“Call of Duty: WWII” is the first game in the annually released series to be set in World War II since 2008, and it does not disappoint. After a few years of games that have varied in quality, it is safe to say that “Call of Duty” is back to its original glory.
The game’s short but sweet single-player mode puts players in the shoes of the likable, but forgettable, Private Ronald “Red” Daniels as he and his platoon fight through some of the most iconic moments of the war. The story is very personal, focusing mainly on Daniels and how his inner demons led him to want to fight. The story isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it does have its dramatic moments.
While no piece of media can truly capture the horrors of any war, the game at least attempts to paint the picture of what soldiers went through in the player’s head. “Call of Duty: WWII” is graphically stunning and moments such as the Invasion of Normandy or the Liberation of Paris look so real they blur the line between reality and fiction.
It is also worth noting that Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel lends his voice and likeness to the hard-nosed Sergeant William Pierson. His character, although rather one-dimensional, is performed well with his line delivery and replicates how most people expect a sergeant to sound.
Of the three modes presented to the player on the main menu, the multiplayer mode is the place gamers will look to jump into first. This is the mode the franchise is most famous for and made “Call of Duty” what it is today.
While multiplayer is still the same at its core, there are plenty of new features this time around. The biggest change is not even related to the core gameplay itself, but what players can do when they are not playing competitively.
Headquarters is a new social hub players can access when they are in-between multiplayer matches. Here you can upgrade your skills, unlock new cosmetics for your soldier, accept in-game challenges and more. It is a welcome addition to the series and is something that will hopefully be expanded upon as the series continues.
Another change to the multiplayer mode is that before starting a match, players must select one of five divisions. Choosing from the infantry, airborne, armored, mountain or expeditionary divisions sets players apart by providing them with one special skill that players in other divisions don’t have.
It is a bit disappointing to see that the maps in which players will be spending hours on are not very memorable. While none of them are particularly terrible, many of them just seem to have a similar structure. Since the dawn of the latest console generation, every Call of Duty has shipped with anywhere from 13 to 15 maps, so it also doesn’t help that “WWII” ships with only eight maps (nine if you purchase the $50 season pass).
Multiplayer servers have been hit or miss during “WWII”’s first week of availability. Joining matches has sometimes been a lengthy process, but once joined, there hasn’t been the issue of getting kicked out of games or chugging frame rates. Unfortunately, spotty opening week servers are something gamers have come to expect.
The infamous zombies mode also makes its triumphant return to the series and might be one of the bigger surprises the game has to offer. Straying away from the goofier tone the mode has gone with in recent years, “WWII’s” zombies mode tries to create a scarier atmosphere. It doesn’t really succeed in being very scary, but it is nice to see that zombies is being taken more seriously, considering the already outlandish subject matter.
Surprisingly, this mode is more story-driven than ever. In comparison to last year’s silly “Zombies in Spaceland” map in “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare,” “WWII” features a map in which all the characters believe is a truly terrifying place. Each of the four playable characters in the generic, but entertaining story are nicely voice acted. One of the four characters is even played by David Tennant, who is best known for his role as the Tenth Doctor on the television series “Doctor Who.”
“Call of Duty: WWII” ranks as one of the greatest in the entire series, however, there are a few drawbacks that prevent it from being the best of them all. With the developers already hard at work adding additional content to the game, it will be hard to put this iteration down for many months to come.
Rating: 9.0 out of 10
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