The latest game in the popular Wolfenstein series has arrived with Wolfenstein Youngblood, and it is a departure from the prior games in the series. The series originated in the 1990’s with Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, making them some of the first defining entries into the First Person Shooter (FPS) genre. The success of the series has endured, with this now being the fourth release in the series since Bethesda took control of the franchise.

Unlike prior games in the series, BJ Blazkowicz is a minor character and players will plat as either Soph or Jess; his teenage twins. Repeating the basic theme, the Nazi’s are in control and in this alternate version of the 1980’s, the twins must work with one another to complete various missions with the Resistance in order to save the day. Gameplay is in co-op mode with either another player or the A.I. controlling the other sister. This is tricky as if one dies; the game ends, forcing you to repeat the entire level as there are no checkpoints and saves.

I strongly suggest playing with another player. Thanks to the Buddy Pass option, you can play with a friend who has the Trial Version of the game, or be randomly matched with another player. The trick, though, is that being matched with another player means you do not have control over which missions. I played far more of the “Brother 2” level than I wanted to.

The A.I. isn’t necessarily the brightest crayon in the box, either. It will do things like going full bore into a large mass of bad guys with low health when you are in need of aid. The smart move would be to withdraw, help heal your sister, and regroup, but this isn’t what happens. It can be very frustrating to be deep in a level and then lose it due to issues like this.

There were also some annoying crashes like when I was in the final battle with the Uber Boss and had to repeat several levels to return to where I was.

Despite these problems, the game looks great and the action is as intense and brutal as any in the series. There are numerous weapons which can be upgraded via silver coins that players collect, and you need them – enemies are abundant, and the mechanized units can really end your game fast. There are also special weapons players can obtain as well as gun emplacements which can really help turn the tide of the battle.

In between missions’ players can hang out in headquarters and explore, take on additional side missions, and interact with various N.P.C. characters.

While some may take exception to the new style of play, the characters, and the minor stability, the game is attractively prices at $29.99 and seeing how Bethesda has been providing updates on a regular basis, this Wolfenstein release is one that fans who exercise a bit of patience and adaptability can warm up to as I did.

3 stars out of 5.

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