Girls, Guns, 80’s synth and killing Nazi’s; if you needed a reason to buy Wolfenstien: Young Blood that should be enough. However as one wonders is the game any good? How are the characters? Is the AI any good? Are the twins carbon copies of one another?
The game focus’s on BJ’s two twin Daughters, and Graces daughter from New Colossus, and despite worries they have very distinct personalities. To the point it has a very Army of Two Vibe and despite the pair being much younger than the soldiers of that series, they still have chemistry and dialogue to match even the best bromance.
To play up the bromance even more, the way you heal/buff your co-op or AI partner is through hand gestures from thumbs up to doing the robot. Each gesture has a different effect to the recipient. While running around the levels each sister has unique dialogue playing up more the history and companionship between the sisters. Examples of this are how Sophia is an aspiring writer who between hand to hand combat lessons with their mom, spends her evening’s on the porch writing short stories. During Mission Lull’s she will occasionally ask Jess her opinions on idea’s she’s coming up with, while Jess will give constructive criticism.
Abby, who was only a baby in New Colossus, takes over as Set and Max Haus in this game, inheriting her mother’s strong will, and her father’s genius. Dialogue implies she studied under Set between the two games as his apprentice, becoming the teams engineering genius. Unlike Set, her greatest skill is both computers and reverse engineering.
The whole game, the sisters refer to each other as Kenneth and Arthur their favourite characters from a British book they read. Several levels even have them pestering Abby to read it, her reading the book later helps the trio use code words only they understand.
Game play wise there is some noticeable differences that make sense thematically and story wise. Most abilities BJ took full advantage of such as dual wielding and being able to just lift up heavy weapons enemies drop, are abilities the girls need to unlock via leveling. This makes sense when you remember they are a pair of 19 year old girls who while having combat training do not have their fathers old exercise regime from WW2, nor super soldier bodies. So their leveling up becomes them training between missions, as well as Abby upgrading their power suits.
The game instead of using linear stages of New Colossus and New Order, it relies on a mix of stages and open world. Much like current Hitman games are, Paris is broken up into districts that can be revisited and are fully explorable. New paths unlock as you and your partner explore the city streets, underground, and Nazi bases. It greatly encourages come back later if need be, while keeping the bromance feeling of the co-op.
For single player mode, your AI partner for the most part is incredibly intelligent. However, there were a few times I got annoyed at it not being able to think creatively or me being able to order her to get on a gun emplacement for cover.
In an era were AI partners can kill, a game this one blew them away. The partner AI is very intelligent and rarely will annoy you. It’s also designed so that if you are sneaking around the partner will just cloak themselves and be pretty much immune to detection unless you are detected which gets rid of the annoyance of AI exposing you in stealth. The AI usually will do what you are doing but give you a small head start then mirror what you are doing. Say there are three parallel halls in a corridor if you take the left, she will take the right and meet you back in the middle. If you are downed her priority is to heal you if she can. When they notice your health is low they will send you encouragements the moment you are within range and they helpfully point out things like hidden doors and weapons you missed. It also has a rather impressive adaptability usually matching your strategy and being able to shift on a dime if need be.
The game is only about twenty hours long but it has lots of replay value, and gives you the option to replay any and all story missions. The buddy pass system was feared to be a return of the nightmare that was Fallout 76’s but instead it is implemented much better. It isn’t a code more an authorization code that allows anyone with a demo version to play with you provided you invite them, essentially a temporary full unlock.
So are there negatives? A few. The game has cosmetic micro-transactions based around “gold” which can only be acquired via real money transactions, however save two skins everything is available with the in game currency “silver” as well just at a higher price. The AI partner tends to get a bit stumped when you are being spammed by lazers, so you need to figure out how to get them away from them.
The graphics are on par with the other two games and look great for the most part, the games dark sense of humor is rather enjoyable. An example of this is right in the beginning the girls infiltrate a zeppelin, and as we watch them land in the background there is a Nazi walking away from them a pile of boxes in his hands bobbing his head to synth music. The music, and then the Nazi stops, they look nervous, he pauses raises his hand flips the tape over, then goes right back to bobbing his head, while the girls try to psyche themselves up for what is essentially their first human kill, all to Carpenter Brunt’s amazing synth music.
The latest instalment feels very much like an expansion over a full new game, which would explain is cheaper price. If you are a Wolfenstein fan, and or an Army of Two fan this is well worth the pick up. While only twenty hours of story, it has a lot of replay value and it’s sure to leave you laughing even after the games over. The trio of Abby, Jess and Sophia are enjoyable as our protagonists, and the fact their family lives are one of love rather than the hate we saw in the previous game. It is visible from body language, to trust, to the dialogue. The team at Machine Games every single one of the people from directors to beta testers managed to pull out all the stops, from solid story telling, to enjoyable game design, to zero Bethesda glitches, I highly recommend this game to all those who were on the fence, and everyone else.