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Wolfenstein Review: Double trouble in Nazi-occupied Paris

  • ‘Wolfenstein: Youngblood’ is a thrilling addition to the pioneering FPS series
  • The game centres around twin sisters who infiltrate Nazi-occupied France in search of their father

In the latest ‘Wolfenstein’ game, the Blazkowicz twins and their allies (top) take on heavily armoured Nazi soldiers called Panzerhunds on the streets of Paris.
In the latest ‘Wolfenstein’ game, the Blazkowicz twins and their allies (top) take on heavily armoured Nazi soldiers called Panzerhunds on the streets of Paris.

The Wolfenstein series has come a long way from the 8-bit 2D game, Castle Wolfenstein, released in 1981 by Muse software for Apple PCs, and the MS DOS-based Wolfenstein 3D, released in 1992 by id Software. The latter laid the foundation for the FPS (first person shooter) genre by introducing the element of surprise and fast-paced shooting. The last few games in the series have undergone a major graphics upgrade and moved away from the straightforward World War II narrative.

These new titles, particularly those starting from Wolfenstein: New Order (2014), take place in an alternate reality where the Nazis defeat the Allied nations and take control of most of the world, including the US.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood, the latest title in the series, is a direct sequel of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017) and takes the story further into the 1980s, 19 years after the second American Revolution ends the reign of the Nazis. The game centres around twin sisters Jess and Soph, who infiltrate Nazi-occupied France in search of their father, William Blazkowicz, the main protagonist in several Wolfenstein games, including New Colossus.

As the name suggests, the game focuses on young blood. Jess and Soph are shown as naive but well-trained, but their youthful exuberance and endless banter is contagious and keeps the game from feeling dark and monotonous—during one of the early missions, the twins can be seen dancing after killing a few Nazi soldiers. The game involves a considerable amount of shooting and bloodshed and deserves its PEGI 18 certification for violence.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood can be played in single player as well as co-operative mode. The former works offline and allows gamers to play as Jess, while Soph, controlled by Artificial Intelligence, shadows and assists her sister. In co-op mode, a second player can jump into the game and play as Soph. When critically injured, players can call on the other sister for help.

Youngblood feels like a typical Wolfenstein game, with hardly any major design overhauls or shift in gameplay from New Colossus other than a change in backdrop. The scene of action shifts from the US to France, with much of the action happening indoors.

Shooting has always been at the core of the Wolfenstein series, but with Youngblood you don’t have to go all guns blazing. The new “cloak mode" introduces stealth killing to the series. It makes the twins invisible so they can sneak up behind enemies and kill them discreetly.

The game allows players to carry multiple weapons and also steal weapons and ammo from fallen enemies. This makes things easier for players but it doesn’t necessarily make for an easy ride: Killing enemy soldiers higher up in the Nazi hierarchy gets tough and frustrating. This is where headshots work wonders: They preserve the player’s ammo and kill instantly. Some other game controls, like the double jump, feel choppy and confusing. For instance, you won’t realize that you’ve gained altitude until you look down.

Youngblood has an easy-to-understand in-game management system which allows players to upgrade their weapons and skill levels. As players unlock new levels, the twins become more devastating. However, the game manages to maintain a fine balance, so it never really becomes a cakewalk, however powerful your player.

Overall, Youngblood feels like more of the same. But a new storyline, location and two young characters keep you thoroughly entertained.

Developers: Machine Games, Arkane Studios

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks

Modes: Single player and online co-op

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Price: Starting from 1,999

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