Call of Duty: WWII was actually one of the best games I played at E3 2017 since it went back to true traditional boots on the ground and brought back those memories of classic CoD. It's been about a decade since the series has last touched the historic fronts of World War II and it's very refreshing to see how the environments can be rendered on the modern platforms. As part of my incredible booking with Activision I was able to check out the theater demo which I'm discussing in this impressions and also get some hands-on time with a couple matches of the multiplayer aspect.
The demo opened with a speech from the developers about their goal of capturing the authentic atmosphere of this massive and devastating war. The core focus of the campaign will be during the years of 1944-1945 across multiple fronts including Belgium, France and eventually Germany. As Daniels, you experience combat for the first time on D-Day and this small aspect was highlighted to show the brutality that modern engines and platforms can produce. This will also be a return to a global cast for the story with a strong look into the war. It's a serious era to emulate and with this narrative they've decided to focus on an intimate setting with a squad based story.
Our presentation then officially began by showcasing a level of the mid-game. This section took place several weeks after D-Day in Marigny, France. It featured some gorgeous shots of the town we pushed through where you could see the backdrop was full of conflict and explosions. Despite this grander scale of combat, our squad was a close group of soldiers that had bonded through the previous trials of war. The team was tasked with moving forward and eventually taking a key position within a church. You could immediately tell that the tone was dark from the very gruesome deaths to the stick out moments of the fighting.
There was even a distinct point of where one of the Nazi soldiers shot themselves instead of being captured or killed and others where you could see limbs getting split off from bodies. This continued with some distinctly nasty scenes and a headshot that splattered blood all over. I'm trying to be descriptive with this as it's a very visceral experience and bold that they would aim to capture the scene similar to the sense that "World at War" had done when it released. There was also a real sense of fear coming from the soldiers on both sides and I think that's an important aspect to highlight. After fighting in the streets the character grabbed a planted turret for firing and went into the church.
The visuals are really great looking, Sledgehammer has done a fantastic job with the visuals and architecture of the environments. At the top of the church we did a generic sniping sequence and then things went bad as they usually do. We got to see some new action sequence quick time events and someone get split apart. The shot ripped apart a soldier's upper body leaving his rib cage exposed, intense. The action sequence carried as we scrambled through a cinematic segment of the church falling with some impressive physics destruction.
Some other things to note are the return of the dolphin dive for jumping to safety and table flipping for cover is available. The AI also have classes and you rely on your squad for supplies. This includes health or ammo and you revive them as well during combat. It's less about one guy in a crowd and more about being a unit. I was certainly blown away by what was shown during the demo and look forward to seeing how the full game is. It's nice to get away from silly jetpacks and get to something that feels classic and authentic. The multiplayer was also distinctly true to the series with some unique objective modes that mix things up, my impressions on that aspect can be found below.
Read our CoD: WWII Multiplayer Preview (E3 2017)
Our Call of Duty Hub
Our E3 2017 Hub