Wolfenstein: Youngblood, the review

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Valery Aloyants
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Wolfenstein: Youngblood, played on PC for this review, is presented as a sort of spin-off of the Bethesda series set in an alternate 1980s, with some parts of the world still under the control of the Nazi army despite the defeats inflicted on the Germans by BJ Blazkowicz and his allies during the 60s. If in The Old Blood we found ourselves revisiting events of the past, specifically Blazko's experience with the campaigns of the Second World War, flavored with a pinch of supernatural elements, in this new project signed by the MachineGames guys, side by side for the opportunity from Arkane Studios, the opposite happens: the two twin daughters of the brave American fighter, Jess and Soph, raised as infallible warriors but still in the hearts of little girls, find themselves having to face a situation greater than themselves when their father disappears mysteriously, without a trace. Together with Abby, the brilliant daughter of Grace Walker (whom we met in The New Colossus and who over time has made her way, becoming director of the FBI), the two discover some clues that lead to Paris, one of the capitals still below. control of the Nazi army. The sisters then decide to make a difference: they sneak up with Abby in Grace's helicopter and head to France, wearing two powerful Da'at Yichud armor and preparing to hunt down the Nazis ... this time for real.



Cooperative experience

Wolfenstein: Youngblood introduces a mode to the franchise for the first time a cooperative: the whole campaign is faced by the couple formed by Jess and Soph, and you can choose whether to play offline (delegating the control of your partner to artificial intelligence) or online, hosting a private match or one open to any participant in terms of a drop-in / drop-out type system, or even joining someone else's match. The difference is obviously in the progression: if we are hosting the action it will be based on our progress between the missions and not those of someone else, exposing us in the latter case to a fair risk of spoilers. However, completed missions are stored on both saves, including those not yet unlocked.



Getting organized with a friend is clearly the best option, and Bethesda has seen fit to favor it by introducing the interesting Buddy Pass, included in the Deluxe Edition of the game for just 10 euros more, which brings the price from € 29,99 by default to € 39,99. This is a feature that allows two to play in a nutshell with a single copy of the title: the owner can invite anyone to tackle the campaign together with him, as long as you do it with only one person at a time. The only limitation of this gimmick is the fact that, on consoles, those who participate without owning the game will be able to complete all the missions together with their friend but will not unlock any achievements. As in the most famous cooperative multiplayer-based productions, the two protagonists often have to interact to open doors and activate switches together, but it is above all in the context of combat that their collaboration takes shape.

Addressing the missions with a friend you can coordinate to silently eliminate the guards and avoid having all the Nazi soldiers on you, manage the boss fight keeping your distance from the enemy, find ammunition and resources (which remain available to both of you, not stolen), and so on. The Blazkowicz sisters are endowed with independent energy, but they share three lives: when one of the two is landed, the other must quickly reach and rescue her or lose a life. Where the situation is complicated, you can choose to deliberately sacrifice one of the three possibilities to quickly return to the game and help your partner, but be careful: there are times when the game over is punished with a certain severity, referring us to the beginning of perhaps a particularly multifaceted and complex mission.



Gameplay and structure

The formula used so far by MachineGames for the Wolfenstein series is quite simple: use cinematic cutscenes narrated in an amazing way to act as a glue to traditional shooter missions, in which you move within scenery generally linear, following a path studded gradually by enemies more tough and possibly bossy. The system is re-proposed for Youngblood, but with a couple of important innovations: the quality of the narrative sector remains very high, while not touching the peaks of The New Order and The New Colossus also due to a pure and simple question of charisma, but the introduction of cooperative mechanics and above all the level design made in collaboration with Arkane Studios significantly change the face of the experience.

During the campaign you are visiting basically four areas of Paris, each divided into two or three districts, to which are added the Catacombs which serve as a base for the French resistance and as a hub for accessing offices, with the usual expedient of interacting with the various characters to unlock new side quests. The approach to the scenarios, however, recalls the episodes of Dishonored rather than the previous chapters of Wolfenstein: there is an unprecedented verticality, also promoted by the ability of the protagonists to perform a double jump, which allows for example to get on a truck, from there reach a balcony and enter a building to find an alternative route; or explore the surroundings in search of an alley, a hidden passage that takes us to a secret area, such as the sewers.



The 80s are not being valued as much as we would have expected from the point of view of pop culture in a Nazi key, except in the form of unlockables such as audio cassettes and film covers, but the settings they know their stuff and present themselves as a further extended and embellished version of The New Colossus' Roswell, full of detail and characterized by remarkable architecture. It is a pity that certain details make the nose turn up (see the obviously fake reflections on the windows: it would have been enough to put more relevant cubemaps to avoid the blunder), but the lighting system enhances the landscapes and buildings well, giving depth to the scenery without never arouse a sense of flatness. The developers have worked a lot on maps also because we find ourselves visiting them over and over again during the campaign: in the context of secondary assignments it is completely normal, but once the secrets and the level design founds have been exhausted, the backtracking begins to weigh a little.

Yet it is often impossible to escape from them: despite being immediately accessible, the final missions require skills that must be unlocked using experience points and money, going to enhance the physical characteristics of Jess and Soph, adding new maneuvers to their repertoire and improving the weaponry that make up their arsenal, even this time not very numerous (a pistol, two submachine guns, a shotgun, a carbine and a set of special cannons) but with a precise personality and well managed from the point of view of ammunition: it will happen to run out of bullets and this will force you to use all the tools available, none excluded. However, considering the price of the game and the duration of the story mode, which we completed in about ten hours by going straight and completing only a few side quests (just 18% of the total), this type of solution suits us well.

Technical realization

Who feared that the aesthetics of the years' 80, albeit in a Nazi-alternative version, could monopolize the graphic style of Wolfenstein: Youngblood, he can breathe a sigh of relief: the references to those years are few and the feeling is that you could be in any period, which however is not can be considered a merit. Fortunately this is one of the few blunders of an irreproachable artistic direction: if in the traditional metal bases the atmospheres of the series remain the same as always, the urban settings have a lot to say in terms of architecture, detail and level design in general, given the unprecedented verticality and the presence of passages, alleys, hidden areas, interiors that can be visited and so on. Thanks to an excellent lighting system, which refracts on the objects, enhancing them and never flattening them, there are moments of the campaign visually of great impact.

It is clear, it would have been nice to have available a greater number of different locations and perhaps some clearer references to the attractions of Paris, which are not received without adequate narrative justification, but in general the development team has done a lot and filled the experience with content, packaging a much more full-bodied structure than one would imagine for a base price of just 29,99 euros. Great locations protagonists of Youngblood, in short, but the characters? The quality of the narration of the cinematic sequences is once again excellent, with very engaging and found moments that always manage to get a laugh, but the pure realization of the cutscene it shines less than in the past, especially in the final stages. Soph is a nice character, Jess appears less successful because of the hairstyle, in-game the quality of the polygonal models is good but far from that of the best videogame productions, still linked to a concept that feels the weight of the years.

A fair amount of variety work has been done with regards to enemies, although their artificial intelligence often does not shine (you can get around them and surprise them without major problems, for example), while an old problem that concerns the bosses recurs: they are all very similar to each other and it's a shame. The soundtrack is great but not the best ever for the series, the sound effects come with the impact you would expect from those weapons and explosions, and finally the dubbing in Spanish it is also this time very well done, with convincing performances by the entire cast. The PC version with the latest NVIDIA drivers appears remarkably well optimized, as it runs a on test setup 2160p e 60 frames per second with all settings at maximum and v-sync turned on. A test of strength for the id Tech 6, which is confirmed to be perfectly scalable on any hardware, given the abundance of adjustments and the inclusion of a dynamic scaler that keeps performance stable by modifying the resolution depending on the load but leaving the 'output.

PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 6600K
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Memory: 16 GB of RAM
  • Operating system: Windows 10

Minimum requirements

  • Processore: Intel Core i5 3570, AMD FX 8350
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770
  • Memory: 8 GB of RAM
  • Hard disk: 40 GB of space required
  • Sistema operativo: Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 a 64 bit

Recommended Requirements

  • Processore: Intel Core i7 4770, AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
  • Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • Memory: 16 GB of RAM
  • Hard disk: 40 GB of space required
  • Sistema operativo: Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 a 64 bit

Comment

Tested version PC Windows Digital Delivery Steam Price 29,99 € Resources4Gaming.com

8.5

Readers (36)

7.7

Your vote

Wolfenstein: Youngblood mixes the most successful elements of the series developed by MachineGames, namely the excellent storytelling of the cinematics and an engaging and frenetic run & gun gameplay, with new cooperative mechanics and an unprecedented approach to level design, certainly the result of the collaboration of Arkane Studios. The settings of the alternative 80s Paris do not enhance the pop culture of the time, but are presented as wide and detailed scenarios, full of secrets to discover, hidden areas and a verticality declined to platform solutions that had never been seen in the episodes of Wolfenstein. The missions often return to the same places, but the game costs very little compared to what it offers, and for just 10 euros more it also includes the Buddy Pass, which allows you to tackle the campaign together with friends who do not own the title.

PRO

  • Rock solid gameplay, quality storytelling
  • Airy, non-linear level design
  • Buddy Pass and lots of content compared to the price
AGAINST
  • Few scenarios, backtracking makes itself felt
  • More could be done on the boss front
  • Some glitches in the management of the cooperative
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