Call of Duty: WWII Review – Back from the Brink?

For years now I have been dissatisfied with the Call of Duty series and the endless amount of “futuristic” titles being churned out. For those who enjoy these titles for what they are, that’s great, but thinking back on the days of World at War, I’ve wanted Call of Duty to return to the days of old when it comes to war.

Battlefield 1‘s storyline, which was set between 1915 to 1918, was something I’d been craving. The announcement of WWII, a war which I have a historical interest in, from developer Sledgehammer Games piqued my interest but was it the game I and others had been waiting for?

Campaign and Gameplay Mechanics

The campaign follows U.S. Army Private Ronald “Red” Daniels of the 1st Infantry Division as he takes part in the Normandy landings with his platoon. Throughout the campaign, you rely heavily on your fellow comrades as you infiltrate a German garrison in Paris and take Hill 493 amongst other orders. It’s safe to say that some elements of the story are truly thought-provoking for those that can understand.

Focus on Your Platoon

Your platoon consists of a medic, spotter, ammunition and explosives persons. Depending on the missions you’re currently playing, these squadmates aren’t always at your side and that presents its own challenges.

Visually the game improves upon previous entries in the series, though it still feels like a Call of Duty game. I was especially taken back by the cutscenes and commented on how the opening scenes felt like a playable version of Saving Private Ryan – take from that what you want. The game balances gameplay and watchable scenes well and I never felt as though these breaks between were breaking up my gameplay or ruining the flow.

Call of Duty: WW2 - First Lieutenant Joseph Turner

Unlike the previous Call of Duty titles, WWII does not regenerate health when you’ve been injured and instead, you must either pick up healing kits of your own or rely on your medic to help you out. On veteran difficulty, this can be a challenge but it’s a welcomed change from the norm – albeit slightly frustrating when enemies get a one-up on you in combat-heavy situations.

Your platoon is your backbone. This is one of the few new mechanics, or flashes back to old games in the series, which has been altered. Likewise, you are now able to slide into cover at the cost of unlimited sprint and you can “hit-the-deck” and leap headfirst into a piece of cover which is similar to the “dolphin dive” found in the Black Ops series. However, you run, reload, crouch and shoot the same as before.

I delved straight into veteran on my first playthrough and the story took me several hours over the course of two days to complete. The campaign is long enough on higher difficulties but casual players or those with knowledge of the series and genre might feel it’s lacking in the longevity department. If you want to experience the game for what it is I would suggest beginning on a difficulty which is higher than you’re used to.

Call of Duty: WW2 - Division pick screen

The multiplayer has also seen many changes including a new HQ area in which you can strut around between matches, loot crates (free and paid), division selection, and a new Nazi Zombies mode.

Online and Nazi Zombies

The HQ (headquarters) is a unique social space in which you and other players – randoms or squadmates – can run around outside of matches. This area includes the Quartermaster (here you can wager for loot crates), the General (for prestiging), Firing Range (to test out new weapons and gain XP for completing basic challenges), Kill Streak Range (to see what each of the killstreaks can do against foes), and more.

As each HQ is open to a large selection of players you may often find yourself looking at players who are opening their loot crates to see what they’ve unlocked. Likewise, if you are opening a crate of your own you may see several players crowd around. These crates contain cosmetic items such as player banners, divisional outfits, and pistol grips. They also occasionally contain additional XP unlocks which are timed. Purchasing these crates will often give you higher quality items but as a reminder, these are cosmetic for the most part.

Choose Your Division, Soldier

As mentioned, WWII now features a wide selection of divisions which you must sign-up to before you delve into multiplayer. You’re not just limited to the one division however, you can work on several if you choose. Each division has unique perks, uniforms, selection of weapons and patches. You can select from Infantry, Airborne, Armored, Mountain, Expeditionary and now the Resistance.

The usual suspects as far as game modes make a return: TDM, Capture the Flag, Domination, Hardpoint and Search and Destroy. The newest game mode, War, sees teams of 6v6 completing a selection of tiered objectives to win. Storming Normandy on D-Day as the Allied, or defending the Normandy bunker as the Axis are just two of the objectives within this mode.

Call of Duty: WW2 - Nazi Zombie

Nazi Zombie mode makes a return and contains a unique story and several new characters. A class system is also introduced, where players can opt for one of four combat roles: Offense, Control, Medic, and Support which provide different in-game abilities. Weapon purchases from walls and currency also make a return meaning the game mode is still fresh but familiar to zombies veterans.

The mode is split into two: casual and hardcore. Casual players can complete the story without much effort, whilst hardcore players can delve into the hidden objectives and small easter eggs within the find what is really going on.

8.5
Great
Call of Duty: WWII
Conclusion
Call of Duty: WWII is a story of comradery through war and the struggle of men on the frontline - even at just a basic level. The storyline was captivating with a limit on the boring and drawn out "shooty" moments that some FPS titles seem to include these days, the characters had depth, sound and visuals were on form, and the multiplayer isn't half bad. From casual game modes to hardcore and the addition and a fresh feeling Nazi Zombie mode, WWII has a lot going on and it's all good.
What I Liked
Incredible story and fleshed out characters which allows you to feel immersed
Improved gameplay and mechanics on previous titles including the soul crushing no health regeneration
Although still a Call of Duty game, graphics are improved and cutscenes feel "cinematic"
Improved Nazi Zombie mode which feels fresh enough for new people and veterans alike
What I Didn't Like
Multiplayer maps are hit and miss, some annoyingly so
Could be considered short for some

What are your thoughts?

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