Wolfenstein: Youngblood (XBOX One) Review
Game Name: Wolfenstein Youngblood
Developer: MachineGames and Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Date Released: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, XBOX One, Microsoft Windows and Google Stadia (TBA)
I have been a fan of the Wolfenstein reboot series. At first I was lukewarm on the idea but the games have grown on me, more and more with every release. I think that Wolfenstein II was the best so far but I think all the titles, Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Old Blood and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus were all very strong entries in the series.
From the trailers, Youngblood looked more open world and it had some RPG elements. I thought that it was a logical next step in the series. Having played Metro Exodus and liking that game, I figured that this game would be similar.
Let us see if Wolfenstein: Youngblood is a good entry in this strong series so far.
The game takes place 20 years after the events of Wolfenstein II: The New Collossus. When we last left Wolfenstein II, Catherine was pregnant with their first child. It turns out that it was a pair of twins.
Now, the year is 1980 and BJ has gone missing. Catherine cannot go after him. So his daughters who have been practicing and training with BJ and their mom for all these years, plan on going after him without telling anyone. So they learn that he may be in France and they head there.
So basically the story is that BJ has gone missing and his kids go after him. It is a very simple premise but it works.
The game menu's are very different from what you would expect. You do not just choose the difficulty level. This time around, you are playing in coop. You can choose to have your sister by AI controlled or you can play with another game.
One thing that I really liked is that, if you bought the deluxe edition, you have an extra code so that someone that does not have the game, can play as well. I found this to be a nice touch.
Back to the game, the menu is not clearly indicated as to what is the single player option and what is not. To play the single player mode, you have to choose Host and then start game. In my mind, when I see host, this means that I am playing multiplayer and I am hosting the match. But I see what they were doing here. Technically if someone joins the game, you are hosting the game. Also very important, if you do not want anyone to join your game, select Offline from the Host option. All in all, I think this could have been clearer.
Once you choose the way that you want to play, you get to choose the difficulty. I chose easy as it was the first time playing and I was curious about the story.
Then you can choose which sister that you can play as. You can play as Soph or Jess. This decision has no impact on the game as both of you have the same abilities.
When you first start the game, you see that it is a co-op game no matter what you choose. You cannot play the game on your own. That was a little bit of a bummer for me and it took some getting used to. If you were thinking that you could play the same way as with previous instalments, you will be disappointed. However, I can say that the AI is not as bad as I would have thought. It grew on me as I progressed in the game.
Due to the co-op nature of the game, now you have shared lives. During gameplay, you can revive your sister and she can revive you. However, if both fail to revive each other 3 times, you both die and need to start the whole level again, no matter how close that you were to the end. With no manual save states, this makes the game more difficult than it has to be.
You will notice now, you have XP and you can gain ability points. These ability points can go towards 3 different areas, Mind, Muscle and Power. You can unlock certain abilities only at certain levels. This is to make you play more side quests so that you can level up and make your character more powerful. Here is what you get if you add points to any of the above 3 areas.
Mind: This focuses on movement, finding things, and your sister’s health.
Muscle: Muscle skills are generally about fighting — armour, weapons, and toughness.
Power: These skills focus on either your Cloak or Crush ability.
Each section is broken up into 4 parts and each part gets unlocked when you are at a certain level.
Once that you get into the game, you will notice after the first 2 or 3 hours or so that the game is different as it is non-linear. This means that the game does not force you in a certain path. You can play the various missions in the order that you want to. It gives the player a little more control as to how they want to attack the game.
In terms of gameplay that is about it. Below is a sample stream that I did for this game. Let me know what you think.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Sample Gameplay)
I was really looking froward to this game and I really wanted to like it, but there are just too many things that irk me.
Let us start with some of the positives. The graphics were awesome. From that perspective the game has continued the quality that we are accustomed to with this franchise. There are a few places where screens glitch but in general it is very well made.
I did like the upgrade mechanics. I think that this was a nice touch and it should come back in the next game, Wolfenstein III.
I also liked the collectibles that you find in the game. You can collect audio tapes, video tapes and notes. All these items add depth to the game and I liked reading the notes. Some of the movies were hilarious as well. Most of the movies were based on real movies but were changed to fit the game's Nazi led regime.
The audio tapes are cool as well. Some tapes contain audio from other resistance fighters and others contain 1980's electro pop sounds. It was a nice touch.
The weapon upgrades are very vast and you have more than enough here to keep you busy.
Now on the the not so good stuff.
I must admit that I am not a fan of the teens, Soph and Jess. They just come out as being annoying. I understand where they come from and the generation that they are living in. They are using some phrases and attitudes from the 1980's but it just comes off as being annoying. They keep referring to themselves as "Dude". Also the banter between the sisters while scavenging is pretty repetitive. At some point, you wish that you could just mute them.
I found the level design to be ok at best. The sections themselves are well done and it is cool. However, what I have issue with is that it is difficult to know when your game can save or not. If you finish a section, it does not automatically save your game. The game will only autosave if go into a Metro station and fast travel back to the Catacombs which is your HQ.
In addition to the above, if you finish a section and have to backtrack to get to a Metro entrance, you will need to fight the same soldiers over and over again. This makes the game feel very repetitive.
I learned much too late into the game that if you pick up a big gun like a mounted machine gun this will save your game. I did not see this mentioned anywhere in the tutorials.
The one thing that Wolfenstein II did very well is the character development. Some people, including myself found that there were a lot of cutscenes in the previous games. However, these were done in such a way that built the character personalities and that made you want to fight for them and give it your all.
In Youngblood, I did not really have any connection to any of the characters. All of them seemed bland and they did attempt at some emotions at some parts but for me it fell flat. It is a shame as I found the premise cool. It feels like it is just a bunch of characters put together for the same of the game.
The bottomline is that I cannot recommend this game. I mentioned this on my stream. I could compare this game closely to Metro Exodus. There are many similarities. These are single player, linear games that attempted an a somewhat open world concept. Metro Exodus, I believe did a better job than Youngblood.
This is an in between game and I truly believe that they will take what people liked in this game and keep it for Wolfenstein III. I appreciate that they attempted at something new and there are things that could be taken to the next game. The levelling up system is cool and the weapon upgrades are good as well.
If you want to play a good game in the series, the other entries are much better than this one in my opinion. So far, this is the worst entry in the series and may be it is due to my high expectations but in the end, this game fell short but I am still looking forward to Wolfenstein III.
What do you think?