Wolfenstein isn’t a popular franchise, and it differently isn’t a well known to modern gamers, but Youngblood is a huge step up from its previous titles. Where Wolfenstein 2 lacked a good story and was very cheesy at times.
The story is decent, not like the previous two. We play from the two generic teenage Americans whose father was BJ himself. But unlike there badass father these headstrong women are too cocky and clumsy. Hell, I would have loved to play as Anya, wife of Blazkowicz, who herself is a well-rounded character.
A new era in the Nazi regime. Set in the ’80s. An aging BJ and Anya. The twins continuing the fight and the family legacy. The soundtrack also lent to that the typical 80’s vibe. However, I felt that the storyline stalled a lot in the middle with the Brother tower missions. It didn’t pick back up again until near the end with the Lothar Brandt plot development and reuniting with BJ. I get that the franchise is trying to move on from BJ as time advances, but I think Youngblood marginalized his character (and Anya’s) a little too much.
The twins’ character development was limited. There was very little actually distinguishing the two apart from gender identity/orientation in their personality. The co-op gameplay was infuriating at times. The NPC twin would frequently get in the way, block shots on enemies, and distract with useless in-game prompts. At times the NPC would also inexplicably emerge from cover and get badly injured, which then put your own character at risk while attempting to revive her before she bled out. Not ideal if you had a plan for the attack that relied on your twin not pulling a Leeroy Jenkins.
All of the promotional material showed these two vastly different interesting protagonists and aside from some very basic character development in the introduction of the game, they’re pretty much empty characters with few distinguishing features, the only really meaningful interactions between them are seen in the elevator security cameras which are used as between-level loading screens of which there are only a handful of different takes of, there are security doors which separate different areas of a certain level, and in order to get through, you have to wait for your sister to come over and help you lift the door up to progress which can often take some time and becomes rather tedious.
There is a new weapon/armor system which while easy to understand can make certain enemies absolute bullet sponges, certain enemies have armor which can only be effectively defeated by heavier weapons and vice versa with lighter weapons, while this seems like a good idea, the inventory system and switching weapons does make it very tedious when in the middle of a firefight if your quick-switch weapon is of the same category.
The constant need to jump back and forth between map locations, and even navigating certain locations was tedious. I refer particularly to the undergrounds and having to constantly find your way around with a crappy weapon-mounted flashlight that always alerted Nazi’s of your presence.
The new feature of enemy armor types was also an interesting idea, but again, it didn’t play out well. Having to switch back and forth between different weapons to overcome different types of enemies attacking simultaneously took away from the enjoyment of the game. It just became an exercise in controller dexterity and felt more inconvenient than anything.
There Is No Checkpoint System
However, the biggest disappointment is definitely the checkpoint system, because there isn’t one. You must play through about an hour of the game without dying before a checkpoint. If you do die (which you will) then you will be frustrated by having to trek through an entire mission again, doubling the length of it. In each area, you travel to the yellow doors, which would make perfect sense as checkpoints. But of course, they wouldn’t add checkpoints, as they want you to spend more time in the dull world.