#46: Weekend Bits

TODAY: This weekend we’re helping you get started in Wolfenstein: Youngblood – There’s also take a look at Studio V’s mystery Noir Adventure, Dry Drowning

Game Spotlight

Dry Drowning

(Studio V, VLG Publishing – PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch)
Release: August 2nd 2019

Dry Drowning is an investigative thriller that unravels a twisted and very mature plot in a dystopian European city. Set in the near future in 2066, we’re introduced to Mordred Foley, a private detective with a questionable past. Between countless packets of cigarettes and conversations with his partner, Hedra, Foley is tasked with solving who is behind a series of disturbing serial murders that appear to have odd connections to tales from Greek mythology.

Armed with a keen eye and a mouse/controller, players will have to search for evidence, question suspicious individuals and draw conclusions based on all the information you’ve unearthed. As Foley, you’ll have to prove that you’re worth keeping on a case and will have to make accurate reconstructions of crime scenes to both earn the respect of other police officials, and in some cases, survive. We found that in some instances, you’ll be required to pick the exact piece of evidence necessary to move a conversation forward, with a lot of room for error. However, at climatic points in the story, the game utilises a three-strike mechanic, in which you’re afforded three failed attempts at establishing a timeline at a crime scene or tripping up a suspect, before the game ends. This quite literally delivers on the typically overstated ‘choices really matter’ claim and makes you feel more invested in your actions.

Making mistakes may get you killed

Developer, Studio V, has previously stated that there are over 150 story branches and three different endings to discover, providing us with a lot of replay value. As the game doesn’t feature any voice acting, you’ll have a lot to read through, as Foley is almost constantly in conversations with other characters. After uncovering a piece of evidence or meeting a new character, you can also read through biographies and item descriptions to glean as much information as possible and solve the contorted mysteries that continue to crop up.

Complimenting this visual novel’s dark atmosphere, Dry Drowning puts a unique spin on the notion of lying. Foley is equipped with a very strange power that distorts his perception of people if they decide to lie to him. When another character lies, an animal mask will materialise to cover their face. In these situations, Foley will have to quickly and accurately separate the truth from false information, slowly revealing their human face again in the process. These moments can feel very tense as too many oversights can prematurely end Foley’s investigation. Other portions of the game require you to solve problems, which will depend on you not only sourcing relevant evidence, but also analysing it to fit the puzzle in question. All of this made for a tense experience that kept us alert and engaged.

There have been some concerns as to whether the game’s text has been proofread as the demo build features a variety of misspellings and grammatical errors. We are happy to report that the first chapter of the game remedies these qualms. We spent our time playing the PC version, however, there will be ports for all of the current generation consoles. Judging by the graphics setting in which there are no options but ‘Simplistic’, we would say that you should have no issues picking up Dry Drowning on any platform. To be fair, this game is a visual novel, so it would be a bigger surprise if it suddenly ran poorly on any of these machines! As Dry Drowning is broken into chapters, we’d personally recommend the Nintendo Switch version as it gives you the option of playing the game on a handheld, or docked to a TV.

If you like the sound of Dry Drowning, make sure to check out the game’s demo on Steam and GOG. The developers have ensured that saves from the demo will transfer over to the full version of the game, so you can pick up right where you left off when the game releases on 2nd August.

Getting Started Guide

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

The newest game in the Wolfenstein series is out now, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and it’s the first co-op focused game in the franchise. It’s also partly made by the developer of Dishonored, so it has a different feel in parts. As such, you might not be as familiar with how it all works as you might be a traditional FPS. Luckily, we’re here to help, so let’s get started in Wolfenstein Youngblood!

Use the right weapon for the right Nazi

One slight change to previous Wolfenstein games, which goes a little bit understated in Youngblood, is that there are different armour types. Some soldiers only have basic armour which only shows up as their health bar (red) and they’ll go down to any gun. Other soldiers have thinner armour which takes more of a continuous assault, but have a low health bar under it. Finally, the enemies with solid block armour points need armour-piercing guns or the more powerful weapons to cut through. Fun as it is, try not to waste your laser rounds on basic Nazis!

Make the right upgrades

You can upgrade your character and weapons all the time, and you totally should do so. The question is then, what upgrades do you get? Weapons upgrades can be bought with silver coins, and each one has a choice – do you go for more damage, accuracy, or perhaps a built-in flashlight? X-ray scope, magnified, or silencer? More rounds but less DPS? The choice is yours.

Character upgrades can be gained with points earned by levelling up with XP, and – at least early on – you should really be focusing on the type of player you want to be. We advise not to bother with stealth options as it’s a lot more difficult in Youngblood than previous games – so go for armour and health upgrades, cool abilities like Charge, and better Pep signals. Speaking of which…

Always watch and buff your partner

Youngblood is unique in the Wolfenstein series, in that you always have a partner by your side. Whether you’re playing with another human or out with an AI assistant, you’ll have to keep an eye on your partner and see when they need your help. Apart from reviving when they’re downed, the best thing partners can do is use Pep Signals to give boosts – usually armour or health, but you can buy other ones with silver coins. It’s vital to keep doing this to keep both Soph and Jess fighting fit!

Side-quests can lead to shortcuts or new areas

Probably the most shocking part about Youngblood, if you’re used to previous Wolfenstein games, is that it’s – for the most part – non-linear and free-roaming. The city areas, in particular, have many hidden locations, alternate side-routes, and different ways to tackle objectives. You need to explore, or you’ll miss half the game. Furthermore, doing certain side-missions actually unlock new paths, which can make tackling the Brother facilities a lot easier. I mean, did you know there were underground sections?

Get the powerful Kraftwerk Weapons

The most powerful weapons in Youngblood are the Kraftwerk weapons, which blast German techno music at your enemies. No, not really, but there are three types to collect. Laserkraftwerk is a laser cannon, Dieselkraftwerk is a grenade launcher, and Electrokraftwerk is a lightning gun. All of these are very effective against armoured enemies, bosses, or groups, and the Laserkraftwerk in particular should be left for the toughest enemies – it does some real damage. You pick up each one somewhere during the three Brother facility missions, so try to do at least Brother 1 to get the Laser as soon as possible. It’ll make things much easier.

Play co-op!

Last but not least, Wolfenstein Youngblood is a co-op game first and foremost, and the game really has been built with that in mind. While you totally can play the whole thing with an AI partner, that’s not where the fun is – and you’ll struggle during the boss encounters, because, to put it mildly, the AI kinda has a death wish. Wherever possible – get a friend, play together, and have fun in co-op. Then you’ll find the real Youngblood experience.

With this advice, you should be ready to get started in Wolfenstein Youngblood. Now go out there and take on those nasty Nazis!

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