Title: Call Of Duty: WWII
Platform: PC, PS4, and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Publisher: Activision
Release date: Out now
tl;dr:: Call Of Duty going back to its roots
Price: $60 / £60
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

Call Of Duty: WWII takes places between 1944 and 1945, starring Private Ronald “Red,” Daniels as the protagonist, as part of the of the 16th Infantry Regiment. Daniels and his infantry will take players through some of World War II’s iconic battles such as the Invasion of Normandy (D-Day), Liberation of Paris, Battle of Aachen, Battle of Hürtgen Forest, and Battle of the Bulge. The events featured in the game also briefly touch on certain incidents that took place between 1940 and 1944 to give more of an insight of the war.

As I review Call of Duty every year for GGS Gamer, I find it hard to come up with different ways to say the following, but it’s pretty much impossible: if you’ve played CoD or most shooters for that matter, the controls remain the same. Button for reloading, press the left joystick to run, shoot with the triggers, etc… However, this year Sledgehammer Games decided to go old school not only in the story, but in the gameplay as well. One of the biggest differences from the last few years, Call Of Duty: WWII doesn’t feature auto-regenerative health, and they also added a health bar, so players have an idea of how close they are to dying. The developers brought back health packs from the proverbial grave in order to give players a standing chance in the game’s plethora of firefights. Health kits can be found laying around or you can also ask the medic from the group to provide you with additional ones carrying up to four. While it is a benefit, healing yourself leaves you vulnerable to enemy attacks.

Along with the aforementioned medics, Daniels is surrounded by squadmates who will help him in different ways. There’s someone who can provide grenades, another one will have ammo handy, and finally another soldier who will spot enemies. Obviously, players can’t use these abilities willy-nilly. Each skill require for a meter to be full, and trust me, your squadmate will tell you when they’re ready. Over and over. At one point, I just requested the health pack because I was tired of hearing yelling that he was ready to provide me with the goodies.

In order to vary the gameplay, Sledgehammer Games has added a few different vehicular sequences. There’s a few spots where you’re required to drive a jeep to reach an objective. What was quite helpful is that the bottom of the screen, there’s a meter giving you an insight if you’re near the target, or if you’re about to fail. On the flip side, however, it’s not always quite obvious to figure out where to go and which path to follow, which can lead to some frustration. There’s a mission in a plane where you’re tasked to take out enemy jets; while it’s the simplest flight controls I’ve had the pleasure of using, trying to shoot down enemies in a field of friendly planes can lead to accidental hits.

Additionally, and sadly, the developer has resorted to QTEs (Quick-time events) for some sequences. While some require to mash a certain button; others will require players to move the dot in the designated area on the screen and then press the proper button before it’s too late. While I can appreciate it forces to player to stay alert at all times; I’d rather enjoy the cutscene then having to mash buttons to make the situation move forward.

The only minor issue I have with game’s campaign is the epilogue. Without spoiling anything, they succeed to do what they were aiming for, but it feels so anti-climatic. Daniels and his squad literally go through hell and back and it ends on a slow note.

And now what most Call of Duty aficionados have been waiting for: the multiplayer. The game features the following modes, available locally or online:

  • Team Deathmatch: Two teams enter. One team survives.
  • War: Tug-of-war style mode where two teams face off with shifting objectives
  • Domination: Capture and defend the designated positions to earn points
  • Hardpoint: Capture and hold a designated zone to earn points
  • Capture the Flag: Pretty self explanatory
  • Search and Destroy: Teams take turns defending and destroying an objective without respawns. You’re dead, you’re out
  • Kill Confirmed: Recover tags from downed enemy soldiers
  • Free-for-all: Everyone against each other
  • Gridiron: Throw or carry the ball into the enemy goal

Before jumping into a match, players can choose from five preset loadouts or they can create their own with the variety of weapons available out the gate. What’s interesting too is that players can switch loadouts in between respawns.

The developers also added a new eSports mode for the competitive season which features the four following modes:

  • Search and Destroy
  • Capture the Flag
  • Hardpoint
  • Gridiron

For players who enjoy more objective driven competitive multiplayer, they can enjoy the War Missions. It offers three different missions (Breakout, Griffin, Neptune) pitting players against another with objective to accomplish in order to win the bout.

And then, another Call of Duty staple: Zombie mode. In this pretty simple and straightforward mode, players pick a character, a map, then face off against an endless horde of zombies. Each wave gets progressively harder as the game increases the number of zombies thrown at the player. Thankfully, killing zombies rewards the player with currency that can be used to purchased additional firepower, such as a shotgun or machine gun. Additionally, some zombies will drop power ups to give players an upper hand in battle such as Double Currency, which reward players with double the currency when killing the undead. After successfully killing a set amount of zombies, players can activate a special ability to ease the fight against the horde of zombies. For example, the Ving Rhames look-a-like’s skills shocks the undead in place for a short amount of time, making them easier to kill.

Call Of Duty: WWII looks awesome. The character models look life-like, and every word spat out by the characters are lip-synched (almost) to perfection. Sure, there are a few minor inconsistencies (nothing’s perfect after all) here and there such as tiny mis-timed lip-synching, but overall the game looks great. It also displays the gruesome results of war, as Daniels will oft-times come across deceased and dismembered fellow soldiers. The transition from cutscene to gameplay is seamless. It looks miles ahead of the recently reviewed Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Sound wise, Wilbert Roget II manage to score an intense soundtrack that properly reflects the on-screen events. Voice over wise, everyone nails their role to a tee and sound believable.

Additionally, I can’t really explain if it’s due to the more “realistic,” nature of the game, but the interaction between characters felt real in a way; which really helped with the sense of immersion. While the visuals and voiceover work are solid, seeing the characters in a stressful and difficult situation has tempers flaring and characters butting heads. I’ve played every Call of Duty games since Call of Duty 2, and for the first time I was so invested in the story that I actually shed a tear during the campaign.

Call Of Duty: WWII is a great experience for FPS fans everywhere. Despite minor annoyances such as the vehicular sequences, the overall story campaign, and throwback to old school (both in story and gameplay) feels like a fresh take on the decade long running series. Now I will be honest, once again, this won’t convert non-believers but those who enjoy the multiplayer, both friendly and competitive, and looking for an intense and great story can expect are sure to enjoy this year’s Call of Duty.

The Good

  • Intense sequences
  • Great story
  • Long overdue return to WWII

The Bad

  • Annoying QTEs
  • Driving sequences
  • Underwhelming epilogue

Family Focus

Call Of Duty: WWII is rated M for M and PEGI 18 for intense violence, blood and guts. Oh and gore too. Blood everywhere.