Machine Games’ rebooted Wolfenstein has always felt designed to parallel its protagonist. A fast, brutal, gloriously excessive, but deceptively smart shooter, released out of time and out of place into a world unprepared for its return, 2014’s The New Order mirrored the status of BJ Blazkowicz very keenly indeed. A blunt old war hero thrown forward into a high-tech, Nazi-occupied ‘60s, Blazko didn’t fit, was treated as little more than a gutsy underdog upon his reappearance, and proceeded to tear fascism a well deserved, cavernous new one regardless, with furious gusto. Much like Wolfenstein itself, Blazkowicz just didn’t give a shit for assumptions, caring only that there was important work to do. 

Each a cacophonous clash of old and new ways, neither Wolfenstein nor Blazko should have had any right to succeed. The tonal juxtaposition of dual-wielding, sprint-fired shotguns, Nazi robo-pups, and profound, soul-searching, emotional narrative should have made a misfire. But somehow those discordant threads came together to create a rousing symphony of carnage, breaking preconceptions and setting new standards all at the same time. 

And now Wolfenstein is back. And once more, neither it nor its hero expresses any care for convention. Both are going all-out, along their own path, and if anything they’re hitting even harder. And based on current play, they’re succeeding once again. The key quality remains: neither of them gives a shit. BJ is even killing Nazis from a wheelchair. 

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