Sunday, 25 August 2019

Wolfenstein: Youngblood ★★☆☆☆

‘Wolfenstein: Youngblood’ is the latest Nazi-killing alternate history outing developed by Machine Games, and this time it’s in collaboration with Arcane studios who’ll you know from the ‘Dishonored’ series. The game is less of a sequel to the previous ‘Wolfenstein’ games and more of a standalone expansion off-shoot, which at times feels like a bit of an experiment when you compare it to the others. It’s smaller in scope than the previous games yet at the same time seems to be trying so many different things, leaving me wondering as to what it’s trying to be.

Throughout ‘Wolfenstein: Youngblood’ you play as one of two of B J Blaskovitz’s daughters, who are trying to search for their father who has gone missing on a mission in occupied France. There are loads of Nazi-decimating fun to be had within the missions like in previous games, however, this time around there are more open-ended missions meaning you can attack your objectives in any order that you want.

The game is now also fully co-op, and this is where it truly shines. It’s unfortunate for solo players though as the level of fun you can experience in co-op does not translate into solo, with the AI of the second sister being awful most of the time and mediocre at best. I’d recommend playing with a friend or even a stranger if possible – for some reason it really adds to the fun of obliterating those Nazis, which you can do with a great selection of weaponry that are really fun to fight with.

The problem I had with the game was the way that the mission structure works – it’s fairly repetitive, with the semi open-world nature of the game leading to a multitude of missions for the various citizens of Paris and the French Resistance that don’t always feel meaningful and rarely stand out. You’ll find yourself saving citizens and killing mechs time and time again, and after a while, it feels like you’ve done it all before. I got the feeling that the world has been designed to include as much content as possible, however, this is an instance where that’s not necessarily a good thing.

The whole time I was playing I wondered to myself how much more fun I would be having if the game had stuck to what it did best in the previous games. Although in the first two games each level was semi-open, there was always a sense of urgency that was leading you to the next bombastic set-piece. Open worlds are so popular right now, but sometimes not bowing to what everyone else is doing can really make you stand out and give your audience a refreshing and original game, rather than something they quickly tire of because they spend the majority of their gaming time in open-world scenarios.

The graphics were very good, as was the world design, though I didn’t feel motivated to explore it all as there didn’t feel like there was enough in the world to warrant it. The combat is exhilarating like all ‘Wolfenstein’ games with gripping minute to minute action, so this at least balanced out the less-than-exciting world exploration.

It was clear from my playthrough that the developers want you to play this game co-op, so I can only recommend it for those that have that intention in the first place – as a primarily solo player I felt let down by that side of things as co-op was the only way to truly enjoy the game and not notice the repetitive nature of the missions so much. It’s fun at points, but it’s not the ‘Wolfenstein’ I was hoping for.

Hannah Read

Wolfenstein: Youngblood at CeX

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