Wolfenstein: Youngblood is a direct follow-up sequel to Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus developed by Bethesda.
Youngblood revolves around Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus main protagonist’s ( B.J. Blazkowicz) two daughters, Sophia and Jessica. The game takes place after 19 years of the previous game and this time around B.J. Blazkowicz has gone MIA.
Both Sophia and Jessica take it upon themselves to go find their father who has been last seen at a place called “Lab X” and what follows is the sheer adventure of cringe dialogues and aggressive combat.
Without spoiling much, here is what’s up with the story. After you are done with the first level or prologue ( Kinda), you will be thrown into an open world territory controlled by Nazi’s who are wearing some of the finest armor that is out there. Since it has already been 19 years now, the nazis and the supreme commanders/high-rank officers have some of the best armor’s in the game, penetrating which depends on the weapons you use to bring them down( more on this later).
Once you reach the open world, you will have very few main missions that you need to finish before you get to your actual destination and onto the final boss fight. Now saying more than this would not be possible without breaking a spoiler, so I will stop here.
Now, let’s talk about the most impressive part of the game. The gameplay of Youngblood is exactly the same as the previous game but has somehow improved on how you handle each weapon.
All the weapons that you are going to get have different use and as you progress further, the use of each weapon will become important in different fight scenarios. Now, why is that? This game has a new gameplay mechanic never seen before, and that is, what I like to call, the armor-penetrating system.
Each weapon is designed to penetrate a specific armor of an enemy, so if you do not use the proper weapon for a specific enemy wearing a specific armor, then killing him will take longer than usual. However, if done right you will be able to swirl through the bigger enemy waves without breaking a sweat. And this is what makes the combat unique from its predecessor.
Both the twins can double jump and when you start the game, you will have to select which one you want to play with and with what power-up and base skills. Skills include cloaking mechanism, which if you ask me is pure cheating which you will know in a while why I am calling it that and perks include you interacting with your sister to get a health boost( which has a cooldown) or armor increase which really helps in clearing big waves of enemies.
If an enemy sees you, the alarm goes off immediately in just a sec and multiple swarms of nazis come at you with their full arsenal of trained commanders with full-body armor. There are dogs with live bomb vests around them, who run towards you once they see you and blows apart near you dealing massive amounts of damage.
The game ran perfectly at stable 60 frames per secs on my PS4 PRO and was using a dynamic resolution system on my 4K TV. The performance was consistent and I did not notice any lag/frame drops in between my gaming sessions.
The one thing that youngblood did better than the previous game is the level design. Thanks to the devs from Arkane Studios for making the level design so natural and pleasing that at few places, you will put your keyboard/mouse or controller down and just admire the sheer beauty of the levels that you come across.
After you are done with the prologue, you will be taking shelter with other resistance fighters in the central HUB known as Catacombs, which is the Paris Resistance Headquarters. Here you will be able to get new main missions, side quests, bounties, and daily quests and other activities to indulge in.
As you progress, you will see that you will have to unlock metro stations which is the underground railway which connects all the districts together and is the main mode of transportation for all your objectives.
Once you go and unlock all fo them, it becomes easier to keep track of your side missions as well as main missions and going back to the Catacombs to update your mission files.
The Catacombs is a very well designed central HUB for all players, has really good interiors and some areas are nicely thought out for players to come and relax and enjoy the view.
The Catacombs also has something which I was very happy to see, the retro machines, which has WOLF-3D, in it which has the first 2 whole floor levels of the game which you can fully play.
According to me, devs should include a retro version of a game they are making( if available) in their new games, just so they could score some nostalgia scores. Nevertheless, Bethesda did score that here by including Wolf-3D.
From the very first open-sided city of little berlin to the underground areas, you will always find something new to explore in Youngblood. Almost each and every sideways has one or more buildings, floors to explore where you will mostly be doing side missions/errands( which you will find from the main HUB/Catacombs). Each pathway/areas are heavily guarded by the Nazi’s and their superior commander is always heavily guarded by fully decked in armor, supreme commanders.
Fighting the whole wave of Nazi’s is very easy in the beginning, but when you combine them with the heavy armor opponents coming at you with full sprint, is when you will realize how important it is to effectively use the weapons.
There are drones in the game as well and they shoot small 3 layer rockets at you, which will always be irritating especially when you are trying to evade enemy fire from the supreme commanders.
Miniboss fights and main boss fights in Youngblood are something that Bethesda did really well. The armor design, the weapon interacting to the boss’s armor, it all fits perfectly and gives you a smooth action experience.
The AI is not easy and is sometimes unforgiving if you keep spamming your fire button without aiming or if you are reloading quite often. Key to surviving here is to manage your resources, your ammo and to keep an eye out on the cooldown of your primary skills and use them very often to your advantage.
Cloaking, skill in this game is like a cheat code which should not exist. Why is that? Once you use this skill, you will know that you can easily evade any nazi enemy and prevent raising any kind of alarm and just go inside and kill the supreme commander who does not wear any heavy armor and clear the checkpoints with ease.
Youngblood looks stunning in its open-world queue. All the explorable areas look well detailed and worked on, the interiors are well lit up with proper lighting and highly detailed texture work is done on all of the assets
Let us talk about the weapon sounds for a second here. The assault rifles, the pistols, the grenade launcher, the electric weapon, the laser ray, and the shotgun have the exact weapon sound that you would expect it to have. It just works. There is nothing to complain about here.
When someone spots you, the alarm goes off and the first wave of nazis appear in front of you with light armor. The alarm sound is the only thing that is present without any other music.
There is no soundtrack during the main gameplay though, just a few times, if you are standing or AFK, the sisters will talk amongst each other and pull each other’s legs, keeping the teenage theme on point.
The dialogues in this game are cringy at first and then becomes stagnant with very obvious quotes as you play along making it the worst feature of Youngblood.
When you are riding in the elevator, a cutscene will queue, showing both of them dancing around and having a good time while the elevator takes them to fight more nazis on the upper/lower floors.
Narration in Youngblood is the only thing I disliked. From the very first cutscene till the last moments of the game, the narration was just average at best and sometimes was very cringy. Exactly as how the teenagers IRL sometimes talk in an overexcited fashion, the same thing follows up here from the very start of the game. This may make you skip the cutscene altogether as it sometimes becomes a pain to hear them after a while.
Another con of this game is the facial animations. The face animations when the characters are talking during cutscenes are really bad. It literally looks as if the animations are unfinished and is just plain bland.
Speaking of player upgrades, we have the character itself and weapon upgrade tabs. Both of them requires coins( that you get by finishing missions and side quests) and Upgrade tokens( which you use to upgrade your character).
Weapon customization/up-gradation is done using coins, that you get by finishing missions and quests and also can be found on the open-world on different buildings, inside rooms and nazi-occupied floors. You can use these coins to upgrade your weapons like installing mods which increase three different aspects of your weapon – Accuracy, rate of fire, damage.
While upgrading, you need to make sure that you balance out all these three aspects, cause doing so will give a bonus talent of the weapon. It can be anything ranging from +10 extra damage or +25% extra ammo carrying capacity. Everything depends on how you prefer to upgrade your weapon
Character customization includes increasing your total health/armor and all the usual upgrades that you would expect from a game like this.
We have talent up-gradation as well, which allows for lowering the cooldown of your primary skills including cloaking and the healing Buff duration as well.
Coming to the other part of the game is its COOP aspect. When you start playing, you will be asked whether you want to play as a solo player or team up with someone publicly or privately via invite.
Playing solo will trigger the AI on the other twin as she will always back you up on fights and will revive you when you go down. There is a shared Health system( max stack 3) where one of them dying will use 1 bar of the shared health and get back up instantly with low hp if not revived on time.
Playing on coop mode, was not a problem at all. I played with random people from all over the world during my multiple sit-downs with the game and all of those times, I had a different experience.
Some knew what they were doing in the game, helping out, backing me up and reviving me when I was down. On the other times, I was matched with someone who was new and didn’t have a clue as to where to go and to do what, leading him/her to just die continuously due to being under-leveled and having low damage output.
There were no disconnections during my entire coop sessions and it worked great without having any issues at all.
Youngblood offers some amazing world level design and the open world is very explorable with good loot and different enemy AI’s. The nazi controlled areas are done in great detail, the gameplay has been solid all over, mini and main boss fights have been nothing but satisfying and the side quests/daily missions have been decent as well.
The only thing I disliked in the game, is to do with the narration and the cringy dialogues. But, apart from that, I have no other complaint.
Note: The Ps4 Game key for Youngblood, has been provided by Expressgames for the sole reason of reviewing, so a big shoutout to them for making my review possible
- Gameplay/Level Design
Apart from the cringy dialogues and average narrative, Wolfenstein Youngblood delivers with its aggresive combat and amazing level design