Call of Duty: WWII Review -- Going Back to Your Roots
Sledgehammer Games' Call of Duty: WWII is a great shooter with an extensive multiplayer and terrifying zombies mode, but a notably weak campaign.
Call of Duty: WWII
Xbox One, PC
Review copy provided by the publisher
Let me start this review by saying this: it’s no secret to anyone who follows DualShockers that I was incredibly excited about Call of Duty: WWII. Whether it was its marketed emotional, heartbreaking story, its overhaul to multiplayer, or its frightening Nazi Zombies mode, I was expecting this title to be a truly amazing package — one that would sink my Game of the Year nomination. After spending hours upon hours with the game, I don’t think Call of Duty: WWII is the masterpiece I envisioned, but it’s definitely a fun ride in more ways than one — I can easily see myself spending countless hours with the game in the months to come.
Let’s start with the feature I liked the least in Call of Duty: WWII: the game’s campaign. You step into the shoes of Private Ronald “Red” Daniels, who joins the US Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The campaign features a variety of different battles from WWII, including the Normandy Beach landing, Operation Cobra, and the Battle of the Bulge. Unfortunately, the moments that were intended to draw out emotions often didn’t. In fact, aside from two instances, I didn’t feel much emotion at all during the campaign.
That’s not to say the campaign didn’t have any creative or exciting moments gameplay wise. In fact, the fifth mission, titled “Liberation,” is one of the most intense experiences I’ve ever encountered in a Call of Duty game. Sure, those going into the game looking for another action-packed-summer-blockbuster-like narrative won’t be disappointed. However, Call of Duty WWII doesn’t make it a point to raise the bar of a Call of Duty narrative.
While I don’t regret playing Call of Duty: WWII’s campaign in any way, it’s definitely not something that I want to revisit in the future — which is a shame because I really wanted to love this story.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like there were many reasons why I was supposed to care when an emotional moment occurred.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum are the Multiplayer and Nazi Zombies modes, which I am happy to say are a ton of fun. First and foremost, I think that Headquarters is an absolutely amazing addition. This central hub allows players to accept challenges, contracts, test out new weapons, and even face another player in a 1v1 match. The social space also encourages players to interact with each other, as doing certain things like commending certain players and opening Supply Drops in front of others can even earn you XP.
Speaking of Supply Drops, I love the way that this game handles them. As compared to many other loot box-centric titles, it honestly incredibly easy to earn them in Call of Duty: WWII. While they can still be purchased with in-game currency like parts or COD Points (which won’t even be added to the game until November 14, 2017), players will also be able to earn them by completing challenges, which is a welcome change. Since its launch just three days ago, I’ve already nabbed six or seven Supply Drops through organic gameplay. And even if you don’t get what you want out of them, they can still be exchanged towards items you do want — similar to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered.
While Team Deathmatch, Domination, and all the other Call of Duty mainstays are back, the new “War” mode is also a ton of fun if you are in the right headspace for it. As I’m sure many are aware, War is a 20-minute long game mode that requires players to use a variety of different Divisions and weapons, which is a nice change of pace for a Call of Duty mode.
“…Nazi Zombies [is] easily my favorite part and the best argument to buy Call of Duty: WWII.”
Unfortunately, there are currently only three War maps included with Call of Duty: WWII. On top of that, only two of them (Operation Breakout and Operation Griffin) are even worth playing, as the third (Operation Neptune) is very clearly unbalanced, giving an unfair advantage to the German side. While this is of course historically accurate, it doesn’t really make for a fun game mode unless you have an entire team of snipers.
Finally, we have Nazi Zombies — easily my favorite part and the best argument to buy Call of Duty: WWII. Not only does it have an all-star cast and an interesting story, but it did something that I’ve always wanted from other Call of Duty Zombies modes: it made the undead scary. My time with Nazi Zombies was incredibly tense. Not only can the undead randomly pop up from the ground to attack you, but I also counted at least three or four different types of zombies in the map The Final Reich, each with their own speed and attack type. There was nothing more terrifying for me than shooting a group of normal zombies, and randomly seeing a fast one break through the crowd and barrel straight for me.
Additionally, players can now build loadouts, weapon kits, and set consumables before they head in to face the undead, which provides some much-needed spice to the outdated and stale M1911 pistol. Now, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to start a match with a fully-automatic rifle and a host of perks, but choosing to start with a Machine Pistol rather than a normal one can prove to be useful at times.
When looking at the big picture, Call of Duty: WWII is absolutely a fun time. With a multiplayer that includes a ton of unlocks and a new social hub, as well as a zombies mode that features some incredibly intense moments, players could easily get lost spending hours upon hours playing with other people. Aside from the unfortunately short campaign with flat and boring characters, I believe Sledgehammer Games succeeded in bringing the series back to where it started, while at the same time putting their own spin on the Call of Duty franchise to make it relevant for their newer audience.