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Wolfenstein: Youngblood Review – The problem with Jess

Wolfenstein: Youngblood has been out for a few days now and I’ve been grinding it out so I can give you my take on it.

The latest spin off in the Wolfenstein series finds you playing as the twin sisters Jessie (Jess) or Zofia (Soph) Blazkowicz, who work together to locate their father B.J Blazkowicz, who has gone MIA in Nazis occupied France.

The game is built from the ground up to be 2 player co-op with the Deluxe Edition allowing you to invite a friend to join in for FREE!

For my first run at the game I started by jumping into quick-play, which joins you into a random game with a play of a similar rank.

I was thrown in somewhere near the end of the first mission, behind 2 large doors. After a few moments of waiting for the action to kick in I quickly realized, I was locked in an elevator shaft that required both players to be present to open it. As my partner was long gone, not even aware that their AI bot had been replaced with a real person, I was left there… sitting… “Waiting for Jess”.

Marinate on that for a bit, my first piece of game play, was stuck in an elevator shaft waiting to be freed.

My savior never arrived and after a bit more waiting I quit back to the menu to start my own campaign.

I decided, for the sake of smoother campaign progression, to play ‘offline’, meaning my second player would be a bot . I chose to play as Soph, leaving Jess to be controlled by AI.

Now, I’ve seen plenty of reviews complain about the AI and claim that it’s awful, for me however, although the experience wasn’t perfect, there were only limited times where I was “waiting on Jess”, and for the most of it progress was made fairly steadily.

So what is the problem with Jess? The real issue is Jess is hugely overpowered. 

Like previous Wolfenstein games, you are free to speak with friendly characters as you wander around your home base. These characters provide you with back story, the odd bit of humor and of course provide you with missions to complete.

Now, I made the mistake of jumping into a mission that was clearly designed to be played after grinding out a few easier levels, giving you time to level up your character and weapons.; and to be fair the game tried to warn me of this with Jess saying things like “we ain’t prepared for this” and “if we go in their we’re gonna die.” At the time I thought this was just a way of the game building suspense or fleshing out the characters, you know, painting you as the fearless leader of the group. 

What I should have thought was “I ain’t prepared for this, if I go in there I’m gonna die”.

It’s important to note here that you only die in the game if you are in a critical state for too long and bleed out before you partner is able to revive you. While in a critical state, you still have limited movement but are unable to use any weapons.

So ignoring all the warnings, Jess and I press forward. The first few battles were tough, requiring a touch of stealth, plenty of skill, and a whole lot of ammunition, like, all of it. As we continued on the first mini boss really should have been a big ol’ red flag that we were severely out gunned. My weapons were super ineffective with clip after clip taking just tiny amounts of armor from the hulking Nazi robot. It was as I emptied the last clip from my 3rd rifle and was left with only a pistol that I realised Jess was actually doing well… real well.

I took cover and watch as Jess ran out guns blazing, dealing and a bit of damage here and there before getting hit with a barrage of rockets or heavy machine gun fire, dropping to critical health and crawling her way back to me to be revived.

Part of my load-out allowed me to add armor to myself and Jess every few minutes, so when she came crawling back, I would heal her up, top up her armor and send her on her way. With this (cowardly) tactic working a treat, we proceeded through the level. 

Deeper and deeper we went, for a good hour, every time things got too hot or there was a mini boss to fight, I would find some cover, do miniscule amounts of damage with my pistol, while Jess took a face full and then limp her way back to me for heals and armor.

It was only when we reached the final boss that the lack of damage really became an issue, neither myself or Jess were able to do any significant damage and after a heroic 90 minutes finally died.

While this offered a huge challenge, it wasn’t exactly enjoyable game-play.

Later JimmyUnbuff was kind enough to take a break from Visions PUBG and jumped in to kick some Nazi butt. Having a friend join in on the campaign is where this game really shines, once you have teamed up with a real friend it’s extremely difficult to go back and play with the AI. Fights were more furious, some real tactics were required and both players felt encouraged to take risks knowing we could, more often than not, bail each other out if things went sideways.

Sound effects are great and provided more than a couple jump scares. More subtle moments with background noises or footsteps also led to me removing my headset a time or two to check if the sound was in the game or in my house.

My inability to pick up on subtle story-line hints aside, the game-play itself is fast paced and enjoyable, solid map layout means you have to work to be rewarded, encouraging players to press forward rather than bunker down. However, there is a lot of backtracking through areas, and at times enemies even respawned, overall a well fleshed out detailed environment.

  • 65%
    GAMEPLAY - 65%
  • 90%
    GRAPHICS - 90%
  • 90%
    AUDIO - 90%
81.7%

Summary

A very enjoyable addition to the franchise which only gets better when playing with a friend.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is available now on PS4, PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

Written by Joel Nitschke

I went to the store to get more fire, to start the war.

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