Wolfenstein is a game with a legacy like few games, but it has reached maturity and resurgence with Machine Games taking control of the development of these titles. With Youngblood Machine Games, I have joined Arkane Studios to bring us a different vision, a cooperative online game. After spending several titles in the boots of BJ Blazkowicz, this game gives the baton to the daughters of Terror Billy who now must finish with as Nazi gets in front of them. But let’s see what this installment is for Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC and Nintendo Switch You have to offer.
Under Nazi control
Youngblood’s story takes place after the events of The New Colossus, that is, the Nazis win World War II and control the world. We are in a France occupied by a huge army of soldiers and mechanical monsters, this after the hero of the BJ Blazkowicz franchise has disappeared without a trace. In the New colossus, Anya, the wife of pregnant BJ, was shown, and the twins resulting from that pregnancy are the protagonists of this title. BJ and Anya have trained Jesse and Zofia to be prepared, survive in this world and be able to defend themselves against the threats they present. But given the disappearance of their father they are forced to get into the Panzerhund’s mouth to try to find answers.
This scenario is a very good way to introduce new controllable characters to the franchise and the development of Soph and Jes occurs in a good way during the first minutes of the game, they constantly have supportive dialogues, some that can be funny and others are ridiculous . But we can also see how they kill their first Nazi and their reaction to it. Unfortunately Youngblood is a game that delves very little into the characters, and consequently in the story he tries to tell. I did not expect a series of kinematics as in the previous installments, mainly because this is not an AAA game, but the amount of kinematics, which is the only way in which the game develops its narrative, is very little and what is presented leaves Be desired.
There are predictable moments and although the game tries to surprise you at some point, it feels merely as a justification for what they wanted to happen, and being honest, it is a cliché.
Youngblood fails to make me interested in the twins, BJ, Arya and all the other characters he presents, he could have had better moments, but in this department he feels that what was done was by procedure rather than by having something to say.
But between these moments where the game tries to narrate the facts, there is an endless number of fighting to take, and that is where Youngblood redeems some lost points in his narrative.
There are 2 studies under Bethesda’s control that dominate how to make a game with good combat mechanics. The first is Id software and the other Machine Games. And Youngblood does not disappoint, with responsive controls, frantic movement and a variety of weapons that although cut, were well designed not only in their look, but in the response they give when firing at your enemy. But the reason for them to feel so good comes from something special. They are the weapons of The New Colossus with a cat’s hand, minimal by the way. But that can be improved thanks to silver coins that you find while exploring and as rewards. The upgrade system is not entirely extensive but has enough variation to accommodate your fighting style, you can modify several stats of your weapons that help you cause more damage, improve control, increase clip size, add sights or shoot faster. Apart from being able to change the look of each one of them. Something that was added to this delivery is that the enemies and their armor are weaker to specific weapons, although there is not much variation since they are only 2 types, the interface marks you what type of ammunition will end faster with the threat, what which can be a challenge when you run out of the necessary ammunition, since in the first moments the game can get to punish you if you do not spend your bullets intelligently, something that later in the game is not a problem.
A great attraction of Wolfenstein: Youngblood is that it is a title that you can play with a friend or a stranger. You can buy the deluxe version and with the buddy pass invite someone to play with you, which does not always have to be the same person, or join the session of a stranger and kill Nazis together and lean on when one of the 2 falls. Since falling you can wait for the help of your friend or lose a shared life, of which you can accumulate 3, so between the 2 they have the chance to bleed 3 times, but if one of the 2 dies, game over. Oh, and when you play with artificial intelligence, sometimes he doesn’t mind helping you and he stands a few feet away from you. So the best way to play it is with a friend, it will make the adventure more fun.
The combat system is more extensive than in previous games, since from the beginning you must select some aspects of your armor to help you fight, which can save you repeatedly, You can choose between your throwing weapon, your armor and A signal to start with . The signs are emoticons with which you get a specific benefit, such as recovering your armor or health in the midst of combat, among others, which have a cooldown time but as more Nazi attacks, the faster they reload, inviting to go to combat front and giving you a way to carry it with a more frantic pace. Apart from this factor, there are others that are part of your effectiveness in battles. A skill tree was introduced, which is divided into 3 main branches, muscle, power and intelligence. If this sounds like RPG elements, yes, they are RPG elements in a Wolfenstein. To unlock these passive or active skills you must level up. Because yes, now you also level up in Wolfenstein. You can collect more ammo from the corpses of your enemies, increase your health and armor, handle heavier weapons, or unlock some movements to go unnoticed or be devastating when tacking someone. Strangely, there is none that helps to better control weapons, but that is because this occurs with the use of them. That is, the more you use a weapon, the better your control of it will be.
Graphically you cannot see a great improvement to what was delivered in The New Colossus, and too much is shared with that delivery, including the quality of the sound effects and the voices. Those explosions and weapons are incredible and the voice acting is decent, although the soundtrack does not have as much presence as I would have liked. So don’t expect to see a huge leap of what you already experienced if you played the last title of the franchise. It’s more of the same, but it works excellently.
So with that we have levels, skill tree, weapon improvement, and elements that could make a very entertaining game, right? YES, if we could have had it.
Kill more Nazis to unlock mission.
Wolfenstein’s RPG elements are something that are not very much part of the franchise, although improving weapons is no stranger to Bethesda shooters, leveling up is for Wolfenstein games. BJ Blazkowicz is not seeing if he can against an enemy and throws himself at him with all the resources available to destroy him, and that is what makes us feel good to be in the shoes of a tremendous soldier. This is a feeling that Youngblood fails to convey. Instead of making us feel helpless or fearful for a huge enemy, which at the end of it feels like a whole odyssey, Machine Games and Arkane Studios decided to put a little number on top of the enemy that tells us we can end it. This is a huge failure of the game, and don’t get me wrong, RPG elements have a place in shooters, but not in the way it was decided to do it here. The first moments of a game should feel like an adventure, they should give that sense of progress and catch you with their combat. Although in the last Youngblood triumphs, in the first 2 hours you are already doing missions to level up and be able to continue with the story, a task that will take you 2 to 3 hours and will reward you poorly. Putting such a wall in front of the player only notes the failures of this title. And it makes him feel like the endgame of The New Colossus, as if they had said “This final part, it would be cool to make it a game by itself.” And the truth is that it is something that does not work very well. Without that obligatory grind of the first hours, and I say obligatory because if you decide to do the main missions once you arrive at the catacombs of Paris, you will find that you can not end the shields of your enemies, no matter how many missiles you hit In fact, recover this shield making it impossible to continue. So you must return to the rebel base and start placing orders to finally go to recover your BJ. Again, yes, classic elements of an RPG, but not at the first 2 hours of play.
The game gives you the option of stealth killing, and even bases some of your unlockable skills on this aspect. but the use of levels in the enemies prohibits you from killing those with a higher level, so it is not an option to be able to enter areas where you “must not” without being eliminated with 2 or 3 shots.
The fighting takes place in a much more open world and that as you finish your goals you will find ways to connect different areas of these open areas, and that’s great. All the movement by zones is carried out through the subway, so you find new stations and ways to return faster to the map to go to another area or return to the hub. Unfortunately, the main missions all take place in the same way, unlock the entrance looking for a code, crack it on a computer, get 2 keys to give access to another computer and destroy an enemy sponge of bullets in the process. Those are each and every one of the main missions, except for the final battle.
So from 9 to 11 hours it takes you to finish it, 2 are grind and the rest are repetitive tasks. Maybe I expected more than a $ 30 game, or maybe the price has nothing to do with the quality of mission design, I bet more for the second.
And I almost forgot that there are microtransactions, gold bars that are used to buy skins, but that don’t break the game or anything like that, at least.
Good ideas, bad execution.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is Jes and Soph for the franchise. They have their father’s DNA but they are not so devastating and intriguing.