My aversion to violence and squeamishness at graphic content has always put me off playing any Call of Duty games. However, having sat through my boyfriend playing games like Resident Evil 7, Mortal Kombat X and The Evil Within 2 right in front of me – for he has no such fear of violence as I do, and cares not for my pathetic screams of disgust – I feel that I’ve become immune to on-screen savagery. Equally, having played an obscene amount of Overwatch, another first-person shooter (though one not so heavily reliant on guns), I figured I might have some transferrable shooting skills. So, I decided to give Call of Duty: WWII a shot.
My first impressions of the game were that it had great sound design (that M1 Garand reload noise, anyone?), sharp aesthetics, realistic weapon and character customisation and a plethora of training options to allow its players to tailor the experience to their own strengths and skillset. In multiplayer, you also choose to join one of five divisions as an additional customisable element, each of which has their own unique perks and strengths. Those who join the Infantry, for instance, gain the use of a bayonet on the end of their gun; personally, I chose to join the Airborne, who can attach a suppressor to submachine guns.
The core gameplay of WWII is fairly simplistic, going ‘back to basics’ and creating a truly classic Call of Duty experience. It leads with a strong single-player campaign; playing as Corporal Ronald ‘Red’ Daniels, you begin in the heat of the battle on Normandy beach and from there traverse various landmark battles across France, Germany and Belgium. There’s never a dull moment, and the variation of level design, increasing difficulty levels and challenging storylines truly create a memorable experience.
I found the combat to be very fluid, rapid, and requiring a lot of attention to detail. Enemy players and your own team members often appear out of nowhere, and fast reactions and tactical plays can make or break a match. Team communication is also a deciding factor, though just as I feared, annoying teenage boys and screaming children are still prominent despite the game’s ‘18’ rating. Though the combat can feel a little awkward sometimes – especially in terms of the maps available and the cover they provide – it is both satisfying and uncomfortably realistic. The game’s dedicated servers mean that interruptions and lag is at an all-time low, and while some weapons admittedly could do with balancing better, I’m sure that they will be taken care of eventually. As it took Activision long enough to realise that they’d left double experience gain enabled on the game, however, maybe we shouldn’t expect too much too soon.
Fast reactions and tactical plays can make or break a match
The Nazi Zombies mode is a very different experience to the main game, and its unending waves make it a challenge for even the hardiest of players. The animated introduction, as well as the overarching storyline and prescribed objectives, make it interesting and fun to play. Nontheless, I don’t think Nazi Zombies is for me. It gets tiresome after a while, and there’s only so long I can stand to be with the same few useless, uncooperative teammates – especially as the difficulty curve of the mode seems to fall off. This mode is good to dip in and out of, but not to play to its ‘endless’ limits.
Overall, I think this newest instalment in the Call of Duty franchise is one well-worth trying out. Hopefully Activision will implement a better system for the Headquarters feature, and then we’ll all finally be able to watch people open their loot boxes and share in their disappointment.