Developer: MachineGames and Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Release date: 26/07/19
Price: £24.99 or £29.99 for Deluxe Edition
I am a huge fan of Wolfenstein and I couldn’t get enough of the previous titles so when it was announced that a new title was on its way out in July, I just couldn’t wait to see how this mostly focused co-op will work. What’s more, Youngblood is set in the 80’s so I really couldn’t wait for the cool 80’s feel.
The background story
So, the setting this time around is Paris nineteen years after the events of Wolfenstein: New Colossus and it is still very much under Nazi rule. Instead of starring B.J. Blazkowicz though (or if you believe the Nazi’s propaganda,Terror Billy), our main protagonist for the series, we have his twin daughters, Jess and Soph who are actually searching for their father.
The bad-ass twins, Jess and Soph
We begin the game in 1979 and the twins as well as their mother, Anya and their father, Billy are at home in Texas. B.J is helping Jess hunt as they stalk a bighorn and Anya is with Soph training her as she punches and kicks a punchbag. The protective parents are clearly preparing their twins to be able to handle themselves as the parents know they might need the training. Despite all the training, the twins are typical teenagers and like to goof off a lot.
We then jump forward to 1980, B.J is missing and Anya and the girls get a visit from Grace Walker (from the previous game) who is now head of the FBI and she brings her daughter along, Abby who is a whiz kid. To cut a long story short, the children listen to the conversation between Anya and Grace with Abby’s listening device, discover their father is missing and was last sighted in Paris so all three of them hijack the FBI futuristic car/plane and take off to look for him. You then join up with the French Resistance and begin the game of killing Nazis. Hell yeah!
There will be collectibles available on each level and they are very 80’s
A different spin
So, coming into this title, I knew it was going to be a spin-off and I knew it was going to be co-op based either online or solo with an AI. I commend the development teams for trying to infuse a new spin on a popular series through a budget stand-alone title. Not everybody is happy with it but they knew what they were getting into when it was first announced. Anyway, I’m getting off topic.
First things first, the graphics looks fantastic and it is visually stunning. The environment, the enemies and the layout is all very Wolfenstein which is fantastic. It’s what you would expect, there is blood, gore and it’s high-octane as usual when battling with the numerous Nazis. Attacking and shooting is smooth, fluid and visceral as always.
Moving onto the co-op play and it is fantastic fun when playing online with a friend but being a little old school, I wanted to experience and explore it through the solo with an AI. Call me old-fashioned but I feel that I can explore properly this way and find the collectibles!
Even with two players on screen, the shootouts are as thrilling and exciting as ever
Even though the AI isn’t obviously as good as a real- life player, they were still good enough to use as a partner as you obliterate Nazis and their huge Nazi machine beasts. It is worth noting that as you play through and I’ve already mentioned it, the girls still do like to goof off and at the end of the day, they are typical teenagers despite all the Nazi killing. Without spoiling anything, I particularly enjoyed a scene near the start once they kill their first Nazi. Very funny and typical teenage reactions!
Continuing on the vein of a different spin, this title experiments with a light RPG style system and for me, it mostly works but I did have a slight annoyance with it. I’ll explain… so, the light RPG side is that your gain XP and you will level up just like in standard RPGs which I thought was great. You can also purchase abilities or weapon modifications through silver coins which there is loads and loads lying around the levels. Again, this is great. The only slight annoyance was that the enemies also have levels to them so if they are a level 20 and you are 15 then you are toast which I thought was well, annoying. I would rather die by my own mistakes rather than just because they are a higher level. Aside from that, I enjoyed the RPG side to Youngblood. Yes, it was different and did slightly slow the overall pace of the game but on a whole, I found it enjoyable.
The upgrade screen where you can upgrade your abilities as well as your weapons
One other small thing that didn’t work fully for me was the pep signals. These are signals which you can use between the twins, for example, a thumbs up will give you both 50 health points or a metal horns signal will give each sister 25 armour points. This is fine and it worked for me but you can unlock more and to be honest, I thought there was too many but that’s just my opinion.
The pep signal screen – I personally found there was too many which were also very expensive to unlock
They might work for other players but I avoided spending on pep signals and spent my money on other abilities.
A good thing about this title is that it does encourage repeated play-throughs which, for me, is great as the game campaign is obviously shorter than other Wolfenstein titles as it’s only a spin-off. The way it encourages it is through a number of ways, one is that there are lots of collectibles to find – which you hardly ever find on one play through – and some aren’t collectible right away, some because of your character level and sometimes because of your abilities. The same goes for weapons too, you can’t pickup or use the heavy weapons unless you are at a certain level. Whilst we are touching on abilities, it’s worth noting also that when you begin the game, you can either choose a stealth ability or a crush ability which is more gung-ho and knocks enemies to the floor. Crush can also be used to break crates as well as some early inaccessible points. I, for some reason, chose stealth but I would recommend Crush instead.
You’ll need the heavy weapons to take the big mechanical beasts down
Another way it encourages it is that there is also inaccessible parts of the levels and again, until you are at the right level, have the right ability or even have the right weapon to destroy the inaccessible door then you won’t be able to get through. This for me was definitely a plus and then add in the fact that you can acquire side missions from the French Resistance fighters as well as Abby Walker then it does give you plenty to play and get through.
The final nice touch I’m going to touch on is that after a couple of levels, you find your way to the catacombs which is a base for the Resistance and in here, you will find an arcade retro Wolfenstein to play again which, I thoroughly enjoyed its inclusion again.
Verdict: 72% A worthy addition to the series!
Value for money: 80%
Overall, I enjoyed this title. Yes, there is little niggles here and there but I think it’s a great effort for a co-op Wolfenstein game. It is visually stunning, the shooting and attacking is as smooth as ever and I also enjoyed the light RPG feel to it. It is also set in the 80’s and has some nice retro touches including the music which was great.