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Wolfenstein: Youngblood Review

"Wolfy Kids"

Campaign

July 29, 2019 at 3:26am
By Jason Stettner

YoungBlood is the latest spin-off entry in the Wolfenstein franchise, it takes place many years after the events of The New Colossus. This particular release switches its protagonist for two leads, the daughters of our usual hero. They are twins, and you get to pick which of them you want to play as. This element builds towards a cooperative aspect of the game that is present throughout the entirety of the experience. It really is built for online coop, with drop-in and drop-out action available at any point.

Depending on the version, there’s even a free buddy pass to have a friend play without even owning the game. The cooperative element is a first for this rebooted effort, and it’s an interesting change to the formula. The narrative follows the twin duo as they search for their father. BJ Blazkowicz has left for the currently occupied area of Paris, France. This in turn drives the twins to go after him, and they head into the lost city joining a resistance group along the way. The story is fairly light in this title, it’s more of an open world experience with missions to take part in. There are main story segments, these feature minor cutscene moments.

I would have desired more of a linear narrative for a better tale, the missions seem to blur together and you can’t really tell what’s actually important. It definitely has that classic Wolfenstein feeling to it, but in a sort of different creative situation that doesn’t necessarily tick the same boxes. The ending portion definitely felt more familiar, and closer to the traditional titles. It’s got a fairly lengthy core setup to it, many missions and some extra ones as well. I also liked how certain super weapons were presented, and the core sisters were awesome. I really hope to see more of them as their interactions seemed genuine and fun. They would play little games in elevators and their opening cinematic was particularly charming.

Gameplay

This is definitely the more action packed and faster futuristic style of the series. Your character is quite powerful with their special suit, being able to jump and scale vertical environments with ease. The game features a somewhat basic leveling system that grants minor bonuses over time. I felt that this system could have had more depth, you just level quickly while playing. It definitely allows you to more easily blast enemies, run through them or just annihilate them.

The enemies are well varied, some are horrific to mash up and they’re generally well done. You get some nightmare type terminators to fight, massive dogs and of course traditional troops. These characters were well delivered, except during the open world segments. I really hated traversing these segments as they felt like empty set pieces to move between prior to actual missions. You’d have to fight enemies that came back to the area every time, and it got boring due to that. I liked the idea of the open world, just not how it was implemented within this entry. The loading is handled well here though, either quick slow segments of interacting with the twin or a traditional load between world segments.

While you’re in there doing the slow loads, you didn’t really have to ever wait which was nice. The guns are excellent, lots of fun and the action just rolls in this. It looks fantastic on Xbox One X, with a performance option to keep the frame rate stable while adjusting resolution and it can be turned on or off. This works well for the most part, but some of the open world portions did have performance dips every now and then. Nothing too detrimental to gameplay however. I thought the coop worked quite well here, hopefully we’ll see more of it in the future.

They had neat segments to use both players, but it was much easier with the AI teammate as opposed to the real folks that would randomly join. It just made things go by faster generally. For the most part the game does run well, deaths can be rather hardcore if you do hit them and I did have a brief moment where the AI got glitched holding a button so I couldn’t progress. It was actually funny as I was getting frustrated that the AI wouldn’t hit the button, for them to then get stuck holding onto it.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood Review Xbox Wallpaper Screenshot

The Conclusion

Wolfenstein: Youngblood introduces two really awesome characters, with a twist on the franchise that doesn’t necessarily deliver in full. Like I said, the new characters were great and they presented them well. There just wasn’t much of a story here. They provide some solid gameplay time, but it feels less important due to the missions coming across as so lifeless. Its fine for a spin-off entry, but it makes me desire the more linear traditional style that the franchise is known for.

The narrative felt almost non-existent in this due to the setup, and that was disappointing. The gameplay is smooth, the visuals are glorious on Xbox One X and the enemies feature a great variation within their ranks. I didn’t feel they used Paris to its full potential, as you get a small glimpse of this futuristic setting. Nothing really too historic or grand, that really illustrated the hold of the city in this alternate reality.

The open world segments felt somewhat repetitive as you had to refight enemies and they weren’t fun to go through after your first visit to them. I think they’re onto something with the coop play, it was great though the AI partner was the best option in my experiences. It needs to be more enticing to have another real person join in. There’s a lot that worked here, and some of it didn’t.

They tried new things which is what spin-off titles are good for, and that will hopefully help improve the core of this series in the future. There’s real potential with the twins, they’re really a treat to see in action and interaction. I liked their customization options, but at the same time desired more from the general level system. This is certainly worthwhile if you’re a fan of the series, or curious about checking it out. It’ll be setting up what’s to come, and that looks like an exciting next step.

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Wolfenstein: Youngblood Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by 47

Rating Overall: 7.5

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner