Wolfenstein II - The Freedom Chronicles Review
Episode 3 - The Deeds of Captain Wilkins Review
Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus was one of our favourite games of last year, but the DLC Season has been uneven. The four chapters of The Freedom Chronicles included an Episode 0 taster that really should’ve been free to everyone, a good Episode 1 with a black protagonist but otherwise didn’t do anything new, and a great stealth-focused Episode 2 with a female spy that felt like a homage to No One Lives Forever.
Now the final DLC is here, The third part of The Freedom Chronicles - The Deeds of Captain Wilkins. Usually in a Season Pass the best is left to last. That hasn’t happened here.
Episode 3 puts players in the boots of Captain Wilkins, an aging veteran of World War Two that was disheartened by the defeat of the Allies. He’s learned of a new Nazi weapon called the Sun Gun, a Death Star-like weapon that’ll make them unbeatable, and vows to put a stop to it - with the help of an old army buddie called Cross and his partner, the mysterious Jenny. It’s entertaining and, occasionally, humorous, with a bit more effort put into character this time.
The biggest issue I have with Episode 3 is that Captain Wilkins is basically BJ Blazkowicz - a white male veteran soldier who loves killin’ Nazis. While Episode 2 had a female character and a focus on stealth, and even Episode 1 at least had a PoC as the lead and a psychotic racist dentist as the baddie, Episode 3 doesn’t have any of that originality. It’s all about killing Nazis, in much the same way as BJ in the main games.
Which is totally fine, and a perfect way to send off the Freedom Chronicles, except to stand out from the Wolfenstein 2 campaign Episode 3 has to be a particularly excellent slice of Wolfenstein. If it’s not going to stand out through character or gameplay, it has to through levels, design, challenge, or just feeling like new levels and not recycled bits from the main game. It fails to do this.
Do not take this to mean Episode 3 isn’t fun. It absolutely is, because it’s more Wolfenstein 2 and Wolfenstein 2 is fantastic. The levels in Episode 3 are entertaining, often with the ability to choose between action and stealth - which the main story offered but Episodes 1-2 forced players one way or the other. It all looks great, is pretty tough in parts especially when Wilkins is underpowered but not un-doable, and has the same addictive, enjoyable gunplay Wolfenstein 2 did so well.
But there is nothing here to justify an additional purchase. It feels like a well-made fan level, taking bits from the main game but not adding anything new. No new enemies, no new locations, no new weapons, and no new challenges. Episode 1 had a similar problem, but at least that dealt with a few race issues and had an interesting villain. Episode 3 has a bit of humour. That’s it. It’s fun, but it’s all stuff you’ve seen and played. There aren’t even any memorable setpieces or cool boss fights. I was hoping for a big final encounter to send Wolfenstein 2 off, but it never happened. And that’s a huge disappointment.
Performance & Graphics
- OS: Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 (64 Bit)
- Processor: AMD FX-8350/Ryzen 5 1400 or Intel Core i5-3570/i7-3770
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GTX 770 4GB/AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB or better
- Storage: 55GB Available Space
- OS: Windows 7, 8.1, 10 64 Bit versions
- Processor: AMD FX-9370/Ryzen 5 1600X or Intel Core i7-4770
- Memory: 16 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB/AMD Radeon RX 470 4GB or better
Our system is an AMD FX-6300 Six-Core Processor, 16 Gb RAM, Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti 4Gb, and Windows 10 64-Bit, and like Wolfenstein 2 and the previous Freedom Chronicles we had no problem running Episode 3 in basically full settings. However, we do have to say that we did encounter a few graphical glitches apparently caused by a recent Nvidia driver update. Hopefully this will be fixed, and it only affected the officer characters for us, but we occasionally had trouble with the game crashing in startup too that we certainly didn’t have before.
WOLFENSTEIN II - THE FREEDOM CHRONICLES VERDICT
The final part of Wolfenstein 2’s DLC Season Pass is lots of fun, but it’s probably the worst episode. There is literally nothing here that you couldn’t get from the main Wolfenstein 2 campaign. Episode 2 had a neat focus on stealth and Hollywood, Episode 1 dealt with race issues and had a cool villain, but Episode 3 is just more Wolfenstein - which isn’t a bad thing since the game’s great, but none of it is new or original. No new enemies, no new level design, no exciting setpieces, and no real reason to buy it. The story’s neat and it was undeniably fun all the way through, but if you haven’t yet bought The Deeds of Captain Wilkins you can leave this particular book of The Freedom Chronicles on the shelf - you’ve already read it.
TOP GAME MOMENT
The neat twist at the halfway point, and the repercussions.
Good vs Bad
- Story is fun with some humorous moments and entertaining characters.
- The gameplay is still excellent, with the wonderful choice between stealth and action back in force after the last two Episodes forced you either way
- Doesn’t do anything new or original
- Feels like a (well done) user-made level, using assets from the main game
- No new enemies, no new level types, not even any spectacular setpieces
- Absolutely no reason to buy it really