I Did Nazi This Coming
Call of Duty (COD) as a franchise has been around for years but has made some drastic changes in its presentation and social persona. When I think of COD, I think of a triple-A game made with millions of dollars and through no fault of its own, a certain fanbase with (to me) negative connotations. Again, I have to reiterate, this is not on purpose but whenever I think of a gamer that enjoys and craves these games, I think of a Bro™. From my experience Bros™ don’t really care for the story, they don’t care for themes, the only thing that most people buy these games for is the multiplayer. Normally this wouldn’t bother me, but as the developers made more games, they became privy and started to care less about single player and became complacent. After average reviews but mostly high sales, would their first foray into next-gen only, historical combat be a winner, or would we be left with shellshock once again?
I’ve been waiting for a proper world war game for a very long time. It almost seems that most first-person shooter gaming companies were either too afraid or not yet ready to undertake said task. The presentation that could be created from these could be incredible (in my mind) and I have wanted one for a very long time. It only took almost exactly 4 years, but that time is here and I’ve got to say, graphically this game is stunning. From motion capture cut-scenes to in-game the visuals astounded, the foliage was beautiful, the guns looked real and the people were so good, at some points I had to double take as I couldn’t tell if it was real footage or not. This is pretty incredible normally but knowing that it didn’t waver from 60 frames a second, I was in visual heaven. Interestingly not every level was completely a first-person perspective, with some segments consisting of vehicular combat and one of these was my favourite part of the entire game. This part started off in the stunningly created frozen forest of Germany and halfway through as I was calling in an air strike, I had to become the airstrike. Before I knew it, I was dogfighting through the sky dodging allies and axis alike. It was gorgeous, and I almost failed a few times just losing myself in the set piece.
This then brings me to one of the most important factors in creating and playing a video game; the gameplay/controls. I usually gravitate towards battlefield for both of these as the combat is slower paced and the guns usually feel weightier. Although as I first started up CODWWII, I felt a difference that was a welcome change from the light as air future tech from the last few games. The guns felt authentic, it was hard to aim, it took more than 1.5 seconds to down a man and everything just seemed right. There weren’t many issues that appeared when I was playing, bar a few glitches where my save file didn’t… well save and I had a pretty major issue with the online. I couldn’t actually play multiplayer due to a massive error on the server side and for some reason an update wouldn’t download. It since been downloaded and I’ve played quite a bit of its content and its as good as COD multiplayer always is; plenty of random deaths from random grenades, lots of people way better than I am and fun maps and interesting game modes that will have me coming back for more. This includes the War mode where players have to compete at accomplishing objectives while the opposing side defends against whatever the attacking sides goals are. This seems standard but is a welcome addition after playing (and in my case) constantly dying in team death match.
One of the main issues I usually find with the single player campaign is that the story is average at the best of times and if you’ve read my other reviews, you know that I’m a stickler for narrative. So, when most people buy this game for multiplayer, I buy it hoping for an entertaining single player story, to accompany my multiplayer purchase. It never used to be to like this but now, after releases of games like COD, battlefield and Halo, games don’t make money from single payer experiences, the business is in multiplayer. That being said, after not being able to play multiplayer for the first few days, I found this a good excuse to complete the campaign first. My main thought when finishing the 6 to 7-hour story was that I feel it’s hard to write a world war two story without using clichés, and I honestly don’t think that’s the writers fault. I think that anything set in the 40’s will somehow automatically seem cliché and if it doesn’t, it won’t feel authentic, so I gave the story a slight pass. The primary antagonist is a blank faced country boy from Texas that joined the army and made friends with a nerdy photographer, and a couple of other stereotypes. I get that the person you’re meant to play has to be transparent, so that you can put yourself easily in his shoes, but for a story that’s meant to be touching, it comes off a little lifeless. I want to say more but in the fear of spoilers, I’ll leave it at this; there are touching moments and there are standard war clichés but all in all, it’s worth playing.
Call of Duty World War II isn’t a masterpiece, but that doesn’t matter. It has sold plenty of copies and towards Christmas, it’ll sell more. It’s not life-changing, but it’s fun and I guess that’s why its been around so long. Do I recommend you pick it up? If you have Mario Odyssey or Assassins creed: Origins to play, maybe play those first. But if you don’t have Band of Brothers, or you crave dying constantly in an interesting war aesthetic, this game is for you.