Call of Duty: WWII – Review

Going back to their roots with Call of Duty: WWII was a huge gamble for Sledgehammer Games but it seems to have paid off. The campaign is stellar, the Nazi Zombie experience is as fun as ever and the multiplayer suite is a great time with friends. The campaign is set in the European Theatre of World War II where you will participate in some of the greatest battles of that time, from storming the beach on D-Day to the Battle of the Bulge and more. The multiplayer mode has added a new “War” mode that is much more objective based than other modes where the map will change on you from time to time as you advance in your objectives and then of course you have the standard multiplayer modes as well.

As I mentioned up above you begin the campaign by storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Some of your platoon gets wiped out before you even get to the beach and you are immediately under machine gun fire. You have to immediately find some cover and then decide which route to take that won’t have you getting cut down in the battlefield. This opening sequence of events is going to be jarring for some people for a couple of different reasons. If you are a veteran Call of Duty player and you play each game then you might be surprised to find out that the World War II setting is not the only thing the development team brought back from the past. Health packs are back in Call of Duty: WWII which means your soldier will not have regenerating health. If you are under fire and take a lot of damage your soldier will remain hurt until you use a health pack. That doesn’t have an affect on gameplay or anything but you can no longer just find a piece of cover and hide you are at full health. You will need to keep that in mind as you are playing and plan accordingly to survive all of the different scenarios that you will be in throughout the campaign. It also seems to me that Sledgehammer Games has made Call of Duty: WWII fairly difficult, even on the normal settings. You are going to need to plan out your strategy a bit because if you just run headfirst into battle the chances of you surviving are not very high and, again, you don’t have that regenerating health to fall back on.

After you successfully storm the beach in Normandy and begin to drive the Nazis back you will slowly make your way to the Rhine while driving German forces out of France along the way. There are a variety of different scenarios you will be presented with such as having to clear out bunkers, eliminate enemy resistance in the trenches, infiltrate certain areas to try and gain some intelligence and more. Along the way you will experience the boots on the ground action that was at the heart of the Call of Duty franchise when it first arrived, as well as being able to get in on some vehicular action. There will be times when you are put in a tank and have to complete certain objectives while other times you are part of a squadron in the sky and you have to eliminate Germany’s aerial forces and then double back and provide support for your platoon that pinned down on the battlefield.

As you progress through the campaign you will get to know your brothers in your platoon and you will become a closely knit group. I’m not going to spoil any of the details for you but you do basically become a band of brothers that tries to look out for each other. Even if you might not get along all of the time there is a camaraderie and you become a family here and you will want to pay attention to these guys on the battlefield as they can help you turn the tide of battle if you get into a jam. There is one guy that has health packs so if you need some health you should track him down. There is another guy that will give you some grenades, including one that will call in air support to help out. There is also another guy you can see that will give you some ammunition if you are running low and one more person that will call out enemy locations so you can see where they are hiding. I found all of these functions extremely useful as I was fighting through the bitter European winter with snow on the ground and plenty of places to hide. It should be noted though that you can not spam these abilities. If you go to one of your squad mates and he gives you a health pack then there is going to be a cool off time period before you can get another health pack from him and the same goes for everyone else. This is so you can’t just spam air attacks or grenades or play the system and basically get infinite health. So keep that in mind and don’t abuse those abilities or they might not be there for you when you need them.

Nazi Zombies are also back in Call of Duty WWII and this time you have to go through a snowy Bavarian village in Mittelburg, Germany. The basic objective is to get back some priceless works of art that have been stolen throughout World War II. When I first started up the Nazi Zombies mode I elected to play the Prologue first which was basically me in a big house fighting off some of the zombie horde. It reminded me a bit of the first time I ever played a Zombie mode in a Call of Duty title where I was stuck in a house and had to use drawings on the wall to purchase ammunition, armor and more. It was a similar concept here although I was able to eventually leave that house and escape.

The Call of Duty: WWII Zombies mode is meant to be a cooperative experience but you can play it by yourself if you so choose. Before each round begins you will get the chance to select which role you would like to play. Those roles include Offense, Medic, Support and Control. Each role has a preset loadout which will include three mods, an explosive, a starting weapon and a Special Ability. As I progressed in my Zombie adventure I was earning XP which allowed me to rank up which gave me access to better weapons. I definitely liked getting some more powerful weapons but you do have to be careful what select due to the different types of zombies out there.

I mentioned the different classes up above and the one that I seemed to do really well with was the medic. Utilizing camouflage I was able to revive fallen allies twice as fast as you normally can which was definitely helpful as situations grew more desperate. I also utilized the weapon lockers that were there that would replace my currently equipped weapon but most importantly it would come fully loaded. Of course this takes jolts which I would get from killing zombies so you have to be able to manage everything appropriately. One of my favorite things was finding the upgrade station under Mittelburg that would increase the damage my weapon could do as well as increase my clip size and the maximum ammo.

Speaking of that upgrade station under Mittelburg I enjoyed how connected the map was with different underground pathways. Of course there are parts that are locked away at first but once I earned the required number of jolts to open up these new paths I was having a lot of fun. I enjoyed some of the neat power-ups and unique traps that I came across. In addition to all of that there are some consumables in the game that will greatly help you out and one of the way you acquire these is crates that fall from the sky. I didn’t have to completely rely on these crates which was good but I felt I did have a bit of an easier time if I tried to pay attention to them when they showed up.

Going through the Nazi Zombies content I could tell that they went for a less campy feel this time around and tried to focus a little bit more on the horror. With that said if you aren’t someone who enjoys horror games you should still be able to play this mode just fine. I’m not a horror gamer myself but I made through this mode just fine. There are some jump scares here but it doesn’t get too crazy in my opinion. It is definitely nothing like some of the true horror games that are on the market.

Finally we have the multiplayer suite. The basics of the multiplayer suite are pretty much the same as past Call of Duty titles in that you have Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Capture the Flag and more. There are a couple of new additions though. The first one is Headquarters, which is a social space that you can play around in when you aren’t on the multiplayer battlefield. You can do a number of things here like get daily/weekly challenges, practice on a firing range, watch videos in the theater, practice your score streaks and more. My favorite was practicing score streaks from a tower so that I could use everything that was available and be familiar with it, in case I got the chance to use one in a multiplayer game. There is also a new addition this year though and it is the War mode. War mode is a narrative driven mode where one team is given a list of objectives that they need to complete. The other team is tasked with preventing that first team from completing their objectives. Once a round is over the teams will switch, reversing the roles.

During one of my playthroughs I ended up on a really good team and we were able to successfully complete our objectives. The first part had us trying to capture a building that was being held by Nazis. We needed to take that building and there were a number of ways to do it. There were different routes you could take and, if you have a team that works well together, you can overwhelm the opposition. On the other side of the coin the players that were trying to hold that building could build up some defenses such as trying to close off some of the entrances to that building as well as putting a machine gun in one of the windows to try and take out as many enemies as they could. If that team is able to work together they could effectively lock down one of the lanes of approach which would limit the options the first team has to try and take the building.

Once we secured the building and the Nazis were on the run the map shifted to the second objective. Now our objective was to try and repair a bridge so that our tanks could cross it. The Nazis were on the other side of the bridge though ready to defend it. You could have snipers up there ready to pick people off as well other enemies that are doing what they can to try and impede your progress. One thing I discovered was that smoke grenades can be one of your best friends in this scenario. You need to use them efficiently but as much as possible to try and give you some cover while you attempt to fix the bridge. This requires a good deal of teamwork and sacrifice as you will probably get killed on a number of occasions as will your teammates. When a teammate goes down you need to risk it all to try and get the job done.

We managed to get past that part and then had to rush over to a supply depot. Once we arrived here it was our job to arm a bomb and then defend it until it explodes. The opposition was tasked with trying to protect the depot itself and making sure that we couldn’t detonate the bomb. During this objective I came across a lot of close quarter fighting and got killed on more than one occasion. As time was dwindling down though I managed to crawl into the area undetected and arm our bomb and with only a few seconds left it detonated. There wasn’t time to celebrate though as we had to rush to our final final objective.

Now that we had succeeded in our mission we needed to escort a tank across the map. The trick here is that if you stand close to the tank then it will move forward but if you move away from it then it retreats. No one on the team gets to actually drive the tank, however, someone can jump on the mounted gun and, hopefully, lay down some suppressing fire that should make everyone’s job a bit easier. Your teammates will be using the tank as cover while escorting it across the map and if you use the tools that are provided to you then you should be able to make it. All favor phases within this mode were incredibly intense. As I mentioned up above it takes both teamwork and sacrifice to be able to successfully complete all of these objectives. If you aren’t working as a cohesive unit you run the risk of your team getting eliminated by the opposition. The interesting thing here is that your kill/death ratio doesn’t seem to apply so it really doesn’t matter if you killed two guys or twenty. The objective(s) is the key thing that will determine your success or failure here. Please also keep in mind that what I described above is only one map. There are different maps available as well and I predict this is going to be a really popular mode.

Going through the campaign, the Nazi Zombies campaign and the multiplayer suite I marveled at how great everything looked. Sledgehammer’s engine is pretty awesome and everything they were able to accomplish really had that authentic WWII feel, based on everything I have seen and heard about it over the years. The audio in the game is top notch as well with each gun sounding differently, being able to hear your feet crunch the snow below you, hearing the airplane engines as you engage in dogfights with your squadron and much more. The character acting was also really well done, which is something Sledgehammer seems to be really good at. I really enjoyed Kevin Spacey’s character in Advanced Warfare and I think they did an equally amazing job with Josh Duhamel in Call of Duty: WWII, as well as the other characters. The whole thing plays incredibly smooth on my Xbox One X and is a fantastic experience overall.

During my time spent with the multiplayer suite I didn’t notice any big issues. I’m well aware that Call of Duty: WWII has had server problems for some people since launch and that the team at Sledgehammer Games is fixing it. With that said I personally never really ran into any problems and I can only review my own experience. While searching for a play session I only got kicked out once when the connection was lost. Other than that I would connect to games just fine and once the game was loaded and I was playing everything ran silky smooth and there wasn’t any lag at all. I’m not sure if that was because I was using the Xbox One X or not but my personal experience with the multiplayer suite, and the entire package itself, was very positive.

Call of Duty: WWII was a gamble for Sledgehammer Games. The sentiment that some gamers were starting to express about wanting to go back to World War II wasn’t being said all that much three to four years ago when Sledgehammer started developing this title after Advanced Warfare. They took a chance and it paid off though because right now in 2017 there were some gamers that absolutely wanted to return to this era and Sledgehammer damn sure delivered. The whole package is fantastic and I greatly enjoyed my time with all three components. I do have a request though and that is if Sledgehammer (or any of the Call of the Duty studios) do want to stay in World War II for their next game, perhaps tackle something other than the European theater. I would love to see different parts of the conflict. It was, after all, World War II.

Score: 9/10
Originally posted on Gaming Target

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