race them. It’s this awful cycle of shenanigans and marketing being embedded in the driver layer.

          So now there’s all this variance and complexity, and when things go wrong people can’t always point a finger at the culprit. Maybe the driver is messing things up. Maybe this card can’t really do the things it’s supposed to be able to do. This is why testing on the PC is such a nightmare. To be safe you’d need to test every possible combination of CPU+memory+GPU+GPU configuration+driver.

          We really need a good article documenting all this. Everything I’ve said above is based on informal claims made by various developers, and not something I can verify myself. I try to stay as far away from the driver layer as possible. There be dragons.

          1. djw says:

            I guess you have a topic for a blog post for next week then…

            Honestly, you could almost get away with a cut and paste from this reply.

          2. Ciennas says:

            Huh. Neat. So how does a savvy consumer bypass all of this nonsense then? Get a chip that actually lines up with the stated specs?

            I mean, I see this in consumer smartphones all the time, but with the exception of what radio frequency bands the things can hear, I thought they were all identical underneath it all. And if nothing else, you could buy directly from the manufacturer to bypass and have a truly universal device.

            Is there something like that for computer hardware?

            1. djw says:

              Honestly, it seems to me that for the most part this is a good thing that does not need to be “got around”.

              The chip manufactures are competing with each other by releasing updates that make games run better. I’m sure there is a downside here, but naively it sounds pretty good to me.

              1. djw says:

                Actually, upon reading a bit more carefully, I retract my statement.

                1. ehlijen says:

                  I’d still like to state why I believe it is not a good thing in the long run:

                  -It teaches bad coding practices with the game developers. If the graphics cards guys will fix it for them, why’d they need to make it good to begin with?
                  -It doesn’t create performance across the board, only for specific tasks that get benchmarked, and likely only for specific titles.
                  -It makes it harder for anyone who isn’t getting secret help to optimise, because as drivers become bloated with game-specific extra tools, it becomes more time consuming to figure out what a driver can and can’t do.

                  Now it’s fun analogy time!
                  Imagine you’re defining a size system for clothes you intend to sell internationally. But you just eyeball it, so it barely works for one region, and not really for others where people tend towards different builds. The fashion outlets don’t want that, so each outlet comes with a tailor to adjust things for customers. But it’s not worth trying to have the tailor actually measure each customer, so they just get a shortlist of the measurements of the most frequent customers; everyone else has to either hope for the best or express their own size in relations to one of the big spenders.

                  Not only has your goal to standardize not been reached, but the clothes have gotten more expensive (to pay for the tailors) and the sizing system is more obtuse than ever.
                  (Yes, I admit this analogy is funnier than it is accurate or useful, but I felt like it.)

                  1. djw says:

                    Well, to be clear, I retracted my comment because Shamus didn’t say what I thought he said at first.

                    I now suspect that the situation is nuanced. The manufacturers look after their own interests, of course, and in some cases they try to pull the wool over our eyes. On the other hand, they do take an active interest in making their cards work better for games lots of people play (eg. AAA games).

                    I imagine it *could* be worse… for instance, if AMD gave up on the PC market then Nvidia wouldn’t even bother making their drivers work better for AAA games. Why would they? I bet that it takes a lot of time and is really expensive.

                    Granted, they do have a duopoly now, so we probably are not living in the best possible world as far as video cards are concerned.

                    Fortunately, super good graphics are not a high priority for me in games, although I don’t turn my nose up at them when they come in games with other features that I like.

                    1. ehlijen says:

                      it’s not malice, not really. It’s a series of short term decisions resulting in an incredibly inefficient mess.

                      It’ not terrible, but it was meant to be and could be so much better.

                    2. Fade2Gray says:

                      I wonder if some of this is to blame for how pricey GPUs have gotten at the high end. Games keep getting more expensive to make, but their prices are largely fixed, so devs/publishers skimp on optimization hours. GPU makers, who’s prices are more flexible, pick up the slack and “optimize” on their end in the drivers and then raise their prices.

                    3. Baron Tanks says:

                      it's not malice, not really. It's a series of short term decisions resulting in an incredibly inefficient mess.

                      It' not terrible, but it was meant to be and could be so much better.

                      That’s a one sentence summary of 98% of my frustrations with working in a corporate environment. Congrats, you won the internet for the day.

            2. WWWebb says:

              Magical devices where you don’t have to worry about specs and drivers do exist. They’re called consoles. Instead of worrying about which parts to buy, you just worry about which games you want to play.

            3. Default_Ex says:

              The cards that implement exactly what Nvidia or AMD intended are called reference models. For some chips you can find them but not all. Drivers have reference drivers which are just the driver with no fluff, not easy to find.

          3. Sleeping Dragon says:

            You’re doing this thing again where you’re writing a column in the comments.

      2. Ciennas says:

        Okay. I know computers are hyper complex advanced machines and all, but my point still stands. If it could do one, why not the other?

    2. PPX14 says:

      There was that case with AC: Origins where it was supposedly running badly because it was optimized for the consoles which could withstand a certain number of (50,000?) draw-calls per second, whereas on PC, DirectX 11 could not handle this. The consoles also have the benefit of more usable VRAM than most mid-end (or previously high end) gfx cards.

  12. Drathnoxis says:

    I knew a woman who still ran races when she was like 7 months pregnant, got pretty good times too!

    1. djw says:

      A bit off topic, but since I randomly ran across this very similar story earlier today, I just had to link it.

    2. ehlijen says:

      It’s quite possible for pregnant women to be physically active. If cornered and in possession of a weapon, they could also fight for their lives with whatever training they have.

      But deliberately going into combat while pregnant is unusual to the point where it requires an in character explanation. If the point is to show off how badass she is, she needs a reason to fight. Else she will appear foolishly reckless instead of brave (which of course can be the intent, but I didn’t get that impression from Shamus’ description).

      1. Michael says:

        Especially given that, in the previous game, Anya was more of a support character, staying back at base on a headset, managing the radios and doing research, rather than in the field.

      2. shoeboxjeddy says:

        It’s a bad idea coming from a good place. They have an important female character who they want to give plenty of screentime and characterization to… that’s a good thing in action gaming that we should commend! But in this specific case, it’s an issue of “oh no… you shouldn’t BE here, lady!”

        1. ehlijen says:

          All she needs is a reason. Is she the only rebel available? Has she lost someone before and now refuses to let her partner fight alone? Is she going to use the fact that she is pregnant as a plausibly deniable disguise (who would suspect her?) to get past some guards? Is there no safe place for her to go instead?

          There are many options.

          1. LCF says:

            As someone else on the Internet suggested, it would me much simpler to just swap Anya with Grace.
            The pregnant lady stays on comm duty, not in harm’s way, and the fiery revolutionnary gets to kick ass and chew bubble-gum.
            Problem solved without contrivance.
            Bonus point for showing a black badass woman busy killing nazis.

            As for Me, I learnt from New Order not to buy and try the stuff myself. Never try the stuff yourselves, kids!
            Much better to watch it. Less expensive, less rage-inducing at trying to fit into and play a movie-which-looks-like-a-shooter.
            Also, I probably would not pass Venus. I’d probably keep stuck, again and again, always trying to bash Hitler’s skull into the ground.

  13. Dreadjaws says:

    I love PC gaming but man, it’s such a nightmare when one particular game decides not to work properly for whatever unexplainable reason no matter how hard you try.

    For instance, I had this problem with Lego Marvel’s Avengers: every time I launched the game I needed to start a new game and keep going until I reach the first playable part. Then I could go back to the main menu and load a save. If I didn’t do all that and instead I tried loading the save from the beginning the game would freeze. Without failure. Every. Single. Time.

    Now, I’ve tried everything I can think of. Messing with the options, verifying the integrity of the game’s cache, redownloading the entire thing, and no dice. Hell, I can’t even find reports of anyone else having this problem. I’ve seen the game work perfectly fine at a friend’s house (whose PC is far inferior in specs to mine), so I know it’s not a case of the world secretly hiding from me the fact that the game doesn’t work.

    Notice how I said I “had” this problem. This is not because I solved it, but because I simply never got back into the game. Having to do all that procedure just to be able to play was annoying and tiresome, particularly in a game that already has a bunch of unskippable logos and cutscenes. It’s just not worth my limited time.

    1. Mousazz says:

      I have a very similar problem on the Hearts of Iron IV Kaiserreich mod (not that I’ve played vanilla recently; it may be there as well): any time I load a save from 1939 or later right after starting the game, it crashes on 1AM of the following day. What I have to do instead, is load an another save on an earlier date (say, 1937), play that for a few in-game weeks, then load the save I actually wanted to load in the first place. Really weird.

      I tried reading the uncompressed save files (the game allows you the option to save without compression, thankfully – it just saves them as readable text), and the game only screams about several textures missing – nothing denoting why exactly this problem would exist.

  14. PPX14 says:

    4 years old or not, pretty much no game should falter on a 780 with 3GB VRAM, unless it’s at 4K :/ how strange

  15. Alex says:

    Even if they fixed the bugs, I still wouldn’t buy the game. To me, the nice thing about using Nazis as your villains is that it makes the shorthand of “this guy is a dick, don’t feel bad about shooting him” a lot easier. You’ll get more people decrying racism against orcs than you will that argue that members of an army literally trying to take over the world for the government responsible for the Holocaust do not default to acceptable targets. And that shorthand means you don’t need to go full Two Minutes Hate mode to paint them as somebody who needs shooting. But the developers did anyway, and it’s not fun.

  16. At first I was flabbergasted at the idea that an idtech game could have performance issues, but reading up on it, it seems Colossus uses the DOOM 2016 version of idtech. The first one that wasn’t headed by Carmack. Rather telling…

  17. Adeon says:

    Yeah my view on New Colossus is pretty much the same. I can live with the graphics and bugs, I can even tolerate the rather silly plot but the gameplay and level design just doesn’t flow as well as The New Order.

    One specific example, cover feels really screwed up in this game. The New Order had a nice cover system that encouraged you to stay in cover and lean out for shots. In New Colossus cover is utterly screwy. Half the time you’re fighting in areas which have very limited cover to use and even when you do find a nice shooting spot the actual cover aiming mechanics don’t seem to work very well, with BJ randomly detaching from cover based on the angle of your gun.

    1. Redrock says:

      I feel like it was an intentional design choice. New Colossus seems to emphasize movement and dual-wielding to a much greater degree than New Order did. So the levels are built with running and gunning in mind. Note, for example, the lack of cover-based perks. Personally, I never much liked cover in New Order, so the changes suit me just fine. But it’s a bummer that it makes the game less enjoyable for some people. Wonder if they did some research and testing on that.

  18. Blackbird71 says:

    There have been 11 total games bearing the Wolfenstein name, and this is the third one in this particular series. I have no idea why some dingbat decided to name it “Wolfenstein II”.

    I think you answered this one without realizing it. The game isn’t “Wolfenstein II (two)”, it’s “Wolfenstein 11 (eleven).”

    (probably not the real answer, but I think it makes more sense than anything the creators/marketers/dingbats might actually claim)

  19. Dreadjaws says:

    Well, Shamus, looks like you’re in luck. The new patch enables Steam overlay, so you can probably take screenshots without a problem now.

    It doesn’t say anything about fixing framerate issues, though.

    1. Shamus says:

      The game is 100% broken for me now, patch or no patch. There’s quite a few of us that get a generic “Could not write crash dump” message when attempting to launch the game. We report it to support, they tell us to update our drivers, we say we did, they ignore us.


      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Have you tried updating your drivers?I hear some people suggesting that as the solution.

      2. Dreadjaws says:

        So, you are in luck… only it’s bad luck.

        Also, provided you’re talking about Steam Support, your issues with support don’t surprise me in the slightest. Granted, if you’re talking about nVidia Support, I have no experience, but with Steam, about 0.01% of the responses I got weren’t automated and wrong. Here’s a more or less accurate depiction of an experience I had once:

        Me: “Hello, I want to change this game’s language, but there’s no Language tab.”
        Support: “Hi, to change a game’s language, go to Properties and then the Language tab.”
        Me: “No, didn’t you read? I said very clearly that there’s no language tab, but I still want to change the game’s language, because I know the game supports other languages.”
        Support: “Hi. If a game supports other languages you can change them going to Properties and then the Language tab”
        Me: “Oh, my God, are you kidding me? Can I get an actual person to read these instead of whatever algorithm you’re using? Because that’s not working properly. You’re telling me to do exactly what I’m telling you I CAN’T do. Here’s the thing: the game is installing automatically in spanish, which I don’t care for because the translation and voice acting are terrible, so I want the original english version. It’s obvious that the game supports multiple languages because it states so in the store page and, again, I’m actually receiving a version other than the original”
        Support: “To see if a game supports other languages, check the right column on the store page.”
        Me: “ARE YOU F**KING KIDDING ME? Get me a real person now! I just want to know how to change this game’s language to english and your stupid computer isn’t helping!”
        Support: “Hi, to change a game’s language, go to Properties and then the Language tab.”
        Me: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

        By the way, I solved this by checking in the forums, extrapolating another user’s similar problem. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t remember Steam Support ever being useful to me in any capacity. And they’re even worse now, as there’s no option to ask about an unprecedented issue.

        1. djw says:

          Talking to robots makes my blood boil.

          A few weeks ago I almost crashed my car because I couldn’t get Siri to understand the difference between “Tree” and “Three”. (I was trying to get directions to “Tree Fort Bike Shop”).

          This might surprise you, but its hard to simultaneously pay attention to the road and yell “TREE!” at your phone over and over again. Also, there was an unexpected roundabout involved.

          1. Dreadjaws says:

            Yeah, and that kind of thing is even worse if you have an accent. Being latin american, trying to get an english-language software to understand what I’m trying to communicate is painful.

  20. C__ says:

    I like the overall tone of the game. I mean, nasty evil Nazis and KKK on the streets? If the last boss is not Hitler or Dr. Evil I will be quite disappointed.

    But the level design is really awful, imho

  21. Dev Null says:

    and endure another round of unskippable logos.

    While I no longer feel young-and-inspired enough to contemplate joining a game design team, one day I am going to talk my way onto one with the sole role of designing the startup and save game interactions. In that nameless game, after the first time you start it up and you see the logos and watch the little cutscene intro, a window is going to pop up that says “Would you like to never see any of that again, and have the game load your latest save immediately on startup? Yes/No.” And it is going to take a maximum of two button/mouse clicks to save your game and exit to desktop. I’ve been playing a lot of XCOM2 lately, and it takes a minimum of 15 minutes from the time I decide to play the game to the time I am actually playing it; in part because some of the wait times are so long that i get up and walk away during them. Which I’d be fine with, if I didn’t have to press a single button every now and then, in between minute-long waits.

    I wonder if anyone has ever done any actual market research on whether those unskippable startup ads actually affect consumer behaviour, and in which way. Personally, I think I hate them enough that I’d try to avoid their products, if I ever actually paid enough attention to them to notice what the product was.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      I’ve had the exact same thought many times. I’d love it if a game offered the chance to go directly to the last save the moment you launch it.

    2. Mousazz says:

      The system I’ve seen for company logos that I liked the most was in Deus Ex: 3d models of company logos floating around in the background, with awesome music, while you can always press ESC to bring up the (transparent) main menu.

  22. Volvagia says:

    I’m guessing it’ll be six releases, with subtitles alternating between Wolfenstein #: The New _ and Wolfenstein: The Old _.

    We have Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood for the first duo.
    Then Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and probably Wolfenstein II: The Old Titan for the second duo. Basically, the idea would be they consider both halves a single story.
    Then Wolfenstein III: The “New” Leaders and Wolfenstein III: The Old Champion to close us out. New is in quotation marks because the first half would be BJ Blaskowicz vs. The Boys From Brazil and the second half would be BJ Blaskowicz vs Old Man Hitler.

  23. Gawain The Blind says:

    I had terrible performance and occasional lock-ups until I updated my nvidia drivers. This game apparently hates older drivers, I dunno. I’m using a 760 so I sort of expect it but I’ve got it running at 40-45 fps now and that’s playable.

    You can rename the .bk2 file in the bink/boot/ folder to basically anything else and skip the unskippable intro nonsense.

    I wandered around that fucking airship for what felt like hours trying to figure out where the shit I was supposed to go after killing everyone. It was rage inducing. I don’t need an elder scrolls style objective compass, but I wouldn’t mind some built-into-the-map visual cues on the general direction I’m supposed to be going. I don’t remember ever getting lost on the first one.

    Edit: the other thing is that BJ seems to go down a lot easier now, even though you’re wearing cool new battle armor. I’m playing it on normal and I feel way less badass and like stealth is way more important… which is not what i want out of my nazi shooter game.

  24. Double A says:

    Can anyone tell me if there’s a Statue of Liberty mecha in this game? Like the Resistance’s answer to the London Monitor.

  25. Umair Khan says:

    Thanks for such awesome debate..

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