Title: Call of Duty: World War II
Format: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
ESRB Rating: M (Mature, 17+)
Release Date: November 2
The Grade: A-
COD: WWII Haiku Review
Take on the Germans
Is that Ving Rhames in zombies?
What is it? The latest iteration of the popular “Call of Duty” franchise. The single player campaign tells the story of Private Ronald “Red” Daniels, a young recruit in the First Infantry Division. Red and his squad will fight their way across Europe, engaging the enemy in iconic locations such as the Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. When the single player story is over, gamers can jump into an immersive multiplayer offering and even take on hordes of zombies online.
Highs and Lows: The first place I thing I did in “Call of Duty: World War II” was jump into a multiplayer match. While ranked matches don’t kick off until December 1, I had a blast ranking up my soldier in public matches. Gone are the super athletic moves of “Infinite Warfare” and in its place is a more grounded and tactical online combat. Without technological gimmicks, multiplayer now feels significantly more strategic. Constantly being handed unlockable items and receiving supply drops will keep players feeling rewarded.
Three new multiplayer features stood out. War is a new game mode where players must work together to attack or defend a set of objectives. War feels like playing through part of the campaign, but with online teammates. I found it addictive. I’m also a fan of the Divisions class system. This allows for you to tinker with your gameplay style without being too punitive. Now its much easier to be a more versatile online player. Headquarters is a place you’ll spend a lot of time. While hanging out in this virtual base you can earn rewards, practice your skills, and even play video games. That’s right, it might be 1944 but somehow you can play a bunch of classic Activision titles from the 1980s to unwind.
If you’re looking for a more cooperative experience, “WWII’s” zombie mode is the place to go. In this mode gamers can play as one of four characters trying to reclaim some important works of art. David Tennant (“Doctor Who”), Ving Rhames (“Mission Impossible”), Elodie Yung (“Marvel’s Daredevil”) and Katheryn Winnick (“Vikings”) voice the four heroes. I particularly enjoyed hearing Tennant cursing in his distinct Scottish accent. I’m not sure if it’s the more story driven action or the likable actors but much like multiplayer, I found zombies more accessible than ever.
While I enjoyed “WWII’s” single player campaign, I found it to be the game’s weakest component. Visually stunning and with immense maps, fighting my way through Europe was thrilling and had several epic moments. However, despite a strong effort, I never felt a sense of camaraderie with the people I was in the trenches with. War is a bonding experience but not without some downtime to get to truly know a person outside of a combat context. I wish Sledgehammer would have had something like Headquarters but for single player. Perhaps there, in between missions, I could had meaningful interactions with my fellow soldiers.
The Grade: Overall, “Call of Duty: World War II” feels like a throwback to classic gameplay that made the franchise a household name, which considering it’s setting, isn’t that surprising. After years of gradually becoming more and more futuristic, going back to its roots makes this franchise feel rejuvenated. “WWII” is the most complete “Call of Duty” title in years.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.