Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Release Date: July 26, 2019
Developer: Arkane Studios, MachineGames
Wolfenstein has always been a series where players can become the ultimate supersoldier, and defeat the high-tech futuristic Nazis. Well this game is definitely no different except with the fact you’re playing as the two daughters of BJ Blazcowicz. Well with all of the new features that Young Blood adds along with a full co-op campaign, does everything hold up in Wolfenstein: Youngblood? We at Gaming Instincts will tell you what we think.
A Good, but Short Story
The game takes place around 19 years after the events of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. America is mostly free of Nazi control and BJ Blazcowicz and his family are living out in Texas with his wife and two twin daughters, Jess and Soph. Well after BJ goes missing for unknown reasons, the twins and their friend Abby found clues leading them to the Nazi Occupied Paris. Confident that their father has to be there, the sisters arrive and decide to help the French Resistance in order to find him.
This is basically 90% of the story as the whole game takes place in Paris that’s split into around 4 districts. Playing as either Jess or Soph, you basically go through these districts to fight against the any Nazi reinforcements you find. Your main goal through the game is to take control of the Three Brother Towers split across the three main districts and by doing so, you’ll be able to access the last area, which will hopefully lead the sisters to their father.
As for the twins themselves, they’re cute, dorky, and have a great relationship. Throughout the game you can hear them interact and talk to each-other like any caring sibling would, except with a little Nazi-Killing Kick to them. I can’t say the same for the rest of the cast however Abby is mostly just someone who gives the girls information through the radio, and the resistance members themselves aren’t too interesting.
The Stellar Graphics
The game itself looks absolutely gorgeous, from the nice and popping streets of New Berlin, to the little Nazi bits that are being blown off, Young Blood keeps the highly-stylized look and feel that it had in the previous games. There’s a wide range of level of detail that’s been put within these levels. Whether you’re visiting an abandoned resistance stronghold filled with the previous owners’ belongings and hobbies, or entering a Nazi Bunker, you will always find some small entertaining details that will bring a smile to your face. These can include some overly-neon’d Nazi Arcade machines in a Zepplin, or the fact that you collect cassette tapes of some 80s German hits throughout your adventure, it’s just something you can appreciate from the aesthetic.
Additionally all of the characters look really in the cutscenes that are shown in the game and the level of expression you see from them paired with their voice-acting can portray a lot for the characters.
Sounding Good in the 80s
You pair the 80s aesthetic with some of the cassette tapes you collect and you’ve got yourself an alternate universe Paris where German Pop/Electronic music took over. That’s right, even the music in-game has taken an electronic 80s turn, even if it’s just ambient background music. The music can be found in the more unlikely places, like in an enemy living quarters from a boombox. I can’t say the same to the fighting soundtrack as it’s a bit absent and at the very least forgettable.
Other than the music, the voice-acting of the characters are pretty impressive, especially the French from the Resistance members. They sound very fluent and very authentic. The same can go for the German spoken from the Nazis in this game, they just sound very good. Hell, it’s even interesting when you’re not fighting them and are just eavesdropping in on their conversations.
Gameplay’s All Over the Place
So the game looks good, has a great setting, and the music is nice, albeit, rare to hear in the game. So how does the game overall play? Well to start off, the twins themselves are a blast to play as. You basically run, jump, and shoot almost like you could as BJ back in the previous game. Unfortunately, you can only dual-wield the pistol-type weapons. While that’s not all bad on its own, the game’s own Co-Op and RPG Mechanics seem to slow down the shooting quite a bit.
The co-op mechanics themselves aren’t bad and don’t hinder the gameplay as much as I thought it would. Your other sister is played by either another player or an AI, and this can lead to some amazing carnage when you bring a buddy to fight. Without a buddy you have an AI that kills Nazis pretty well, but don’t expect them to revive you all of the time. Aside from the marking enemies to take priority on, reviving each-other, and cooperatively opening doors you can emote each-other giving the sisters boosts such as refilling Armor on the fly or being invincible for a few moments.
The enemies themselves are levelled, which can slow you down quite a bit. Enemies tend to level along with you unless you’re at a brother tower, in which case they will continue to be that strong until you catch up, otherwise enemies will always become stronger no matter where you’re at.
That’s not the biggest problem as the enemies this time around have a different gimmick. Some enemies will have different armor types, meaning that you need to match your weapons with the enemy’s armor-types. This can be pretty annoying when I’m trying to use my favorite weapon to take down my enemies and then a couple of heavy armor Nazis require me to switch to my assault rifle
Not only that, the enemies seem to spawn randomly around you when you’re not looking. One second you think you cleared an area around you and then the next thing you know you’re getting flanked of nowhere from where you just killed everyone. This can cause some problems as dying three times in a row due to randomly-spawned enemies is barely fun. The spawning can go the same for sneaking around. It just seems that the levels aren’t as designed for stealth as the previous games.
Also the Side Missions are less than stellar once you find out that most of them involve going back and forth between the regions of Paris and most of the time you’ll go back to places you’ve already been to. The missions then just seem too repetitive for a supposedly open-world Paris.
Pay to Look Good?
As said before, you can get cosmetics and emotes for you and your sister. While you can pay with silver for everything which is given to you very liberally through the world as generally everything gives you them, but you can also buy pay using Gold bought through the store. While these cosmetics are well, purely cosmetic aside from emotes, the microtransactions are in a way unnecessary to this game, as if you were to play the game for a few days, you would always have enough silver to buy these things. It just felt like an unnecessary addition to the already short game to even have microtransactions.
While I do believe that the game has everything including the graphics, gunplay, and setting to make it a great Wolfenstein game, the odd additions to RPG elements and microtransactions seem to mix everything up. Of course the randomness of the enemies and leveling can get in the way of doing whatever you want, these challenges become less of an issue the higher level you are.
It’s because of this that I give this game a 6.5. Wolfenstein: Youngblood is an above average game that falls short of what its predecessors did in the past.
If you want to play a short adventure featuring the daughters of BJ Blazcowicz, then this game is for you, if you’re expecting a full Wolfenstein experience that lasts more than a couple of days, then you might have better luck elsewhere.