Wolfenstein: Youngblood – Review
Follow Genre: Shooter
Developer: Arkane Studios, MachineGames
Publisher: Bethesda
Platform: PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Tested on: Switch

Wolfenstein: Youngblood – Review

Site Score
6.9
Good: Allows you fun times with a friend
Bad: friendly AI is shitfaced, game can't make up its mind
User Score
4.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 4.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Oh boy, oh boy, a new Wolfenstein game is upon us. Where B.J. Blazkowicz used to be the beloved main character from the first pixelated games up to the reboot, Youngblood tries to do it differently. And boy, is there a lot to tell about the new game. So let’s not keep you waiting and jump right into it with what Youngblood is all about. 

Story

As grandpa B.J. a.k.a. Terror Billy, the main protagonist from the Wolfenstein reboot series is missing, his two daughters decide to pick up arms to go and find him. Unexperienced, yet prepared for this day by their parents, they head off to kill their first nazi after which thousands will follow. The story that Youngblood tries to deliver seemingly tries to give the sisters something ”real”, making them anxious for their first kill. Which sometimes can work out well because it has its cool or funny moments, but most of the time it feels like it’s a new season of Beavis and Butthead, especially with the giggling that’s going on between the two sisters. It’s one of the many things Youngblood can’t seem to make up its mind about. There are cutscenes where the sisters act all cool, there are cutscenes where they are supposed to be funny, there are cutscenes where they have ”real feelings like normal people”, yet they fail to reach any type of depth before the game is over.

Graphics

Playing the game on the Nintendo Switch, besides that the graphics already don’t look that good and sometimes bug the hell out (like animations that go through doors instead of opening the doors), the cutscenes don’t look that nice and the Switch clearly has some trouble loading them properly. The same goes for when you are trying to kill enemies with melee attacks, which might as well be replaced by hitting them with an inflatable baseball bat. Yet the other shooting, running, and stomping, seems to make it just fine. It just lacks some final polish and bug removal.

Sound

Of course, like any Wolfenstein game, you can expect lots of nazis calling out for help, calling you names, or having conversations between them as you pass by. At the same time, the game also has a lot of interaction between you and your sister (player one and player two), yet cast some of the worst voices. It’s mainly a ”bad set” of voices because the game doesn’t know what it wants the girls to be. Cool? Dorky? Human? Idiots? It mashes it all together making a weird (and sometimes cringeworthy) mix. The shooting and the alarms going off, the dogs running at you before they explode, those are the classic Wolfenstein sounds that you were probably expecting from the game already. Together with the other voice acting, it’s done fine. Any music is missing though, and the game doesn’t need it anyway as there’s never a quiet moment.

Gameplay

Wolfenstein: Youngblood is a shooter game with small open-world elements. You always play the game with two. Either it’s you and an A.I. controlled sister, you and an online friend, or you and a stranger you never met before but are connected with thanks to the marvel of technology. Which of those three options you take makes a huge difference. You see, Bethesda thought it would be a good plan for some reason to give the genes of the girls somewhat of a natural selection arc depending on if you play online or offline. When you play online, your sister’s IQ can be as high as 240 depending on the person you are playing with. When you play offline, she is like a monkey with a handicapped laugh that you can’t even teach any tricks. Honestly MachineGames, Arkane Studios, and Bethesda, how hard can it be?

Okay, this might need some further explanation. As said before, The game is partially the shooting you are used to judging by the other Wolfenstein games, and partially it’s some weird mix with an open-world shooter like Borderlands. For each mission you enter, which can be a main or side mission, you and your sister have a set of shared lives that carries on throughout the world. You can pick up new lives from boxes, but you can never get more than three. You lose a life when one of you dies instantly by i.e. jumping into an abyss. If you lose all lives you have to start the mission over again from the start of the mission level (but you keep the things you picked up). When you are about to die in a fight, you can choose to press one button to call for your sister, or another button to ”bleed out”, quickly using a life if you still have any. Since your sister is a poorly programmed monkey, she doesn’t even listen to the first option a lot since she prefers fighting over saving you. Or worse, when she doesn’t respond at all and stands still in a corner like she’s having Vietnam flashbacks.

The world of Youngblood actually exists of a home base and a few small maps that have some key locations (a.k.a. locations where you will be going to when you have a quest). The limitation of creating an open world and not really making it open at all says something about the game. Cause the same goes for weapons. You have limited weapons where the idea is that you use different types on different enemies, yet it’s basically about enemies having two different types of armor that you use two different types of weapons against. It’s like the entirety of Youngblood doesn’t know what it wants to do, or which game it wants to be. You can level because ”else you are not strong enough for certain missions” but at the same time the enemies scale with your level, so what’s the bloody point even?

All this ranting doesn’t mean that Youngblood is a bad game. Especially when playing with a buddy, it can be enjoyable. When you level up, at least you get skill points that you can use to upgrade some stats that give you more abilities such as running into enemies or cloaking yourself for a stealthy approach. You will also find coins that you can use to buy new (cosmetic) armor or weapon upgrades that make you stronger as well. The game tries to create some replayability by adding daily and weekly missions and a whole lot of stuff to collect such as VHS tape covers and game models, but in the end, it’s just a bit of a small sandbox that feels like a temporary smaller game that should have the main focus of ”having fun with a friend”. For a big part, it does exactly this, but it also feels astonishingly arrogant and unfinished in a way, and… sigh, also, for some godforsaken reason, there are microtransactions possible that you can’t even really buy a lot with.

Conclusion

Wolfenstein: Youngblood is one of the laziest additions to the Wolfenstein games so far, and a poor reflection of ”strong female protagonists”. Yet, it does make some nazi-killing aspects of the game fun, and it just takes short enough to finish the game without feeling boredom getting to you. Despite the terrible programming of your A.I. buddy, and the arrogance and unfinished final touches the game has been brought out with, it’s still something decent enough to spend some time on with a friend.

P.S: If you want to play this game together, the Deluxe Edition costs slightly more, yet has a ”buddy pass” that you can use to let your friend play along on the full campaign.

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Rating: 4.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Wolfenstein: Youngblood - Review, 4.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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