Sitting down to write this Call of Duty WWII review I realised a few things.
Call of Duty WWII was the first game in the series for a long time that I had even a minute amount of interest in.
It was also the only one I’d bothered to play the beta for. Call of Duty WWII was a game that I was excited to play and having played it I’m both glad I did and satisfied with the outcome.
Ever since Modern Warfare, the series has slipped further and further away from what the core of it began as.
The addition of exoskeletons, guns that shoot around corners and spaceships were a far cry from World War II. A universe removed from men, fighting alongside one another for their families and their freedom.
Call of Duty WWII is by no means perfect, but it’s the most honest, modest and direct Call of Duty in nearly a decade.
It’s about time.
Band of Brothers
Call of Duty WWII’s campaign begins on D-Day, the invasion of Normandy. We’ve seen this event depicted in countless forms. Movies, games, books, art and more. It’s always depicted as a brutal, harrowing mission. In Call of Duty WWII, it’s nothing less.
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In fact, the entire experience of warfare is an ugly one. For the first time in a long time, Call of Duty seems not to be intent on glamorising war and deifying soldiers. Call of Duty WWII reminds players of the real and human cost of war. It’s a refreshing change for a series that has for so long courted controversy.
Thankfully, the gameplay is as reliable as ever. Call of Duty has spent years perfecting its mechanics, systems and gameplay. Call of Duty WWII is yet another example of it. Aside from the requirement to use health packs, rather than have regenerating health, Call of Duty WWII looks, feels and plays exactly as it should.
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It’s an added bonus that we’re given a story we’re able to care about, characters who are believable and a mission that’s worthwhile. Call of Duty WII might just be the first Call of Duty where the campaign is just as important and just as good as the multiplayer.
On the subject of multiplayer, Call of Duty WWII’s is excellent. Which is to be expected. Multiplayer is the meat of Call of Duty. Without all the wall-running and insane speed, Call of Duty WWII’s multiplayer returns to something that feels more accessible.
Allies vs Axis
Don’t get me wrong, the people who’ve been playing CoD for years will still wipe most players out. It’s just that there’s less of a learning curve. Classic and favourite modes are included in addition to new mode War. War, like Battlefield’s Rush or Battlefront II’s Galactic Assault, sees players on opposing teams working to complete objectives.
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The Axis may need to press forward and push their tanks to a certain location while the Allies try and stop them. If the attacking team succeeds, the scenario moves on and new objectives are set. War is an easy, pick-up-and-play mode that adds a little something to all the killing. It’s perfect for players who’ve grown accustomed to the likes of Overwatch and other shooters of the same ilk.
In Call of Duty WII, the ‘Pick’ system is gone. Instead, developer Sledgehammer Games has implemented Divisions. Divisions are essentially classes and each class has access to different weapons, perks and the like. It’s easy to mess around with each division to figure out which suits your play style best.
The most significant addition to Call of Duty WWII’s multiplayer though is Headquarters. Think of it like Destiny’s Tower. Headquarters is a social space that includes all manner of things to see and do. While in Headquarters, players can queue for games while they accept Orders, try out the shooting range or watch a live-streamed esports match.
At the moment, Headquarters feels a little devoid of life, but it’s a neat addition that gives Call of Duty WWII a more community feel. It’s an unnecessary, but welcome addition.
David Tennant You Glorious Bastard
The final piece of the Call of Duty WWII puzzle is Nazi Zombies. This is by far my favourite mode. In fact, I’m confident that Nazi Zombies could be released as a standalone title.
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Nazi Zombies keeps the CoD Zombies tradition alive and sees players fighting off wave after wave of increasingly strong and numerous enemies. All while trying to solve puzzles, open doors, upgrade weapons and complete objectives.
There are four characters to choose from, but all you need to know is David Tennant is one of them. You can’t imagine how amazing it is to hear Doctor Who tell a bunch of zombies to ‘Fuck off ya Gobshites’ in his Scrooge McDuck voice until you hear it.
Call of Duty WWII’s Nazi Zombies does away with building walls and barricades. Players will need to roam and explore if they want any chance of surviving. Killing Zombies awards Jolts which can be spent on weapons, upgrades, armour and of course unlocking doors and new areas. Nazi Zombies manages to be an incredibly fine, white-knuckled balancing act of killing, spending and saving. Committing to purchasing anything with your jolts can be so nerve-wracking. But it’s all in good fun.
Nazi Zombies is best played with friends, but it just as playable alone. It’s really tough though.
Call of Duty WWII is an excellent return to form from a series that has jumped the shark. CoD in space was a ridiculous diversion that pulled focus away from the core of the franchise. Call of Duty WWII puts the attention squarely on the strength of the gameplay and the bravery of men who fought for the freedom of the world.
No tricks. No gimmicks.
Our Call of Duty WWII review was written after playing a promotional copy on PS4 provided to PowerUp! by Activision.
Game Title: Call of Duty: WWII
Game Description: Call of Duty: WWII returns to its roots with an experience that redefines World War II.
- No more spaceships - 9/109/10
- Nazi Zombies is incredible - 10/1010/10
- Headquarters is ok, but unecessary - 8/108/10