Time passes by everyone, even if it’s B. J. Blazkowicz. But no problem, since your twin daughters are ready to pick up the witness and keep shooting nazis. That’s not the only thing that changes. As you will see from Wolfenstein Youngblood’s analysis, the saga has changed its course a lot this time.
We have built a video game industry that does not allow experimentation
When each delivery has to deliver optimal results in order to keep the franchise in good health, there is no time for changes or innovations, no matter how great and creative they sound on paper. This gives rise to a complex dichotomy, in which we demand originality, but also some continuism in our favorite saga. And I think some companies have found the right excuse by experimenting with these, let’s call them, expansions. Uncharted did so with The Lost Legacy, flirting slightly with the open world and nonlinear goals. Bethesda herself radically changed Mooncrash’s proposal by turning Prey into a roguelike. Now, with Wolfenstein Youngblood, MachineGames looks to the difficult world of the looter shooter, but, as we shall see, more for its structure than for its progression and looteo.
Now I understand the words of Jerk Gustaffson when he expressed his fears that some of Youngblood’s mechanics may not convince the players. Making progress in this game is an experience that is at least curious. Used to dealing with this saga for what it is, a Wolfenstein, a linear game; as soon as I got to the catacombs of Paris I came across a completely different experience. I had to change my mind and stop dealing with everything like the crazy shooter I had played so far, because things weren’t working out. When I began to understand that the first linear mission gave rise to a kind of hub of objectives and locations to return to to fulfill orders, rising in level, improving weapons and entering “raids”, I realized that I was more faced with a Destiny experience with the control of a Wolfenstein. Just as Apex Legends has the core of Titanfall, but it is not a Titanfall, but a Battle Royale, Youngblood wants to break free from the core saga, like a teenager rebelling against his parents.
When I understood its structure, at least, I could better organize my games and not go to a certain death in prohibitive zones for my level. Wolfenstein Youngblood doesn’t make it easy for you, and it’s that the design of your maps and their way of guiding you by the goals of the game at world-tracker is really hard to understand at first as if the game wanted to hide the true identity, his diary did not divide the missions into Main and secondary. It took me a little while to understand that the three raids he proposed were not classical incursions, but the main road of history, while the navigation points by mapping do not help at all in exploring the different levels of the game.
I know that on paper it must be difficult to understand (and explain) this structure. Just as difficult is the video game itself. Let’s say Wolfenstein has six main levels. The previous deliveries would have been ordered one by one. Here, however, the first of all opens paths for the next four. Once we have completed the main objectives, we will be able to access the end. Along the way, we can do secondary activities or repeat phases with a higher level of difficulty.
Wolfenstein Youngblood, laboratory of ideas
This is where the dichotomy I was talking about at first comes in. By turning gender, Youngblood does not end up being either a good Wolfenstein, or a great shooter with progression and depth levels. If you come looking for the Blazkowicz family’s new adventure, what you will see here may disappoint you, as the Youngblood story is at least anecdotal. Just with the introduction and two kinematic sequences in the final part is counted the whole plot of the game that does not delve into the main narrative branch of his two previous installments at all. Yes, we know B. J.’s twin daughters and try to give them personality, but all the opportunities to converse with the members of the base or the vast amount of kinematic sequences from the other games are simply not there. Even what is said is not intended to be relevant, since, as an experiment it is, it will not be played by all amateurs.
If it catches your eye because you’re fond of Destiny, Borderlands or the Division games, you won’t find anything here that really fascinates you either, as Youngblood is just a miniature universe that doesn’t have as many options for progression, complexity or number of missions from the above mentioned games. It is at an intermediate point. A small scale proposal that wants to take advantage of the good gunplay in the series to do something different. That is why we see that the Blazkowicz twins are able to raise their level, get new skills and spend a few coins to unlock weapons upgrades. As we move forward, the classic machine guns and shotgun will be added to the most forceful ones, such as the Laserkraftwerk or the Dieselkraftwerk. Getting new skills and these better weapons will open up blocked roads, almost as if it were a metroidvania.
By not following the structure of a conventional shooter, Youngblood has changed the way to take down every nazi on our way. There will be areas that we won’t be able to access because we don’t have the right level, but in turn, there is self-level, so all locations seek to offer a challenge to the player. Even more important is to understand the enemies, and that is that many of them will have not only life, but armor. There’s two guys, for two kinds of ammo, and we’re gonna have to use the right gun or we’re gonna have a hard time. A way of changing the weapon player, although at a certain point it can become a real nuisance, depending on the ammunition you have, whether you play alone or accompanied and, above all, how long it takes the animation to change the weapon.