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If for some reason Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus doesn’t sell well (and it really should), developer Machine Games could still end up making a lot of money just selling its next-gen ladder technology to other studios.
I don’t ever want to play another game where I struggle to guide my character onto a ladder. Even pushing a button to activate climbing is too disruptive. I know this because Wolfenstein 2 has solved this problem.
Machine Games does a lot right in The New Colossus — like the ways it visualizes how you interact with the world. For example, if you want to sit in a chair in the helm, you don’t just magically jump to the seated position. The game fully animates the sitting action from the perspective of hero B.J. Blazkowicz, including your hands reaching down to hold the armrests for guidance.
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You would think that a game that has so much of that kind of immersive interaction would feel cumbersome or awkward during the transition from walking/running to climbing on a ladder. That isn’t the case. Wolfenstein 2’s ladders just seem to work. If you want to get on one to go up a level, you just walk toward it and the climbing animation will kick in automatically without you having to think about it.
What’s special about Wolfenstein 2, however, is that the ladders don’t require precise aim. The game seems to understand your intent as the player, and it sucks you in like a magnet when it predicts that’s what you want to do. At the same time, you don’t get a lot of false positives.
The end result is first-person ladder climbing that you don’t have to think about. You will no longer bumble around awkwardly like you’ve never seen this kind of magical go-up technology before between sections of the game where you are adroitly killing dozens of Nazis and using hyperfuturistic technology.
It’s a small part of a game, and maybe that’s why few other studios have done it this well before. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call it out as an impressive achievement — it’s these tiny details that enable The New Colossus to come together as a cohesive whole.
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