Monday 16 September 2019

Youngblood lacks 'wow' of Wolfenstein series

Game review - Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PC/Nintendo Switch/PS4/Xbox One): 7/10

Chris Hayes

Very rarely has it been prudent to accuse Wolfenstein of playing it safe, after all, it is a series of games revolving around slaughtering Nazis wholesale and in very graphic detail. Wolfenstein: Youngblood is honestly no exception, but it nevertheless lacks any of the real 'wow' moments that dominate the Wolfenstein games in the main series.

Youngblood is something of a spinoff, casting you as either of the twin daughter's of William 'BJ' Blazkowicz, the running and gunning series stalwart and venerable gaming icon. By comparison, his daughters are quite tame, not helped in any way by the lackluster story they have had penned for them. Almost everything about Youngblood feels like a downgrade from the wacky and shocking events of past titles. Youngblood's story has almost nothing surprising up its sleeve and its supporting cast of humdrum characters do absolutely nothing to elevate the story to something resembling memorable.

Thanks to their power armor suits, the sisters - Soph and Jess - begin the game with a range of abilities that their father had to work for in Wolfenstein 2 - notably the double jump. There are a wealth of abilities for the sisters to unlock, though very few of them actually feel as though they were designed for characters with symbiotic or complentary relationships, which is a shame when considering that this is a game about twin sisters. Nevertheless, the upgrade system excels elsewhere in the gun department. The large selection of shotguns, pistols, SMGs, rifles and many more can all be upgraded extensively, with the upgrades making visual changes to the actual gun models.

Bizarrely, Youngblood features a numerical levelling system for both the protagonists and the enemies, which doesn't really add much but definitely subtracts a great deal of balance from the game. For example, you may come up against some minor enemies that are the same level as you or higher that will give you a good run for your money. However, enemies that are a lower level than you are basically cannon fodder.

Youngblood's much touted paradigm shift of allowing you to complete missions in any order is somewhat undermined by this levelling mechanic, which essentially forces you back towards completing the missions in a somewhat predetermined manner.

Overall, Wolfenstein: Youngblood is an acceptable, if not somewhat disappointing instalment to a series of games that rarely warrant anything less than an exemplary score.

The Argus