Sitting down next to my temporary sister in Bethesda’s booth at E3, we shake hands. He takes control of Jess while I get to handle Soph. We’re the twin daughters of legendary Nazi fighter B.J. Blazkowicz, and he’s raised us right. Which is to say, he’s raised us to be Nazi killers too.
Out in the deserts of Texas, Jess goes hunting with her father while Soph practices close-quarters combat with her mother. The parents seem a little paranoid, but it becomes apparent why not long after. The twins get thrust into their first real combat situation. It’s do or die, but they have each other to rely on.
Infiltrating a Nazi zeppelin, Jess and Soph move in for their first kill. Jess tries to kill an unaware Nazi with a hatchet, but fails to land a finishing blow. He readies his weapon to retaliate just as Soph strikes from another angle, turning his head into a splattery red mush. Immediately after, the sisters celebrate their initiation, alternating between cheering and vomiting. Jess complains that his brains got in her mouth. It’s a scene that manages to be graphic and bloody, but also somehow light and slapsticky.
Finally, my co-op buddy and I gain control, and it’s time for us to skulk around this zeppelin and kill some Nazis ourselves. We both took the cloaking option for our first skill, so we use that to good effect, using countdowns to get simultaneous stealth kills on two different guards in a room.
We can’t keep up the stealth strategy forever. Eventually, we flub a knife swing or two and things get loud. Nazis pour in from all sides and their guns are bigger than ours. Thankfully, we just need to kill some of them and take their weapons, then the fight becomes more even.
Movement is crucial in these high-stress situations, and I felt more than capable with all the tools available. The sprint seems especially fast, sliding into a room and blasting a dude never gets old, and the combination of a double jump and an edge clamber make maneuvering around the battlefield natural.
We eventually make it to the target we were sent to assassinate on the zeppelin, and he’s got a power suit with a ton of armor. I went at him hard and eventually ran out of ammo with everything but my pistol. My sister was low on health and playing a game of cat-and-mouse with him. We finally got him onto a wing and then shot him into a jet engine, by simultaneously hitting both of his hands as he was hanging. My buddy goes in for a fist bump, and you know I wouldn’t leave him hanging.
The example of shooting his hands at the same time is sort of the extent of cooperative mechanics shown in the two-mission demo. There are also the obligatory “doors that are too heavy for one person to open alone” and the “buttons on opposite ends of a room that need to be pressed simultaneously.” One cool idea is that the sisters have a shared pool of lives, encouraging you to pick up a downed teammate, and also creating situations where we were both incapacitated so I chose to bleed out faster so I could come back and pick up my partner, thus spending only one shared life instead of two. It’s nothing revolutionary, but perhaps it doesn’t need to be.
What it needs to be is a functional shooter that works as well with a living cooperative partner as it does with an AI sister for people who prefer to play solo. At that, it’s looking like it’ll be a successful romp through Nazi territory in the hopes of locating the twins’ father.
I’m personally interested to see more of the sister moments. The scene surrounding their first kill was endearing considering the subject matter, and I want to get to know them better. I loved seeing their personalities bouncing off each other, and the fact that I’d get those scenes peppered in between a lot of Nazi killing is pretty much fine by me.