Call Of Duty: WWII Review - It’s Exactly The War You’d Expect

  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
  • Shooter
'Call Of Duty: WWII'
Call Of Duty: WWII is exactly the game you wanted. It’s got frantic boots-on-the-ground action and a fairly predictable World War II story. Call Of Duty: WWII is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Sledgehammer Games/Activision

Call Of Duty: WWII is the game franchise enthusiasts have been asking for since the dawn of this console generation. It takes the previously future-focused franchise back to its roots, and that nostalgia blends pretty well with modern graphical accoutrements.


A Campaign Of History And Entertainment

Starting with its campaign, Call Of Duty: WWII hits all those nostalgic feels in big ways. The narrative takes Private Ronald “Red” Daniels and his First Infantry Division squad from D-Day to Allied liberation. Along the way, you’ll make fairly predictable pitstops at Hürtgen Forest and Battle Of The Bulge, and all of these pivotal moments build to massive climaxes.

The missions themselves are fantastic and appropriately paced. Each battle starts out slow and builds to something only the insane cinematic talents at Sledgehammer Games can deliver. While there are some minor frustrations that crop up with timed sniper sequences, finicky stealth mechanics and odd vehicle controls, it all feels like a well-mader gameplay experience from start to finish.

However, some of the campaign’s best moments happen when this Call Of Duty game stops feeling like Call Of Duty. At the halfway point, players switch perspectives to Rousseau, a French resistance leader who has a brutal encounter with the Nazi who murdered her family. That momentum builds through an infiltration mission that feels more like Gone Home or BioShock than a predictable nostalgia trip. It added variety I didn’t know I wanted, and given the game’s overall focus on familiar battles, I would’ve liked more of it.  

Call Of Duty WWII campaign
The campaign feels a bit too safe despite its high-octane action. Photo: Activision/Sledgehammer Games

Rousseau’s storyline aside, most of WWII’s other story beats feel pretty familiar, never really progressing beyond impressions of Saving Private Ryan and Band Of Brothers. In about seven hours of gameplay, there was only one character I truly cared about, and it wasn’t even the one I was playing as. The emotion woven throughout the plot does eventually come to a decent conclusion about PTSD and the horrors of the Holocaust, but not before diving deep into cliche jokes about sweethearts.

It’s all very fun to play in terms of its historically inspired, visually stunning set pieces, but it doesn’t carry the weight of something like Brothers In Arms long before it.


Frantic Multiplayer

The core of Call Of Duty: WWII’s multiplayer is very much what you’d expect it to be. The rocket boosts are gone, replaced by brutal boots-on-the-ground combat with weapons that feel stilted to their time period. You spawn fast, you die fast and intentionally slow reload speeds can become your worst enemy.

The gameplay package feels as solid as ever, and it’s helped along by a slate of new and returning modes. All the favorites you’ve come to expect are here, buttressed greatly by the addition of a rejuvenated War mode. In each of the three War maps, players work through several different objectives in tailored arenas in a tug-of-war fashion. While some matches can end in a few minutes, the best ones can last up to 15 as opposing teams fight for territory. While the D-Day War mission’s objectives weren’t as satisfying, the other options proved War is a great addition to the series.

Call Of Duty: WWII
Multiplayer is fast, fun and full of SMGs. Photo: Sledgehammer Games/Activision

WWII ’s multiplayer isn’t perfect though. Almost every arena in the launch map suite feels too small and predictably constructed to fit a three-lane style. This means SMGs reign supreme and spawn killing is an issue in certain modes like Capture The Flag. While some maps, like Aachen or Ardennes, do provide extra space, there just isn’t enough to avoid sticking to an SMG.

In some ways this close-quarters design also harms the new Divisions system that, while essentially very open, is meant to encourage players to fight in different classes. However, in my 30+ hours of online time, it was tough to discern who was fighting in what Division and why. It all felt samey because everyone was stuck using the same weapons.

The new Headquarters social space wasn’t available during this review period. That was disappointing, but I was still able to get a feel for progression that felt fast, free of microtransactions and fun to play. Hopefully we see some bigger maps as DLC in the future.


Spooky Zombies

Call Of Duty: WWII ’s Nazi Zombies mode succeeds most at bringing a sense of newness to the package. The initial chapter, called “The Final Reich,” totally scraps the campy Zombies of Infinite Warfare in favor of genuine spooks. The monster designs are hideous, and the jumpscares are random each time you play.

While many of the standard perk machines, power switches and Pack-A-Punch mechanics are in place, there are lots of quality-of-life fixes here to make the experience better for newbies and vets alike. For the latter, each character has the ability to take on any role they want, and sharing point caches makes progression faster.

Nazi Zombies brings new spooks to a beloved mode. Photo: Activision

For newcomers, WWII adds Hardcore and Casual Easter egg tiers. Possibly knowing that the vast majority of Zombies players haven’t figured out an Easter egg before, the casual quest literally directs teams through objectives and highlights points of interest. The mission itself remains difficult enough to be fun, and it helps create a sense of familiarity with Easter eggs design. When you’re ready to graduate, the Hardcore Easter egg is just as insane and satisfying as Zombies is known for.

Nazi Zombies is a spooky analogue to a raid in Destiny, so it’s definitely worth trying out if you’ve got a good group to tackle it. While it’s technically possible for a skilled solo player to unlock everything, the mode’s not designed for that.


Fulfilling Expectation

While it’s not a perfect game, Call Of Duty: WWII knows the expectations it has to meet and hits almost every single one of them fairly well. The story could’ve been more emotional, multiplayer maps could be bigger, but it’s still mostly the World War II game we wanted.

Call Of Duty: WWII is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Do you agree with our Call Of Duty: WWII review? Tell us in the comments section!

Call Of Duty: WWII
Call Of Duty: WWII Review - It’s Exactly The War You’d Expect
While it’s not a perfect game, Call Of Duty: WWII knows the expectations it has to meet and hits almost every single one of them fairly well.
  • Action-packed campaign
  • Traditional multiplayer at its best
  • A more welcoming Zombies mode
  • Predictable story
  • Small multiplayer maps
  • Post-launch server issues
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