As we continue work on our full review later this week, here are some initial impressions of Wolfenstein: Youngblood to tide you over in the meantime.
Thus far, Wolfenstein: Youngblood is incredibly fun. It runs well on PC and looks great. My full thoughts on the visuals and performance will arrive in the review, but for now, just know that visuals are in line with The New Colossus before it in terms of lighting, texture work, and post processing.
Performance is also excellent. I cannot get framerate to dip below 120fps on my native 3440x1440p monitor running on an i7 8700k and 2080 Ti. While those two components are high-end, the Vulkan API on which Youngblood is running is excellent, as proven out by its predecessor, The New Colossus. I’m confident more modest PCs will be able to run Youngblood at high framerates without issue.
In true Wolfenstein form, the gunplay in Youngblood feels amazing. Each weapon has a weight to it and handles differently from the next. Combat feels crunchy, with the shotgun as my current favorite. Fitting that a shotgun developed in id Tech feels amazing. Every reload, every recoil, and every blast conveys the heft and power of the weapon, resulting in one of the most satisfying weapons I’ve ever used in any game -- and yes, this includes the pistol from Halo: Combat Evolved.
The story so far is also engaging. I’ve always loved the writing in the previous two Wolfenstein games, and Youngblood is no different. Zofia (Soph) and Jessie (Jes) Blazkowicz, the two playable characters and twin daughters of BJ and Anya, feel fleshed out and realized, with the banter between the two sisters providing additional characterization.
As you complete missions, kill Nazis, and generally explore 1980 Paris, you earn experience, ability points, and silver. Ability points are used to purchase active and passive abilities for Soph and Jes, while silver is used to purchase weapon upgrades and weapon skins. Both are doled out pretty regularly with silver found aplenty in the world, so don’t horde them.
If you’ve played New Order and The New Colossus, you’ll be familiar with the hub and mission system. This is by no means a complaint. I’ve always like games that design the hub systems well, and Youngblood continues on this excellent design. The cherry on this blood-fueled cake is that this time, your hub is the Catacombs beneath the streets of Paris. The labyrinthian design paired with its meandering corridors really sell the place.
The level design itself clearly shows its influence from Arkane with the added verticality, nooks and crannies, and more options for you to explore. There’s a Dishonored feel to the level design early on, which I’ll explore in greater detail in the full review.
In short, Wolfenstein: Youngblood is very fun so far and is proving to be a great little follow up to The New Colossus. Impressions early on have been positive with respect to the continuation of the story which has built up through The New Order and The New Colossus. Getting to know Jes and Soph has been enjoyable as their motives remain clear.
Check back later this week for my full breakdown of the visuals, sound, abilities, weapons, and co-op. Wolfenstein: Youngblood is available today on PC, and tomorrow July 26 on PS4 and Xbox One.
Game code was provided by publisher for purposes of review.