Saturday, November 4, 2017

Call of Duty: WWII — like you’ve never played before


Last year’s Call of Duty Infinite Warfare’s campaign was the first one I finished in years. It was clear that the creators tried to look at the things 2007’s Modern Warfare — which came bundled with some editions of the game as a remastered version —did right. Infinity Ward also hired people who came over from Naughty Dog, the developer of epic single player games Uncharted and The Last of Us. Combine those things and you get most of the reason why the campaign was a compelling and believable story, even though it took place in space and sometimes even in zero gravity.

The contrast between that campaign and the one from Call of Duty WWII couldn’t almost be bigger. But what is the same is that I also finished it, in one day. That’s not weird. Call of Duty single player modes are always quite short roller coaster rides, but it does tell that the story was captivating enough. 


You are part of the 1st Division, the first to land on the French beaches. That’s where your journey starts and it’s quite an introduction. You’ve seen D Day before, but I found It overwhelming to play my way towards the German bunkers in the dunes like never before, thanks to my more powerful console.

What follows are the famous battles this division fought: Aachen, Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge to name few. This is accompanied by a story of camaraderie not unlike Band of Brothers. The friendship between “Red” Daniels, the playable character, and Zussman is the thread. 

It’s the well-known war story, not one of untold heroism like in Battlefield 1, but the previous Call of Duty game that took place in World War II is from 2008 and other games like Brothers in Arms, Battlefield and Medal of Honor have left that era around the same time. For a lot of people, this will be the first World War II game they play. The abilities of the newer hardware shine a new light on these events. It’s more brutal and detailed than ever, but history doesn’t change.

In terms of gameplay mechanics, it’s what you’re used to when it comes to Call of Duty, although this time you will have to ask your squad mates for ammo, air support and medkits. If you’re out, you’re dead. It adds some elements of fear and realism to what otherwise would have been brainless Nazi-slaughter. So-called heroic actions are optional during battle. You decide if that surrendering German gets to live, you could drag a wounded fellow soldier to safety or save one who is in hand-to-hand combat.

Although you are an infantry soldier, you also get to do other things when you switch to other characters from time to time, like driving a tank or flying a plane to take out stukas while protecting the bombers. There are also stealth, sniper and undercover missions which seem to create a nice balance.

It’s mostly a safe bet when it comes to World War II storytelling, but I think it’s also one Call of Duty players expect. It will probably mark the beginning of a new series of World War II based Call of Duty games and it’s an energetic intro to the multiplayer component. If you normally skip the campaign, you might want to check this one out.


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