Franchise revived by returning to its roots

Call of Duty: World War II sets new precedent for series


Fair use from Call of Duty.

Alec Pittman and Atticus Raasch

Following a dismal year of sales and ratings from 2016s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Activision’s newest installment of Call of Duty had to impress in arguably the biggest spotlight it has ever seen.

After three years of over stimulating gameplay and underwhelming features, Call of Duty: WWII gives players a nostalgic feel with a modern twist.

WWII’s campaign sets the tone of the game early, beginning with an incredible noir-esque cinematic in which the current status of war-torn Europe is described both visually and narratively. Feeling as if watching a blockbuster film, players are taken aback by the quality of next generation gaming graphics as they witness first hand the destruction of WWII while listening to a speech addressing the nation from President Theodore Roosevelt.

Stepping into the boots of Ronald “Red” Daniels, players are immediately thrown into the chaos of D-Day, the initial invasion of Europe begun by the U.S. Withholding nothing in terms of gore and brutality, WWII emphasizes the new quality of visuals, depicting extremely graphic scenes and scenarios to convey the true horrors of war.

Alongside the improvement of the graphics since Call of Duty’s last installment of a WWII based game, the gameplay has scene a total shift from the last few games produced by Activision.

Returning to a much simpler control system, WWII acts as the perfect mediator between the over-stimulating gameplay of the franchise’s most recent installments and the outdated controls of their first few games. Finding a perfect middle in accessibility, the game allows both new and veteran Call of Duty players to enjoy their time as they campaign through Europe on the Western front.

The developing teams at Activision and Raven also brought to life the subtle conflicts in war, such as those of missing loved ones or conflicts within individual squadrons of troops. Players experiencing WWII through the eyes of Private Daniels and see the importance his wife has on his drive to survive and return home to her, as he writes her in almost every introductory cinematic of each of his missions.

Giving hope to many Call of Duty players, WWII succeeds in bringing to life the historical aspects of WWII while also allowing gamers to experience an incredible journey regarding brotherhood, glory and sacrifice. The story told in Call of Duty WWII stands out as one of the better campaigns the series has produced, especially in regards to those of their most recent installments.

Call of Duty’s famous multiplayer experience sets this game apart from that of the last few years. Sick of the “jetpack” features and characters 30 feet up, I breathed a sigh of relief to find my boots firmly on the ground for the entire game.

My first game on multiplayer I found myself in a stunning map with every detail perfectly in place. Although I did not do very well, I jumped quickly into a second game, immediately hungry for more. Over time I discovered that this game was entirely skill-based, as any weapon or playstyle could be used to find success. Although seemingly obvious, this is something that many game franchises have struggled to find, and it’s what separates WWII from many other Activision titles.

After time playing, it is easy to see how smooth the gameplay really is. Each game has a perfect level of speed to keep the game moving and new, but it is slow enough as to not die in game at every turn of a corner. New players to experienced players can appreciate this, as this mirrors the glory days of earlier Call of Duty titles such as World at War and Black Ops 2. Those hungry more for a nostalgic feel will be ecstatic to find classic weapons such as the PPSH and the MP-40 returned to full effect.

Much to my dismay however, I was not pleased to see the return of Activision’s “supply drops”, which are special packages you can buy to receive in game items such as weapons or aesthetic items. Being able to pay extra money for premier weapons with these microtransactions screams “give money to us” and takes away from the point of the game, to progress with experience and skill.