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Call Of Duty: WW2 (Xbox One) Review

November 14, 2017 | Posted by Stewart Lange
Call of Duty: WWII Call of Duty: WW2
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Call Of Duty: WW2 (Xbox One) Review  

Given the fairly lacklustre critical response to the last few Call of Duty releases, it’s almost slightly surprising that Activision listened to the people who were telling them that Battlefield 1 was a much more polished release, considering that Call of Duty hardly sold badly. Given a large part of that was related to the then-packaged Modern Warfare remaster that they had cleverly integrated into the Infinite Warfare disc requirements so it couldn’t be traded in, it looked like we’d continue to see the Call of Duty train continue to chug along, releasing huge hit year after year despite there being literally dozens of overlooked alternatives out there.

It’s this change of heart by Activision with the help of developers Sledgehammer games that is most surprising. Despite many people claiming they were merely “copying” their EA counterparts by just moving onto the next World War and tackling the tail end of the Nazi occupation of Europe in 1944 through the eyes of a U.S. Allied soldier, this is arguably the most impressive CoD game since Modern Warfare 2. There are a lot of little niggling issues, but let’s be honest, it’s not going to be anything that isn’t the norm in 2017 so this may just be the game that gets you right back into the franchise, assuming you ever were. If you’re reading this, I assume you might have been.

I;ll be starting with the multiplayer, since it seems to be the area with the most cause for concern. There are changes and improvements, but this appears to be the most obviously “pay-to-win” Call of Duty game to date. There seems to be no unlocking of weapons, so it’s all there right from the off, if Khajiit has coin. The issue here is that for a “few” sheckles, you’d be able to buy all the best gear right from the off. Who’d have thought, micro-transactions ruining online games. Unfortunately, this taints what is one of the more fun iterations of the online side of the series. There’s a multiplayer hub, much like the tower in Destiny. It’s a war camp, where you can apply “orders,” which are XP bonus tasks, ranging from “win a game in Domination” all the way up to 25 headshot kills. It’s a nice break from the constant circle of map and menu. The maps all seem pretty good, although right now I don’t see any that will become a classic along the same lines as the likes of Rust.

Zombies is also back, which is as much fun as it always is. There are two maps currently and both as fun as the other. It’s still an adrenaline rush as you’re attacked by wave after wave, unlocking parts of the map as you go, using the credits you make from shooting them in the face to get them. It’s good fun solo, but better with a few friends, a couple of beers and headsets. There’s not much new here, but it’s probably the least broken part of the franchise so it really didn’t need a great deal of fixing. In fact, it’s a welcome step down from how stupidly gimmicked the last Zombies instalment was, given the fact that to my knowledge, you don’t eventually meet any 80’s celebrity icons just for the “lolz.”

The campaign is where WW2 really shines. You mainly take the role of Private Daniels, a rookie soldier who is thrown in right at the deep end storming the beaches of Normandy in the games opening level. Along with the rest of the squad, who you get to know well over the course of the game, you’ll travel across Western Europe and experience pivotal points in the War. There are a few times you will control other people, including a Sherman Tank operator and an undercover agent, but I’ve already given enough away there. The set piece moments are beautifully laid out, from the D-Day Landings all the way through to the Battle Of The Bulge, it’s genuinely amazing to experience them.

The motion captured actors make the characters look absolutely incredible. The game is absolutely breathtaking regardless, but playing on Xbox One X it’s hard to find even a momentary fault in the graphics. The two characters you’ll look at most often, Zussman and Pierson are played by Jonathan Tucker (American Gods, Westworld) and Josh Duhamel (Transformers, 11.22.63) respectively and you’d be convinced you were watching a TV show at times. The graphics are a delight both close up and with incredible draw distance making this so amazingly immersive, as every stone, gun and drop of blood are perfectly placed and rendered. Along with graphical improvements, there are gameplay changes too. No longer are you a regenerating bullet sponge, but instead you have to carry and use first aid kits, that restore around 30% of your health bar. It’s this that makes the game feel more challenging and actually seems to be the biggest improvement, no longer are you able to just hide behind a wall before popping out to take a bit more punishment, although I don’t know how this affects difficulty when you are playing on the top two tiers when one bullet can kill you no problem. You are also able to call upon your allies to supply you with first aid, enemy spotting as well as grenades or ammo, which is a nice touch and keeps you on your toes. At around 10-12 hours on regular difficulty, it’s also a decent length as value for money.

Given my own love/hate relationship with the Call of Duty games, WW2 is an absolute step up from the last few years instalments, with every single facet of the gameplay stepped up to compete with other games, which is in of itself a breath of fresh air for the series. No longer can they assume that gamers won’t look elsewhere, with Battlefield seemingly moving to every second year to ensure quality, a new Star Wars Battlefront as well as the likes of Destiny 2, or even the likes of indie games such as Killing Floor 2 offering more than adequate alternatives to the Call of Duty series, it’s high time they did something to remind those of us who doubted them just how good they can be. Ignoring the absolutely abusable micro-transactions dragging this down, WW2 is an absolute joy and may even be the first Call of Duty since the first Modern Warfare that I’ve not traded in before Christmas.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Beautiful graphics and a fantastic campaign are almost enough to justify this game alone, but a great fun Zombies mode and a perfectly solid multiplayer mode (providing people aren't abusing pay-to-win) make this the best Call of Duty in years.

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Call of Duty: WWII, Stewart Lange