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Wolfenstein Youngblood

FBT pauses to consider the new Wolfenstein spin off. But it doesn’t pause to consider him.

If you whinge about Youngblood, especially about the female leads, you feel complicit in the misogynistic bile that was spouted when it was announced; just like that Ghostbusters reboot, the problem with it was women – BJ’s twin daughters, Soph and Jess have taken over the franchise! From the dark recesses of the Steam forum, meninists denounced Youngblood as Social Justice Warrior propaganda, libertard leftist feminist pandering; Wolfenstein wasn’t about the Nazis, now it was about the Feminazis taking over men’s digital roles too! The meninists refused to play as a woman. Makes sense, given women refuse to play with them.

I loved that Machinegames doubled-down rather than taking the easy route and make BJ's sprogs a boy and a girl; it was play as a woman, or as a woman. I could not wait, imagining I’d be torn between a Femshep or Lara, Jill Valentine or Claire Redfield, Princess Zelda or Princess Peach. Which Ms Blazkowicz to be? This game was gonna change everything. Instead … W:YB is Ghostbusters-level shit, and it’s because of the women that are in it. It’s so bad it’s turned me into a meninist.

Picking up some 20 years after New Colossus, the US is now free of Nazis but Europe remains under their rule. When Dad goes missing, and the US government refuses to mount a rescue for fear of provoking the Nazi Warmachine, the t’weens steal battlesuits and head to Europe to save the old man.

New Colossus was more interested in its own cutscenes story than letting us have a go, but those scenes were worth it. Anya’s pregnant, topless, blood spattered dual-weapon take down, the town run by the KKK, auditioning for a part in a movie about BJ - Colossus was a subversive bit of work and this, an 80s-set spin off … is instead a generic shoot-n-loot Borderlands knockoff with two of the most obnoxious leads I’ve ever seen. Are we sure BJ’s really been captured? He didn’t just ‘go out for some smokes’?

I don’t understand why they made the twins so annoying, immature, and unlikable. They treat it all like they skipped school to visit the mall. You’re provoking another world war, freeing Paris, killing huge mechanised Nazis and their dogs while trying to save Dad and the whole time it’s like they’re at Laser-tag. They can give each other a health or armour replenishing ‘pep’ talk, but I'd rather get killed. Spouting supportive lines like ‘Killin it Jess!’ ‘Way to go sis!’ just sounds horrible - I don’t hate it because two teenage girls shouldn’t be in a video game, I hate it because I'm playing a game alongside two bratty teenagers playing a video game.

They break into a Nazi base, take the elevator and the security camera shows them fucking about dancing? I didn’t expect them to ape dour dad’s existential mumbling but characters who behave like 13 year olds at an Ariana Grande gig is hard work to get behind. How am I supposed to get into this if they're pissing about like it's a pillow fight during a pyjama party? Rex Colt did the Devil Horns in Blood Dragon, but here it actually feels cheesy not cheesy-cool. I just don't know what I'm supposed to make of this game, of them. It's not like Saint's Row where you expect the leads to muck about.

At one point I wonder if they're actually dangerously psychotic, that it's all a subversive comment on violence in video games, or that they represent the next generation of FPS, it's a meta reference to BJ's beginnings ... but I'm giving it too much credit.

This being set in the 80s, they’ll also yell ‘that was tubular!’ and ‘totally dude!’ - what, they grew up watching Teenage Mutant Nazi Turtles? Is this funny, childish, ironic, what? At one point Soph lets out a kiddish, horsey laugh - what the hell was that?! Later, Soph tries a cigarette for the first time and, of course, splutters - how am I supposed to take those childish antics when I'll then slaughter Nazis as them, they're kids. I’m as confused as a meninist seeing BJ in a dress.