The original title essentially created the first-person shooter genre as we know it today, and now, after the 2014 reboot of the series, Wolfenstein: Youngblood has arrived. But, does this ‘80s-set sequel live up to its fighting heritage, or will it turn around and desert you?
When first-person shooters are mentioned nowadays, people tend to think of Call of Duty, Battlefield, Rainbow Six Siege and their ilk. However, we wouldn’t have these titles without the godfather – and one of the best of the genre – Wolfenstein.
If you’ve never played a Wolfenstein title before, it all comes down to WWII. 2014’s reboot of the series saw Axis forces win that war and dominate the globe. After the events of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, main protagonist BJ Blazkowicz liberated the United States and started a family with his wife Anya. Wolfenstein Youngblood kicks off with series veteran Blazkowicz disappearing and, rather than sitting around and twiddling their thumbs, the big man’s daughters Jess and Soph setting off to find him. With the last known location of their father being in German-occupied Paris, the Blazkowicz sisters steal two power suits and jump straight into the frying pan.
Upon first starting Wolfenstein Youngblood, players get to choose which Blazkowicz sister they wish to enter the fray as. Players can also slightly customise their power suit, choose a starting weapon (a silenced pistol or a machine pistol) and also whether to have an active cloak ability, or be able to charge and knock down opponents.
Both Jess and Soph play exactly the same, though during cutscenes Jess is more of an environment-aware, stealthy character while Soph is the heavy hitter. With options selected, players start alongside an AI sister or, for as a first in this new series, alongside an online friend. If you purchased the deluxe edition of Wolfenstein Youngblood, you’ll also be able to play the entire game online with a friend with the ‘Buddy Pass’ – even if they don’t own a copy!
The opening mission of Youngblood is different from previous series entries. In Wolfenstein: The New Order BJ started in a hospital with barely any muscle functions, while The New Colossus had BJ commencing proceedings in a wheelchair. Youngblood kicks off with both Jess and Soph infiltrating an armoured blimp. Rather than slowly introducing players to the world and gameplay mechanics, Youngblood drops them straight into the meatgrinder, and while this is great for getting straight into the action, those new to the series may find the pacing a bit quick.
Also unlike previous entries in the rebooted Wolfenstein series, Youngblood reintroduces a sub-open world. This works both for and against Wolfenstein: Youngblood. With the introduction to an open world, side missions are now available such as investigating a base of operations that has gone quiet. Finishing side missions gives players silver to buy parts for weapons such as sights, stocks etc, as well as experience. Players then level up either Jess or Soph, which allows access to more abilities and buffs. They need to continually be actively levelled up in order to carry on with the main story, or they won’t be strong enough to get anywhere.
“The combat in Wolfenstein: Youngblood is exactly what you’d expect from a Wolfenstein game – brutal, booming and beautiful!”
The combat in Wolfenstein: Youngblood is exactly what you’d expect from a Wolfenstein game – brutal, booming and beautiful! Players can tackle any mission however they want, whether its sneaking through air vents and quietly picking off guards like James Bond, or breaking down doors and charging in guns blazing like John Wick. The more you tend to use a certain weapon in Youngblood the more familiar Jess/Soph will get with it, allowing quicker reloads and increased precision.
If you loved the weapons in previous Wolfenstein titles, you’ll be happy to know that they’re back. Sadly though, there aren’t really any differences. Yes you can use the silver you accumulate from enemies and missions (there are also microtransactions to buy gold) to upgrade your weapons by changing barrels, sights and grips, but the lack of newer weapons is a bit of a disappointment seeing as The New Collosus was set in the ‘60s, while Youngblood is set in the 1980s.
With a new setting and playing as the Blazkowicz sisters, Wolfenstein: Youngblood offers some welcome additions to this popular series. Being able to play the campaign online with a friend and explore German occupied Paris is entertaining, gory but – most importantly – fun. If you and your Maverick are looking for something new, definitely check out this one.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is available now for PS4, Xbox One and Switch.