Wolfenstein: Youngblood’s co-op makes killing Nazis fun for the whole family

e3 2019 wolfenstein youngblood hands on trailer

“Five more,” Anya demands of her daughter Zophia — or Soph, for short. She hits the punching bag not five, but four more times. Exhausted from a bout of intense training, she squats down and asks if she can rest.

Anya’s face hardens. She puts her daughter in a chokehold, reminding her that it’s always the one who can hold out for a second longer that walks away with their life.

Somewhere in the fields by their home, Soph’s sister Jessie and her father are out on a hunt. With a gun in hand, Jessie, nicknamed Jes, peers into the scope as she steadies her aim on a ram.

She asks her father BJ if she can pull the trigger. He prompts her to take a moment to feel out her surroundings. With impressive skill, she rattles off the location of a couple nearby threats — but one slips by unnoticed. Before a venomous snake can attack her, BJ snatches it up by the throat.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood does a great job of introducing its protagonists Soph and Jes. We first meet them as teens learning what it takes to be a survivor in a Nazi occupied world. Shortly after, Wolfenstein: Youngblood catches up with them a decade later as they search for their father, who’s mysteriously  missing. Friend, science wiz, and hacker Abby hooks the twins up with some powersuits, and the two embark on a mission to find their father.

Youngblood doesn’t take long to warm you up to its characters. Soph and Jes are charming, each with their own distinct personalities. Soph is spunky, but her sister Jes is all business. They exchange banter in the way real sisters do, making references to books and conversations they have shared. It’s enjoyable watching cutscenes where the two interact with one another, or other characters, because they’re so likable.

The characters of Youngblood are what drew me in. But the game is great, too.

Came for the Nazi killing, stuck around for the sisters

I played as Soph while my co-op partner played as Jes. We donned our powersuits and then found ourselves on a Zeppelin airship filled with Nazis. As we explored its many rooms, we encountered a dozen or more enemies. Our first instinct was to go in guns blazing, but this summoned all the Nazis nearby, making us the center of a bullet storm.

Co-op becomes crucial as enemies will close in from all directions and can overwhelm you quickly. I know that because it happened to me. Health depleted, I fell to the ground and a bar slowly began to fill, counting down the time my partner had left to revive me. If both of us went down, we would have to start over from our last checkpoint. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened.

We tried a more subtle approach instead, and it worked far better. Jess and I snuck up on enemies, taking them down silently and not drawing too much attention. Then, once we’d thinned the herd, we went back to our reckless ways.

As we progressed, enemies became more varied and harder to kill. Some were tanky, having layers of armor we had to chip through before we could take them down. Others were soft, taking only a few shots from both Soph and Jes before falling to the ground. There was even an armored dog with a bomb that would run us and explode (oh no, not the puppers!) The variety kept us guessing. We pushed forward with caution, carefully judging our opponents.

Youngblood has mini bosses, as well. One enemy, in particular, has a special ability that makes them invisible. Landing a hit would make them reappear for a few moments before they would disappear again. His armor was thick, his gun absurdly strong. It took my partner and I at least 10 minutes of dodging, shooting, and frequent revives to finish the guy off. This reinforced that Wolfenstein: Youngblood is no walk in the park, even with two players.

We were told that each enemy variant evolves, getting upgrades to their loadout a total of five times throughout the game. This makes me suspect difficulty will ramp up, and that co-op will become even more important the further you progress. That bodes well for its RPG-style progression. As you play, you’ll unlock skill points that can be used to unlock new abilities. I didn’t see much of that during my demo, but I know that the sisters have the same abilities, and that they will be level gated.

Teamwork is also required outside of combat. The twins will encounter doors, keypad locks, and other environmental barriers that require cooperation. These are usually as simple as pressing a button on each side of a door, or activating a set of panels at the same time. I would’ve liked to see some more complicated puzzles, but again, we were early in the game.

The adds a cool twist to co-op called Pep Signals. They’re emotes that buff your sibling. My signal was the devil horns. Whenever I’d use it, Soph would emote while shouting words of encouragement like, “Keep it up, Sis!” as she buffs her sister’s armor. It’s good for a laugh, but also a reminder of how charming the sisters are, countering the game’s brutal story and gritty graphics.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood may be a spin-off, but from what I experienced at E3, it has what it takes to stand out on its own. It doesn’t just bring co-op Nazi killing fun to the series, but two sassy, kick-ass, loveable sisters with gameplay that requires real cooperation. Youngblood promises to be yet another Nazi-killing good time, and now, you can play with a friend.


Sea of Solitude deftly explores how loneliness turns humans into monsters

The latest EA Original Sea of Solitude tackles mental health issues, specifically loneliness. At EA Play, we previewed the adventure game and learned a lot about its beautiful world and important themes.
Movies & TV

Skip the sunshine this summer and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

Who needs sunshine? Stay inside and watch the best movies on Netflix instead

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Get Nindie with it and check out these awesome indie games for the Switch

The Nintendo Switch's portability makes indies feel at home on the platform. Luckily, there are plenty of great titles to choose from. Here are our picks for the best Nintendo Switch indie games.

Tips and tricks to mastering the hunt in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

If you're planning on playing the Monster Hunter World: Iceborne beta on PS4, check out our beginner's guide for a handful of tips and tricks covering mechanics both old and new. Hoarfrost Reach is dangerous, but you got this.

Our favorite gaming desktops make the latest consoles look pathetic

PC gaming doesn't always come cheap, but it doesn't have to be extortionate either. In this guide we've put together a list of the best gaming PCs you can buy, with everything from the big and flashy, to the super compact.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Illuminated keyboards and a retro gaming console

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.

Fortnite PC players may have to upgrade graphics cards once Season 10 kicks in

Epic Games said that Fortnite for PC will no longer support DirectX 10 starting in Season 10. Players will need to have DirectX 11-capable graphics cards to continue playing the Battle Royale shooter.

GuardianCon raises $3.7 million: Bungie breaks record, but Dr. Lupo does better

Destiny developer Bungie joined this year's GuardianCon Charity Marathon Stream, breaking the record by raising $400,000 in just four hours. The proceeds of the week-long event will be donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered will come with features for faster progression

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered will come with features that will enable faster progression. Players who do not want to go through the same grind as in their first playthrough will be able to activate battle enhancements, among others.

Flyers in Apex Legends may be hinting at something monstrous for Season 2

Flying beasts have appeared in Apex Legends' King's Canyon map. While the creatures are peaceful for now, they may be hinting that something more monstrous is coming to the team-based Battle Royale shooter once Season 2 launches on July 2.

Blizzard suffers another blow with exit of global esports director Kim Phan

Blizzard suffered another blow with the departure of global esports director Kim Phan. Her exit comes after Overwatch League's founding commissioner Nate Nanzer left last month to join Epic Games.

Here’s how to get early access to FFXIV: Shadowbringers

You can get early access to FFXIV: Shadowbringers by pre-ordering it, but simply purchasing it isn't enough to get you in. Here's how you can get early access to Shadowbringers, regardless of what platform you're on.