Call of Duty: WW2 review

With every new year that passes, we see a new Call of Duty come and go. So what’s so special about Call of Duty: WW2? It’s the first time in nine years that the franchise isn’t taking place in a modern or futuristic setting. If you’re wondering which CoD game I’m referring to, it’s World at War that released in 2008. In my opinion, everything after Black Ops started going downhill big time for the series (albeit Modern Warfare 3 was ok). Now that CoD has gone back to its roots, it’s time to see if Sledgehammer was able to resuscitate the franchise and breathe new life into it.

Campaign

For a while now (since Modern Warfare 3), I have not been excited to play a CoD campaign at all. So many of them just seemed blah and boring despite the attempt at bigger set pieces each time. For WW2, it wasn’t like that at all and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Jumping in, you follow Private Ronald “Red” Daniels and the 1st Infantry Division through their tour of the European theater; from the beaches of Normandy all the way to The Rhine. While it may appear to be your typical or clichéd war story echoing pieces from Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, and other World War 2 films, it becomes this unique journey that feels more personal the deeper you go. The cinematic sequences in WW2 are quite breathtaking, as it felt like I was watching a movie rather than playing a game.

Along with pivotal moments throughout the war like storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and liberating Paris, you also experience many others that may not have been as well-known like the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. The campaign touches throughout here and there on the atrocities committed during the Holocaust but does a great job at keeping it relevant with the other undertones of exactly why you’re fighting this war.

The characters themselves within your squad were very memorable as well. They each had their own idiosyncrasies and uniqueness that made me care about them, rather than think they’re just NPCs filling space. I really enjoyed seeing tensions build as you went deeper into a raging war. It gave a very true and real portrayal that you weren’t just fighting an opposing enemy, but also the mental strife/PTSD with what you were experiencing. The cold hard fact that war was indeed hell.

There was a satisfying humanization of everything that really immersed you into it all and even evoked emotions in a way you’d never think a CoD game could ever do. Not only is this probably one of my most favorite CoD games, but it’s also one of my favorite WW2 campaigns to play through.

Mechanics

One of the first things you’ll notice in the campaign is that Sledgehammer has ditched the regenerative health system that’s been in pretty much every CoD to date. Instead, they’ve cleverly incorporated a system that actually utilizes your squadmates other than trying to hide behind them as cover. There’s a meter on the right side of your screen and every kill you get fills it a little at a time.

Once the bar is full, you can request a med pack from your squadmate, to which they’ll toss it to you. This mechanic is also used for the rest of your team, as each of them has a different skill you can use (spotting enemies, frag and smoke grenades, ammo, artillery barrage smoke). I feel like this gives you more of a sense of operating as a cohesive unit rather than you being the usual army of one.

Most of the time when you play a game like this, it’s almost always rinse and repeat, aka go here and shoot this, then do it again somewhere else. In Call of Duty: WW2, you don’t get that feeling at all. Besides the standard shooting enemies bit, there are different driving sequences (like chasing down a Nazi train in a jeep or driving through the streets of Aachen in a tank), stealth missions, and even an aerial combat segment. There’s literally no shortage of variety here.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer has always been a cornerstone for CoD, as it’s what usually has the biggest draw to the franchise. One of the largest changes noticeable from the get-go is a new social space called Headquarters, comparable to that of Destiny’s Tower. The only difference is that you’re by yourself, unless you have a squad partied-up together. In this area you can open up Supply Drops (their version of Loot Boxes), grab multiplayer challenges, duel in a 1v1 pit and more.

Another new feature is the ability to enlist in one of five divisions (Airborne, Mountain, Infantry, Armored, Expeditionary) instead of having a create-a-class system. Essentially what this does is remove the choice of adding preferred perks and creating a more static set of abilities depending on what Division you enlist in. Not only that, but as you level up each Division, you unlock more perks within that set. It’s also worth mentioning that you can customize your character’s aesthetics as well, which I feel was very smart to incorporate.

Moving into the game modes, along with your standard Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and other classic modes found in previous iterations, comes a new War mode. It’s a very team-based mode where you have the Allies versus Axis vying to attack and defend objective points on the map. It’s similar in style to Rush and Operations found in Battlefield 1, where there is a story-driven narrative attached to it.

An interesting change to note is the removal of the Final Kill Cam, as it was replaced with Bronze Star Play. And if you’re wondering, yes, it is basically like Overwatch‘s Play of the Game. I think it was a nice change, except for the fact that most of the kills I saw were double kills. Occasionally, there was a triple kill littered in there.

My biggest gripe with the multiplayer though has to be the servers. When the game initially launched, there were dedicated servers. Once the first patch rolled out shortly after, there were server performance issues, and Sledgehammer decided to switch over to a Peer-2-Peer setup. Doing this has resulted in multiple host migrations and lag within all the games I’ve played. Fortunately, they’ve been testing the dedicated servers again and will hopefully switch back over to them.

Nazi Zombies

This newest version of Nazi Zombies brings back a lot of elements from its predecessor in Infinite Warfare. The first map is called The Final Reich and stars Katheryn Winnick, David Tennant, Elodie Yung, and Ving Rhames. The basic story behind it is that you’re trying to retrieve artwork stolen by the Axis and end up fighting against a Nazi Zombie horde. You can not only pick your character (as opposed to not being able to do that before), but also pick from one of four roles to play (Medic, Offense, Control and Support).

Aside from it being a giant puzzle to crack with your team, there are many different layers to the map that can be unlocked as well. Let’s just say that teamwork is a key element here and without it, you won’t survive very long at all. The plethora of upgrades and the many things you can upgrade may feel a bit overwhelming, as it’s a bit much to try and manage altogether. That would probably be my biggest problem with this mode. Other than that, it would just be trying to get matchmade teammates to work together and not go lone-wolf on the team.

Final Thoughts

Call of Duty: WW2 is easily the best and most complete CoD game in almost ten years. With Sledgehammer bringing the franchise back to where it started, they’ve put not only new life but hope into the franchise again. From an enthralling campaign to white-knuckle battles in multiplayer, to horrific zombies clawing at you, Call of Duty: WW2 delivers on all fronts.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

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Narvin Seegoolam
Narvin Seegoolam 675 posts

Narvin's middle name is FPS....ok maybe not, but he's like BOOM!! HEADSHOT!! I'm hungry...