This review is an unedited version of the review written by Zombie Dredd and published in the Tech Magazine: Issue 74 October 2019.
Wolfenstein is a franchise name that has a rich history alongside DOOM. While DOOM focused on demons and mass slaughter, Wolfenstein always imagined an alternative world where the Nazis had won and mass slaughter could be calmed with some stealthy stabbing.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is a spin-off from the main series. This time, the twin daughters of Wolfenstein protagonist – B.J. Blazkowicz – are the characters on a mission. Based around 20 years after their dad saved America from Nazi control, Jess and Soph Blazkowicz are off to Europe for their gap year.
OK, that’s not entirely true. Their dad has gone missing in (still) Nazi-occupied Europe and his girls decide stealing a helicopter and powered armour suits are the order of the day. Along with killing Nazis, a number of new series features make an appearance that – like the 80s slang – is pretty hit or miss.
Firstly, the game is fully co-operative. Or not, if you want to play solo with an AI partner. You can play as either of the two sisters, with the choice really being cosmetic. Both have the same abilities available to them at the start due to the suits. Through the course of a (slightly) open-world mission structure, abilities and weapons can be upgraded in an RPG-lite manner.
The co-op structure never feels like a necessity however. There are matching lever sequences and the revive-from-downed benefits. The extra gun in a battle is great too, but as you level up, so do your enemies and they never feel overly challenging. Until the boss battles at least. Then you will be happy for a co-op partner – even if it’s just to share virtual hugs when the checkpoint is much further back than you expected at death.
Of course, stealth is always an option, given the armour suit comes packed with a cloaking device. An option at least when the level design allows. Otherwise, it all ends in gunfire (again), which is admittedly quite satisfying when you get the right weapon for your needs.
Graphically, the game is… fine… with some odd character animation glitches. The characters themselves are generally bland and nothing like the interesting characters of previous titles. The game does offer plenty to do, with around 15 hours of gameplay. There are side missions available alongside the main story, but ultimately, you came to Europe for one thing – kill Nazis. And that’s what you most definitely can expect to spend the majority of your time doing. If that sounds appealing to you, then Wolfenstein: Youngblood should do the job until the franchise returns to its roots.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is an experiment in the iconic Wolfenstein franchise. However, as with most experiments, it is one that doesn’t quite arrive fully realised. Whether the co-op infused first-person shooter will see a sequel to allow the experiment to be developed further is open for debate, but it’s first outing is not about to be remembered as a crucial entry into the franchise.
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC
Distributed in SA by: TeamFinity