Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Backlog Review)

In case you don’t know, Wolfenstein: Youngblood continues the Wolfenstein storyline of the modern games but as a spinoff centered around BJ’s daughters. It also continues along with the fast-paced, smooth-as-butter FPS action its modern revival and counterpart Doom have so competently brought back.


GAMEPLAY

If there’s one thing the game gets right, it’s the gameplay.

Welp, there’s no denying you’ll be doing a lot of shooting, and very early on you’ll find yourself downed really easily.  During these firefights, some enemies have different armor, and therein lies an annoyance: having to switch weapons in order to chip away the armor better.  It’s annoying, that’s all there is to it.  Otherwise, the shooting gets wonderfully hectic, and things explode… a lot.  And thanks to the wonders of mouse precision and turning speed, PC is really the best way to play it.  The game does also decide you should do a little light platforming and tries to really change it up with dark areas requiring the use of a flashlight thereby restricting your gun choice.  You can also try the stealth route, and while it CAN work with the use of throwable melee items, the truth is that most of the time it’s only an opening gambit before the fireworks pop off.  Lastly, the game does try to appeal to a little of that RPG element that has been creeping into just about every genre of game these days, and as you level up you can unlock more skills, perks, and even upgrade your weaponry.  If there’s one thing the game gets right, it’s the gameplay.  Unfortunately, it starts to wear thin just a meager three hours in, and by the time I beat the game, I realized the monotony had really tired me out.  It’s done right, but flat like a meadow.


CONTENT

Grinding to level up would only be because you enjoy shooting stuff…

The game already launched at half the price of full games, and I for one applaud the developers for being fair about their re-use of existing assets and that it’s a spinoff title.  Thus, while on the short side of things just clocking in at less than 10 hours to see the ending sequence, I can’t complain about the price.  The game does also contain a decent amount of side missions for leveling up further, but once you’ve seen the primary areas of the map, you’ve seen it all.  Grinding to level up would only be because you enjoy shooting stuff, not because there’s any real worth to it.


PRESENTATION

…the ray tracing is implemented in ways that might shock you.

This is going to get interesting, so saddle up.  The first part is about the graphics, and naturally the id Tech 6 engine targets the PC platform.  This is to good effect, as the game also supports full ray traced reflections.  All combined, this game admittedly delivers on the graphics front with a rock-solid framerate to boot.  The lighting engine always looks good, and the ray tracing is implemented in ways that might shock you.  Even something as simple as a fire hydrant is accurately reflected in the curvature of a sniper scope. Yes, the ray tracing reflections are that accurate, and it pervades to things like metal walls and simple plates on crates.  And all this runs without a hitch on my machine at a solid 60fps, mostly limited for capture purposes because the framerate easily tops 100 or more.  But in a strange choice, the cinematics only play in 30fps, and cause a lot of screen tearing because of the unnatural cap.  Now comes the part that hurt me more than I care to admit: the flavor of story delivery.  You’d best be open to very juvenile humor and what I can quite readily surmise as an attempt to make the two protagonist girls to be single digit IQ hillbillies.  Just listening to their quips during combat was… nauseating.  And it’s not that I don’t understand this type of humor, it’s that it’s not put to good use in the right place.  Two uber powerful girls putting on insane gunfights with their lives at stake?  Yea, seems kind of weird to be talking like two pre-teens playing a violent videogame.  And then there’s the actual story itself, which has normal characters in their roles, that pretty much did absolutely nothing to progress the Wolfenstein story at all.  Talk about spinoff: it didn’t even give me anything to care about in the grand scheme of things.


CONCLUSION

…I’m worried that the upcoming Indiana Jones game will be monotonous…

There are certain things about this game that give me concern about MachineGames handling the upcoming Indiana Jones game.  It’s not about the graphics, because those are solid.  It’s not the FPS aspect either, because that’s also solid.  It’s about the monotony in the gameplay, the monotony in the game world, and more shockingly their presentational writing decisions.  While the core Wolfenstein games did not share the shocking conflict of character, it DOES share the majority of these other issues.  Add in that they tossed in some annoying armor mechanic to no real affect, and I’m worried that the upcoming Indiana Jones game will be monotonous, have some annoying mechanic of some sort, and just wear thin before the adventure is over.

I give Wolfenstein: Youngblood…

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