Machine Games / ID Software / Bethesda (studio)
14 December 2017 (released)
26 December 2017
Well folks, it’s time for more Nazi slaying! We’ve finally got our hands on the long awaited expansion for Wolfenstein II; The Freedom Chronicles. We are introduced to three new, unique characters hell-bent on destroying the Nazi war machine and ending the Third Reich. Our first outing in causing chaos and mayhem is with Joe Stallion, aka Gunslinger Joe; a renowned football player with the gift of dishing out pain with his legendary barging.
Joe’s story is a revenge tale, hunting down the Nazis who killed his family and imprisoned him and his fellow Americans. Everything starts off promising as we’re introduced to Joe’s special ability (basically the Ram shackles from the core game) and given the chance to deliver a barrage of pain within the first few minutes. Joe is a likable character, if not a little dull to be honest. His story revolves around killing a certain Nazi, a former dentist and traitor to the American people. Joe will travel the streets of Roswell, fight his way out of an underground prison and battle Nazis on Venus.
What you may gather already is that while this is a new story, 80% of the areas are just rehashed from the core game. Certain areas have been changed slightly or mashed together to form new ones. But everything is too familiar with little meaningful changes. Gunplay is still highly enjoyable with strong level design that works well when you’re causing mayhem. Stealth is still bare bones and to be honest, a complete waste of time. Stealth segments are poorly set up, with troublesome enemy placements and areas which are stealth unfriendly. It’s more efficient to just simply run and gun the commandos
While the gun-play is hugely satisfying, there’s still the issue of the difficulty creeping up in vicious spikes. But even so, I found Gunslinger Joe laughably easy in certain stages. There are segments you can just run through and it’s easier than fighting. Plus, the AI has taken a massive step down in the intelligence department. You can simply alert them to your presence and draw them into a single room where you can take them out easily. It’s again laughable when Nazis just blindly head to your position one by one, where you can camp in a corner and blast them to bits as they enter the room. There were only a couple of moments I had to retry but otherwise this was a cake walk.
The finale is also quite dull, taking us to Venus yet again which was one of the worst parts of The New Colossus. But yet again there’s very little new here which is really worth the time and money. There are no new weapons, the special ability is only useful for a few segments and there’s just no new dynamics to make this a worthy expansion. Gunslinger Joe is still fun, but you could just simply play the core game and get much more from that, rather than the two hours you’ll buy yourself here with Gunslinger.
This is a disappointing start to the Freedom Chronicles and one that should be a warning that the remainder might not live up to the excellent New Colossus.
++ Excellent Gun-Play
+ Great soundtrack
-- Copy past areas
- No new dynamics (no new weapons, abilities)
- Short and easy
The Freedom Chronicles DLC was provided by Bethesda for the purpose of this review. Part one of the three part review.