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Call of Duty WWII Review: A stunning return to the beaches of Normandy

Call of Duty WWII Review: A stunning return to the beaches of Normandy
From TechCrunch - November 8, 2017

Late last week, Call of Duty: WWII launched. The title marks CoDs return to boots-on-the-ground gameplay for the first time in three years.

For folks who have played Call of Duty since the beginning, this is a welcome return to the game they fell in love with. Soldiers appear more human, instead of looking like some futuristic, cyber-mutant Marine. And because the soldiers physical ability is limitedthey cant sprint too long before tiring or jump more than a few feetstrategy is now a priority.

For the younger generation of CoD players, this will be a brand-new type of Call of Duty. Without jetpacks and the ability to wall-run, CoD:WWII is about positioning, decision-making and gun skill. But at the same time, the new game returns to a time the series hasnt visited in a whileWorld War IIand doesnt shy away from the horrors of it all.

As is standard with CoD titles, World War II is truly three games wrapped up into one. There is the Campaign, an immersive single-player story that takes the player (Private Daniels) on an actual tour, fighting in historic battles, of the Western Front. Then there is Multiplayer, a cornerstone of CoD titles, where players face off with other players online in a range of game modes. And, finally, theres Nazi Zombies, a co-op mode where players go head-to-head with gamebots.

Multiplayer

For the past few years, CoDs campaigns have always taken a backseat to Multiplayer. And with good reason. Playing against other people will always prove to be a challenge. No matter how good you get, others will get better, too.

With WWII, Activision and Sledgehammer have added some new features to the game that help bridge the gap between the hyper-futuristic titles of the recent past with the boots-on-the-ground experience that is CoDs foundation. The organizations do this all while trying to remain true to the history of World War II.

The most notable differences youll find in this game, when compared against other CoD titles, is the Divisions set up and headquarters.

Instead of Create A Class, which lets users build out various equipment set-ups, WWII asks users to enlist in a Division, which gives them certain abilities that could be compared to perks from old games. For example, the Armored division has extra protection against explosive damage, which is akin to using Flak Jacket. This gives users less flexibility to get creative with their equipment set up, but also brings a new challenge to the game.

Then theres the headquarters of CoD Multiplayer. Instead of the usual in-game menu, the player is dropped into HQ, where they can purchase contracts, open supply drops, get training for Scorestreaks, face off against other players in a 1v1 pit, get some target practice on the gun range, and pick up their in-game currency. Its a bit of a rip-off of Destiny with the Tower or Destiny 2 with the Farm, but its a smart move for the game, giving a bit of life to the moments between the action.

There is also a new game mode called War Mode, which asks players to complete a series of different tasks, from building a bridge to protecting supplies to holding an area against intruding enemies. You could think of it as a combination of a handful of game modes, from S&D to Hardpoint, with some building and breaking down of barriers thrown in there.

Though WWIIs Multiplayer experience is beautiful, fun and satisfying, it doesnt come without its flaws. Game modes like Capture the Flag and Gridiron dont quite feel as realistic as Search and Destroy or Team Deathmatch, as theres obviously no part in World War II where warring nations were playing basketball with guns. That said, Sledgehammer did their research, and everything from the weapons to the gear to the maps come from real equipment and locations during World War II.

Unfortunately, there were a few annoying bugs at launch, including one where players got locked into the leaderboard at the end of each map, making it impossible to enjoy headquarters or leave the lobby to find a new activity. To fix this, Activision had to close down the servers repeatedly throughout the weekend, which suggests that the game might have been rushed to meet the ship date. These are kinks that will be worked out over time, of course, but die-hard fans who showed up on launch day were undoubtedly disappointed, as was I.

Campaign

More so than any Call of Duty Ive ever played (which is most, but not all of them), WWII has the best campaign. Not only are the graphics and audio some of the best Ive ever experienced, but the storyline itself adds a level of drama and emotion that is hard to find in other games.

Nazi Zombies

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