Wolfenstein: Youngblood shifts the focus from the previous games’ bubblegum catharsis of killing the most hateful people alive to killing them as efficiently as possible. The Nazis have health bars now, and a true pistol shot to the head or ax to the throat won’t always cut it. You and a friend (or computer) need to level up to more effectively chip away the white portion of their health bars to get to the red portion, the blood, and guts inside.
Over the course of my playthrough, I noticed my gaze would increasingly drift away from the glorious violence and up towards the health bars. Youngblood is grisly and indulgent, and an incredible setting, but burdens the player with calculations of time and efficiency rather than gift them another cosmic victory lap. Taking out Nazis remains as comic as ever, but the fun is tempered by a leveling system that slows down the action and pacing far too often.
Youngblood is a co-op venture with a completely different structure than the linear pathing of the last two games. This one’s set in three districts of 1980s Nazi-controlled Paris, more open and free to explore than The New Order and New Colossus, but not a seamless singular open world. You and a friend (or AI) play as B.J. Blazkowicz’s twin teenage daughters. When daddy Blazkowicz heads to Paris without a word, they’re compelled to hijack a helicopter and look for pops, disrupting the local Nazi occupation all the while.
I miss the surprisingly heartfelt characters and incessant goofing off. It’s here, too, but only at major narrative milestones in short bursts of dialogue between the sisters, too often d