Last year, at E3 2018, Bethesda announced Wolfenstein: Youngblood. Immediately the game caught my attention. And, when I discovered that MachineGames, lead developer on the rebooted Wolfenstein games, and Arkane Studios of Dishonored fame were developing the game, it instantly made my list of games to keep an eye on.
Then, at Bethesda’s E3 2019 Showcase, the curtain was pulled back and we learned more about the game and saw gameplay. At E3 this year, I played a good hour or so of the game and had a blast with co-op play. Now, after a few weeks with the game, I’m ready to share with you my thoughts and impressions on Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood Details
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and Google Stadia
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Developer(s): MachineGames and Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
Escape from Nazi-occupied Paris
Like other games in the series, Wolfenstein: Youngblood takes place in an alternate history timeline where the Nazi’s won World War II. The game takes place in 1980, 19 years after Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Much of the world is free from Nazi control and B.J. has now “settled down” with his wife. Together they are raising their twin daughters and teaching them how to defend themselves.
One day, B.J. goes missing without a trace. However, B.J.’s daughters Jessica and Sophia along with their friend Abby discover a secret room in the attic. In this room they discover a map of Nazi-occupied Neu-Paris, and believe that their Dad went to France to meet the French Resistance. After stealing an FBI helicopter, the girls set out to find their Dad and bring him home.
Both MachineGames and Arkane Studios did a great job of setting up the story through cinematic cut-scenes. It does a great job of introducing Jessica and Sophia and differentiating the two based upon their personalities. However, unlike The New Colossus, Youngblood doesn’t really give you a backstory or what has happened in the past 19 years. For those new to the series, it could be a little bit confusing putting the events of the game into an overall context of the series.
First-person shooter mechanics with an emphasis on co-op gameplay
Fans will be happy to know that the core shooting gameplay elements that the Wolfenstein series is known for is here in Youngblood, and is very similar to other games. When looking at new additions to gameplay, I’d have to say that Youngblood’s co-op play is number one. It really sets it apart from other games in the series and pushes you to work together in order to be successful.
The game can be played online with a friend or offline with computer-controlled partner. It goes without saying, playing with a friend online is the best way to experience all that Youngblood offers. The Paris catacombs act as a central hub in the game. This is where you get side missions and challenges that help build your level and upgrade abilities and weapons before taking on story missions.
The objective of each of the story missions is the same, clear the place out so that Abby can get access to the mainframe computer. While the co-op gameplay makes playing Youngblood fun, at times gameplay can get repetitive. As a result, there were times that when playing with a computer-controlled companion, I would get disinterested in the game and take breaks from it.
Consequently, it made me realize that there really isn’t a whole lot of new gameplay elements in Youngblood that dramatically push the series forward. Much like Crackdown 3, the Xbox exclusive released earlier this year, this can be viewed as good and bad.
1980’s Paris never looked so good
Visually, Wolfenstein: Youngblood looks and performs well. Although I wouldn’t say that its visuals will win any awards, they are on par with other games in the series. There are however some performance and technical issues with the game including frame rate dips and occasional stutter.
The game’s protagonists, Jess and Soph, each have their own unique personalities that distinguish them for each other. And, the banter between the two throughout the game put a smile on my face more often than not.
Additionally, I enjoyed the game’s 80s action film inspired soundtrack. It made taking out the leather-clad Nazis that much more enjoyable.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood offers great value with a budget friendly price
Overall, I had fun with Wolfenstein: Youngblood. While its far from perfect, the non-linear missions and co-op gameplay kept me coming back for more. Considering the game is not the full price of a typical game, I am satisfied with what it has to offer. Could it have been better? Sure, but I’m not complaining.
If you are a fan of the series or first-person shooters and looking for a game that will give you between 12-15 hours of gameplay, I recommend giving Wolfenstein: Youngblood a try.
+ Non-linear missions which can be completed in any order
+ Playing with a friend is both fun and exciting
+ Greater freedom of movement
+ Banter back and forth between Jess and Soph is comical at times
+ Memorable characters
– Gameplay becomes repetitive at times
– Some technical glitches and bugs
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF WOLFENSTEIN: YOUNGBLOOD
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5