Wolfenstein: Youngblood arrives on Nintendo Switch full of expectations, and after the review of the PC version we were really curious to find out if the words of executive producer Jerk Gustafsson, who had called this reduction something miraculous, were true or not. Well, let's face the question right away instead of getting lost in chatter: structurally the game is all there, with its wide freely explorable scenarios and the many enemies of various kinds to face on the streets of an alternative Paris of 1980 still under Nazi rule. However, even if you want to completely ignore the very first version of the game and only analyze the 1.1 update, it is clear that to bring the experience to the Nintendo hybrid console, heavy compromises had to be made.
The aspects that stand out most in this sense are the frame rate and resolution: in the first case, as expected, it went from 60 to 30 frames per second, unfortunately subject to quite conspicuous drops during the most complicated situations, with many enemies and possibly bosses on the screen; in the second case, instead, we opted for a dynamic system that lowers the definition based on the situation to keep the fluidity as stable as possible, but there are times when you go down too much and the images you find accompanying the article, all captured in docked mode, they clarify how much has been sacrificed from this point of view. To this is added the discourse relating to the quality of the assets, with many pixelated textures placed there with guilty inattention (especially during cutscenes) and a shaky management of volumetric fogs and shaders: there are shadows that are applied on the fly on the surfaces, and that appear and disappear when we move.
There are also some too many difficulties in the stream of assets (with objects that remain "smooth" for too long) as well as a whole series of tricks inserted to lighten the load on the GPU, see for example the jerky animations of enemies seen from a distance. In short, it is clear that we are not faced with a miracle, to return to the original definition, and despite being convinced that Panic Button it will improve things further with the next ones updates, as already happened with DOOM and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, it is inevitable to conclude that at present Youngblood is presented as a conversion perfectly in line, if not a little below, compared to the previous works of the team. The concept is that, if you own any other gaming platform, there is no need to choose the Nintendo Switch version of this very valid shooter. Well, unless for some reason you need to use it on the go.
Gameplay and structure
Given the limited time available to complete and review Wolfenstein: Youngblood on PC, we approached this portable edition of the game also with the intention of verifying some elements of gameplay which have caused a bit of discussion, creating frankly cloying controversies. The Blazkowicz twins, who travel to Nazi-controlled Paris to find their father, can boast a different approach to action than previous episodes of the series. Primarily because of nature a cooperative of experience, which also played offline (with the companion controlled by artificial intelligence, therefore) always presents both Jess and Soph on the screen, with the possibility of collaborating in various ways, exchanging a sign of understanding to obtain a momentary enhancement and acting together to open doors, activate switches and so on.
The co-op, strictly online, lends itself to the most varied interpretations: you can agree with a friend to complete the campaign together or open the game to any participant to receive support during the most complicated phases, or opt for there Deluxe Edition and take advantage of the interesting Buddy Pass to invite someone who does not own the game (and who will have to download a free demo version) to face the missions with us. On Nintendo Switch, moreover, ai controls traditional ones are added those with motion detection, which can be used both in docked mode, by pointing the Joy-Con towards the screen, and in portable mode thanks to the gyroscope. The second option works best, but ultimately it's a matter of adjustments and personal sensitivity. However, we were talking about the checks that we wanted to carry out for the occasion, and which revolve around the RPG elements introduced by MachineGames to differentiate the gameplay from the past.
The two protagonists can level up, gaining power and stamina, as well as use the gears and silver coins earned on the field to unlock physical upgrades (health, armor, special powers, etc.) and to improve the weaponry that make up the arsenal, which remain fixed in the respective slots of the traditional selection wheel. By mounting extended magazines, more performing barrels, precision sights, stable kicks and so on, we can substantially increase the effectiveness of every machine gun, rifle and pistol in our possession, so as to be able to inflict significant damage even to armored soldiers. The difference in level with the opponents can create the much feared sponge effect? Yes, but only and only if we venture to face a mission with enemies much, much stronger than us, indicated not by chance with an icon in the shape of a skull.
To give you an idea, we tried to complete the first tasks of the campaign and then, with Jess and Soph at level 15, we headed to the gates of Brother 3, the last of the three terminals that the protagonists must unlock in order to destabilize the Nazi command. Well, despite it being a level 20 mission, we managed to complete it without particular problems, so much so that we could conclude that those who talk about the sponge effect in such situations probably use the wrong weapons (for example the shotgun from a distance) and / or not. realizes that several soldiers have armor that must be blown up before they can actually be injured. In reality, in short, the progression system developed by the developers does not require grinding nor does it place particular constraints on the completion of tasks, provided of course that we proceed with a minimum of gradualness and dedicate ourselves to the discounted upgrades that become available from time to time.
All this in view of a very solid, frenetic and dynamic shooter system, which pays little attention to the possible approach stealth (usable only in a marginal way, to knock out a few enemies before the alarms go off) but it offers great emotions and an adequate degree of challenge, which however in cooperative with a capable friend could sometimes be trivial. Luckily there are several levels of difficulties can be activated at any time and an unprecedented approach to settings, the result of collaboration with Arkane Studios, which emphasizes exploration and verticality so that secret passages, windows, manholes and hidden areas can be identified, perhaps to be reached on the fly to complete optional assignments that are unlocked in the middle of an expedition.
CommentTested version Nintendo Switch Price 35,90 € Resources4Gaming.com
Wolfenstein: Youngblood confirms itself as an excellent shooter also on Nintendo Switch, thanks to an unprecedented cooperative vocation that mixes the cards on the table, a solid and spectacular gunplay, a progression system that eventually connects to the many unlockable secondary tasks and a level design surprising, which introduces many interesting innovations emphasizing the exploratory element and alternative approaches to missions. All accompanied by an engaging and well-written narration, in pure MachineGames style, which once again unfolds within perfectly directed cutscenes. Unfortunately on a technical level the game makes heavy compromises, reducing the frame rate to 30 fps, saving on effects and in some cases lowering the resolution so much that even the polygonal models of enemies that are located a few meters away are blurry and not very distinguishable. distance.
- Rock solid gameplay, quality storytelling
- Airy, non-linear level design
- Buddy Pass and lots of content compared to the price
- Heavy cuts in the technical sector on Nintendo Switch
- Few scenarios, backtracking makes itself felt
- More could be done on the boss front