So I wasn’t going to go in depth with Call of Duty WWII, I wasn’t planning on buying it day one, I wasn’t even sure I was going to buy it at all. But before I could write it off forever, my roommate picked it up for his PS4, and who am I to turn down an opportunity like that.
I had played the beta previously, and I didn’t have a definitive feeling about it. It felt like typical Call of Duty, but it was just reskinned to make a WWII-esque environment. The only “groundbreaking” mechanics, so to speak, were the changes in loadout customization, and the new ‘War’ game mode that just accentuates this game’s identity crisis.
And having sat down and played the game for a few hours, this still holds true. However, that isn’t to say that Sledgehammer didn’t try the hell out of the past few years to give us what they thought was the best WWII Call of Duty game ever made. And you know what, it was a pretty d**n good effort, and I can’t say that the game is bad, in fact, I’d say that it’s better than a number of the past games if not only because of one aspect:
Now, Call of Duty hasn’t been known for its campaigns in several years, they’ve just gone down the s*****r since they realized that all people want to do is run around a map and shoot things. Why do the campaign when no one will play it? But Sledgehammer has actually put some form of effort into the campaign in this game. I haven’t gone all the way through it yet, but the missions I have played have been kind of an enjoyable experience. And I’m not going to attribute it to any one thing, but there is a feature that I want to bring up: non-regenerating health.
It’s something that I was not expecting, and probably would never really expect from the franchise that thrives on doing the same thing every year. It’s not the most groundbreaking thing ever, but even something as simple as taking away the automatic health regeneration and making you search and wait around for medkits adds something to the game. It makes the experience that much more immersive, making you believe in what you’re seeing, believe in what you’re playing. It slowed down the game and made me think about how I was going to go in, I’d need to find cover and avoid as many bullets as possible (which is f*****g possible) while I’d follow through with the objective. It would have been the thing to bring the campaign to legendary status, had everything else not remained the same.
Yes, you had the difficulty of having to heal yourself, but enemies are still crawling out of the bullets they shoot, and the game is always telling you to push forward. What do you do when you’re behind cover, enemies are respawning infinitely, you don’t have any medkits, and your medic is across the map because he’s a dipshit? The answer is that there shouldn’t be infinite enemies, and the enemies that do exist shouldn’t just run into battle and die. It’s a good first step, but many more need to be taken in order to achieve the perfect Call of Duty.
Now, let’s talk about the story. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an opening credit sequence in a game before, the game listed a myriad of names while doing some cool cinematic pans and explosions in a black and white filter. I was sitting through it saying to myself “what is this, a movie?”. And sure enough, the game started right off by having your character narrate each of his friend’s bios, making sure that you want to grow attached to each of them. I can’t say much about character development, but they do have you save one of them after having been stabbed, so memorable? Perhaps.
Wrapping it all up, CoD WWII isn’t so much a flop as a lot of other games in the franchise, but it’s still far from being a staple among the others. At least, not yet. The game’s only just released, I want to see how Sledgehammer’s going to shape it over this coming year.
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