Wolfenstein: Youngblood DEALS
After a long period of unjustified absence, the series is back on the latest generation platforms in style, thanks to the production of Bethesda Softworks and the talent of MachineGames. Wolfenstein: Youngblood also boasts the presence of the Arkane Studios guys (Dishonored) in the control room and promises a small multiplayer revolution. While remaining anchored to the single-player experience, they also allow the whole adventure in the company of a friend. Was this a good idea or a risky attempt?
The story in Wolfenstein: Youngblood is set exactly 20 years after that of The New Colossus. The courageous BJ Blazkowicz assassinated the perfidious Frau Engel, giving a clear demonstration of how the Nazi plague can be eradicated. A resounding gesture, which allowed the creation of a new American revolutionary movement, capable of eliminating the crusading army.
The twins Jess and Soph are the daughters of the legendary protagonist of the first three chapters of the saga and were born and raised in an oppressed world, ready to fight thanks to the training given by their parents. After a brief sequence showing them at work, the game starts in which the sisters are looking for their mysteriously missing father. A small prelude to what will be a long adventure that, despite being lacking in original solutions and twists, manages to conquer the user from start to finish. The excellent longevity of the title is certainly one of its strengths, as we rarely came across an FPS based on such an exciting and lasting story mode.
The first real novelty proposed is in the setting of the new online component, which can be open to all owners of the title, or limited in a private session in which to request the participation of one of your friends. Obviously, if you prefer to tackle the adventure solo, the CPU will handle the rest. By purchasing the Deluxe edition, you can take advantage of a “Buddy Pass” which will give you the possibility to invite even a user without a copy of the game. An interesting system that could be very useful for the promotion of the product.
A few seconds will be needed to understand the novelties of the gameplay proposed in Youngblood, totally focused on the collaboration between the two assassins. Although each of them has their own energy and dedicated armor, both share a specific number of lives, after which the inevitable “game over” will occur. This feature is the main addition, as the user will surely have to support their partner, lending them relief in critical situations. If the partner is dying, you will have a few seconds to revive her. This collaboration-based mechanic is useful both for the opening of supply cases and for the combined solution of some puzzles.
The simplicity and functionality of the controls make the described procedures very quick, with a learning curve decidedly set down, especially if you have already tried the previous episodes of the saga. Greater differentiation of the protagonists would have provided a greater variety and replayability of the title.
At the end of the second filmed sequence, you will immediately be projected into the grim and oppressive Paris, ready to show off your murderous fury on thousands of enemies. Despite the presence of Arkane Studios in the development of the game, the gameplay has remained substantially unchanged compared to The New Colossus and proposes the same mechanics present since the first chapter of the reboot. Wolfenstein: Youngblood grants sensible freedom to the player both in the approach to the clashes and in the development of the arsenal. In fact, the user will almost always be able to choose between an aggressive battle or a more stealthy approach.
Soph and Jess are the queens of this new incursion into the Wolfenstein universe, but they are not in fact the absolute protagonists of the production. This role is entitled to the arsenal present in the title. Gunplay can be appreciated for the immediate feeling it creates with the player and for the indescribable sensation of pain caused to the opponents. The variety of guns, the possibility of holding two at a time and above all the wide range of modifications with which you can enhance them, are the characteristics that make any episode of this saga a product capable of distinguishing itself from the thick competition. The main purpose of Youngblood is to eliminate enemies in the fastest and most bloody ways possible and in this aspect the product of Bethesda Softworks remains one of the best representatives of its kind.
The Artificial Intelligence in the game was not convincing enough and it appeared to be still unresponsive and easily dodged. We would have expected a step forward from this point of view and instead the perfidious Nazis continue to use shelters scarcely, sometimes they position themselves in a row to be eliminated one after the other and have considerable difficulties in orienting themselves in their bases, given that it will often be enough to change rooms or jump to an elevated position to confuse them.
Even our partner in misfortune (when it is controlled by the CPU) suffers from the same problems, showing itself to be rapid only in interacting with the elements of the scenario and tremendously slow in everything else. A somewhat annoying problem that worsens the overall assessment of the title, making it in some sections frustrating. Obviously, you can remedy the defect by living the whole story in the company of a friend (not a CPU), but for those, without it, we could not overlook the issues.
Overall Wolfenstein: Youngblood‘s gameplay convinced me, but besides the setting and the presence of the two co-stars, it is difficult to point out other important changes. The support of Arkane Studios becomes obvious in the colors with which the story was outlined, in this case, more dark and oppressive. In some sections you get the feeling that Corvo (the hero of Dishonored) could suddenly appear on some roof, ready to assassinate his victim. A right choice as regards for the atmosphere of the scenarios and the narrative rhythm, but which in some ways contrasts with the excessive irony present in the game. The twins are at their first real war experience and, in order to exorcise the horror, they try to diminish it with jokes and exhilarating situations that decrease the drama of the narrated events. The contrast is so sharp that it is often paradoxical and, although it does not affect the excellent and inspired script, it is sometimes excessive and ridiculous.
From a technical point of view, the work done by MachineGames is once again commendable. The graphic section is supported by a mature Unreal Engine 4 and has clean and detailed textures. Compared to The New Colossus it is easy to perceive a greater use of cold colors, which make the images shown on the screen more obscure and disturbing. A drawback is in the cutscenes that often have some slowdown. A defect that could be eliminated quickly with the subsequent post-launch patches. The response of the servers is also discreet, providing good performance in the cooperative mode.
The sound sector boasts dozens of music tracks belonging to various genres. Obviously, the German language is the host, but the differentiation of the songs and the care taken in the composition of the music, make the accompaniment very pleasant. The sample of sound effects is perfectly proportioned to the overall quality of the product and it is really difficult to find any mistakes.
The work produced by Bethesda Softworks is a concentration of adrenaline-fueled action and visual violence, supported by a particularly long-lived story and all the involvement to which the series has accustomed us for years. The regret remains that the persistent defects of the game have not been eliminated, a further effort by the developers would have allowed the game to reach full excellence.
This review is based on a final code review copy provided by Bethesda
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is not a breath of freshness in the Wolfenstein series, but it will fully satisfy all the expectations of fans of the saga. We have Europe to save and a dangerous Nazi army to be eliminated. Have fun!
- Lasting story mode
- Excellent cooperative mode
- High difficulty level
- AI not great
- Some slowdown in cutscenes
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