Working as a companion piece to the canon Wolfenstein series, we have a breath of fresh air as you choose from two female protagonists, both of which are related to our hero, B.J. Blazkowicz. This is what sets the events in motion and the whole plot revolves around this struggle and journey in Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
Before any other questions pop into your head, the narrative of this game is totally set in an alternate timeline, 19 years after the events of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Therefore, you do not have to worry about having this new story retcon-d for better or worse.
Again, do not worry; you will still be able to kill Nazis, as once again they are the superpower that rules the world. Only this time around, there is the French Resistance that comes into play as well. Choosing either of the two twin sisters: Jess and Soph Blazkowicz, you will embark on a perilous journey to rescue and bring back your father who is gone into hiding in Paris for unknown reasons.
While on this mission, the secondary objective of helping the French freedom fighters will pop up every now and then as it sets the backdrop of the world and its setting. Although the story is still under wraps and it will be interesting to see how it pans out, what we can talk about are the technical aspects and design choices revolving around gameplay.
Bringing Arkane Studios’ Lyon department to partner up with the original developers, Machine Games, has been had the most significant outcome in how this game plays out differently to its predecessors. The main change here is the variety and complexity of level designs that you could expect from Arkane’s experience with games like Dishonored.
As game designer Andreas Öjerfors states, though campaign missions will be a little linear in order to ensure players are doing what is required for the story, the levels of the side missions are open-ended and much more non-linear. In fact, this time around you are not restricted to any particular sequence or order in which you carry out the story missions, so you can choose to hop into any challenge of your choosing.
You can get glimpses of this level design in the explosive-action gameplay trailer that debuted at Bethesda’s E3 2019 conference, embedded above. One of the twins crashes through the window into a new building seamlessly opening up new possibilities and attacking options. The game designer also encourages a balance between stealth and action though the latter is preferable simply due to the style of Wolfenstein games.
Both playstyles are fully facilitated though via a variety of different tools and abilities that the game throws your way if you are able to unlock them. Both daughters of B.J. have customizable loadouts catering to the playstyle of the player and special abilities to choose from which can range from an invisible stealth suit to a highly durable armor.
On top of that, you have some special gestures or signals, called “peps” like a thumbs up that can provide temporary damage or health buffs to your partner. This further plays into the humor side of things thanks to the nature of playfulness and absurdity of the game, and in that of the personalities of the two twins.
In addition to these quirks, there will be references to films, especially those of John Carpenter including Escape from New York which producer Jerk Gutaffson and co. are big fans of. Embracing the ‘80s setting, in addition to the popular action flicks of that genre, the soundtrack of the game also pays homage to the synth-wave genre of music that was well renowned at the time.
Regarding the individual playable characters themselves, there is not different gameplay wise so each of them has access to the same abilities and combat skills, so they play similarly. Personality wise, the producer described Soph as being “idealistic” and interested in writing, while Jess is more of a “realist” and loves competition in every aspect.
Once you have chosen one of the two twins at the start, you will be locked onto that character for the entirety of the campaign. In co-op mode, joining a session with one of your friends, you will automatically be switched to a different character than that of the host. Regarding co-op mode, this is a new feature for the Wolfenstein games and the team at Machine Games are very excited about it.
Going back to the side missions and the world-hub base of operations that can be initiated from the catacombs of Paris, some distinct locations in the game, both the teammates will have freedom in how they approach the levels. In this way, the game designers aim to help players create their own narrative in this secondary mode where even strangers will bond via their communication and teamwork.
Highlighting the co-op mode further, those who purchase the Deluxe Edition of the game priced at $40 will be granted a Buddy Pass that allows their friends to play co-op with them even if they don’t have a copy of the game. You can send out digital invite codes to as many of your friends as you want, but only one can join you in a single session of the game as the game supports 2 player co-op only.
This will be an additional bonus complimenting the Cyborg skin for your character and weapons that also comes with this special. Speaking of additional content, skins, emotes, and peps can be purchased with real-money so the game is not completely microtransactions-free.
Additionally, weapon upgrades cannot be purchased with cash.
You can not purchase weapon or ability upgrades with real money in #Wolfenstein: Youngblood. As you play, you will collect in-game currency called Silver to upgrade your equipment. Silver cannot be purchased with Gold Bars. pic.twitter.com/JFgLLdkkKn
— Wolfenstein (@wolfenstein) June 13, 2019
Wolfenstein 2 will launch officially on July 26 this year on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.