Back to where it all began, Call of Duty will forever have a deep place in my heart for personal reasons so I really hope that this franchise can continue to be a great experience for many gamers. I don’t need to tell you that you either love or hate Call of Duty, it is hard to find a gamer that is standing in between. So with finally going back to the roots and dropping the signature online gameplay from past years is this a game people should buy? Put on your helmet soldier because we are starting Operation Neptune and will land on the beachhead of Normandy where you can read the review from Call of Duty: WWII in the nearest bunker!
- Finally Call of Duty has some tension again, the unrealistic regenerating health is gone in the single player. Welcome back health packs, I have missed you so much! It doesn’t really make the game harder (This is the easiest Call of Duty game I have played on veteran) but it gives the game many more adrenaline moments and you really have to think how to overcome a situation without getting hits from enemies. Gone is the boring, shoot, take a few hits and duck away to get your health again moments. You need to survive again, you need to outsmart the Nazis!
- (Online) Gone is the age of super soldiers that jump like Jessica Jones and slide throughout the map like some kind of super energetic ninja-soldier. The Modern Warfare remake showed that Call of Duty fans missed the slower, what they call “boots-on-the-ground” gameplay and for those WW2 will be a relief. I am curious how Call of Duty fans from the last five years will react to this back to roots gameplay though. For me personally? I love the slower-paced and more tactical online gameplay.
- Last years Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare had an incredible story and is without a doubt my favorite so far. WW2 isn’t bad per se but misses some memorable story moments. The emotional bro-relationship that you get with your crew works to get the story told (think about Band of Brothers) but the dialogue misses some punch and believability. Overall though, I would list this Call of Duty on spot 2 when it comes to story, still miles away from the excellent Infinite Warfare but it can proudly manage his own. Especially the interactive Holocaust moments have some emotional meaning, rarely seen in any Call of Duty game.
- As seen in the previous games, real life actors return and it helps with giving out the message. The voice acting is outstanding and known actors like Duhamel (Las Vegas – Transformers) and David Tennant (Doctor Who – Jessica Jones) give an outstanding performance. I like created characters too but seeing real life recreated actors is something extra special too.
- The time that Call of Duty felt a little dated visually is gone since a few years and that’s no different for WW2. The game looks absolutely amazing on Xbox One X. Gameplay moments truly come to life as you see debris falling everywhere in crisp and sharp textures. Effects like smoke and fire look realistic and the draw distance is pretty unseen in Call of Duty too.
- (Online) All the known and loved game modes return but Sledgehammer Games also introduce something new, called War. (Actually developed with the help from Raven Software) This is a multiple objective mode in a 6vs6 setting. This mode has many bottlenecks moments and a win or loss can really depend on one players action.
- A little bit hidden in Headquarters are 15 retro-games. With big names like Pitfall this easily overlooked part can provide extra replay value for gamers. I personally loved Demon Attack but you have a lot of other fun games too. (This can be found near the killstreak tower, just go to the chessboard and start playing!)
- Weapons feel authentic and I’m glad to play a Call of Duty without position revealing scopes or futuristic glowing knifes with glued ladybugs on it. Shooting the M1 Garand for example, feels genuine and the sound is fantastic. Oh and what about that flamethrower.. what a brilliant thing to use against enemies!
- I could not get rid of the feeling that I have already played or watched the same thing a million times before. Playing the landing on Normandy never looked so good before, but it was more engaging and memorable in other World War shooters. Progression in the missions never felt fresh, I was actually looking forward for some unique level design that the previous Call of Duty from Sledgehammer Games had (Advanced Warfare). From the 12 available missions only two really left a lasting impression. I’m not saying that the missions aren’t fun, for younger people or new gamers that haven’t played previous World War 2 games this is an incredible experience but for old timers like me it’s different. Compare it with a banana, for people like me it’s like eating a slightly green one, for newcomers the banana is perfectly ripe. The green one isn’t bad but you know it could have been better.
- I have to tell you something, I never really liked the Zombie-mode and that’s not different in this game. I know many of you like this 4 player co-op mode and I totally see why but it never clicked on me. I was hoping to see some new mechanics and features this time but it’s the same old thing like always. You need to survive Nazi zombies wave after wave while completing objectives. Visually this mode has the best performance though, for some reason the graphics are remarkably better than the story and online modes.
- (Online) We are two weeks after the release from the game (time of writing) and one of the coolest new features still doesn’t work. Gone is the static menu screen while playing online, Sledgehammer introduced Headquarters. A hub that connects up to 48 other players (or your party) but for now Sledgehammer had to cut down the most interesting part about it and you won’t connect with other players in this hub because it had too many errors and was a too big load for the servers. A promised fix is coming though with dedicated servers, but let’s be honest for a minute.. this should have been done at launch. Or did Activision forget that Call of Duty is played by millions of gamers? Anyway, in this hub you can select daily and weekly challenges, see a leaderboard, play a one-on-one fight and more. The idea is neat but I hope it will work soon.
- (Online) Party connection issues and lag while playing, not only from my experience but I heard the same complains from at least 10 different gamers. An online game can never run 100% but I never seen a Call of Duty game is such a dire online state. I’m confident that Activision and Sledgehammer will work out the kinks but it doesn’t mean that I can ignore these issues and decide to not mention them.
- Gustav Cannon. In all honesty I think this is my most hated online map EVER. I have no clue what the developer was thinking but this map is atrociously bad. I hate it with every fibre in my body. I don’t mind if a map is clearly designed for snipers and long-range fights but the balance between play styles is so big that you can’t think but wonder what the plan for this map was. Getting instantly spawn killed can happen but 6 times in a row? When you can finally spawn you try to run to cover to once again be killed by a camping sniper.. frustrating.
Call of Duty: WWII [8/10] A glorious return how Call of Duty became popular, it will be interesting to see if new fans from the past five years will enjoy the slower and realistic online gameplay but I enjoy it a lot more. Sledgehammer delivered a good story mode that misses a little fresh level design ideas but the overall experience is excellent. Yet again, Call of Duty is a great purchase and you can count on it to provide many gameplay hours online. (That hopefully will have better performance soon)
Dev: Sledgehammer Publisher: Activision Played on: Xbox One X