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8 Best And Worst Things About Wolfenstein Youngblood

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Let me explain as I guide you through 8 of the best and worst things about Wolfenstein: Youngblood. But first, thanks to Logitech G and the G-four-thirty-two 7.1 Surround Sound gaming headset for sponsoring this video. To check out the tech behind the G-four-thirty-two, click the link in the description. On a surface level Youngblood gets a lot right. I have a bit of a soft spot for the neo-80s fad we’re currently going through as a collective culture of people.

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It just so happens that, in Wolfenstein’s timeline of events, Youngblood finding itself in an 80s Paris reimagined through a Fascist lens makes a lot of sense. It absolutely leans into the time period, too. The opening to the game, which takes place on a zeppelin, features a neon-trimmed, synth-scored casino, complete with a checkerboard dance floor and an assortment of Nazified arcade classics. There’s Nazi Worm, Nazi Frogger and even Nazi Tetris. Perhaps the blocks only spin to the right. This aesthetic carries on throughout the whole game.

The story–BJ going missing and the sisters finding a secret attic office in their house with clues to where he’s gone–feels almost like a Spielberg movie, Reich footsoldiers will have boomboxes blasting out the latest hits from Die Käfer, and a primary means of finding mission-critical information in the world involves you collecting floppy disks to decode on chunky computers with glowing red CRT monitors. I love all of this so, so much, and I’d love a Fashintosh personal computer of my own–if I didn’t think Nazis were s**t, obviously. For the first time in MachineGames’s run with Wolfenstein, we don’t actually find ourselves playing as BJ Blazkowicz.

Jess and Soph, BJ’s twin daughters, take the centre stage for Youngblood, now all grown-up. The best way I can describe the so-called Terror Twins is that they’re like if Beavis and Butthead were Nazi-killing machines in power suits. Another comparison I could make would be to the Kanker Sisters in Ed Edd n Eddy.

Suffice to say, I think they’re absolutely brilliant and I love them both with all my heart. The dynamic that exists between them feels really organic. They talk to each other exactly how sisters would talk to each other, they constantly goof around to the bemusement of the people around them, and their laugh is one of the best things ever rendered into digital audio. There’s plenty of incidental dialogue between them as you explore the streets of Paris as well, which maintains that sibling chemistry throughout. Even if you opt to play solo, with an AI-controlled sister, there’s a great illusion of a living Nazi-basher by your side.

All in all, I care about Jess and Soph Blazkowicz, and I’m invested in their journey. MachineGames have gotten a lot of praise for the cinematography in their take on Wolfenstein. This very channel, in fact, did just that for Wolfenstein: The New Order many moons ago, long before the time of the current team.

That trend will continue with us, though: one of the first things I first noticed when starting up Wolfenstein: Youngblood for the first time was that it’s opening cutscene was packed full of symbolism and dramatic foreshadowing. There’s clever use of lighting and colour, the framing of certain shots convey a lot about the relationships between characters, and… mate, there’s so much more I could go on about with these first few minutes alone that I’d have to make a whole video dedicated to it specifically. Maybe I will! Leave a comment if you’d fancy that.

MachineGames as a studio are only one of a few that actually mess around with stuff like this in a very deliberate way, and I’m 100% here for it. One of the most exciting things about Youngblood for many is that Arkane Studios, the much-loved developers Dishonored and the 2017 reboot of Prey, are coming on board to help MachineGames with the level design. It’s one of the things that my boss and video dad Matthew hoped to see more of when discussing his thoughts on the preview he got his hands on – Machine Games handled the first two areas of the game, which are more linear tutorial levels.

So I’m pleased to confirm that Arkane’s signature is all over much of the game beyond that point. The different districts of Paris each operate as their own miniature open worlds, and they’re two very Arkane-y things: dense, and vertical. Every single district tells its own story through the set design–like the shanty town built around a security barrier in Detention Centre 4, the gut-twistingly high scaffolding on Brother 2, and this Nazi frat den I stumbled across–and there’s about as much exploring upwards than there is left and right. Like all of these balconies, which, if you find a discreet way of jumping up to, allow you to snipe, pinpoint targets, and even leap from rooftop to rooftop.

…Here’s the thing, though. A lot of that really quite fantastic level design feels wasted in the way that Youngblood plays. There’s a double-jump, granted to you by your power suit right from the get-go, that makes ascending through areas a bit easier, but climbing feels clunky. Sometimes I’ll run and jump to try and make it up onto a ledge, and despite being in a perfect position to grab on and hoist myself the rest of the way up, I drop down to the mercy of the Nazis below because that ledge wasn’t precisely knee-height or something.

Another time, I came across a very obvious balcony for sniping and tried to make my way up to it, but the only way I could was if I very carefully jumped up onto a really thin wall lamp, and edged myself ever so slightly here or there until I could just barely, and awkwardly, make the jump. It makes exploring everything there is to see, which I really want to do, feel a bit sluggish. Compare it to the acrobatic experimentation of Dishonoured, or the scenery-vaulting fury of Bethesda’s fellow Doom or Rage, and you just don’t feel like a hero naturally equipped for the playground built for them. As well as a movement system better-suited to Arkane’s level design, there are a number of other apparent holes in Wolfenstein Youngblood where it feels like certain things should be. It’s never been a feature in previous games, but given the widened opportunity from that level design, not being able to pick up and hide the corpses of your Nazi foes feels like a huge oversight and makes a hardcore stealth run of the game painfully difficult to the point of dissatisfaction.

There are some other little details that contribute to this difficulty; you only have a mini-map and no larger map with which to plan out routes, stealth damage bonuses don’t feel as big as they should be at times; but this whole corpse problem really does have a huge and detrimental impact on stealth. Like the games before Youngblood, it feels like something you only do at the beginning of an engagement to pick off tougher targets before going in guns blazing, but with how different environments are here, that doesn’t suffice. The game tells you if you’ve successfully made it through an area without setting off an alarm, but because of all this, I didn’t see it often, and when I did, it’s because I popped on my Cloak and just sprinted to the exit. Similarly, while I get the sense that it’s barebones in an attempt to preserve the core Wolfenstein feel, there are a number of ways in which the co-op, one of the biggest features of the game, doesn’t quite work. There’s a bit of a disconnect between the two players: every item in the game is instanced for that specific player and it doesn’t inform you if your co-op partner has picked something up relevant to the mission or not, meaning a lot of me opening a chest with some silver coins in it and standing around while my partner plays catch-up to find it too.

There are Pep gestures that each sister can use to buff the other in a variety of ways too, but this feels less like co-op and more like an invisible button prompt. Rejigging it so that loot pick-ups are just shared, and perhaps even adding a few extra co-op elements here or there, feels like it could be, quite easily, a much better game. Hell, that inability to pick up bodies?

For some of the larger, hulking Nazi supersoldiers, MachineGames could even have implemented a mechanic where you and your friend drag their corpses both at once in order to shift them behind a bin. That’s just an off-the-cuff idea, really; what I’m trying to say is, it feels like lots of little ideas are underexplored in Youngblood and I find myself wishing Arkane Studios had helped out with more than just the level design. One of the best things about MachineGames’s Wolfenstein is how meaty and heavy and impactful using your weapons feel.

From a technical standpoint, the guns in Youngblood are just as good, if with a few more interesting attachment options and, now, weapon skins. But enemies in Youngblood, as a means of compensating for having two players on the battlefield, are a lot spongier. To a certain extent that makes sense. The problem is that it completely changes how the guns you use operate in the world. In The New Order and The New Colossus, weapons felt powerful because a few bullets here or there would knockback, incinerate, and explode the heads of the Nazis you fought in seconds, sometimes instantly with a well-placed shot.

But in Youngblood, one footsoldier that I came across literally took ten heavy rounds to the face, from an assault rifle configured as a sniper, with the bonus damage granted from stealth, and still didn’t die. It’s an issue I ran into with a lot of encounters. The weapons in MachineGames’s Wolfenstein feel good in large part because of how lethal they are.

And in Youngblood, they feel like dieselpunk paintball guns. Very flashy, very chunky, not very lethal at all. Another feature introduced to make co-op work is the health bars that appear above Nazis’ heads, telling you how much health they have, how much armour they’re wearing, and what the most effective ammunition type against the armour is. I understand why this has been added–it helps in deciding which one of you engages which target–but it ended up making it feel less like I was spraying bullets into Fascist foot soldiers and more like I was draining a meter.

You can’t even turn them off, because that armour indicator can become essential in knowing how you need to be approaching a fight. My eyes became transfixed on these bars and these icons, until it almost felt like I had Nazi face blindness. Which sucks, because I want to be able to look into this f**ker’s eyes when his head explodes. What drew me so strongly to this new iteration of Wolfenstein overall was the story that it had to tell. Exploring an alternate timeline where the Nazis won in such an over-the-top but charming and sometimes even earnest way meant there was a lot of potential for some excellent commentary.

MachineGames even added some emotional drama to BJ Blazkowicz’s story that transformed him from a mass-murdering meathead into quite a human person. The New Colossus’s story, the places it took us to, and the ridiculous yet compelling and loveable characters it introduced to us, were deeply compelling and kept pulling me further and further through the game to its very end. Remember earlier, how I waxed lyrical about Youngblood’s cinematography, how I gushed about Jess and Soph?

Here’s the thing. Once I reached the catacombs, where the Paris Resistance resides and where you operate from as a hub, I very quickly forgot there was a story at all. No cutscenes, no quests that feel like they’re pushing the narrative… just an underground hub world with flat NPCs that send you on fetch quests to the different Paris districts.

There are big missions, like the raids on three big Nazi bases of operations: Brothers 1, 2, and 3, but even within these, there isn’t anything keeping you invested in the story–no cutscenes about each, nor in-between, and they all have boss fights at the end that, while aesthetically different, are laid out the same, with a big central room where a giant robot emerges from the floor, and two wings to the left and right, each containing a Nazi Ubercommander, each with a key that you both put into a machine. There are more cinematic sequences later in the game, but it’s no substitute for those lengthy in-game moments in the earlier games where you’d witness amazing villain monologues or head-spinning twists from BJ’s perspective – a cost of the game becoming co-op, probably, but it leaves the game feeling more narratively barren. Oh, and there are daily and weekly quests. There’s a premium currency too, not yet available or labelled but it looks like it’ll probably be Nazi gold, which you can use to buy weapon and armour skins, for whatever reason. Combined with the big red health bars, a lack of any proper storytelling compared to other games in the series, and quests that amount to “Go to the place, kill lots of dudes, kill the bigger scarier dude, and come back”, it all feels a bit like Destiny, or an MMO generally. Which is a crying shame, because that little hint of what we got at the beginning of the game seemed to have set up something a lot more story-driven and a lot less live-service than what we have.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood makes me a little bit sad, really. On the surface, it has everything I want in a game: a radical 80s aesthetic, an open-ended but not too overwhelmingly expansive world, this bloke with a communist mask, and pile upon pile of Nazi scum to slaughter. But it just hasn’t grabbed me in the way that I hoped or expected it to. Arkane were on-board, there was a lot of potential with the setting, story, and co-op mechanics, but… It’s missing something–a lot of little things–and that’s holding it back from being the incredibly special thing that it could have been. Thanks again to Logitech G for sponsoring this video. Featuring 50mm audio drivers, a 6mm mic and DTS HeadphoneX two point oh surround sound technology under the hood, the G432 headset immerses you in the action and ensures you’ll always be heard for a complete gaming experience.

Find out how to order yours by following the link in the description. If you have any questions about Wolfenstein Youngblood do pop them in the comments – I’d be happy to answer them. And if you haven’t already you could like this video if you found it useful and subscribe to Rock Paper Shotgun if you fancy seeing more stuff like this. Thanks for watching and hopefully see you again soon.

Video Poker Overview

Introduced in the 1970’s, video poker is an increasingly popular form of gambling both at land based casinos and online. If you are unfamiliar with the games, they are those machines with TV screens at the land based casinos. Of course in the online world, Video Poker thrives. The game is played fast, while involving a combination of skill and luck, video poker attracts players by providing hours of stimulating entertainment.

A typical video poker machine holds a strong resemblance to a regular slot machine, and can be found in either a tabletop form or an upright desktop unit.

The machines come in denominations of nickels, quarters, dollars and sometimes five dollars. The majority of video poker games are based on five-card draw poker. In five-card draw, players are originally dealt five cards and can throw away any of them to try to improve their hand. New cards are dealt to replace the discarded ones, and the final five cards decide.

The origin of the word poker is also well debated. Most of the dictionaries and game historians say that it comes from an eighteenth-century French game, poque. However, there are other references to pochspiel, which is a German game. In pochspiel, there is an element of bluffing, where players would indicate whether they wanted to pass or open by rapping on the table and saying, “Ich Poche!” Some say it may even have derived come the Hindu word, pukka.

The serious Video Poker player can find opportunities that give the player the advantage. As in any form of gambling, if attaining an advantage were easy then everybody would be doing it. It is a volatile game where the ups and downs in the short term require a strong stomach and a big bankroll. There are numerous variations of the game and each one requires its own strategy. The successful player must know what the best pay tables are for each game, where to find them, and how to play them. But it is true, that in Video Poker, the player can get the advantage, and means winnings!

Based on classic Five Card Stud, Video Poker challenges players to build the best possible five-card poker hand. The player is dealt five cards and has the option of discarding any or all of them. New cards are dealt to replace the discards. Payoffs are based on a scale, paying players for hands as low as a pair of tens or Jacks all the way up to a Royal Flush.

Like their cousin the slot machines, Video Poker machines are available in many denominations, with 25 cent and $1 machines being the most popular. Many land based casinos also offer progressive payoffs or bonuses for Royal Flushes or other special hands. Online Casinos offer games from Microgaming and Playtech, which are also progressive jackpots. Video Poker provides variety too, with versions ranging from Jacks Or Better to Deuces Wild and Jokers Wild. You can play free Video Poker, Deuces Wild, Jacks or Better and Jokers Wild. All here at Top Casino Offers

Part 2: Xbox 360: Call of Duty 3

The fight continues through the streets and houses of the town and out into the open where you meet up with your squad. Now you must man a tank to ‘spot’ targets as the advance continues. If you can spare the seconds here to stop and look around from the tank turret the action that surrounds you rages on unabated. Buildings burn, machine gun nests rain down death from the highest part-destroyed buildings and your troops constantly scream orders and warnings back and forth. Welcome to the world of war!

Much of your time is now spent working your way through the rubble and streets, clearing out pockets of German resistance and keeping up with your ever updating objectives. Here the game will feel like a second home to anyone who has played the earlier versions. The familiar linearity to the plot is however sometimes a little stifling although in later missions the game offers different branches to take to achieve an objective. At regular points scripted actions take over as a level ends and one mission segues into the next. These scripted events also take place within the missions and serve to advance the story and put you under pressure still further.

One of the much heralded new in-game features is the so-called ‘battle actions’. At certain key trigger points you will enter a room and find yourself face to face with a German intent on finishing you off! Here the game descends into a simple version of street Fighter with trigger mashing and button pushing at set cues being required to disable and kill your aggressor. At first these attacks will surprise you and for a while slow down your progress as you tend to advance more slowly through a building expecting to be set-upon at every turn. Later in the game more ‘battle-actions’ are called  in to play, these range from planting and setting charges through to rowing a boat or even breaking your way into a boarded up building for cover. Whilst offering some variety in game play these actions can sometimes become tedious and interrupt the flow of the game, once you’ve set a few charges you might start to get bored of winding the joystick round and round, particularly as there is no sense of real urgency to these events because you are not under fire or in danger while you undertake them.

Xbox 360: Call of Duty 3

Technical Details

Title: Call of Duty 3
Publisher : Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Release Date (UK) : Friday 10th November 2006
Rating: 15

Reviewer : northerntrack
Review TV : 32″ Panasonic LCD
Sound used for review : 5.1 Dolby Digital
Reviewed in HD: Yes

Introduction

Does it really seem like a year since the fledgling Xbox 360 was brought into the gaming world? Back then a developer by the name of Infinity Ward stepped up with a title that was to go on and become one of the most successful launch games on the console. A game which is revered worldwide to this day and still ranks in the top ten of most Live games played. That game is Call of Duty 2. It’s a big shadow to climb out of for any developer and that onerous task has been laid squarely at the door of Treyarch Studios. Better known for producing some of the earlier iterations of the franchise, Treyarch was tasked with producing a sequel to this top selling launch title and advancing the series into the second wave of next generation titles. A tall order for a games developer to meet under any circumstances but in this instance the pressure was really on to deliver. So, have Treyarch managed to take the Call of Duty series to the next level?

Gameplay

Call of Duty 3 takes you on a journey through France after the Normandy landings. Whereas its predecessor skipped from country to country fighting along the way Treyarch has set out to achieve a more personal tight-knit narrative structure to their game. The campaign this time follows the fortunes of the British, American, Canadian and Polish armies as they take part in the battle to seal the Falaise gap in Northern France. Here in Chambois a pocket of heavy German resistance has broken through the Allied lines and is preventing there advance and liberation of Paris.

After your brief introduction to your weaponry it’s right into battle. Straight away the changes are evident. Treyarch has set out to reduce the ‘loading’ screens to a minimum and the cut scenes play out as the game is loaded, now that’s not to say you won’t ever see a loading screen, but the game flow is not unduly interrupted by interminable waiting at static screens while any of the levels load. The introductory scenes add some personality to the soldiers around you and give you a sense of inclusion in a close squad of men about to embark on another all-important mission.

As the cut scene fades you are offered a leg-up over the wall and on into battle in the graveyard at St Lo. The first time you lift your head over the wall the camera pauses and pans left and right allowing you to take in a battlefield scene of chaos and destruction. Everywhere you look bullets are flying, grenades exploding and men are dying. As you take your first tentative steps upon this new battlefield the sheer scale of action surrounding you is overwhelming. Treyarch have taken the series and added on another level of action and realism that simply cries out to be observed. No time for sightseeing though as you push on through the church, witnessing on the way some of the scripted actions as a plane slams into the church tower debris scattering all around. The resulting explosions will make you duck as their visual prominence and aural bombardment immerses you deeper into the battle.