In Try/Buy/Wait, Checkpoint writers review a game and give you a recommendation on whether to Try the game via demos/buy-and-refund, Buy the masterpiece of a game immediately, or Wait until the game is on sale – letting you know if a game is ultimately worth your money and time.
Your Writer: Regulus
Top 5 Favorite Games: Destiny 2, Destiny 2, Destiny 2, Destiny 2, Destiny 2
Favorite Genre: MMOFPS
Recently Finished: Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Destiny 2, Dead By Daylight
Currently Playing: Destiny 2, Wolfenstein: Youngblood
Bio: I love the intricate lore that comes out of video games and the complex worlds that are built around the narratives. That’s why I write these bite-sized summaries: so I can share with you the love I have for the worlds built by video games!
Nazi hunting is back in season! … with a few hiccups
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is out now, continuing the story of BJ Blazkowicz through the eyes of his two young daughters, Soph and Jess Blazkowicz. America is now a liberated nation free from Nazi control, and the Blazkowicz family live peacefully near BJ’s hometown of Mesquite, Texas. The family continues to train to fight against Nazis with Soph and Jess learning how to fight and use weapons. One day, it all changes when BJ disappears. Soph and Jess take it upon themselves to find their father after discovering clues about his interest in Nazi controlled Paris.
Youngblood’s foundation is a simple story about exploring Paris to find a missing BJ Blazkowicz. On the way, you help the Parisian Resistance slowly free Paris from Nazi control. While operating from a hub base within the Paris Catacombs, you get to enjoy the young American 80’s motif dynamic between the sisters, complete with witty banter and childish camaraderie. They slowly develop from the innocent “I never killed before” daughters to successful Nazi killing machines. Like father, like daughters. Compared to the complex and intricate storyline from its indirect predecessor, Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, Youngblood focuses on a simple story that fits the the game’s intent.
Returning to good old-fashioned violent Nazi executions, Youngblood presents an interesting hybrid-RPG setup with sandboxed maps. Running with the RPG setup, you’ll earn experience and level up to be able to fight tougher enemies. You can collect in-game currency in the form of Silver Coins lying all around the map and earn Stat Boost Points per character level up. Coins can upgrade your weapons while points will give you permanent upgrades for various attributes, which replace the perk system setup in the last two Wolfenstein games. These attributes can, among other things, increase max health and ammo, specialize into stealth or head-on assault, or unlock Peps, co-op specific actions that grant the sisters buffs such as health and ammo or a remote revive using in-game emotes.
The gameplay setup’s quality is mixed, with praiseworthy graphics, fluidity, co-op experience, and weapon mod and perk system, but questionable map designs and development choices.
The graphics in 1080p are amazing even for the Nintendo switch. While docked, the game’s design compares well even to a PS4 or XBOX. Polished textures and particle effects draw up an amazingly realistic Parisian environment.
The weapon and mod systems are derived from the older Wolfenstein games that allow some personalization for each player to match their gameplay style. Weapons can be given different attachments to modify stats while perks can allow a combat specialization. In this, not much has changed from the older Wolfenstein games other than its inclusion in an RPG leveling style.
The maps are pretty much a repetitive sandbox where the same enemies spawn (albeit with higher levels as you progress) and where side missions are always the same objective in the same location. Heck, at one point, I got the same side mission three times in a row on one map. Map usage is also limited to your minimap, so you cannot see a map of the entire region. This is problematic for unlucky players who might wander into high-level areas where spawned enemies can one-shot you and potentially make you restart an entire mission.
Stealth does not seem to be a viable option in Youngblood despite the perks and weapons that would normally allow it in prior Wolfenstein games. The maps are designed in a way where you would likely be spotted in any stealth attempt due to a lack of proper cover and the presence of certain enemies, such as drones. Enemies are also highly perceptive to your character’s movement, capable of detecting you from the ground even when in cover on the second floor of a building while crouched. You can stealth kill an enemy while using the invisibility perk, but then the perk will immediately deactivate and alert other enemies. For the most part, interactions in each map location will feature a large firefight (with endless enemies if a Commandant is hidden in the entire mess). Another downside of trying to stealth is the limitation om marking enemies, as each player can only mark one at a given time. However, it’s not a major problem, as Wolfenstein at its core is about victory against hordes of seemingly superior Nazi forces.
Armor-matching ammunition is a new feature that brings an interesting, but somewhat unnecessary trait. There are two types of armor that enemies can wear. One is represented as vertical lines while the other is represented as boxes. Both armor types can be whittled away with any weapon but using the correct matchup will make the progression faster. While this does lead me to enjoy each weapon the game provides, it is an odd addition to the franchise, which could have stuck with the older games’ tactic of whittling down armor with armor piercing weapons.
SOLO VS COOP:
Wolfenstein: Youngblood’s worst aspect is its design as a forced co-op game. This means that when playing solo, the game provides you with a partner, but its problematic AI may cause some grief. Unlike other games that would give you an AI with unlimited health or lives, the AI partner still shares your life pool, which will frequently lead to the life pool’s quick depletion. In addition, the death of your AI partner with an empty life pool will cause an immediate failure that forces you to restart missions from the beginning. The AI’s decision-making doesn’t help, as it will often choose to continue fighting instead of reviving a downed player, fail to find and assist the player when performing a co-op action, and make horrible gunfight decisions. I would highly recommend that you find a partner to play with to fully enjoy the game. Note that this doesn’t mean that playing solo should never be attempted. Playing solo is still a lot of fun, but in terms of speed running and ease, it will be a greater challenge. This of course should not be held against Youngblood, as the game was introduced and marketed as a cooperative experience for two players.
The game comes with two different purchase options: A $40 deluxe option that provides a buddy code for a partner to download a co-op-with-purchaser-only version, and a $30 option for those hoping to play it solo. The first option is by far the best choice as you can split the cost with a friend for $20 for each person, so it’s cheaper than the solo option and gives you a partner for the full game experience. As this installment of the Wolfenstein series is not intended as a direct successor to the BJ Blazkowicz timeline for The New Colossus, this price is fairly reasonable.
VERDICT: BUY FOR CO-OP, WAIT FOR SALE FOR SOLO
Overall, Wolfenstein: Youngblood is a fun co-op experiment that lets you share the fun of killing Nazis with a friend – it is a BUY if you’re in it for the co-op while a WAIT FOR SALE if you’re a solo player. As a co-op game, it is not built with solo convenience in mind. The game itself is quite grindy as you repeatedly kill the same Nazi grunts in the same areas to complete mission tasks and improve your character stats, to prepare to take on harder challenges and missions. While many would expect that the trees would allow for different gameplay, such as full on stealth, Wolfenstein is fundamentally a series where all tactics will eventually devolve into massive battles and gunfights where you emerge victorious against a seemingly superior Nazi war machine. Mowing down hordes of Nazis is still a lot of fun, but is now much more fun with friends.
Wolftenstein: Youngblood is a first-person shooter, featuring single-player and multiplayer modes developed in the id Tech 6 engine by a partnership between Arkane Studios (@ArkaneStudios) and MachineGames (@machinegames) with publishing done by Bethesda Softworks (@bethesda). It was released on July 25, 2019 and is available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, and PC via Steam platforms.
Review inspiration thanks to AngryCentaurGaming’s (@JeremyPenter) Wolfenstein: Youngblood Review “Buy, Wait for Sale, Rent, Never Touch?”