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.
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.