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Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Posted by GG Goblin On August - 6 - 2019

Taking a new Wolfenstein path, but doing it for daddy.

B.J. Blazkowicz has certainly brought a new happiness to fighting off Nazis in MachineGames’ new Wolfenstein games. Set in an alternate history, players are able to face off against the Nazi threat through linear levels of superb gun play, leaving a substantial Nazi body count behind them. However, working with Arkane Studios, the latest spin-off from the Wolfenstein series takes a slightly different approach. Wolfenstein: Youngblood is a co-op experience with slightly more open levels and some light role-playing elements, featuring the two daughters of B.J. Blazkowicz rather than the big man himself.

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Keeping within that alternate history, Youngblood is set in the Nazi-occupied Paris of the eighties, some twenty years after the events of The New Colossus. Players are introduced to the twin daughters of B.J. Blazkowicz, Jess and Soph, who are certainly a chip off the old block. However, B.J. has gone missing in Paris, so the young daughters head off to get some answers and find their dad. So far as narrative goes, Youngblood is definitely on the lighter side compar4ed to the previous Wolfenstein games. There is always going to be some discomfort with dropping into a well known series as characters that you are not used to, but the Blazkowicz girls are actually quite good fun to play as. They are young and immature, bringing a slight level of humour or obnoxiousness to the game, but there is a sense of pride to watching as the girls make their first Nazi kill. Bless them.

So, two sisters means two characters on the screen. Youngblood is designed as a co-op game, and as such plays very well with an online friend taking on the role of the other sister. Each of the girls has a slightly different load out, but it doesn’t really make much of a difference. Should the player want to play alone, they are quite able to as the AI will happily take control of the other sister. However, given the shared life pool between the two girls, and once all of the lives are gone the players will be cast back to the last checkpoint, which could be some way, and the other ways that the girls can assist each other, besides just opening doors, it really is at its best with a friend. But hey, the option is there for lone wolves.

Youngblood is set in Paris, and it really is a very nicely crafted world. From a central hub, players are able to head into different districts in an open-world manner and explore at their leisure. There are main missions to take on, along with various side missions that will help the player progress in the game. It is quite a difference from the linear nature of the other games, but it obviously takes inspiration from certain other games and works quite well.

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Most players will be chomping at the bit to start shooting Nazis though, and the gun play in Youngblood is just as satisfying as the other games, which should come as no surprise. Stealth takes more of a back seat as having two characters does make it a lot more difficult to keep from being discovered. The girls have some freedom of movement, with a handy double jump being able to make use of the verticality found in some areas of the world, and so the shooting becomes much more of a jumpy, moving around nature. While many of the enemies find their way over from other games, new limitations on what weapons will damage the enemy mean that players will be less able to concentrate on a single weapon, which will keep the player changing guns to keep things fresh. Of course, the guns are all pretty damn cool as well, but they don’t stay the same.

The light RPG elements come into play in a variety of different ways. For starters, using a certain gun will inevitably lead to it improving. There is also some in-game currency that players will find throughout their game, and this currency can be used to purchase certain improvements to the players favourite weapon. The girls themselves will also level up as the player progresses, making them more powerful and able to cope with what is to come. Combining with this, enemies have levels as well and the player will find themselves in trouble if they take on bad guys who are at a higher level than themselves.

These elements are fun, but do feel slightly out of place in the game. Youngblood is obviously experimenting with some new ideas, making it feel quite different from the core games, and I think that is where the disconnect comes from. All of the new aspects, the co-op, open-world and RPG elements, work okay, but they don’t feel very Wolfenstein. With the developers throwing in some micro-transactions, none of which feel particularly necessary, and the result is a game that B.J. himself wouldn’t really recognise.

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Wolfenstein: Youngblood features the type of solid, entertaining gun play that players would expect to find in any Wolfenstein game. When combined with a buddy for co-op Nazi killing, and there is a good twelve hours of fun to be had here. Jess and Soph may not be to everyone’s taste as lead characters, but they are not too offensive. As for the other experimental stuff, it’s not bad, it’s just different. While it may not be on the same level as the main Wolfenstein titles, if you can find a buddy to take on Nazis with, Wolfenstein: Youngblood is worth picking up.




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