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Wolfenstein: Youngblood – Daddy’s Little Devils

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Wolfenstein has always been the cornerstone for fast-paced bullet-hell Nazi-Killing gunplay, since the first game came out in early the 90s. The games, especially Machine Games’ latest set of reimaginings always get the juices flowing and people are pumped to try out the all-new guns and set-pieces a new Wolfenstein game brings to the table. Youngblood sets out to do just that in 2019, with a twist: female protagonists. Does the game hold up to the legendary status accorded by fans? Are the characters shattering the glass ceiling? Let’s find out.

Story and Narrative

The revered hero of the Second American Revolution, the legendary slayer of Hitler, William ‘B.J.’ Blazkowicz has gone M.I.A leaving his wife and twin daughters Jess and Soph behind. You (or a co-op partner/AI) take the role of the daughters who have sworn to find him before the Nazis do, but B.J. is a hard man to track down. As fate has it, the FBI (which happens to be an all-female organization) try to help you sniff him out of hiding and out of sheer luck, you and your FBI ally Abby stumble upon a lead hidden in his attic that points to a woman named Juju, leader of the French Resistance. So you three girls steal a helicopter and off you go to Neu-Paris where the rest of the game plays out.

The Resistance HQ is in the Paris catacombs which is also a hub where you can refill your ammo, health, armor and accept some secondary quests and daily/weekly objectives from your all-female gang. Heck, there’s even an old arcade just like the previous Wolfenstein games where get to play the original Wolf 3D! It’s a short underground respite if you want a break from all the action going on topside but I doubt you would spend anytime there because there’s nothing much to do at the HQ. Even the NPC interactions are limited.

Save that, none of the characters are interesting even on the surface. The twins have a well-natured charm about them that MIGHT seem cute for like the first 5 seconds and then instantly gets on the nerves. The constant fist-bumps, high-fives, cringey one-liners (the Nazi douchbags are a toast, I’m gonna kill these assholes), obnoxiously goofy dances in elevators (cue Fortnite), and the squawky laughing every time they think they have done something ‘badass’, it seemed as if the developers hired a 13-year-old kid to write the script. The voice-over of Jess and Soph are a shrill on the eardrums. If this ain’t enough, know that all the major NPCs in Wolfenstein: Youngblood are females and all the enemies are males. At the beginning of the game, we’re treated to a cutscene that would make gullible audiences believe that there will be some character development to the daughters and B.J. as a whole. However, once the shooting begins, there’s nothing to distinguish the sisters other than the color of their hair.

Gameplay and Mechanics

It’s a straight-up first-person shooter, need I say more? Your trigger-happy, edgy teens will maul through hordes of angry Nazis without giving it the slightest thought all while keeping up their annoying banter along the way. So it’s like you’ll be hearing constant corny one-liners spewed out by your counterpart even amidst a fast-paced firefight and it is mostly due to a mechanism called PEP Signals where you throw an emote at your twin sister to buff up her abilities – You’re a badass, Jess! Badass and Inspirational Jess, to name a few – or get emoted in return to bring you back into action from the brink of death.

The PEP is actually a good mechanism to give health or armor boost when either of you twins is down because if even one of you bleeds to death without being recovered then you both will lose something called ‘Shared Life’. You have got a stock of three Shared Lives; lose them all and you start the mission from the beginning. But you are free to scour the environment for Shared Life boxes which will require both of you to open simultaneously.

There is a leveling system which lets you use your XP to unlock more skills like dual-wielding, crushing, increased cloaking duration etc. All these skills are divided into three categories  – Muscle, Power, and Mind – but I felt none of these required any prominent decision making while upgrading as you’ll anyway end up with a decent amount of XP out there in the field; the game makes it look like a cakewalk. There are also quite a large number of collectibles to gather like notes, cassettes, 3D models, etc but I didn’t find them any more exciting than the game’s half-baked skill mechanism.

Level Design, Difficulty Scaling, and Enemy AI

Bethesda-published games have been known to feature non-linear open-ended levels with multiple pathways, cue Dishonored, Prey and Doom, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood is not far behind in this aspect. The levels connect one another and you’re free to explore the entirety of Neu-Paris on your first mission itself if you don’t mind getting shot in your head from exoskeleton-donned Nazis and their mechanized automated units because the besieged city is divided into various sections where the missions occur. This goes without saying that there is no particular order to carry out the missions for hauling the narrative forward, something which Metal Gear Solid V did, and so there are chances of you accidentally entering an area that demands a higher level than your current one.

Now the devs needed to fill these open-ended, interconnected maps with something so that it doesn’t feel empty, and hence we got the loot and the collectibles. Speaking of looting, there are tons at every nook and cranny of Neu-Paris but there isn’t much variety. The only loot you’ll come across are coins, ammo or armor, but they’re available in such numbers that it makes Wolfenstein: Youngblood look like a child’s play compared to its prequels. The difficulty scaling also felt like one big joke as you’ll barely run out of health or ammunition even at high difficulties if you’ve played other Wolfenstein games or any fast-paced FPS before.

And even if you haven’t, in course of your playthrough your reflexes will automatically evolve giving you sense of faux power as you sprint forward and slide taking down a few Nazis then instantly double jump to pick out some more while concurrently switching to your shotgun to destroy the Nazi drones mid-air after which you switch to your melee to use a Nazi commander’s head as your cushion for the evident fall. Ah, the gore spray as your metal hatchet hacks off their skulls and rips off their limbs! The only form of difficulty that Youngblood offers is that the enemies are bullet sponges; you just need to keep moving and spamming the trigger to destroy them.

But sadly, they’re pretty dumb to act as bosses. It’s as if the Fourth Reich forgot to teach them how to take cover in a gunfight because they are as exposed as the models on a Playboy Issue allowing you and your sister to topple them by your relentless hail of red-hot lead, laser, fire and electricity. And since you’ll barely run out of money thanks to the ample number of coins lying around (residents of Neu-Paris were that much careless), you’ll be window-shopping in your weapon upgrade screen as you retrofit your existing arsenal. Not once you’ll question the lack of weapon variants because you’ll be ‘improving’ the upgrade of the same few weapons throughout the game.

And thanks to all these mechanics, you’ll end swatting armies of Nazis and getting tons of XP to rocket your way through the leveling system after which you’ll get access to even new upgrades. So, it’s not much of a challenge as you’ll have quite a large number of opportunities to unlock new skills.

Visuals, Sound and Multiplayer

Youngblood has the shittiest menu screen I’ve ever seen where the two sisters just stare at you with a deadpan expression.

The visuals haven’t improved much since the last Wolfenstein game; the color palette is the quite similar to the one used in Dishonored 2. As for the background score, it’s been kept the same since Wolfenstein: New Colossus with a deep industrial ambiance playing occasionally. The gun sounds are pure eargasm especially the sound you hear while operating the Laserkraftwerk (one that fires laser beams). The various auditory cues like the swoosh you hear during a power jump are quite well done. But apart from that, it’s quite similar to previous Wolfenstein games with the shittiest menu screen I’ve ever seen where the two sisters just stare at you with a deadpan expression.

As for the multiplayer, the game is designed for a two-player co-op with you controlling one of the twins. Bethesda has incorporated a buddy pass system which allows anyone with a trial version of the game to be invited to join your campaign. You can host a session or join other sessions and thank god the matchmaking is smooth. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Wolfenstein: Youngblood was supposed to be one of the major releases this year. All-in-all, the multiplayer aspects of this game are pretty top notch.


Wolfenstein: Youngblood is one such game which you could play after a long day at work because I felt the game was nothing but a stress-buster. The lack of any real depth to the narrative and the characters as a whole substituted by breakneck gameplay straight out of an Inglorious Bastard’s wet dream would satisfy anyone’s hunger for some good ‘ol gore. This plus the fact that you could play this with a friend makes this game one of the fun shooters out there. But if you’re looking for an actual well-crafted campaign, then you could let this pass as there will be better releases this year.

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