There was a time when WWII shooters were something new and exciting. These amazing stories wrapped around historic events. People couldn’t get enough of them. The first 2 Call of Duty games (on PC) really helped elevate this type of game into the forefront. No disrespect to Medal of Honor for doing these types of things first however Call of Duty took the formula and perfected it. Since Call of Duty 2, I haven’t been as active within the series. The last one I truly gave my full attention was Black Ops. While a great game in its own right it wasn’t what I was looking for. As the games continued into a more advanced and infinite direction the less interested I became in it. The problem with revisiting WWII is that we have had all these games based on them before. What could make this newest entry different? How can it feel fresh and not like a remastered game.
I am happy to say that while Call of Duty WWII hits similar beats as its origins it still an amazing game surrounded by a good story that packs that emotional punch you’ve come to expect from the “Band of Brothers” type of story. The game starts you off with the cliche Normandy scene that all World War II games love to do. It’s no different here. It hits similar beats that older games have done, the difference is the attention to detail and the absolute high graphic fidelity. You are in constant awe of your environments. Sledgehammer games crafted a breath taking game here and they should be commended for it.
The main theme of the game is brotherhood. You follow the story of Red Daniels, a member of the US 1st Infantry Division. You are joined by Allied forces from the UK & the french resistance as you make your way through to Germany. The main campaign truly delivers a gritty experience. Levels are broken out in a classic “level select” type format. At any point you can go back to replay a level on a different difficulty. As you play through the main story you’ll have a few different twists to the game play. Stealth is surprisingly a strong aspect in this years Call of Duty. Something that I usually cringe at I ended up really enjoy. You are either left with a gun that has a silence or left to use your own melee attacks. I found these segments extremely fun and rewarding. The game has its own linear way of how to do things but they also make you feel that you can do it any other way you choose. The main story clocked in at around 7 hours or so. The game was paced well throughout the whole experience with no scenario ever feeling as if it was going on too long. There were 2 quick little bits that I felt were unnecessary however. 2 or 3 times throughout the game, at the beginning of a level I was left with an open level only to go bring another soldier some ammo. These felt like an extremely linear version of a fetch quest (commonly seen in RPG’s). I didn’t get the point of this as it was the only thing that hurt the pace. This could have easily been shown to me in a cinematic format. The later half of the game sees you piloting in the air to take down incoming Nazi forces. This was a welcome surprised near the end of the game after doing run and gun/stealth missions. When it comes down to it, the story isn’t going to win any breathtaking awards but its far from a poor story. The camaraderie within the platoon was captured perfectly and plays out well throughout the game.
I really miss the simplicity of multiplayer where you would pick a load out and go for it. A part of me was hoping that since the game went back to its roots thematically that they would do the same with the online service. Obviously I was naïve in thinking that this would happen. When going into online you start off in a 3rd person social hub where there are different sections to go to. Obtain new daily quests, purchase new weapons, open supply drops etc.. You have objectives that require you to buy something or visit someone. I feel that they just throw you in here to figure everything out. Once objective was to commend a fellow soldier but no where could I find where it told me to do this. But that’s the hub of it. You can avoid all those things but it will slow down your progression in getting experience. At any moment the start button will put you into your main multiplayer screen where you can edit your avatar, select your load out and type of match to go into. Since I haven’t been online going back to Modern Warfare I thought I would be able to play with people at my own skill level. I was wrong. I was constantly forced into playing with people that were already maxed out levels, highly customizable and stronger weapons. They destroyed me at every corner leaving a frustrating feeling in my gut. For those veteran players this isn’t a problem but for someone picking up this series for the first time, they should be welcomed in a little bit better.
At the time of my review (I started playing the day of release until Monday November 13th) the servers weren’t the greatest. Long wait times to get into lobbies and once in I had numerous games crash on me or where I would be shooting someone clearly but not hitting them and watch them fly away. If stability issues fix then I think you have your run of the mill military multiplayer with all the perks and such.
I think at this point the game type is getting a little over done. What started as a staple in the black ops series only is now in every iteration of the Call of Duty franchise. Having not played every single one I cant speak for all of them. However I do feel that the game type is being overdone. The gameplay itself its tight as the rest of the modes. The maps feel larger but the availability of weapons feels lacking. This is made most likely to increase the difficulty which can be a little overwhelming at times. I suppose that is the purpose of the mode but I would hope by this time around something fresh would be brought to Nazi Zombies to have it really stand out.
With a franchise that releases annually you can’t expect to much innovation, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right? As long as the series continues to bring in millions of dollars then the developers & publishers will keep it safe. While not necessarily a bad thing it can start to get old after a while. I enjoyed my time with the single player but that’s where it ended for me. Expanding on the story & characters would have been great in this game. If you were a fan of any of the previous Call of Duty games then this will feel right at home and I would recommend it to fans of the series. However if you never liked it in the past this game wont change your thoughts.