When it comes to judging reviewer’s credibility, the public doesn’t look at his ability to write, or compose coherent arguments for and against, but at how suitable is he or she, to judge the game at hand due to their skill, and knowledge of the franchise and/or genre. And multiple occasions, gamers world order have dismissed reviews of sites such as Polygon, or Gamespot, due to their lack of general knowledge, implicit bias, and most importantly lack of any skill in relation to the game they were reviewing.
I personally, feel more than confident when reviewing each and every single game, simply because I’ve played them all, to a proficient, and in some cases advanced level. Within The Beatles Rockband, I still hold numerous top 100 spots for songs such as Dig a Pony, and Her Majesty. In Overtwatch, I can easily get in the very least to the diamond rank without little to no effort, while playing as the main DPS. But most importantly of all, I’ve spent the last decade of my life, playing thousands of hours of numerous Call of Duty titles, while always placing within the top 3 players on the server without fail.
Even when the times were tough, and Activision was releasing one futuristic title after another, I still stuck by the series, and have spent countless hours playing Infinite Warfare, which many have looked down upon. And while I’ve enjoyed Infinity Ward’s most recent title, a lot, I was still more than ecstatic to hear that Call of Duty, is going to return to its roots, with a boots on the ground title, in the form of Sledgehammer’s Call of Duty World War II.
Call of Duty World War II, unlike the three previous Call of Duty titles, brings the series back on the ground, as it has removed the futuristic element of jet packs and laser guns completely, by removing the series from the distant future, and in its stead, it has placed it back within the reality of the not so distant, but gruesome past.
The core single-player component of Call of Duty World War II, revolves around the events surrounding the 1st Marine Division of the US Navy. And their war-effort to push back Third Reich’s Wehrmacht, and secure a save passage across the river Rhine, into the heart land of Hitler’s Nazi Germany. And while the story within itself, concentrates on the larger picture throughout portrayal of atrocities of War, it still provides one with a unique case of characters, which the series is known for.
Call of Duty World at War will always be remembered for Viktor Reznov, Black Ops subseries of the franchise will always be synonymous with Frank Woods, Jason Hudson, and Alex Mason. Whereas the Modern Warfare series will always be held dearly by the fans of the franchise thanks to Captain Price, Soap McTavish, and the series main villain, Makarov. And it looks like Call of Duty World War II, will most likely be remembered for Pierson, and him alone, and that’s not because of his personality, but because of the fact that he is played by Josh Duhamel, the quote-on-quote Transformers guy.
Call of Duty World War II, may not be filled to the brim with a cast of countless colourful and memorable characters, but such approach to story building, ultimately allows it to elevate itself to further heights. And that’s because lack of super-hero and super-villain like figures, ultimately makes the title feel much more, real and human. And yes, there are still points within the single player campaign, where reason goes out the window, and the title goes full-on action move, but still won’t have to suffer through another slide down a collapsing building, or a too-close-for comfort jump into a helicopter.
The camping of Call of Duty World War II, may lack all the bells and whistles, of which the previous titles were full of. But is still an exceptional thrill ride, which also lacks all the smoke and mirrors, for which certain instalments of the franchise were infamous for. And in result to that, one could say that Sledgehammer Games’ figure heads have simply learned from their own, and their predecessors’ mistakes, and while such statement is correct, it is also incomplete. As Sledgehammer games, have went above and beyond their ‘’call of duty’’, and learned from different, third-party titles such as Brothers In Arms, and first wave Medal of Honor games, as the single player component of Call of Duty World War II, utilises mechanics such as health bar, which has to be replenished with health packs, and on-field commands, which direct all significant AI characters during battle.
To some, it may come as a surprise that the story mode of Call of Duty World War II, is not the same as the ones of the previous titles, and many, could potentially be angry with the archaic direction, which Sledgehammer Games has taken in relation to certain mechanics. However, lack of self-replenishing health, completely switches up the dynamic of the story mode, from the run-and-gun shooting gallery, into a slightly slower, more methodical shooter, which is much more suitable for the subject matter. And while story mode of Call of Duty World War II, may not be the familiar territory that the fans of the franchise are used to, it is just an outlier, as the rest of the title, including the Nazi Zombies, and most importantly the PvP multiplayer, play out in exactly the same way as thy did, in the past.
When discussing the Nazi Zombies component of Call of Duty World War II, there is not much that one can say. As quite literally, what you see is what you get, and you’ve most likely seen the vast majority of it before. However, in comparison to Black Ops 3’s and Infinite Warfare Zombies, Call of Duty World War II mode featuring undead, is much more story driven, as throughout the map, players are served with countless conversations, and taunts by the man behind the zombie scourge. In addition to that, perks have been replaced with power-up machines, and while such are nearly exactly the same as the cola bottles and hard candy of Blacks Ops, or Infinite Warfare, respectively, there are some differences. For Example, Tough Enuff (Jug), has been replaced with an armour machine, which gives the player three pieces of armour, which allow him/her to take three more hits before going down. And while such can be purchased for just 1000 points at the beginning, it does become more expensive as the game goes on.
Call of Duty World War II story mode, and the zombie component, are both great additions to this year’s package. But as we all know, Call of Duty is not about the campaign, or any other tacked-on co-op modes – it is in-fact, all about the multiplayer. And for better or worse, this year’s installment has taken a step forward while taking a step back. As by eliminating all the issues of the jet-pack driven Call of Duties, it has brought back all the trash from the yard, and straight into the house.
The biggest pet peeve, of all players of Call of Duty World War II, without a shadow of doubt, will be the overwhelming number of campers. Who have now returned to their natural habitat of dark corners, and one-way alleyways, as no longer, are they under a threat of somebody wall-running over their head, or double jumping over a wall, and killing them with a single, swift strike to the back of their heads. And while campers are still rejoicing at the fact that they no longer have to have any sort of skill, or tactical awareness in order to perform well, they are not the only ones. As the removal of jet packs, was also received well by top players, and Search and Destroy aficionados, who no longer have to rely on sheer twitch-shooting, and instincts, in order to win a game. As just like the in the years prior to Advanced Warfare, they can outsmart, outplay, and most importantly outmanoeuvre their competition, without having to fire a single shot.
Call of Duty World War II, has brought grenades, both lethal and tactical, back in vogue. As now they can be efficiently use to both kill, and incapacitate the opposition. Flash bangs, allow for sweeping and clearing of buildings, and smoke grenades are now a viable option, as for the first time in years, they are effective enough, as nobody can simply jump over them to get a new line of sight. And for smoke criminals and pop-flashers alike, this is great news, as tactics such as this allow the players to remove the gun-battles from the game, and instil them within the opposition’s mind. As once one pop-flashes through a smoke, and kills all who are on the other side, he/she will make the enemies ultimately fear it, as they will now see a smoke screen as a potential immediate danger. And such state of affairs opens a range of brand new potential avenues, as once you get into you opponent’s mind, you can play with him like a toy. And within a next round, you can use your smoke to get a read on your enemy’s positioning, as he/she is bound to fire blindly through smoke, in hope of getting you, as you could be charging through it yet again.
The sheer complexity, which the removal of jetpacks has brought to the table is simply exceptional. However, the maps themselves, do not always suit the tactical approach, as some, including the London Docks, Gustav Cannon, and USS Texas, turn the otherwise excellent, tactical heavy shooter, into a mindless free for all. Some maps such as Gustav Cannon, are way too open for game modes such as Search and Destroy, and ultimately, they leave the attackers at a constant disadvantage, as the placement of the objectives, and the elevated position of the titular Cannon, turn the attackers into the proverbial fish in the barrel. But on the contrary, maps such as the London Docks, are so narrow, and closed down, that they place the defenders in an unfavourable position. As once the attackers secure a site, it is pretty much a GG, as it is borderline impossible to check all the corners, on either bomb site before getting gunned down.
At the current time, Call of Duty World War II, is in the very strange position – multiplayer wise. On one hand we have a title, which will surely satisfy all the casual and Sunday gamers, as it is still the very same, high-impact Call of Duty, that we all have so dearly missed. But on the other hand, the overall multiplier experience is not solid, and consistent enough, in order to secure Call of Duty World War II, a favourable place within the esports scene, which Sledgehammer and Activision, both crave so much. But before one can pass of the final statement on whether or not Call of Duty World War II will be a competitive success, we’ll have to wait until the end of the first competitive season, which is set to begin on the 1st of December.
To summarise, it has to be underlined that no game will ever satisfy absolutely everybody, and there will always be some who will try to undermine a title for even the slightest flaw. But the fact of the matter is that Call of Duty World War II, is a solid game, and most probably, the best Call of Duty title we had in years. It oozes with quality, and exceptional game design, which provides one with a variety of different experiences. As campaign, zombie mode, and multiplayer, all provide one with an expansive and diverse range of challenges, and objectives, which will keep many occupied for months to come. And while the multiplayer component is not where it should be when it comes to competitive play, it is proficient and fun enough, in order to satisfy all the gamers, who are not pursuant of online ranks, and other meaningless accolades.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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