Game: Call of Duty: WWII
Consoles: Xbox One, PC, PS4 (Reviewed)
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Love it or hate it the Call of Duty series has become an iconic staple of the medium and western pop culture. For many, this series’ legacy began in 2007 with the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Yet, before players were kicking down doors for terrorists they were storming the trenches of World War II. It has been nearly 9 years since this franchise took users back to the 1940s despite numerous pleas from fans. It appeared as if players would never get to experience this type of Call of Duty again, until Sledgehammer Games revealed that they were developing a WWII title. Now that all of the hype has settled we can safely say that Call of Duty: WWII is a return to form for the series.
Set between 1944 to 1945 players take control Ronald “Red” Daniels, a soldier with the 1rst Infantry Division that has the misfortune of having D-Day being his first taste of combat. After surviving the chaotic landing, Daniels and his squad must fight there way through the German lines to diminish the Nazi’s control. Playing out like a war movie’s greatest hits montage, users will run a gambit of different types of engagements. From being the sniper in a bell tower to storming machine gun nest covered hills many of these battles will feel quite familiar to most users.
Most levels consist of multiple sections, each requiring users complete new objectives like defending an objective, planting bombs, and sneaking through enemy territory. Stealth plays a surprisingly large roll in Call of Duty: WWII, as several missions have players creeping around Nazi bases in an attempt to go undetected. With the exception of a standout mission in Paris, this concept feels largely underdeveloped compared to the rest of the game. The character is simply too cumbersome and the level designs to rudimentary to deliver stealth sections that are truly gratifying.
The majority of Red’s 9 to 5 consists of shooting waves of Nazi soldiers whose AI ranges from clever to brain dead. They’ll put up a fight when needed, but sometimes the soldiers make things too easy even on the harder difficulty settings. Gunplay is still immensely satisfying, with users getting a chance to try out a wide variety of weapons during the single player portion. Players can also now call in support from their computer-controlled allies in the form of extra medkits, ammo, marking targets, and even artillery strikes. It’s a nice addition that allows your normally disposable comrades to have a more dramatic impact on how a fight plays out.
Surprisingly, the story for Call of Duty: WWII aims to be far more dramatic and emotional than previous entries. It’s full of the stereotypical characters like the hard-ass sergeant, the wise-cracking friend, and the one who clearly joined to jumpstart his career back home. Your enjoyment of the plot will largely depend on your tolerance for dealing with war story cliches. This isn’t to say Call of Duty: WWII’s story is bad, but it fails to break the mold or take things in an unexpected direction.
Of course, the big draw for Call of Duty fans will be the multiplayer which feels like a more refined and cohesive package. Instead of just waiting in a lobby, WWII lets players roam around a social hub that lets players open loot boxes, pick up daily challenges, test out weapons in a firing range, and even compete in 1v1 battles. While the absurdity of watching giant loot-filled crates drop from the sky feels completely out of place, the new social area serves as a nice intermediary between matches.
The multiplayer ‘s main structure is unchanged as users will run around medium sized maps attempting to kill each other or complete objectives. Death is swift, so it’s imperative that you’re always checking around every corner. Weapons span the usual gambit of pistols, shotguns, automatic rifles, sniper rifles, and light machine guns – with scorestreaks making up the majority of the special items like flamethrowers. Each weapon has a plethora of attachments and even some gain special abilities via one of the five different military divisions you can join. Acting as pseudo-classes, Divisions grant bonuses to users such as a longer sprint time or being able to use a bipod with an LMG.
You’ll need all of these advantages if you want to succeed in WWII’s various different game modes. Fan favorites such as Domination, Kill Confirmed, and Capture the Flag have returned along with newcomer War. Perhaps the most ambitious of all the game mode, War is composed of multiple stages that have two teams of 6 attempting to complete various objectives. It’s a more focused experience than one might expect and the push to always advance your frontline is engaging. Despite being limited to a couple of maps, War is by far the standout mode offered to players.
If co-op is more your jam, then you’ll be happy know that the popular game mode Nazi Zombies has made its return. Set in an abandoned town above a secret Nazi laboratory, players will need to fight off waves of zombies while completing various, sometimes cryptic objectives. The mode is quite entertaining and serves as a fun way to kill an hour or two with friends. There’s also a separate leveling system, but the ranks come at an abysmally slow pace so don’t expect to unlock anything substantial during the first few hours.
Where Nazi Zombies stumbles is the lack of a second 4-player map, as the one included can grow extremely repetitive and stale. I understand that the Call of Duty series has always made it a habit to release one Nazi Zombies map with the base game, but it’s starting to become a tiresome choice. This mode has become a staple of the franchise and has cultivated its own following. There’s no reason why Nazi Zombies couldn’t justify a second or even third map for players to enjoy.
Thankfully, the mode (and rest of the game) looks gorgeous with the campaign undoubtedly being the standout. This is best looking Call of Duty game to date and you can see Sledgehammer flexing their technical muscles. Sound design is also top notch and the voice acting is solid all around in both the single-player and multiplayer. During my time I didn’t experience any bugs or glitches, however, WWII did struggle severely when it came to stable servers. Too many times was I booted from a match causing me to lose all my XP. Even worse, I had the title crash when I was opening a loot box causing all my rewards to just vanish.
Call of Duty: WWII is a superbly fun game that boasts a strong showing across its three major sections. The campaign is a gorgeously macabre depiction of war that’s only hindered by some clunky stealth sections and a rather predictable plot. Multiplayer once again defines the series thanks to refined gameplay, balanced maps, and the addition of the new ‘War’ mode. Nazi Zombies get the short end of the stick with a frustratingly slow progression system and a lack of maps to play on. Even with some server issues, Call of Duty: WWII is another great entry in this iconic FPS series.
- Entertaining Campaign Missions
- Polished Multiplayer Gameplay
- War Mode
- Solid Voice Acting and Presentation
- The Social Space
- Nazi Zombies Needed More Love
- Cumbersome Stealth Sections
- By The Numbers War Story