Hands-On With Wolfenstein 2 and Call of Duty WWII

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Bethesda – Wolfenstein 2

In the Bethesda Booth, Wolfenstein 2 demos could be played on screens littered about a themed diner (they served strawberry milkshakes!), and the line was extensive. It took hours to finally play.

Points of Interest/Questions

A quirk sets this demo apart from Wolfenstein: The New Order in a big way…the fact that you’re in a wheelchair. It comes with a surprising amount of advantages, and obvious surplus of disadvantages. You can slam an enemy’s head into your wheelchair wheel and wiz down the stairs, but you’re less mobile overall.  It made for an interesting change of pace and makes you alter how you play.

Wolfenstein II looks, and feels great, as it did in New Order.  It feels punchy & familiar, all the original mechanics are in place here, but I was left wondering if there will there be new mechanics to play around with, or is the primary change going to be within the story.  

Wolfenstein II seems to be placing extra love into its whacky characters and story. A tease of a cutscene after the demo is an execution stalled by some Nazi domestic drama, which is as strange and interesting as it sounds.  It seems Wolfenstein 2’s primary ambition is to offer up the most enthralling story mode they can while embracing the already strong core mechanics established in the first game.

I’m not disappointed by this modest approach. I admire it. This one’s up there on the top lists.

call of duty ww ii screen 2

Activision – Call Of Duty WWII

A preemptive ‘theater experience’ from Sledgehammer games acted to hype the press before getting their time hands on. Technically, the franchise is still sound — they certainly have no shortage of budget. The sound design, graphics, and familiar CoD mechanics, are all pristine.

The campaign harkens back to World At War’s level of gore and limb removal. Heads explode, but the hands on demo afterwards was a multiplayer match.

Points of Interests/Questions

Right off the bat CoD feels more like Battlefield, not just because of the old age setting, but because of general format of Multiplayer…Take that how you wish, (criticism or bonus), but it’s not wholly unwelcome.  There are divisions/soldier classes; it’s story/objective, stage based matches; and emphasizes team work.

Despite this, Call of Duty: WWII still maintains the more intimate feel of CoD games that fans have come to associate with the franchise.  The maps are more condensed and the team sizes are tighter, making each match feel suitably intense and over the top. 

Core shooting mechanics have gone primarily unchanged, so if you’ve played any of the recent Call of Duty games it should be instantly familiar.  Killstreaks didn’t seem to have as overpowered an advantage as they sometimes did in previous entries.

I read an article lately about how rock music is a perpetual cycle of recurring trends that go in and out of popularity. Call of Duty is like that with its time and place. I wonder how many times it’ll lap around the periods. Will next year be Modern day?

For now we’re back in WW2. The changes are slight. Too slight for me to consider investing more time into this trodden franchise. But as always there’s considerable polish & effort put into the usual suspects.