Nazi’s are back in the Call of Duty universe, and with them come along basically everything fans have been asking for. If you wanted Call of Duty to return to the roots, this game does just that. However if the futuristic changes were more your thing, then you might stick to other iterations.
Call of Duty: WWII does one thing amazingly well, go back in time and revive everything that originally made COD so great. Boots on the ground gameplay mixed with World War II is everything you expect from the series, and nothing more. I say that because this game literally retreads what the series already offered and doesn’t really step outside of that box, at all. That’s not to say it isn’t polished or needs changes, because if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it.
The campaign is blended nicely with very beautiful cinematic sequences, and cutscenes that could rival even the best movies about the era. The game does a good job of treading history, while also following a story of a character we actually care about. However they do tread along events we’ve seen time and time again. After being burned out on WWII in previous generations, it sometimes still feels “too soon” to head back into the same events we’ve seen countless times. I would have liked to see maybe a little more of WWII explored, but so far I haven’t seen anything that gets me super excited. I’ll update this portion of the review as I get futher along.
That being said the gameplay is extremely fluent and seems to be Call of Duty at it’s peak. It’s an extremely fun game to play with a nice challenge to it. The game does a nice job of blending older mechanics with things that newer games have evolved into. Of course you are not leaping through the air now so things had to be adjusted for boots on the ground gameplay and the single player seems to have extremely good level design to account for the restriction. As stated, the game will tread a lot of common characteristics of previous COD titles so there might be areas or scenes that feel “familiar,” but the added polish to it all really hammers home that this is a COD you want to play. Everything that was good about the previous few titles are brought into one big title.
My absolute favorite part of the game is the Nazi Zombies mode. I normally am not too thrilled to head into this chapter of the games as I’m never really a huge fan, but this one drug me in and didn’t want me to leave. A lot of smaller “boring” mechanics were removed to give the game mode a faster pace and the ability for you to explore more rather quickly. In the first level there is no ability to waste your time sealing windows or doors with boards. I personally hate that mechanic of the game, especially since it’s almost entirely useless in later levels. Instead zombies are creeping through cracks in the walls, or falling down on top of you.
What really makes the mode intense is the extremely well done sound design. Quick jolts of chorded instruments when a zombie pops up on your screen, or the character screaming in fear when you spot one, add a level of fear to the game. I’m not typically a player that jumps in fear, but the zombies mode for sure had me startled a few times as I ran for my life. The game mode also is a good blend of being challenging, but not super challenging for those of us that are not very good at the mode. I found the mode to be fun due to the faster pace, and exciting due to the changing cycles of zombies that end up attacking you in groups. The characters even have great dialogue to boost you along and help you find key points of the map, which are normally only discovered by veteran zombie players.
All this detail in zombies made me realize just how great the overall game is. Blended nicely with extreme attention to detail, and giving every character life, makes this one of the best COD’s to date. Everything, even enemies, seem to have some type of motivation behind it. Situations can be tense, and horrifying in many ways.
Then we get to the multiplayer where things seem to blend nicely. Online are ten new maps that seems to be mostly well designed. I say this because combat wise they are really fun to defend, or move along, and they have great vantage points for corner shooters or run and gun players. There are a few maps that may be a little too open for overpowered snipers, but every map seems to have an ability to avoid campers. That is unless entire teams are camping. One issue I had during the beta was the ability to spawn camp teams, and it wasn’t a problem that has been addressed so far. With previous games we had the ability to leap in the air and run along walls to escape trapped zones, so you had a fighting chance to get past enemies. Now that the feature is removed and we are tied to the ground we can’t do that, and veteran players have already figured out how far to push into maps to keep opposing teams stranded in their zones. It’s especially a problem on maps like domination where the game is less likely to randomly spawn you in a new zone behind the enemy. Being stuck on both ends of this issue makes the game feel dull and too easy, and I hope it’s addressed rather quickly.
Other than the spawn issue, the game seems extremely balanced in terms of weapons and combat. As stated there are many vantage points so when two teams are pushing each other, there is a lot of competitive perks. The game has a faster pace, but not insane fast pace like Infinite Warfare. Fans should be thrilled with this entry, especially those that have been tired of the extremely fast titles of previous years.
The best perk about online seems to be the inspirations from other titles. There is a nice blend of modes that clearly took inspiration from rival Battlefield and even Activision’s own Destiny. For starters the game introduced a base camp area that resembles The Tower in Destiny. Here, players are supposed to interact with others and have options to do different things such as read mail, unlock new gear, or take on objectives. It is literally the Call of Duty variation of The Tower, but I honestly saw no point in it. The servers have had issues since I started playing so I haven’t run into other players here, and the concept of running to various tents to see basic menu items isn’t too appealing to me. It also made the game feel a little clunky between matches. But I could see the appeal for some gamers, I personally just got annoyed of it faster than expected.
There are some cool perks to it though. Socially there are neat features such as playing 1V1 battles, or watching them, quickly. (again it hasn’t been working for me though) Next you have the ability to watch loot box openings and cheer on other soldiers. A neat feature I found was fly by animations when someone prestiges, which is neat if anyone is in the lobby with you. The best feature I found was training areas where you can try out new guns, or the kill streaks, before unlocking them. This way you can learn how each things works and if you want to spend time unlocking it. I found this useful for kill streaks since they all have weird names and were very different from past titles.
The inspiration from Battlefield is called War, which is basically a small variation of Rush. You push an objective forward, or prevent a team from doing so, and the further along you get the more that changes. You could be capping a point, or building a bridge. It’s a neat mode that I never really expected COD to be able to pull off, but they did.
I know I mentioned loot boxes and that might alarm some people, but currently there is no reason to fear. I’m not sure what future plans are, but currently the loot boxes are not “pay-to-win” boxes and instead off cosmetic items. Instead the game offers divisions where you are rewarded for different play styles and unlock specific items or abilities based on what you choose. It’s nice that divisions doesn’t restrict you in any way either. If you choose a class that is sub machine based, you still have the ability to be a sniper and so on.