Call of Duty is one of the biggest franchises in gaming these days, having basically destroyed the bulk of its competition. The series has made its way from the Wold World War 2 games to the present day, to the future, and with Call of Duty WWII it returns to its World War 2 roots, with the lingering question remains, was it worth going back?
The Campaign for WWII tells the story of Red Daniels and some of his major missions from landing on Normandy, through to when they cross the Rhine river in Germany. The story itself focuses on some of the people in the platoon and their relationships, which is good at times. Most of the levels aren’t that exciting, and the story does feel most of the time generic and plodding.
The pace of the plot starts to speed up in the later levels, as well as the action itself. The game uses a couple of levels to get you involved in tank and plane warfare in an interesting way when the platoon is under fire, calls for help, and you switch perspectives to be one of the pilots bringing the action. There is also an espionage level where you play a French woman infiltrating a German office building.
The biggest problem with the campaign isn’t what it does, but what it doesn’t do. These days games can tell more intricate stories and don’t need to sugar coat everything, but the game feels like the American war games of old, and not truly showing the horrors of WWII. There is an exception for the end where it takes a serious turn, but even then, it seems to reinforce the American heroes and victims angle.
While the tight gameplay mixed with some exciting cutscenes fill the campaign with some enjoyment, this isn’t why most will buy WWII. Most will be after the Nazi Zombies mode, and multiplayer, both of which are great. Zombies take a turn for the ludicrous and set you in a Bavarian village as the Nazi’s experiments have gone wrong.
The Nazi zombies themselves are cleverly designed and come in a surprisingly wide variety. What was more surprising was instead of being generic, hold the fort, and kill waves of zombies that I expected, it tasks you with completing objectives, and get to the root of the cause. Using scenes that require your attention, zombies are used to making some big jump scares, but even in general action, turning around will wind up with a zombie in your face, and I jumped further out of my seat than I want to admit.
Then there is multiplayer. Call of Duty is known for its multiplayer above all else, and Call of Duty WWII doesn’t disappoint. The return to old-style weapons feels wonderful, and gives an aesthetic I haven’t experienced in an online shooter in a long time. If you haven’t played COD for a while, the third person hub where you collect challenges and upgrades may seem a bit weird, and even more weird getting your supply drops -aka loot boxes- dropped to your feet in the middle of the hub. However, you may need to get ready to die for a little while as people are good at this game, but fortunately, once you start killing, it becomes much more exciting.
Then there is war mode. This new addition to the multiplayer is perfect for newbies, as it tasks you with completing tasks, and the opposing team stopping you from doing so. Having a turn at taking the objectives, makes defending them on your turn exciting, and vice versa. This mode is more about working as a team it gives newbies a good chance to get used to the pace of COD without having your head as a prime target.
Call of Duty WWII is a bit of a mixed bag, and it does depend on what you are after. If you are after a deep and ruthless campaign in the horrors of WWII you may be disappointed. If you are after Nazi Zombies and multiplayer using older weapons, then it’s an easier sell, but at times its attempt to tell a real story conflicts with its liberties of the real horrors of the war.
8/10 – Despite the story not achieving what I hoped, both in pacing and the story itself, the Nazi zombies and multiplayer easily make up for it. Multiplayer is as good as it has been for a long time and the new War mode is great for newbies and veterans alike.