Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: May 24, 2018
Wolfenstein II: The Deeds of Captain Wilkins is the third major expansion for first-person shooter Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. The Deeds of Captain Wilkins is available as part of a season pass titled The Freedom Chronicles which can be purchased digitally from the PlayStation Store on PS4 for £17.99 or $24.99 including three expansions or individually for £7.99 or $9.99, while The Freedom Chronicles can also be purchased digitally as part of the Deluxe Edition containing Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and all three major expansions for £64.99 or $79.99. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus was critically well received and deservedly became an award winner with Best Action Game at The Game Awards 2017, but can The Deeds of Captain Wilkins successfully follow The Diaries of Agent Silent Death and The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe in achieving the same standard of quality?
The story revolves around an army veteran and resistance fighter named Captain Gerald Wilkins as he bravely attempts to turn the tide of war against the Nazi occupation of America which takes a twist when he receives intel to prevent an enemy project titled Black Sun.
The Deeds of Captain Wilkins is structured the same as The Diaries of Agent Silent Death and The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe as there are three volumes to Captain Gerald Wilkins’ story, while completing each volume unlocks a combat scenario challenge arena as it did in the prequel The Freedom Chronicles episodes in a similar fashion to that of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood as varying difficulty levels provide a risk and reward factor for earning greater points during higher difficulty levels in addition to online leaderboards introducing a competitive edge. The challenge is essentially based upon points scoring in which every defeated enemy has a particular points value such as a light armoured soldier providing 400 points, while a super soldier is 1,400 points, a commander produces 900 points and an elite soldier is 600 points, although combos, headshots and kampfhund kills offer varying quantities of bonus points. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus received combat simulations for each level in a free post-launch update.
As always in Wolfenstein, there are numerous collectibles including 12 gold bars and 24 readables such as continued Nazi propaganda in newspaper articles, written orders from Commander Schrempf, General Schwarz’s e-posts and more besides. Every readable can be found and inspected scattered throughout environments which provides a clever back story to Captain Gerald Wilkins’ story.
Character design is as essential to The Deeds of Captain Wilkins as it was to The Diaries of Agent Silent Death and The Adventures of Gunslinger Joe and previous Machine Games developed Wolfenstein games; as Captain Gerald Wilkins is depicted as a hardened military veteran that despite his age wants nothing more than to engage in combat with the Nazis until their occupation is overthrown. Enemy design is mostly the same as B.J. Blazkowicz’s story in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, although the significant difference is the two main enemies.
Weaponry is pretty much identical to B.J. Blazkowicz’s arsenal in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, although Captain Gerald Wilkins does not know scientist Set Roth resulting in there being no gadgets as such or resistance manufactured weapon upgrades, but Gerald tends to find weapon upgrades here and there located within Nazi headquarters. As was previously the case in Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus; there are various perks that can be earned through achieving specific side objectives. For instance, Captain Gerald Wilkins receives reduced damage from laser weapons in exchange for stunning mechanical enemies through electrical damage prior to destroying them during their incapacitated state, while killing enemies with headshots increases damage when aiming down sight and more besides. Captain Wilkins’ veteran experience in the military and as a resistance fighter has given him a unique set of skills in comparison to those of B.J. Blazkowicz, Jessica Valiant and Joseph Stallion. Captain Gerald Wilkins has the ability to receive a health boost reward when killing an enemy, while overcharging health only deteriorates when damage is inflicted by an enemy, alongside time entering slow motion when changing weapons within the weapon wheel.
Every Wolfenstein II expansion has shared a common gameplay element in the sense that each character has had a unique ability that made exploration different. Captain Wilkins utilises a contraption referred to as a battle walker that allows him to spring upwards with a simple double tap of X to a significantly greater height; therefore bringing the top of a large vehicle, a platform or vent that would have otherwise been out of reach within range to climb onto and continue exploration. Meanwhile, there is also an axe that can be utilised to prise open vent covers or alternatively open crates and stealthily kill enemies.
The Deeds of Captain Wilkins’ environment design is as varied as its prequel episodes and Machine Games’ Wolfenstein games with Captain Gerald Wilkins venturing to Nazi headquarters and weapons facilities in various locations, while Captain Wilkins’ battle walker changes the verticality of the environments.
Graphically, The Deeds of Captain Wilkins is just as amazing as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, The Diaries of Agent Silent Death and The Adventures with the same quality of lighting, explosions, character models and performance. Meanwhile, the audio is as involving as ever with large scale shootouts as Captain Gerald Wilkins usually approaches enemies with an all guns blazing mentality, while every character’s respective voice-over artists set the scene of hatred between the resistance fighters and Nazis that Captain Gerald Wilkins’ entire ethos is based upon. Veteran voice-over artist Fred Tatasciore brings Captain Gerald Wilkins and his story to life with an excellent voice-over performance having previously voiced Curtis Everton, Demont Conway and Kevin Bannon in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, alongside Ranger, Helm Hammerhand and Nemesis Ologs in Middle-Earth: Shadow of War and much more besides. Elsewhere, controls and general presentation is the same as Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus with the exception of Captain Gerald Wilkins’ abilities being different to that of B.J.’s, Jessica Valiant’s and Joseph Stallion’s.
The trophy list includes 10 trophies with 8 bronze trophies and 2 silver trophies which is somewhat disappointing given that Wolfenstein: The Old Blood comprised of two stories that were four chapters in length yet had a platinum trophy. Easier trophies include completing the three story volumes as they can be completed on the easiest difficulty level. Harder trophies include the Stipend Gained silver trophy for finding all gold in The Deeds of Captain Wilkins and the Army Vet bronze trophy and the Super Soldier silver trophy for completing The Deeds of Captain Wilkins on the two hardest difficulty levels. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 5 to 10 hours to 100% the trophy list based on how you fare in the combat simulation challenges and collectibles.
Wolfenstein II: The Deeds of Captain Wilkins’ replayability stems from unlockable combat scenario challenges accompanied by online leaderboards, collectibles, perks and 7 difficulty levels which will have players returning for a few hours after completing all three volumes of Captain Gerald Wilkins’ story.
As Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus’ Freedom Chronicles season pass has concluded; it will be exciting to see what the future holds for the Wolfenstein franchise. I would personally want to see Wolfenstein in virtual reality either in the style of Doom VFR albeit with all of the retro Wolfenstein 3D levels being remastered for VR instead of only a couple or as a bundle of Wolfenstein: The New Order, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and The Freedom Chronicles season pass in virtual reality on PlayStation VR and 4K in non-VR for PS4 Pro owners as a stop gap until the potential release of Wolfenstein III. However, perhaps something else creative would be applying the Wolfstone 3D formula to Wolfenstein 3D and maybe even all of Machine Games’ Wolfenstein games as the resistance fighters and B.J. Blazkowicz become the enemies.
- Title: Wolfenstein II: The Deeds of Captain Wilkins
- Developer: Machine Games
- Publisher: Bethesda
- System: PS4
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1 (Combat Scenario Online Leaderboards)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 69.56GB (Version 1.07)