Wednesday 18 September 2019

Wolfenstein Youngblood review: Two for one but less than the sum of its parts

(PS4/XO/PC/Switch) ★★★★ Age: 18+

Wolfenstein Youngblood
Wolfenstein Youngblood
Wolfenstein: Youngblood
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Almost 30 years (30 years!) after Wolfenstein 3D defined the first-person shooter, Youngblood remixes the formula with this co-op Nazi-slayer. Now the twin daughters of series stalwart BJ Blazkowicz have taken up the cudgels against the Third Reich after Dad vanished in Paris.

Wolfenstein has traced a curious story arc, from the original dumb shooter in 1992 to more sombre, even touching instalments of recent years. Youngblood veers back towards tongue-in-cheek Fritz-flaying, the goofy banter of the two teens juxtaposed with explosive violence as they encounter super-soldiers and huge robot hounds.

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Lest it sound too throwaway, rest assured that this is the product of two respected studios - Machine Games, curators of recent Wolfensteins, and Arkane, creator of the sublime Dishonored series. Youngblood falls short of those high achievers, but the addition of co-op to the frantic gunplay tweaks the blueprint satisfactorily.

It takes a while to get motoring, the early levels too by the numbers. But as Paris opens up and the action becomes less linear, the Blazkowicz girls begin to have a blast.

Played by yourself, the AI companion makes for an slightly uninspiring experience. Partnered with a live human, your fun quotient in Youngblood escalates significantly, the Arkane-influenced level design allowing for multiple angles of approach to assaults on bases, assassination missions and hostage rescues.

 

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