hooberschmit's Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Digital) (PC) review

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A fun romp for fans of the franchise

First, I will say I played this alone, and after many rebalancing patches have been released. I had not desire to play this coop. I have no one that I would play it coop with. Wolfenstein is a singleplayer and competitive multiplayer (ET) deal in my mind.

This game makes me feel weird. The mechanics are excellent. It plays like a dream. The double jump, crouch slide and shooting all feel good. Switching weapons and dual wielding still feel clunky as hell. You may need 2 or 3 button presses to get your dual machine pistols out. Also, being that you are not a big burly American war hero anymore (you play one of his daughters), you can only dual wield the pistol and the (new) machine pistol. The weapon upgrade mechanics become tired near the end of the game when it just turns into grinding silver coins to upgrade stuff. I kind of just upgraded my favorites, but this pigeon holes how you can be effective in combat. It rewards using the same two guns as much as possible, as not only do you spend currency upgrading them, you accumulate weapon xp that increases the weapon damage. Also they have introduced a new mechanic! It works well too! There are two armor types that an enemy can have, a small narrow rectangle, or a large hollow rectangle. Each gun deals more damage to either type, so there is a touch more weapon juggling in combat. I never used stealth. Not even once, so I cannot comment on that. Also, having played in in single player, there were a lot of annoying forced coop mechanics that felt like they were ripped straight out of games like Army of Two and Gears of War like gates or crates that you need both of you to open. Or the down mechanic. Also important to note is that the difficulty for you vs your partner (including the AI apparently as she can eat bullets like there is no tomorrow) is independently set. Meaning I played in "Challenging", the hardest difficulty, but the coop bro could revive me a bunch in the hard bits without getting too beat up. You have three lives, which means collectively each of you can bleed out 3 times. You collect these in the level. If you run out and die again, you start off back at the start of the entire area. I had this happen once, and it is brutal. You keep your xp etc... though.

As far as the structure of the levels / game, it is alright. There are even daily / weekly challenges. It seems like it wants you to play for 900 hours, but I just don't think this game would be much fun past 20 hours (I played 11). There is a hub where you collect side quests and trigger cut-scenes after completing enough of the "Raid" missions, which entail attacking a tower with a big boss at the end. Like I said this stuff is fine, but there are million side quests, and they always want you to go back to the same areas. These become boring fast. The areas are designed well. They are gorgeous. The game runs like a dream. 60 fps at 1440p in my GTX 1080 no problem. I noticed it was a vk (vulkan) executable running, and given id tech 6's vulkan prowess, I am not surprised. Also the collectibles are everywhere, and they are often just in piles of junk on people's desks. It is quite annoying to get a hold of these.

The characters are well written, but the story is pretty light. Especially in comparison to TNC. There are maybe a dozen cutscenes (or less honestly). They all serve a purpose, and some ridiculous shit happens for sure. The main characters don't take anything very seriously which is kinda fun. The 80s theme is good. Lots of synthwave. Lots of synthesizers. Cassette tapes, VHS tapes, CRT monitors everywhere.

So yeah. If it is on sale (I bought it for 26 CAD), and you are a Wolfenstein fan, pick it up. If you have a buddy, it is supposed to be quite a bit more fun, so yeah. I liked it. It clearly has problems, but it is a budget title for sure.

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