Call of Duty WWII: Back to the past, looking to the future

Call of Duty WWII: Back to the past, looking to the future

Tristan Reyes

Over the years, the Call of Duty franchise has been a huge success. Starting out in the World War II setting, making a huge change with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and eventually moving to the future with both Advanced Warfare and Infinite Warfare. The latter two games turned most players off due to mixed feelings about the story and multiplayer became less grounded to reality. Well, now COD is back to the past with WWII and the future of the franchise has never looked better.

Let’s start with the game’s campaign. The story revolves around Ronald “Red” Daniels as he and the 1st Infantry Division must fight through the European theater of war as they help lead the Allied forces into Germany. Alongside Daniels are his best friend Robert Zussman, photographer Drew Stiles, Queens native and veteran Frank Aiello, the insane Sgt. William Pierson, and Lt. Joseph Turner who help lead the platoon.

Throughout the story Daniels fights through 11 missions that include D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, and The Rhine. Much like Battlefield 1, the game does not sugarcoat a World War. It’s brutal, unforgiving, and you always feel like you’re going against the odds here. The D-Day level is a perfect example, as you see almost an entire platoon get mowed down by German machine gunners and there was nothing you can do about it other than to continue the attack on Normandy Beach.

Daniels and his men.

Gameplay-wise most of the story involves pushing the Germans back as Daniels shoots through countless soldiers to help win the war. There are situations that he gets himself into where he needs proper backup. So, the player switches perspectives to tank or air support he needs it. These gameplay-changing moments are interesting and feel satisfying to play, but they’re not new and I’ve seen it before in World at War. It’s not all just shooting, however. Your team will always have your back with the Squad abilities they possess. You charge up these abilities by killing enemies and once they are charged, your squad will help you significantly, some more than others. Zussman will give you invaluable health kits which Daniels needs to keep his health up. Lt. Turner will give you ammo, Aiello provides artillery grenades to take out large groups of enemies, Stiles gives extra grenades, and Sgt. Pierson will mark enemies even if they’re behind smoke. These abilities give you something to like about your teammates, especially since both Stiles and Aiello barely get any screentime.

The characters make the story. You feel for Daniels as he worries about his squad, you can also feel the tension rise between Pierson and Turner due to the Sergeant’s past. You constantly fight alongside Zussman and just hope that nothing bad happens him. Everything that happens in the story is captivating, and characters look real, due to Sledgehammer’s engine. Sledgehammer created a Call of Duty campaign worth playing for around six hours. You also get a special helmet to wear in multiplayer, and I’ve never felt so proud to wear.

Multiplayer naturally makes a return but with a new twist in “headquarters”. Similar to the Tower Destiny, it is a little hub area where players can gather, interact, get new contracts, and open Supply Drops. It’s a new and interesting feature that has a surprising amount of people messing around in it. There’s a shooting range that’s convenient and fun as you can simply practice shooting targets along with other players. The Quartermaster gives you daily and weekly contracts where you can gain experience and Supply Drops after completing in a set amount of time. Major Howard hands out daily and weekly orders that players can complete for Supply Drops and experience. There is a theater where players view the videos introducing the Divisions they can start with, along with watching Live MLG matches in the future. Players can compete in 1v1 matches in the pits there for fun, while other players watch in the balcony. Also, you can play several Retro Activision games such as Pitfall in the R&R area. The games only cost 10 Armory Credits out of the thousands you have and it’s amazing that this feature was included in the game. The headquarters is a welcoming addition to the series, and gives players a new way to interact with each-other.

How has the multiplayer changed? Honestly, the gameplay is the same except without all of the futuristic nonsense. Just simple WWII weapons, grenades. There’s no double-jumping, no wall-running, no homing grenades, just some good old-fashioned WWII Call of Duty action. All of the core game modes from past are here like Team Deathmatch, Dominion, Search and Destroy, Free-for-all, Kill Confirmed, Capture the Flag and Hardpoint. I enjoy the new War mode where players compete in objective-based combat, such as playing through D-Day. From advancing on the beach to take out the players manning the MG’s to pushing them back to destroy their equipment, then finally destroying their artillery to win the match. I’ve never felt so accomplished with my team when completing an objective.

Class customization has made unlocking weapons and abilities more fun. Players can choose a division and upgrade that division by playing matches. The same goes for using weapons. You unlock perks for your weapons, like steady aim, rapid fire, and get a bigger magazine size among other things. You can also prestige your division and weapons to gain a small bonus, like adding a clan tag on your weapons and getting extra experience permanently. More of a reason to keep playing and more of a reason to get excited.

Old- school campaigns are great and multiplayer is as addicting as ever, but what would COD be without Nazi Zombies? This time around you play as the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program (MFAA). The team includes an all-star cast such as Katheryn Winnick as Marie Fischer, Elodie Yung as French Resistance member Olivia Durant, Ving Rhames as Jefferson Potts, and David Tennant as Drostan Hynd. They must retrieve Marie Fischer’s brother who travelled to Mittelburg, Germany and never came back.

Fun fact: gingivitis is the leading cause of tooth decay for Nazi zombies.

Nazi Zombies has taken a true horror setting this time around as the zombies are more grotesque, bloody and creepier than the previous installments. The prologue mission does a good job showing you the rules of the game as you spend time surviving in a farmhouse. It’s also a nice surprise to see that the farmhouse acts as a standalone survival level in Groesten Haus.

In the main Nazi Zombies Map, The Final Reich,  the group gets attacked by the hordes of the undead in a small village in Mittelburg. Other than the Zombies, there’s something wrong in this quaint little village. It’s more than it seems as you uncover the secrets in each area of the map. I found a corpse-filled sewer system with traps for killing zombies, a lab with a horrific creature being held captive from behind steel doors, and some sort of teleportation device that seems awfully similar to World at War’s Nact Der Untoten map.

Players can even customize their loadout between different sessions to have their own class-based perks and abilities. These abilities include shooting unlimited ammo, doing double damage to zombies chasing you, unleashing energy to stun zombies, and becoming invisible to revive teammates in a jiffy. If you have a group of friends that’s ready to take on the never-ending legion of zombies, then you’ll be in for a treat.

Call of Duty: WWII is jam-packed with things to do. It has a great story, a multiplayer players wanted since Modern Warfare 2, and Nazi Zombies for all of the hardcore fans out there. Call of Duty seems to be going in the right direction, and I hope it stays that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                4/5 Sails


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