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Nazi-killing spinoff is not quite reicht

Since 2014’s The New Order, Wolfenstein has stood atop two pillars: a narrative that teeters between absurd and heartfelt, and frantic Nazi-splattering gunfights. That balance is off-kilter in Youngblood, an ambitious but unsatisfying co-op spinoff.

Set 19 years after The New Colossus, the Nazis have fled back to Europe. Paris of 1980 swarms with fascist Super Soldiers and giant robo-dog “Panzerhunds”. Into these occupied streets step Jess and Soph, the daughters of BJ Blazkowicz; long-time hero, decapitation survivor, and the man who killed Adolf Hitler. It’s a lot to live up to.

New protagonists Jess and Soph are the best part of Youngblood.

New protagonists Jess and Soph are the best part of Youngblood.

Fortunately the new protagonists are Youngblood‘s best addition. The sisters are peppy, likeable, and have a touching camaraderie. The game’s best scene arrives early and sees them agonising over — and comically quickly coming to terms with — their first kill. It’s the only moment that hits the unique tonal blend of gleeful Inglorious Basterds-esque Nazi slaughter and raw humanity that earlier games were so adept at.

From there story largely makes way for co-op skirmishes. You can play solo, but the AI partner is inconsistent: formidable one moment, a lobotomy patient incapable of opening a door the next. You’ll have more fun dragging a friend along.

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